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A History of the Philippines by David P. Barrows

But the Levant had not produced them


The

Commercial Cities of Italy.--The cities of Italy developed this commerce. They placed fleets upon the Mediterranean. They carried the crusaders out and brought back the wares that Europe desired. In this way these cities grew and became very wealthy. On the west coast, where this trade began, were Amalfi, Pisa, Genoa, and Florence, and on the east, at the head of the Adriatic, was Venice. The rivalry between these cities of Italy was very fierce. They fought and plundered one another, each striving to win a monopoly for itself of this invaluable trade.

Venice, finally, was victorious. Her location was very favorable. From her docks the wares could be carried easily and by the shortest routes up the Po River and thence into France or northward over the Alps to the Danube. In Bavaria grew up in this trade the splendid German cities of Augsburg and Nuremberg, which passed these goods on to the cities of the Rhine, and so down this most beautiful river to the coast. Here the towns of Flanders and of the Low Countries, or Holland, received them and passed them on again to England and eastward to the countries of the Baltic.

Development of Modern Language.--Thus commerce and trade grew up in Europe, and, with trade and city life, greater intelligence, learning, and independence. Education became more common, and the universities of Europe were thronged. Latin in the Middle Age had been the only language that was written

by the learned class. Now the modern languages of Europe took their form and began to be used for literary purposes. Italian was the first to be so used by the great Dante, and in the same half-century the English poet Chaucer sang in the homely English tongue, and soon in France, Germany, and Spain national literatures appeared. With this went greater freedom of expression. Authority began to have less weight.

Men began to inquire into causes and effects, to doubt certain things, to seek themselves for the truth, and so the Renaissance came. With it came a greater love for the beautiful, a greater joy in life, a fresh zest for the good of this world, a new passion for discovery, a thirst for adventure, and, it must also be confessed a new laxity of living and a new greed for gold. Christian Europe was about to burst its narrow bounds. It could not be repressed nor confined to its old limitations. It could never turn backward. Of all the great changes which have come over life and thought, probably none are greater than those which saw the transition from the mediaeval to the modern world.

Trade with the East.--Articles of Trade.--Now we must go back for a moment and pursue an old inquiry further. Whence came all these beautiful and inviting wares that had produced new tastes and passions in Europe? The Italian traders drew them from the Levant, but the Levant had not produced them. Neither pepper, spices, sugarcane, costly gems, nor rich silks, were produced on the shores of the Mediterranean.

Only the rich tropical countries of the East were capable of growing these rare plants, and up to that time of delivering to the delver many precious stones. India, the rich Malaysian archipelago, the kingdom of China,--these are the lands and islands which from time immemorial have given up their treasures to be forwarded far and wide to amaze and delight the native of colder and less productive lands.

Routes of Trade to the Far East.--Three old sailing and caravan routes connect the Mediterranean with the Far East. They are so old that we can not guess when men first used them. They were old in the days of Solomon and indeed very ancient when Alexander the Great conquered the East. One of these routes passed through the Black Sea, and across the Caspian Sea to Turkestan to those strange and romantic ancient cities, Bokhara and Samarkand. Thence it ran northeasterly across Asia, entering China from the north. Another crossed Syria and went down through Mesopotamia to the Indian Ocean, A third began in Egypt and went through the Red Sea, passing along the coast of Arabia to India.


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