It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.

 

Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.

 

The Middle Ages were not "the dark ages"

page: 1
0
<<   2 >>

log in

join
share:

posted on Jul, 1 2006 @ 09:50 AM
link   
In another thread, ( proof that ancient civilizations existed ) someone wrote:




Indeed there was "advanced" civilization prior to the dark medieval ages and rule of the church.
We've simply lost a lot of knowledge do to the hoarding and burning of books and the melting down of artifacts for the profit of the church and payment of soldiers and bribes.



And I wanted to respond without derailing that thread.

Here goes.

The whole idea of the "middle ages" is actually a product of the Protestant Reformation. Protestant dissadents wanted to paint the Catholic Church in the worst possible light, so they claimed that the period when the church was in control as an intellectual ice age between the "Classical" period of pagan Greece and Rome, and the "Renaissance" (rebirth) of their own ideology, which they called "humanism."

Most people have been told a couple of things about medieval ignorance:

1) That knowledge and learning were despised
2) That scientific advancements had to be kept secret, because of the church
3) No progress was made in human civilization until the reformation.

One of the key bits of this propaganda that english-speakers are raised with is that "the Christians (or the church) burnt the library of Alexandria." as wikipedia shows,
( Library of Alexandria ) , the persons who actually destroyed the library are not known, and current theories range from Julius Caesar to the Muslim conquerors of Egypt. But, like everyone else, I grew up "knowing this" because Edward Gibbon wrote about it as a "Christian Crime," and Carl Sagan said so on "Cosmos"

Edward Gibbon is a second source of a lot of disinformatoin about the middle ages. Like many of his intellectual circle, he was an anti-Christian deist, and wrote books to show specifically that religion was a negative force in history. His Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire blames the end of Rome on their conversion to Christianity.

Likewise, he described his history of the middle ages as "the triumph of barbarism and religion." Not exactly a neutral voice. Yet he is quoted as gospel by english-speaking textbooks--and it's not his facts that are taught in schools, but rather his conclusions . . .

Another example is the "Spanish Inquisition." While the whole concept of the Inquisition is deeply repugnant, the worst excesses were carried out in Spain, where it was actually the Spanish crown, and not the church, who had authority to torture and burn suspected heretics. The modern (English-speaking) view of the historical event actually grew from Protestant England's war with Spain in the Renaissance. Particularly Queen Elizabeth I stoked the fires of fear in her homeland against Spain and Catholicism as a means to keep her throne at a time when many nobles (who happened to be Catholic) were questioning her right to sit on that throne.

Were the Middle Ages a period of particlar ignorance and unscientific thinking?

Not really. Medieval scholars began translating classical literature into modern languages. In many cases, our only copies of pre-Christian works are those preserved in medieval (church) libraries. The works of Josephus, the works of Julius Caesar, several of Plato's works, the writings of Boethius, the Neoplatonist school, Marcus Aurelius, Cicero and scores of other texts are preserved because the church saved them.

Likewise, modern philosophy is based on the works of medieval authors like (saint) Thomas Aquinas. If you remember arguments in 2003 about whether the US invasion of Iraq was a "just war," you were listening to a discussion of Aquinas' theories. The Greeks and Romans had no such concept, since for them war never needed any justification.

While the public in never told about it, there was a flowering of technology and modernism in the period 1050 -1300 AD. Modern bookkeeping and banking was developed, the check was invented, and arabic numerals replaced roman numerals. The astrolabe produced a surge in navigation and astronomy, and the gear- and chain-drives revolutionized mining, milling, and timekeeping. The medical theories of Galen replaced folk remedies, and eyeglasses were popularized by the church.


In summary, much of what we think we know about the past is wrong. Actually, most people don't know actual facts; they've merely been taught a bunch of conclusions, and so we don't have any basis for questioning what we've been told.


Basically, we learned a bunch of propaganda produced by English and Protestant authorities during the "Renaissance" (their term) as an attack on the church.

Aside from the moral failings of the church, the fact is that the church itself was the organizing and civilizing mechanism in medieval society. There were no centralized national governments, and so many of the functions that we would expect from are government were then performed by the trans-national church.

