From the Age of Christ and the Roman Empire, through the holy wars of the Middle Ages and humanism of the Renaissance, to the church crisis in modern times, this engagingly narrated history comprises the colossal undertakings, byzantine politics, and profound spiritual experiences that gave shape to one of the world's great religions. God or man or myth, Jesus Christ has exerted greater influence on human history than any other single figure, and the story of the religion that took his name circles the globe. For two millennia the art and architecture, the literature, the ethic, thought, and theology of the Christian people have evolved and continue to flourish in countries and cultures worldwide. Those two thousand years have produced spectacular successes, but often, as Bamber Gascoigne's illuminative chronicle shows, spiritual triumphs have been overshadowed by the horrors of intolerance, bloodshed, and greed. The events Gascoigne relates are as varied and vast as the castas dramatically different as the humble St. Francis of Assisi and bold Richard the Lion Heart battling Islam.