According to Countryaah, the historical origins of Europe – as a complex of peoples in a geographically defined area with a commonality of culture, organization, destiny – date back to the contrast between the Greek cities and the Persian Empire in the century. It goes. C. From the beginning its ethnic elements and its geographical scope have changed both in connection with the political events and the hegemonic powers that have established themselves around the Mediterranean, with various pre-eminence of the East or the West, of the North or the South, and in the meaning attributed to Europe in different times by politicians, jurists, theologians. The moment of opposition is accompanied in the historical reality of Europe with an awareness of superiority of organization, of ethical-religious values and of culture. The peoples who have recognized themselves as part of Europe as a cultural and political-religious unit have been different, and their commitment to this unity has been different, as has the assimilation of European institutions as well as their seniority as Europeans. Europe was therefore born as a political, cultural, religious community of Greek cities in contrast to the Asia of Persian Empire: it is characterized as a territory by many small states, governed by free popular systems, as opposed to Asia constituted in a unitary empire, governed despotically: Europe is committed to defending land and culture in epic struggles, narrated by historical (Herodotus) and recalled by poets (Aeschylus, Persians). It, in contrast to Asia, initially restricted to Hellas with the archipelagos, then extended to Macedonia, following the inclusion of Philip II of Macedon in the system of alliances and rivalries of the Greek cities (356-336 BC.). The features of Europe identifying with Hellas fade in the Empire of Alexander the Great (336-323 BC) due to the Macedonian project to merge the Greek civilization with the Persian one and the displacement he initiated of the political-cultural center of European civilization to the East. The reigns of the successors of Alexander the Great (diadochi), Ptolemies in Egypt, Seleucids in Mesopotamia, Attalidi in Pergamum, they carried out to a considerable extent this Greek-oriental synthesis in the Hellenistic culture during the sec. III-II a. C., expanding the sphere and content of Greek civilization. In the meantime, another political center of European civilization was being established in the West in the Italian peninsula around Rome, which, in its expansion in the Mediterranean basin and around it, will attract not only territories, but also ideas to its hegemonic sphere. religious, cults, cultural traditions, production and exchange techniques.
Among these Rome mainly welcomed those of Hellas, enlarged in the Greek-oriental symbiosis of the Hellenistic civilization. With it, Rome also assimilated the proud Hellenic differentiation from the “barbarians”, from those who were different from them in language and lineage, in civilization and religion, for government systems. In this way the Romans considered barbarians all peoples who were not of Greco-Roman civilization and, later, those who did not live within the borders of the Roman Empire. Europe, as a political-cultural unit, was thus identified with the Imperium romanum in the vast borders reached by this at the turn of the century. I and II d. C., at the time of Trajan: and it continued to be a geographical and political reality. This, however, was exposed to changes for the internal forces in tension due to the system of appointment of the Augustus emperor (adoption, senatorial appointment, election by garrison armies in Rome and, later, those allocated in peripheral regions, in Gaul, in Pannonia, in the East). Identified with the Roman Empire, it also suffered the pressure of external forces: first in the East, by the Parthians, then also on the Danube and the Rhine. Such a Europe is thus losing its compactness and centrality: Roman citizenship bestowed on all the free inhabitants of Editto di Caracalla, 212) reduces the traditional hegemony of Rome and Italy: through the military career personalities of the provinces reach the top of power; the internal order cracks and with it production and trade enter into crisis. A new religion, Christianity, with indomitable proselytizing vigor, challenges the imperial cult, which was considered the religious support of the state auctoritas. Particular tendencies are increasingly affirmed in the peripheral parts, in the north-west in Gaul, in the south in Africa, in the East and not only in these; consequently Europe coinciding with the Roman Empire is divided first in the administrative organization, then also in the top political structure.(293), in less than a century there was the consolidation of the bipartition of the Empire into Western (capital Rome) and Eastern (capital Constantinople), with an awareness of ideal and political unity despite the increasingly emerging differences of destiny, of internal vigor, administrative systems, economic organization, standard of living and social structure.