Other than defense and police protection, the church did things that we expect from our governments. Activities like:

-education
-technical research
-welfare for the poor / disaster relief
-prosecution of criminals
-health care
-funding for the arts

These are all activities of the Medieval church. While we might see them as evidence of a totalitarian anti-intellectual police state, many of the people at the time saw the church as the sole source of protection from the "civil authorities" who were often a blood-thirsty elite that ruled with an iron fist.

I'm not trying to paint the middle ages as some sort of golden age. my goal is to point out that most of what we think we know about that period of history is actually propaganda, fed to us by forces that don't want us to delve too deeply into the roots of our own current world-view.

.


[edit on 1-7-2006 by dr_strangecraft]

[edit on 1-7-2006 by dr_strangecraft]




posted on Jul, 1 2006 @ 11:50 AM
link   
A thought-provoking post, dr_strangecraft.

Two things which I always associated with the Dark Ages were that any education outside of the church was discouraged and that all knowledge which disagreed with their view was suppressed. What you present is a good argument against those notions and I'm interested in what the membership might bring forth on this topic.

For certain, it has me ready to hit the books and Googling for proofs.



posted on Jul, 1 2006 @ 02:11 PM
link   

These are all activities of the Medieval church. While we might see them as evidence of a totalitarian anti-intellectual police state, many of the people at the time saw the church as the sole source of protection from the "civil authorities" who were often a blood-thirsty elite that ruled with an iron fist.

I'm not trying to paint the middle ages as some sort of golden age. my goal is to point out that most of what we think we know about that period of history is actually propaganda, fed to us by forces that don't want us to delve too deeply into the roots of our own current world-view.


Many of the people saw the civil authorities who were blood thirsty elite? I think you're misconstruing that with the church. I mean the church were the ones who burned people at the stake if they disagreed with them for whatever reason.

Is what your saying also apply as propoganda. I mean everything you say we are suppose to take as FACT? For example your view of the Spanish Inquisition?

Did not the Jews (Catholic Church) kill Jesus by using the ROmans (Civil Authorities). It is true that Spain civil authorities killed those people, but with the consent and approval of the church very similar to the way the jews killed Jesus.

What the irony is is that you are trying to state everything you say as fact, but like what you did in your post you're just drawing up your own conclusions and if anything disagrees from what you believe, its just propaganda.



posted on Jul, 1 2006 @ 03:14 PM
link   
another interesting point to ponder, at least for women....

the catholic church opened up one of the few channels open for women to avoid being married off and to be educated...albeit they had to become nuns to do it.



posted on Jul, 1 2006 @ 07:48 PM
link   
During the reign of Theodosius I (379-395), Christianity was declared the legal religion of the Roman Empire, and all others were declared illegal. Not discouraged, but outright forbidden. There was no separation of church and state whatsoever in the middle ages—there was no shelter from the storm of the church in the secular authorities, and vice versa. There was little choice for any citizen but to go along with the rules of both since they were usually one in the same. This didn't change until the reformation, and while I am no proponent of any religious denomination, reformation or otherwise, I do recognize the sacrifices many made, often with their very lives if not their livelihoods and reputations, for the sake of breaking the vice grip of ignorance and oppression that surely did dominate the middle ages.

There is abundant documentation, written by the authorities of those times, available for investigation--and these documents present a clear picture of the day, since they can be considered impartial first hand accounts testifying as to what the standards and tolerances of the day actually were.

Theodosian Code XVI.1.2
The Codex Theodosianus: On Religion, 4th Century CE

The Vulgate was translated by Jerome somewhere around the 4th century, in Latin, but in 200 or 300 years, Latin was no longer the primary language of Western Europe. Yet in the early 1500’s the Council of Trent reinforced the Church’s rule forbidding anyone except ‘learned and pious men’ of that faith to have access to any sort of scripture in the vernacular. Although the laity could have books of any other sort in the language they used everyday, they were forbidden to read the bible on their own.

