Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Why the Dark Ages Weren't Dark I

I am always surprised when topics like this rear up again and again and again. In more than one forum in which I participate the issue of "the Dark Ages" and how the late antique and early medieval period were just so bad, and so much worse than the Roman period is taken practically at face value, as, believe it or not, historical fact. *SIGH*!!! And then there was even someone on ANSAX who brought up whether the language should be called "Old English" at all and not rather Anglo-Saxon, since it was simply a German dialect and not really related to modern English. OI!

So I've decided it's time to do something about it. Ok, t'is a little something and not many read this and all that, but nonetheless, this is my little corner and I will gladly use it for this purpose. What purpose? Get to the point! Consider this post an introduction to a discussion on Why the so-called Dark Ages Weren't Dark, not even a bit gloomy.

For this first foray, I'll mention a recent book that while it focuses mostly on the second half of the Middle Ages, still makes the argument that the "Dark Ages" did not exist. Sorbonne philosopher Remi Brague has written The Legend of the Middle Ages: Philosophical Explorations of Medieval Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Well ok, that's the English title, not the original French. The book in some 16 essays argues that the period was philosophically rich and moving. There's also Douglas Rushkoff who has been arguing that we adapt some medieval ideas about banking and the self and other practices to our modern world to make it a better place. I outline these briefly since it is late and this post has already taken a week to get this far. So I'll launch the series and hope for more posting in the near future.


Stephen C. Carlson said...

Where's the 'like' button?

Steve Muhlberger said...

Yes more posting and soon please! I would like to throw this in front of my non-medievalist grad students who are taking my medieval seminar.