central government

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Sasha G

Senior Member
Russian
Hello forum,
I am translating an English article 'The origins of the american mind'.Though I grabbed most of it there are still blind spots for me in it .
An author's name is Lewis Mumford.The article was written in the early of the 20 century.it tells about how the American culture was created,that many of its components stem from medieval Europe.
This particular part I am pointing out names reasons that may cause the changes and further breakup of the medieval culture-
'The Church's inability to control usury,her failure to reckon in time with the Protestant criticism of her internal administration......the failure to prevent the absorption of the free citis, the feudal estates and the monasteries by the central government-these are some of the stigmata of the decline'
So the problem is what government tha author refers to mentioning 'the central government'? I translated it literally into Russian,which was a mistake according to my teacher and I realised she is absolutaly right. Because according to my literal translation then it means in the Medieval ages there was some major government that would have power over other European countries of those days,which does not make sense since it did not exist as far as I know. I mean there was no major political group to which other autorities of other medieval cities were subordinate to.
If so,to what government does the author refer to?
Looking forward to your comments which are needed strongly!
Thank you in advance!
 
  • Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Sasha, are you sure that your text has been transcribed correctly? There's a spelling mistake (citis) and a slightly odd phrase (reckon in time), as well as the very strange use of the definite article in "by the central government". I do not understand that as it leads to the thought (as you have suggested) that there was only one central government.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    I found this text on InternetArchive.org. (Do a search for 'stigmata' to find the relevant sentence.) Here is the quoted sentence with the two sentences following it:

    The Church's inability to control usury ; her failure to reckon in time with the Protestant criticism of her internal administration ; the unreadiness of the scholastics to adapt their methods to the new interests and criteria of science; the failure to prevent the absorption of the free cities, the feudal estates, and the monasteries by the central government these are some of the stigmata of the decline. It is impossible to give a date to all of them; but it is pretty clear that by the end of the Seventeenth Century one or another had come to pass in every part of Europe. In countries like England, which were therefore "advanced," all of them had come to pass.

    I think 'the central government' is a generalizing reference to whatever secular central government existed in the country being considered, as in, for instance England.
     

    Sasha G

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I am beginning to understand what the author might mean after your explanation,Cagey.
    Thank you very much!
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    In most countries (maybe all of them) 'the central government' would be the king or emperor. The kings of England, of France, of Spain, and so on took over the control of "the free cities, the feudal estates, and the monasteries" in the regions they ruled.

    I think you should understand "the central government" as "the central government of each region or country."
     
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