From The Council of Trent, Rules on Prohibited Books:

The translations of writers, also ecclesiastical, which have till now been edited by condemned authors, are permitted provided they contain nothing contrary to sound doctrine. Translations of the books of the Old Testament may in the judgment of the bishop be permitted to learned and pious men only, provided such translations are used only as elucidations of the Vulgate Edition for the understanding of the Holy Scriptures and not as the sound text. Translations of the New Testament made by authors of the first class of this list shall be permitted to no one, since great danger and little usefulness usually results to readers from their perusal. But if with such translations as are permitted or with the Vulgate Edition some annotations are circulated, these may also, after the suspected passages have been expunged by the theological faculty of some Catholic university or by the general inquisition, be permitted to those to whom the translations are permitted. Under these circumstances the entire volume of the Sacred Books, which is commonly called the or parts of it, may be permitted to pious and learned men. From the Bibles of Isidore Clarius of Brescia, however, the preface and introduction are to be removed, and no one shall regard its text as the text of the Vulgate Edition.
IV
Since it is clear from experience that if the Sacred Books are permitted everywhere and without discrimination in the vernacular, there will by reason of the boldness of men arise there from more harm than good, the matter is in this respect left to the judgment of the bishop or inquisitor, who may with the advice of the pastor or confessor permit the reading of the Sacred Books translated into the vernacular by Catholic authors to those who they know will derive from such reading no harm but rather an increase of faith and piety, which permission they must have in writing. Those, however, who presume to read or possess them without such permission may not receive absolution from their sins till they have handed them over to the ordinary. Book dealers who sell or in any other way supply Bibles written in the vernacular to anyone who has not this permission, shall lose the price of the books, which is to be applied by the bishop to pious purposes, and in keeping with the nature of the crime they shall be subject to other penalties which are left to the judgment of the same bishop. Regulars who have not the permission of their superiors may not read or purchase them.


The Pope exercised as much, if not occasionally, more power over state affairs than the royals, and subsequently the other classes of citizens, even beyond the time of the fall of Constantinople and the time of the War of the Roses. Often indirect, it wasn’t decreased in magnitude of the Pope’s influence over the political history of Europe.

The inquisition was not just the Spanish Inquisition, either—the Council of Trent, at the start of the Renaissance was still relying on inquisitional enforcement of papal decrees, and there is documented proof that men and women were indeed put to death for the 'crime' of having a bible in their possession, in a language they could actually read and understand. Not to mention Wycliffe and Tynedale's condemnation by the Papacy for wishing to make such available to the common folk.

As far as ignorant thinking as opposed to logical scientific approaches, it would seem that just the singular account of Galileo Galilei would state a strong case for the former being the dominant mind-set of the religious leaders of that time, which was around the late 1500’s.



posted on Jul, 1 2006 @ 08:18 PM
link   

Originally posted by Shortness

Many of the people saw the civil authorities who were blood thirsty elite? I think you're misconstruing that with the church. I mean the church were the ones who burned people at the stake if they disagreed with them for whatever reason.



Many people in the middle ages certainly DID fear the ruling elites more than the church. One reason why so many commoners joined monasteries as lay brothers was to put themselves under the legal protection of Canon Law (the church's) as opposed to the civil codes of their local lord.

As far as sources, I'd recommend the Internet sourcebook of Medieval Legal History




Originally posted by Shortness
Is what your saying also apply as propoganda. I mean everything you say we are suppose to take as FACT? For example your view of the Spanish Inquisition?


No, I don't expect you to take everything I say as fact; on the other hand, I'd expect you to educate yourself before you automatically assume that I'm full of it, merely because I'm saying things that are new to you.

As far as the Inquisition is concerned, you'll learn a lot at the previously mentioned Medieval Sourcebook. In particular, there is an orientation page that gives an overview of the inquisition process:



taken from David Burr's introduction to the Inquisition Page:

The overwhelming majority of sentences seem to have consisted of penances like wearing a cross sewn on one's clothes, going on pilgrimage, etc. The inqusitor's goal was not primarily to punish the guilty but to identify them, get them to confess their sins and repent, and restore them to the fold. Only around ten percent or less of the cases resulted in execution, a punishment normally reserved for obstinate heretics (those who refused to repent and be reconciled) and lapsed heretics



Even more tellingly, Burr compares the Inquisition to any special investigators of the present day:



Modern writers do not treat the inquisitors gently . . . (but) They want what interrogators always want in such situations. They could be FBI agents tracking down a ring of domestic terrorists, or CIA agents trying to unravel an international espionage system. They want confessions, but they want a great deal more. They need information. There's a conspiracy out there and they want to know about it. The defendant recognizes that little is gained by simply implicating oneself.



