Politically, indeed, the whole period was one of retrogression and stagnation.
Nominally the beginning Df the rise of the Nile, was the beginning of the year, and as the ~ile commences to rise very regularly at about the date of the annual heliacal rising of the conspicuous dog-star Sothis (Sirius~ (which itself follows extremely closely the slow retrogression af the Julian year), the primitive astronomers found in the heliacal rising of Sothis as observed at Memphis (on July 9 Julian) a very correct and useful, starting-point for the seasonal year.
As a matter of fact, as far as modern Europe is concerned, there has twice been a progression, separated by a period of retrogression, and it is to the latter that Bucher's picture of the agricultural and strictly protectionist town (the geschlossene Stadtwirtschaft) of the 14th and r 5th centuries belongs, while Sombart's notion of an entire absence of a spirit of capitalistic enterprise before the middle of the 15th century in Europe north of the Alps, or the 14th.
The transition from the medieval to the modern order was now secured if not accomplished, and a Rubicon had been crossed from which no retrogression to the past was possible.
In virtue of this defect, due largely to the failure to enter into the Apostolic experience of mystic union with Christ, he can rightly speak of "an immense retrogression" in theology visible "at the end of the century, and in circles where it might have been least expected" (ii.