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the parts that had never been civilized (as in, having a well-established and indigenous culture of cities, settled life, and state-level social organization)

Hm. Which ones would that be? Cities like London, Paris, Cologne, Marseille, Barcelona, Carthago, Cherchell, Carnuntum had that for at least three centuries, which I'd count as well-established, but there were Dark Ages at all places. These regions didn't just choose neo-barbarism on a whim, they were overrun by Germanic tribes who first pillaged then took control. But then in most places, in spite of the population loss, the existing majority populations with well-established settled life culturally assimilated their rulers (see the success of Church Latin, Athanasian Christianity, Romance local languages in France and Spain).

Italy had been so destroyed by the Roman slave-economy

What do you mean? Wasn't there slave economy on all parts of the empire?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Jun 22nd, 2011 at 04:39:38 AM EST
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The difference between France, Spain, England and North Africa and what became the Byzantine Empire is that the basic character of The West<tt.TM</tt> was changed to a greater extent than was the case further east. The whole half millennium from 500-1,000 AD in the west was a period of synthesis and regeneration of social and political institutions, integrating the previous traditions with those of the German tribes that had invaded. And, of course, North Africa and Spain were overwhelmed by Islam about half way through this period.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Jun 24th, 2011 at 10:35:59 PM EST
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