Here are a list of other useful sites:

Wikipedia article on the Inquisition

This Web page seems to be making the argument that most of the Inquisitorial abuses happened after the end of the "medieval period," (i.e. after 1500) and so were actually a function of the Renaissance-era counter-reformation.

Here's the Medieval sourcebook on church life, is another excellent page on this info.

Here are some books on the the rise of technology:

The Medieval Machine: the Industrial Revolution of the middle ages
The Pursuit of Power: Technology, Armed Force, and Society since AD 1000

While the first chapter of this book, The Great Wave: Price Revolutions and the Rythm of History , and this whole book, A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century, argue that many of our negative assumptions concerning the Middle Ages only apply in fact to the years of the Black Plague, when the old medieval civilization was coming to an end.



What the irony is is that you are trying to state everything you say as fact, but like what you did in your post you're just drawing up your own conclusions and if anything disagrees from what you believe, its just propaganda.


No, what the irony is, is that you accuse me of propaganda, and decry my like of source, and then you proceed with your own set of conclusions, but you don't provide any sources, either.

While I'm happy to provide background material, education you is really your own responsibility, not mine.



posted on Jul, 1 2006 @ 08:51 PM
link   

Originally posted by queenannie38
There was no separation of church and state whatsoever in the middle ages—there was no shelter from the storm of the church in the secular authorities, and vice versa.


Actually, if an accused person could prove that they were under the jurisdiction of ecclessiastical authority, and they could convince a bishop to 'take the case,' then the accused was immune from secular tribunals. I think this is mentioned in both the prologue to Chaucer's "The Pardoner's Tale," as well as in "Life in a Medieval Village." by Frances and Joseph Gies. As a matter of fact, much of their work compares two medieval manors, Those of "King's Ripton" and "Bishop's Ripton" and shows how the peasants sought relief in the church . . .





There was little choice for any citizen but to go along with the rules of both since they were usually one in the same. This didn't change until the reformation, and while I am no proponent of any religious denomination, reformation or otherwise, I do recognize the sacrifices many made, often with their very lives if not their livelihoods and reputations, for the sake of breaking the vice grip of ignorance and oppression that surely did dominate the middle ages.


Depends mightily on context. The Gies book points out that in central England, manors had their own courts officials like the haywards, woodwards, and reeves, that were elected by the peasants. It was these officials who calculated taxes, and actually administered the lord's estate. And while the local Lord was judge, it was the peasant "hundreds" that acted as jury.

Of course, this situation was the product of the pre-existing Saxon proto-democracy; the Normans simply imposed their Justinian system on top of it. In France, the peasants had far fewer rights, especially in the south . . .

Hey, I'm not trying to claim it was a day at the beach or anything. It was a totalitarian society, and the vast majority of people were seen as being inconsequential beyond their ability to produce. However, I'd also point out that the Middle Ages were hardly unique in that regard; nor were they the nadir of freedom and free thought that they are often portrayed to us.




Yet in the early 1500’s the Council of Trent reinforced the Church’s rule forbidding anyone except ‘learned and pious men’ of that faith to have access to any sort of scripture in the vernacular. Although the laity could have books of any other sort in the language they used everyday, they were forbidden to read the bible on their own.


The council of Trent was part of the Catholic Counter-reformation---a Creature of the Renaissance, and thus after the Middle Ages Themselves. And I thought the council of Trent forbade anyone to read scripture in national languges; in other words it was a response to the newly printed Greek texts that showed the errors of the Vulgate.




The Pope exercised as much, if not occasionally, more power over state affairs than the royals,


True enough; on the other hand, Frederick Barbarossa claimed his inherited right to appoint and dismiss all church bishops in his holdings---as did the Kings of England up to the time of Wycliff. So while the Popes could mightily influence secular governments, they in turn had real power in shaping the nature of the church itself.




As far as ignorant thinking as opposed to logical scientific approaches, it would seem that just the singular account of Galileo Galilei would state a strong case for the former being the dominant mind-set of the religious leaders of that time, which was around the late 1500’s.


Again, several of the pages I've quoted see the Middle Ages as having ended by 1500. So Galileo's problems with the church were--again---more a reflection on the Renaissance than on the middle ages. By the time of Galileo's trial, the church was fighting a rearguard action against regime change. And institutions are at their most inhumane when the system is breaking down.

