The dearth of information, following the Gothic conquest of imperial Rome, by Alaric, in the fourth century, and the destruction of the Alexandrian library by Omar in the sixth, banished literature to the churches and monasteries, and produced a debasement of human intellect which has no parallel in the records of history. Tyranny, bloodshed, and cruelty disgraced the nations of the earth. Kingdoms became battlefields, and the world a charnel house. As literature emerged in Europe from the cloisters of the monks, education gradually advanced, clouded by the superstitions she had imbibed during her thousand years’ obscurity. The condition of mankind improved; commerce opened an intercourse between countries hitherto strangers to each other; knowledge extended, but its elements were rather the legendary traditions of the monks, than the actual development of science.