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The "Dark Ages"

The "Dark Ages"
April 11, 2013, 02:17:56 PM
I often see common misconceptions about the medieval period advanced on this forum, which I find somewhat unusual as understanding the cultural achievements of the middle-ages is key to understanding the failings of modern society.  Although it is widely known among scholars that the idea of the 'dark-ages' is a myth developed during the Renaissance as a way for intellectuals of the time to assert their own superiority I still see this idea pop up on this forum now and then, which I can only assume is related to the anti-Christian sentiments of many metal fans.

Some quotes from the wiki article, not a good source I know (don't have others at hand right now) but keep in mind that 'progressives' have nothing to gain from recognizing the cultural achievements of the middle-ages...

Quote
Originally the term (Dark Ages) characterized the bulk of the Middle Ages, or roughly the 6th to 13th centuries, as a period of intellectual darkness between extinguishing the "light of Rome" after the end of Late Antiquity, and the rise of the Italian Renaissance in the 14th century.  This definition is still found in popular usage, but increased recognition of the accomplishments of the Middle Ages has led to the label being restricted in application. Since the 20th century, it is frequently applied to the earlier part of the era, the Early Middle Ages (c. 5th–10th century).  However, many modern scholars who study the era tend to avoid the term altogether for its negative connotations, finding it misleading and inaccurate for any part of the Middle Ages.

***

The medieval period is frequently caricatured as supposedly a "time of ignorance and superstition" which placed "the word of religious authorities over personal experience and rational activity."  However, rationality was increasingly held in high regard as the Middle Ages progressed. The historian of science Edward Grant, writes that "If revolutionary rational thoughts were expressed [in the 18th century], they were made possible because of the long medieval tradition that established the use of reason as one of the most important of human activities".  Furthermore, David Lindberg says that, contrary to common belief, "the late medieval scholar rarely experienced the coercive power of the church and would have regarded himself as free (particularly in the natural sciences) to follow reason and observation wherever they led".

The caricature of the period is also reflected in a number of more specific notions. For instance, a claim that was first propagated in the 19th century and is still very common in popular culture is the supposition that all people in the Middle Ages believed that the Earth was flat. This claim is mistaken.  In fact, lecturers in the medieval universities commonly advanced evidence in favor of the idea that the Earth was a sphere.  Lindberg and Ronald Numbers write: "There was scarcely a Christian scholar of the Middle Ages who did not acknowledge [Earth's] sphericity and even know its approximate circumference".

Other misconceptions such as: "the Church prohibited autopsies and dissections during the Middle Ages", "the rise of Christianity killed off ancient science", and "the medieval Christian church suppressed the growth of natural philosophy", are all cited by Ronald Numbers as examples of widely popular myths that still pass as historical truth, although they are not supported by current historical research.  They help maintain the idea of a "Dark Age" spanning through the medieval period.

Re: The "Dark Ages"
April 11, 2013, 02:35:40 PM
A whole bunch of Summoning and Burzum fans not appreciate the medieval era? Every generation rewrites history now, to hide what the past did and take credit for it. That started in the Enlightenment, which was surely bullshit as Obama is. They justed needed a way to market it, to make people like it, so they could get enough support to make their money and go home.

Re: The "Dark Ages"
April 11, 2013, 03:17:58 PM
Although it is widely known among scholars that the idea of the 'dark-ages' is a myth developed during the Renaissance as a way for intellectuals of the time to assert their own superiority I still see this idea pop up on this forum now and then, which I can only assume is related to the anti-Christian sentiments of many metal fans.

That is not the meaning of the Dark Ages. It refers to the period of the breakup of the western empire (vis the eastern Byzantine one) and the sometimes bloody rise of kingdoms and chieftaindoms where Roman Imperial control had receded like a deflated balloon.

Another event approximately within this timeframe was the Christian revolutionary uprising in Alexandria where the Great Library stocked with a wealth of lore from antiquity was sacked and burnt.

Arthurian Legends would fit within this period as well. Rome had voluntarily ceded imperial control to the local authority they left in Britannia. What that implied was no more military support would be coming to help with the Picts or coastal raiders harrassing the settlements. Uthur and Arthur fit in as the legendary earliest regents and the legends are about the divine right to rule there as king.

The Dark Ages means so much learning and civilization were lost and ruined during the sweeping changes taking place. Polite or otherwise confused people might call it the early middle ages.
”The Revolution ends by devouring its own children” – Jacques Mallet du Pan, 1793

Re: The "Dark Ages"
April 11, 2013, 03:19:28 PM
A whole bunch of Summoning and Burzum fans not appreciate the medieval era? Every generation rewrites history now, to hide what the past did and take credit for it. That started in the Enlightenment, which was surely bullshit as Obama is. They justed needed a way to market it, to make people like it, so they could get enough support to make their money and go home.

