The Concept of a Boundary Between the Latin and the Byzantine Civilizations of Europe
By Piotr Eberhardt
Comparative Civilizations Review, Vol. 75 (2016)
Abstract: The article reviews, first, the essentials of the literature devoted to the origins and spatial reaches of the particular civilizations. Then, the boundary dividing Europe into two parts is outlined. This boundary runs from the Barents Sea in the north to the Adriatic Sea in the south. On its western side nations are associated with the Latin legacy, while on the eastern side are those that relate to the Byzantine tradition and later on, to Moscow. Views as to the course of this boundary are discussed.
Introduction: Debate over the emergence of particular civilizations, as seen in historical-geographical perspective, is very popular, both in scientific literature and in journalism. Broad investigations are being conducted, and quite elaborate classifications as well as typologies are being developed. Knowledge of the spatial reaches of different civilizations and of their mutual relations is supposed to constitute the starting point for the analysis of the actual or potential threats, which might – and in the opinion of some scholars inevitably do – lead to the inter-civilizational conflicts.
This kind of reasoning is based on the assumption that cultural or ideological differences between civilizations must bring about enmity and wars. Such confrontations are usually held to be determined by the essential differences of religious systems, worldviews or philosophy.
There has been a recent surge of interest in this topic associated with the book by Samuel P. Huntington, published in 1996 in the United States, entitled The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of the World Order, a worldwide bestseller. This book, translated into numerous languages, has stirred a vivid scholarly and journalistic discussion.