Europe is not merely a geographical expression. It implies not only a definite area of the earth’s surface, but also a certain type of civilisation. The conceptions of the European states concerning social life and government, concerning religion and art and science, have, underneath all their differences, a certain resemblance which may be difficult to define, but which appears unquestionable when they are compared with the ideas of the old civilisations of Asia or the conditions in Africa or the New World. This basis of common ideas and practices is not the result of a common nationality, for the peoples of Europe are many, and some are widely removed from others: it is the result of the historical development of the European lands. All of them, though some to a greater exment of than others, have inherited the science and art and philosophy of Greece. A large part of them was incorporated into the Roman Empire, and even over those who were left outside that Empire the law and the language and the institutions of Rome had a great influence. But it was during the Middle Ages that the greatest advance was made towards something that may be called European unity. The Christian Church, whether in its Eastern or its Western form, took up the task of Rome, though on a strangely different plane. Over all Europe the Christian ideas of faith, morals, and worship were accepted. There were wide differences between East and West, between nation and nation, but a common understanding was established which subsequent revolutions did not entirely destroy.
but though there was a certain common basis of culture in Europe this was very far from availing to keep peace among the different states and races. European history is a record of continual war from the second century A.D. onwards. The central doctrines of the Church recognised the unity of mankind and the blessings of peace; but there were no civil institutions that gave effective encouragement to these ideas and no organisation which could enforce them. Yet there, too, it is important to notice that most persistent efforts were made during the Middle Ages. The Holy Roman Empire – So much misunderstood and so unfairly Criticised-was an affirmation that Europe ought to have a single political organisation