Nevertheless, it was a magnificent and precious achievement that the West, if not the North, had been won for the classical heritage. There, at least, the arts of peace had emerged from the travail of war, and men could turn their swords into plowshares without decaying in urban ease and slums. Out of the earthy vigor of Spain and Gaul a new civilization would rise when the barbarian flood would fall; and the seed of despot centuries would come to fruit and pardon in the lands where the merciless legions had brought the law of Rome and the enkindling light of Greece.