On the other hand, consider the treatment that Coperincus's own original work recieved. (which Galileo merely quoted) Wikipedia article about copernicus he was actually encouraged by the church to publish his theories.

And if the dominant thinking of the church was against logical thought, how is it that the Catholic Church itself commissioned Erasmus' retranslation of the Bible from the original Greek manuscripts---the act which may have ultimately birthed the whole of the Reformation?

Look, the crux of my argument is not that the Middle Ages were some orgy of freethinking. Far from it.

No, my point was (is) that human intellectual progress continued throughout the period, and it was often the church itself which shepherded much of that progress--not because it was pro-rationalism, but simply because it was a totalitarian bureaucracy that was involved in every field of endeavor within Christendom; intellectual progress included with the rest.

.



posted on Jul, 1 2006 @ 10:25 PM
link   
strangecraft, forgive me but i wouldn't want to believe your references, especially when they come from a Jesuit University. Anyone who has been coming to these forums for a while can read up on the conspiracies that have to do with the Jesuits.

David Burr's assertion that only 10 percent of all those accused were executed differs dramatically than say John Foxe's book of Martyrs where being pointed out by a neighbor is grounds for execution.

But like i said, your study of history and belief of it came from catholic sources, and catholics and protestants have been argueing over and over about who's version of history is correct. The only way we will truly know is when we get to those pearly gates and God reveals it to us.

Edit: and in my opinion your recommendation of the medieval source book is a bad one, considering it came from a Jesuit institution, which i have my doubts that it will fair and honest in regards to history.

Just keep in mind though, apparently John Paul II thought that church history was so bad that he went so far as to publically apologize for its errors and wrong doing in 2000. So to compare the inquisition as though it was a special investigation like todays investigations as David Burr asserts seems farfetched to me.

[edit on 1-7-2006 by Shortness]



posted on Jul, 1 2006 @ 10:50 PM
link   
Shortness just implied, that, because ONE of the sources I cited happens to be a university built by Jesuits (though not all of its professors are such), that ALL my sources are Jesuit . . . .


Originally posted by Shortness
strangecraft, forgive me but i wouldn't want to believe your references, especially when they come from a Jesuit University. Anyone who has been coming to these forums for a while can read up on the conspiracies that have to do with the Jesuits.


I also quoted from a raft of books that aren't Jesuit products. But you have no interest in any of them apparently.



David Burr's assertion that only 10 percent of all those accused were executed differs dramatically than say John Foxe's book of Martyrs where being pointed out by a neighbor is grounds for execution.


So, you wont accept anything "Jesuit," but you are willing to take Foxe at face value??? Amazing, since the forward to the Online Edition of Foxe's Martyrs refers to it as




It is an arsenal of controversy . . .



***


Originally posted by Shortness
But like i said, your study of history and belief of it came from catholic sources,


You mean wikipedia? the series of volumes on medieval life by Joseph Gies? or Jean Gimpel? or William McNiel, David Hackett Fisher, or Barbara Tuchman? I suppose Tuchman is a good Irish-catholic name . . .


Originally posted by Shortness
and catholics and protestants have been argueing over and over about who's version of history is correct. The only way we will truly know is when we get to those pearly gates and God reveals it to us.


Well, if you truly believe that, then why are you arguing with me? If you don't have the ability to recognize truth, why bother with ATS in general, or my thread in particular?


.



posted on Jul, 1 2006 @ 11:07 PM
link   

Originally posted by Shortness
strangecraft, forgive me but i wouldn't want to believe your references, especially when they come from a Jesuit University. Anyone who has been coming to these forums for a while can read up on the conspiracies that have to do with the Jesuits.

I have to comment on this, even though not directed at me; Fordham is one of my regular resources for all sorts of information. Regardless of religious history, undoubtedly Fordham has one of the best collections of literature in the USA, to my knowledge. I find it invaluable as an internet resource--especially since I can't go from NM to NY to study!

In fact, I've actually gotten the majority of information I've collected regarding the history of the RCC (which I am not a fan of, in case you didn't know) from the Internet Sourcebook--as well as tons of other stuff about all places and time periods in history.

Historic documents are excellent in many ways--preserved unaltered, they are immutable sources of information because they are documents written by the people making the history, in 'real time,' and show so much more than just facts--more subtler understandings of political dynamics can be revealed to the inquiring mind, just by the language used, etc.