This is more or less what I would have expected to hear from most people here, however the idea of the 'dark-ages' still seems to linger, probably due to cultural indoctrination.  Remember it is still a very popular idea even though it has been discredited academically, simply because it fits neatly into the progressivist ideology.

Re: The "Dark Ages"
April 11, 2013, 03:21:14 PM
Although it is widely known among scholars that the idea of the 'dark-ages' is a myth developed during the Renaissance as a way for intellectuals of the time to assert their own superiority I still see this idea pop up on this forum now and then, which I can only assume is related to the anti-Christian sentiments of many metal fans.

That is not the meaning of the Dark Ages. It refers to the period of the breakup of the western empire (vis the eastern Byzantine one) and the sometimes bloody rise of kingdoms and chieftaindoms where Roman Imperial control had receded like a deflated balloon.

Another event approximately within this timeframe was the Christian revolutionary uprising in Alexandria where the Great Library stocked with a wealth of lore from antiquity was sacked and burnt.

Arthurian Legends would fit within this period as well. Rome had voluntarily ceded imperial control to the local authority they left in Britannia. What that implied was no more military support would be coming to help with the Picts or coastal raiders harrassing the settlements. Uthur and Arthur fit in as the legendary earliest regents and the legends are about the divine right to rule there as king.

The Dark Ages means so much learning and civilization were lost and ruined during the sweeping changes taking place. Polite or otherwise confused people might call it the early middle ages.

I understand this, I was referring to the more general idea (which is still common to this day) that the middle-ages was primarily a time of ignorance and superstition largely due to the influence of the Church.

Re: The "Dark Ages"
April 11, 2013, 04:58:24 PM
The Franks were quick to adopt Roman culture, which catalysed introduction of Roman learning into Northern Europe through monastries in the Paris Basin area. Obviously you are right.

But then the changes to more centralized government  also meant that kin-group, culture-based type of society began to wane, meaning the first start of the decline to the cultureless modern society.

Mostly the Christianity critics we see are so in a marxist way rather than in a Nietzschean way : "The Christians took our freedom by oppressing us with lies!!" But it's not that simple, as what happened in the Middle Ages was what laid the foundation of all the great things accpomplished by Western Europe.

Re: The "Dark Ages"
April 11, 2013, 06:22:53 PM
People in our day and age have a problem with any ideology that is based on heirachy, so it doesn't really come as a surprise that many can get middle age life misconstrued. You would be shocked at how many people believe the caste system to be nothing more than bigotry.

Re: The "Dark Ages"
April 11, 2013, 06:28:09 PM
'Bigotry' = anything the individual doesn't like.
Squawk!

Re: The "Dark Ages"
April 11, 2013, 06:59:22 PM
'Bigotry' = anything the individual doesn't like.


In a way....yes. I mean't bigotry as just a vague disdain as opposed to recognition of the fact that we are not all created equal.

Re: The "Dark Ages"
April 11, 2013, 07:07:37 PM
'Bigotry' = anything the individual doesn't like.


In a way....yes. I mean't bigotry as just a vague disdain as opposed to recognition of the fact that we are not all created equal.

I don't know where you live, but where I live, 'bigot' is a term freely used to label people as worse than Hitler.
In fact, anyone who does not repeat the left-wing script gets labeled a 'bigot'.
Squawk!

Re: The "Dark Ages"
April 12, 2013, 09:39:17 PM
'Bigotry' = anything the individual doesn't like.


In a way....yes. I mean't bigotry as just a vague disdain as opposed to recognition of the fact that we are not all created equal.

I don't know where you live, but where I live, 'bigot' is a term freely used to label people as worse than Hitler.
In fact, anyone who does not repeat the left-wing script gets labeled a 'bigot'.


Yeah.... that's about right lol humanism is the prevailing religion of the day.

Re: The "Dark Ages"
April 13, 2013, 01:02:04 AM
The Franks were quick to adopt Roman culture, which catalysed introduction of Roman learning into Northern Europe through monastries in the Paris Basin area. Obviously you are right.

Yes the Frankish and Frisian wars decided which path we would take. There are benefits and drawbacks for each. Fragmented tribal nations might not have withstood the earliest incursions of Islam. Yet, it would be moot if the centralized EU pursues its present course anyway.
”The Revolution ends by devouring its own children” – Jacques Mallet du Pan, 1793

Re: The "Dark Ages"
April 14, 2013, 01:04:32 AM
I've always found The Dark Ages to be one of England's most mystical and romantic periods.
Of course, I wasn't there, and it probably was nothing of the sort.
But tales of Camelot, Arthur, Lancelot, knights, crusades, archery and magic, formed an important background for the man I would become.
If 1415 is still in the realm of those ages, then it is the only thing I still celebrate.

I don't know what men were like, back then, but one thing is certain: they were Men.
Squawk!