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II Early Middle Ages The period from about AD 400 to the second half of the eleventh century was one in which the dominant force in Europe changed from a Roman civilization, largely pagan, to a feudalism at least nominally Christian. The prime figure in the early rhetorical his- tory of this period is Augustine of Hippo, whose De doctrina chris- tiana (completed 426) gave powerful official sanction to the Chris- tian use of Ciceronian rhetoric. During the turmoil of barbarian invasions a number of encyclopedists, compendium writers, and grammarians strove to