If they don't have information about something, then they don't have it. But what they do have is excellent for source material, because as I said, it is a pure picture of their 'who and what' left intact for studying in the 'here and now.'



posted on Jul, 3 2006 @ 07:56 AM
link   
While the culture of the RCC both during and after the Middle Ages is a compelling debate, the real point of my post was about modern views of Medieval Culture as a whole. While the church obviously looms large in any such discussion, I was trying to point out that the "dark ages" were not the end of rational thought, which is the propaganda of the enlightenment.

I'm a protestant by the way. And having shortness accuse me of "catholic belief" because I dare to question the received traditions we are raised on as a culture sort of highlights the sort of thing I'm posting about.



posted on Jul, 3 2006 @ 11:08 AM
link   

Originally posted by dr_strangecraft
While the church obviously looms large in any such discussion, I was trying to point out that the "dark ages" were not the end of rational thought, which is the propaganda of the enlightenment.


I often wonder just how 'enlightened' any school of thought is, when it must call upon propaganda as a weapon....light sabres ought to suffice, one would think.


But you make a good point--ultimately it is man's inhumanity to man that is the darkest of all evils...

I have always equated the so-called 'dark ages' with a time of illiteracy and misinformation secondary to the inherent dangers in a fuedal type society where the margin between the lower classes and the elite (rulers or not) is on an increasing trend. It's hard to change one's situation without any sort of advocate at all. I certainly think there was a lot of rational thought going on--the problem wasn't with the thinking, but rather with the freedom to act upon those rational thoughts, for many--and the opportunities for formal education were not abundant, especially for the lower classes. But mankind's thinking processes are never truly limited by things outside of the mind--only the manifestation of the ideas can be squelched; but never for a very long period of time--and that is the human nature and it is good. Thinking is a true unalienable liberty of all people and so the mind can never be forcibly imprisoned by anything other than itself (I'm talking of adult minds, not children's minds--that is another topic altogether).

It is the mind of a stressed and struggling-to-survive serf/peasant/blue collar worker that is easiest to subjugate, demoralize, or incite to revolution, even; and I think that the idea of separation of church and state is one of the noblest (albeit a hard line to toe) ideas of government--because when man wants to rule over men and then supposedly gets God on 'his side,' the chances for uprising are quelled significantly. We can get over being frightened and oppressed by 'the man,' but 'the Man Upstairs' is another thing altogether!

I read something the other day that surprised me, which I did not know--that supposedly it was even more of a dimsal fate to fall under the jurisdiction of a civil court than an inquisitional court back in those days. Is this your understanding, too, dr strangecraft?



posted on Jul, 3 2006 @ 02:14 PM
link   
isn't dark ages a relative term?

the muslim world was experiencing a golden age during the european dark ages, preserving the works that europe lost in the process



posted on Jul, 3 2006 @ 02:25 PM
link   

Originally posted by madnessinmysoul
isn't dark ages a relative term?

the muslim world was experiencing a golden age during the european dark ages, preserving the works that europe lost in the process


Indeed! I totally forgot that! And thank goodness they kept on after the 'light'--astronomy and math being what they are today is from their efforts in those days, IMO.



posted on Jul, 3 2006 @ 02:29 PM
link   
That is the sense I'm trying to convey, Queenannie38.

You know, many of us at ATS live in cities with famous, even historic Universities. Yet pass on to the other side of town, where the desperate people live, and those doors are for all intents and purposes closed to them.

Besides education, here are a few more instances of our "indoctrination" concerning the middle ages.

That most peasants never traveled more than a mile or so from their own hut
I certainly cannot offer proof. Yet The narrative of the New Testament gospels shows working people in an earlier period traveling a hundred miles or more from home, in the course of business. Chaucer's Canterbury Tales show us trademen and petty nobility talking and socializing together on their way to a distant religious objective.

By way of contrast, growing up in a farming community, I can say that it is highly unusual for many American farmers to travel more than a few hours from their farm, just because of the nature of their work. But that doesn't mean that everyone lives that way . . .

That the life expectancy must have been extremely low.
This is exemlified by Hobbes' comment that uncivilized life must be cruel, brutish and short. My example of long-lived medieval persons would include Chaucer, who lived to be 80; his mother, who I think lived to be 83. Enrico Dandolo, the Doge of Venice, led the Fourth Crusade when he was over 90 years old and blind . . . Surely, the people I have named are members of the elite classes, but that is the collection of people for whom we have records.

