The Middle Kingdoms
Central Europe is not just a space on a map but also a region of shared experience - of mutual borrowings, impositions and misapprehensions. From the Roman Empire onwards, it has been the target of invasion from the east. In the Middle Ages, Central Europeans cast their eastern foes as 'the dogmen'. They would later become the Turks, Swedes, Russians, and Soviets, all of whom pulled the region apart and remade it according to their own vision. Competition among Europe's Middle Kingdoms yielded repeated cultural effervescences. This was the first home of the High Renaissance outside Italy, the cradle of the Reformation, the starting point of the Enlightenment, Romanticism, the symphony and modern nationalism. It was a permanent battleground too for religious and political ideas. This history embraces the whole of Central Europe, including the German lands as well as Ukraine and Switzerland.