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Word Count: 746
Thomas Cahill opens his story describing Romes fall For as the Roman Empirefell as all through Europe matted unwashed barbarians descended on the Roman citieslooting artifacts and burning books the Irish who were just learning to read and writetook up the just labor of copying all of western literature - everything they could get theirhands on These scribes then served as conduits through which Greco-Roman andJudeo-Christian cultures were transmitted to the tribes of Europe newly settled amid the rubble and ruined vineyards of the civilization they had overwhelmed Cahill p3 The theme of this book is that the scribes did something unique they saved civilizationnot the masses of people but literature the content of classical civilization Cahill p58 One reads of the time from Romes fall to medieval times learning through thestories of the characters most notable Augustine and PatrickAugustine his faith based on Roman Chrisitanity looked into his own heart andfound the anguish of each individual Cahill p 115 Patrick the slave turnedChristian escapes only to return to convert the Irish He was the first missionary to thebarbarians beyond Greco-Roman law who looked into the hearts of others Cahill p115Cahill notes Ireland is the only land where Christianity is introduced withoutviolence - there were no murdered Irish martyrs Cahill p 151 He discusses thegrowth of monasteries in Ireland and their eventual spread to Iona and beyond byColumcille and his White Martyr followers Cahill pp 171-184 Growth continuesas Columbanus establishes the first Italo-Irish monastery where monks continue to prayand copy Between these two men Irish monasteries were established in EnglandScotland Italy France and beyondHistorically the Irish are not credited with a major role in this time period andCahill attempts to prove the societyculture of this time has its roots in Ireland He statesIreland at peace and copying stood in the position to become Europes publisher TheSaxons had blocked routes to the English mainland A new illiterate Europe was risingfrom Roman ruins Ireland would reconnect
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