The Bible in the psalms mentions that "the years of a man are threescore and ten (70), or by dint of strenght fourscore (80)." Medieval people were immersed in a culture of scripture, and don't seemed to have balked at the Bible's image of people being created to live so long.

That people in the middle ages believed the world to be flat.
This topic has already been kicked around on ATS, by myself and others. It was discussed at length [url=http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread139405/pg1 ]here.[/url


Now, I'm not saying most people, or even many, lived so long, believed in the globe, etc.; my point is rather that there were people throughout the period who were innovating and thinking new thoughts, and that they didn't always have to hide their efforts. Again, much depended on time and place.

Whether one was a member of an important guild in 11th century Troyes, or A peasant on a manor in Lincolnshire, or a Russian serf on an estate in Muscovy, or a doctor of theology at the University of Paris, would make all the difference.

On the other hand, the same is true in our own society.

.



posted on Jul, 10 2006 @ 11:29 AM
link   
The church burning herteics and crusades etc aside the reason the dark ges were so bad is becasue the roman empire fell making all advacnements before hand pointless as there was no longer a central government. See you do learn things in school.



posted on Jul, 16 2006 @ 12:20 AM
link   
On the other hand, perhaps central governments are not always in the best interest of "progress."

Frederich Nietzsche claimed that scientists and artists produce their best work during tumultuous times. He wrote that, with the birth of the Second Reich in 1870, Germany had ceased to produce great art--Their best had been Beethoven, and Goethe writing during the napoleanic wars, as their nation was overrun. Same with France and Italy.

America sometimes is said to be a nascent Empire . . . do YOU think US art is going into the toilet?

The Soviet Union was a nice big central government, too. But it put a bit of a damper on creativity, unless you liked red paint.

.



posted on Jul, 16 2006 @ 01:08 AM
link   

Originally posted by dr_strangecraft
In another thread, ( proof that ancient civilizations existed ) someone wrote:




Indeed there was "advanced" civilization prior to the dark medieval ages and rule of the church.
We've simply lost a lot of knowledge do to the hoarding and burning of books and the melting down of artifacts for the profit of the church and payment of soldiers and bribes.



And I wanted to respond without derailing that thread.

Here goes.

The whole idea of the "middle ages" is actually a product of the Protestant Reformation. Protestant dissadents wanted to paint the Catholic Church in the worst possible light, so they claimed that the period when the church was in control as an intellectual ice age between the "Classical" period of pagan Greece and Rome, and the "Renaissance" (rebirth) of their own ideology, which they called "humanism."


[edit on 1-7-2006 by dr_strangecraft]



was that not the inquisition? or something similar, where all the 'shamans' or 'witches' were killed and all of their 'teachings'



posted on Jul, 16 2006 @ 09:29 AM
link   
ummm.... dr_strangecraft? From what I know, (and wikipedia seems to agree with me), Chaucer did not live to be 80. According to his gravestone (which perhaps is mistaken, what are your sources?) he lived from 1343 to 1400, which would make him 57 at the time of his death.

[edit on 16-7-2006 by babloyi]



posted on Jul, 16 2006 @ 04:12 PM
link   

Originally posted by dr_strangecraft
The whole idea of the "middle ages" is actually a product of the Protestant Reformation. Protestant dissadents wanted to paint the Catholic Church in the worst possible light, so they claimed that the period when the church was in control as an intellectual ice age between the "Classical" period of pagan Greece and Rome, and the "Renaissance" (rebirth) of their own ideology, which they called "humanism."

Most people have been told a couple of things about medieval ignorance:

1) That knowledge and learning were despised
2) That scientific advancements had to be kept secret, because of the church
3) No progress was made in human civilization until the reformation.



The protestant reformation came much later. From 300 AD to 1500 AD, the various churches ruled with an iron first, burned witches, burned books and condemned every person that that tried to have an opposite opinion.

Let's not forget that the early Byzantine Empire burned and destroyed everything Hellenic: the temples were destroyed, the books and tablets were burned, Zeus worshippers got executed etc.



[edit on 16-7-2006 by masterp]




top topics



 
0
<<   2 >>

log in

join