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The Dark Ages "Dark"?

1Historygenius
Posts: 1,639
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6/10/2013 5:16:44 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
This video by Prager University attacks the mainstream theory that the Dark Ages were bad.

The History Channel also made a fine documentary on the age.

What are your thoughts? Were he Dark Ages really that "dark"?

http://m.youtube.com...

http://m.youtube.com...
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Stephen_Hawkins
Posts: 5,316
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6/10/2013 6:00:04 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Firstly, I'm going to point out that by and large historians agree the Dark Ages is not as Dark as people make out. The mainstream is that it was a time of consolidation and hegemonic change away from Rome towards the Middle East.

Secondly, there are a few very spurious claims in that video:

1) Vineyards existed in Britain since before the 10th century. We had to import because we had a minor nuisance of being repeatedly sacked by Vikings so a long term investment in almost all form of growing things could not be done on a large scale, or it'd be pillaged. We still had vineyards though since the Romans came and brought the skill, and had many evident in the Doomsday Book (http://britishfood.about.com...)

2) What I am astoundingly surprised at is the claim that "they revived popular drama". Popular Drama was revived in passion plays in the late 14th and 15th century - which was no better than a physical presentation of biblical events. Hardly "reviving drama" but instead recycling old material. I'll add without reinterpretation, or reinvigoration, like Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar, or Godspell. They were very orthodox, kept to the specifications of the clergy. And even then, this was during early Renaissance. It took to gone the 16th century to get to a time where plays started really coming out of their own and become their own. Moreover, poems like epics did come about, but were reduced, and arguably not of the quality of their predecessors or successors.

3) There is some very very VERY spurious time of "Dark Ages". Copernicus is hardly Medieval, but more clearly Renaissance.

4) I'll not cover in too much depth the blatant ideological powers at work harping back and romanticising the "chartered towns" where people were free from big government.

There's also a comment which sparked a very good point in the YT section:

Though he is wholly correct that the last 300 years of the Middle Ages were quite civilized and creative, he ignores the preceding 700 years, which were *rightly* called The Dark Ages.

Notice how all dates were four digits. Interesting how the majority of events come about when the Dark Ages ended and waned, rather than when it was in its prime. There are some very good events in the Dark Ages: The Battle of Maldon or Beowulf are great epic poems, the great philosophers of Boethius, Duns Scotus, Augustine, Pseudo-Dionysius, etc. It poses a great case for the greatness of the High Middle Ages, but fails drastically on making good on the actual dark dark ages.

I'll have to point to how the BBC has given the best account of the greatness of the Dark Ages. Quite long and split up into 4 episodes, but extremely great and hits all the content on the subject, giving it a good name. I still don't see it as a "high" of British History (despite my ANSAC Oxford undergrads telling me otherwise) but still, between them and this documentary has made me see it in a much better light.
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Subutai
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6/13/2013 9:11:30 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
That depends on how you define "dark ages". At least for the West, everything from 476 AD to the Crusades was basically dark. Feudalism, raiders, etc. I think things started to improve around the 12th-13th centuries with the dual roles of the opening of the university at Padua and the Crusades. The latter brought valuable information that the former taught to people. This helped bring back the knowledge of the Classical Ages and the knowledge of the Bzyantine, Arab, and Chinese worlds. The world was no longer dark by the beginning of the 15th century.

But yes, the 6th-12th centuries were definately dark.
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wrichcirw
Posts: 11,196
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6/16/2013 11:38:14 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/13/2013 9:11:30 PM, Subutai wrote:
That depends on how you define "dark ages". At least for the West, everything from 476 AD to the Crusades was basically dark. Feudalism, raiders, etc. I think things started to improve around the 12th-13th centuries with the dual roles of the opening of the university at Padua and the Crusades. The latter brought valuable information that the former taught to people. This helped bring back the knowledge of the Classical Ages and the knowledge of the Bzyantine, Arab, and Chinese worlds. The world was no longer dark by the beginning of the 15th century.

The bolded is extremely eurocentric. It easily could be that the rest of the "world" was quite "dark". After all, they had been ravaged and destroyed by a band of nomads that did not forward much if anything in the ways of culture, society, and civilization to the civilizations that they conquered.

But yes, the 6th-12th centuries were definately dark.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
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SuperRobotWars
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6/21/2013 3:41:46 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
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: At 12/6/2011 2:21:41 PM, badger wrote:
: ugly people should beat beautiful people ugly. simple! you'd be killing two birds with the one stone... women like violent men and you're making yourself more attractive, relatively. i met a blonde dude who was prettier than me not so long ago. he's not so pretty now! ha!
:
: ...and well, he wasn't really prettier than me. he just had nice hair.
j50wells
Posts: 345
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10/25/2015 2:16:31 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
It was a dark time for the masses. There was very little hope for them. They were forced to do the manual labor for all the rich people. There was very little chance of saving enough money to start a business or become something besides a peasant. The very fact that the peasants are still ignored in the history books just shows how dark it really was.
The dark ages were a very fun playland if you were rich and owned land. What a ball they had. But for 90% of everyone else there was very little hope for anything, except to work for a landlord, and take his wages with very little chance to ask for a raise. He was your master. This was a master slave relationships. Yeah, you could leave, but there were bandits and murderers on the roads, and wars a lot of the time, and then if you did leave you'd just be forced to work for another landlord. So sticking to the land under the master of that land was what was expected of you.
The old adage that we've heard a million times "those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it" is true here too. We cannot ignore the plight of the peasants in the Dark Ages. This is why it was called the Dark Ages. There was very little economic growth, and very little in the way of innovation, because the powerful land-lords had their happy-land and play-time and didn't want anything coming along to change that. This went on and on for a thousand years. Finally, the Enlightenment came, and then the Industrial Revolution.
Unitomic
Posts: 591
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6/8/2016 5:49:24 AM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 10/25/2015 2:16:31 AM, j50wells wrote:
It was a dark time for the masses. There was very little hope for them. They were forced to do the manual labor for all the rich people. There was very little chance of saving enough money to start a business or become something besides a peasant. The very fact that the peasants are still ignored in the history books just shows how dark it really was.
The dark ages were a very fun playland if you were rich and owned land. What a ball they had. But for 90% of everyone else there was very little hope for anything, except to work for a landlord, and take his wages with very little chance to ask for a raise. He was your master. This was a master slave relationships. Yeah, you could leave, but there were bandits and murderers on the roads, and wars a lot of the time, and then if you did leave you'd just be forced to work for another landlord. So sticking to the land under the master of that land was what was expected of you.
The old adage that we've heard a million times "those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it" is true here too. We cannot ignore the plight of the peasants in the Dark Ages. This is why it was called the Dark Ages. There was very little economic growth, and very little in the way of innovation, because the powerful land-lords had their happy-land and play-time and didn't want anything coming along to change that. This went on and on for a thousand years. Finally, the Enlightenment came, and then the Industrial Revolution.

Found the Marxist.
Ooogapi
Posts: 20
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6/24/2016 3:07:24 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
All of Europe has been in a Dark Age. Rome and post Industrial Revolution were Europe's only ages of relevancy. And even then, they didn't create much. They basically stole everything without crediting anyone.