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The Middle Ages were not "the dark ages"

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posted on Jul, 16 2006 @ 10:15 PM

Originally posted by babloyi
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]

You are exactly correct. OOOPS! I'm looking at other websites, and I find that John Chaucer, Geoffrey's father, was born in 1312 . . . I must have conflated the dates of father AND son. (Father didn't live to be more than about fifty, either, btw)

Apologies. Makes me wonder about the other info I'd given as well.. . ...

Now I'm looking at this site,
Chaucer's Life and Times, and it gives the lives of some of his contemporaries.

While my info on Chaucer's family was obviously NOT RIGHT, there are some other interesting lifespans:

Guillaume de Machaut 1300 - 1377 77yrs

Francis Petrarch 1304 -1374 70yrs.

John Gower 1330 - 1408 78 yrs.

Boccaccio 1313 - 1375 62 yrs

Sir John Hawkwood 1320 - 1394 74 yrs.

Obviously, there were SOME people who lived fairly long on in Chaucer's day. Although the list is composed of the elite, and not commoners; still, Hawkwood was a mercenary operating in Italy. 74 is better than a lot of soldiers in history . . .

I thought a had a website, that quoted the lifespan of Chaucer's mother. But obviously, my figure was totally incorrect . . .

Sorry about that. I'll make a point of posting sources any time I look something up, so that I can at least figure out what my thought processes were at the time. . .


posted on Jul, 16 2006 @ 10:31 PM

Originally posted by masterp

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.

Until The time of Charlemagne and Pope Steven III, ( AD 769 ), ]Catholic Encyclopedia article, the church had little authority over civil politics outside of Rome. And secular Lords had claimed the right to appoint bishops (and even the pope) within their holdings.

Let's not forget that the early Byzantine Empire burned and destroyed everything Hellenic

Everything Hellenic? Really? What language did they speak? Not Latin; for they preserved the gospels in . . . Greek.

the temples were destroyed, the books and tablets were burned, Zeus worshippers got executed etc.

Certainly, there was enough slaughter to go around. Yet the Byzantines had hardly corned the market on human cruelty and ignorance, which was my point in the first place: their enemies were doing precisely the same things.

Sure, the church controlled what books were published. But compare that with any other totalitarian state in history, and you'll see the precise same syndrome.

Look at Napoleon, that tyrant of reason. He siezed the Vatican Library, and carried it off to Paris . . .

Look, I'm not saying that the medieval period was not some sort of golden age; far from it. And one's chances in life and intellectual freedom were a function of time, place, and rank. Even so, it isn't the case that "Nothing intellectual happened for a thousand years."

Quite the opposite. The church actively endorsed learning and scientific discourse that was seen to bolster the church's efforts. Indeed, Copernicus was urged BY THE CHURCH to publish his theories (the ones quoted by Galileo) in order to arrive at a scientifically accurate date for Easter.

No, I'm not saying it was a walk in the park. On the other hand, it wasn't the death of reason, either. There was plenty of philosophical and scientific ferment--and most of it was taking place within/i] the church.

I refer interested persons to the book I've already recommended, The Medieval Machine: The Industrial Revolution of the Middle Ages.

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