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There's a difference?
Originally posted by Astyanax
reply to post by ArMaP
The Dark Ages were not the same as the Middle Ages, ArMap.
In history and sociology:
* any "Dark Age" of cultural decline:
o the European Middle Ages (5th to 15th centuries AD)
o the Western European Early Middle Ages (ca. 500 to 1000 AD)
Or is that another myth I've been taught, like the myth that most people thought the Earth was flat when Columbus set sail for the new world?
Europe in the Dark Ages was a primitive and barbarous place by any civilized standards.
the explosion of new knowledge and insight into the history and culture of the Early Middle Ages, which 20th-century scholarship has achieved, means that these centuries are no longer dark even in the sense of "unknown to us".
The little winking emoticon was a sure sign to me that it was a lighthearted comment, though I probably would have thought it was lighthearted even without the winking.
You're being too serious because you're taking a light comment I made as the foundation for a serious argument.
People from early antiquity generally believed the world was flat, but by the time of Pliny the Elder (1st century) its spherical shape was generally acknowledged. Ptolemy derived his maps from a curved globe and developed the system of latitude and longitude.
Between the fall of the Roman Empire and the renaissance of science several centuries later, some Christian writers questioned and even opposed Earth's sphericity, although it is not clearly known how influential their views were. Even before the Renaissance began, the flat Earth theory had almost died out, yielding by the 900s or 1100s to the idea that Earth is a globe.
Some Christians in England and America tried to revive Flat Earth thinking in the 19th century, and a few hold out to this day (see Flat Earth Society).
Belief in a flat Earth is found in humankind's oldest writings. In early Mesopotamian thought the world was portrayed as a flat disk floating in the ocean, and this forms the premise for early Greek maps like those of Anaximander and Hecataeus.
By classical times an alternate idea, that Earth was spherical, had appeared. This was espoused by Pythagoras apparently on aesthetic grounds, as he also held all other celestial bodies to be spherical. Aristotle provided physical evidence for the spherical Earth:
* Ships receding over the horizon disappear hull-first.
* Travelers going south see southern constellations rise higher above the horizon.
* The shadow of Earth on the Moon during a lunar eclipse is round.
Earth's circumference was estimated around 240 BC by Eratosthenes, who heard about a place in Egypt where the sun was directly overhead at the summer solstice and used geometry to come up with a circumference of 250,000 stades. This estimate astonishes some modern writers, as it is within 2% of the modern value of 40,070 kilometers.
One popular belief is that, after the downfall of the Roman Empire, the knowledge of the spherical Earth was lost, and people believed in a flat Earth again. The extent to which this is true is disputed.
It is certain that several Christian writers explicitly argued against the spherical Earth. Lactantius (245-325) calls it "folly" because people on a sphere would fall down; Saint Cyril of Jerusalem (315-386) saw Earth as a firmament floating on water; Saint John Chrysostom (344-408) saw a spherical Earth as contradictory to scripture; Severian, Bishop of Gabala (d. 408) and Diodorus of Tarsus (d. 394) argued for a flat Earth; and Cosmas Indicopleustes (547) called Earth "a parallelogram, flat, and surrounded by four seas" in his Christian Topography. There are relatively few historical records of the period between 600 and 1000 for either spherical or flat-Earth thinking. Saint Basil (329-379) argued that knowledge about Earth's shape was irrelevant.
It is unclear how influential these writers were. Different historians have argued either for very high (e.g. Andrew Dickson White) or very low (e.g. Jeffrey Russell) influence. Russell, a Christian scholar at Santa Barbara whose main contribution to historical scholarship is a series of books on the history of concepts of evil and ideas of Satan, explored the issue in Inventing the Flat Earth: Columbus and Modern Historians. Russell claims that the Flat Earth theory is a myth used to impugn pre-modern civilization, especially that of the Middle Ages in Europe.
One critical part of this dispute is the belief in antipodes, that is, people living on the opposite side of Earth, with their feet faced against ours. Even some of the most important medieval scholars like Saint Augustine (354-430) argued against antipodes and called them a "fable". However, Augustine explicitly pointed out that the belief in a spherical Earth did not directly imply a belief in antipodes:
There's a difference?
"Dark Ages" is a term referring to the perceived period of both cultural and economic deterioration as well as disruption that took place in Western Europe following the decline of the Roman Empire.
The term "Dark Ages" was originally intended to denote the entire period between the fall of Rome and the Renaissance; the term "Middle Ages" has a similar motivation, implying an intermediate period between Classical Antiquity and the Modern era. In the 19th century scholars began to recognize the accomplishments made during the period, thereby challenging the image of the Middle Ages as a time of darkness and decay. The term is now never used by scholars to refer to the entire medieval period; when used, it is generally restricted to the Early Middle Ages. Wikipedia
Specifically, the term refers to the time (476–800) when there was no Roman (or Holy Roman) emperor in the West; or, more generally, to the period between about 500 and 1000, which was marked by frequent warfare and a virtual disappearance of urban life. It is now rarely used by historians because of the value judgment it implies. Though sometimes taken to derive its meaning from the fact that little was then known about the period, the term’s more usual and pejorative sense is of a period of intellectual darkness and barbarity. Encyclopedia Britannica