Was there a European 'Dark Age'?

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Angry Spartan
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This was brought up in a different thread and it seems a pretty interesting topic to discuss seeing as there were a few people on both sides of the argument. I've stuck the related posts in the spoiler below.

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(Original post by ChaoticButterfly)
Who **** knows what was going on during the dark ages :dontknow:
(Original post by ChaoticButterfly)
The Dark ages is a period of time in Europe between when the Roman Empire collapsed and medieval society erupted. Not much was written down so it is called the Dark Ages.
(Original post by Kallisto)
No problem, I understood you and you are right. It is called the dark ages indeed, just because the progress/development in society stands still for 1000 years.
(Original post by KingStannis)
Lot of misconception of the so called Dark ages here.
(Original post by 4 3)
It did not stand still for 1000 years
(Original post by faxensis)
There was no such thing as a dark ages.
(Original post by Kallisto)
From 500 to 1500 where the period of middle ages is defined, regarded by historians, it stands still for 1000 years indeed, as the progress of the mankind was pretty slow in this time span.
(Original post by Angry Spartan)
Why would anyone compare the accomplishments of an age where people held entirely different attitudes and beliefs to periods such as the renaissance or our own?

In terms of science and medicine, people had a very complex understanding about the universe that they lived in and, to them, it worked. We know astrology and the balancing of the humours doesn't do anything to help someone who's ill, but in their eyes it did and didn't need to be questioned. It was just accepted.
(Original post by KingStannis)
Because there was no difference at all between Celtic England, Anglo Saxon England and Plantagenet England.
(Original post by Plantagenet Crown)
I'm afraid this isn't true, there are huge differences and indeed, different ruling dynasties...
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ChaoticButterfly
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I no next to nothing about all that stuff really. Age of Empires taught me all I know
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handycoder
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I think there was a dark ages. Since the Roman empire broke down and the dozens of tribes occupied the lands that were once roman, many of the luxuries such as schools weren't paid for due to empires being quite local (which hence made trade difficult by comparison of a large empire with lots of ports and well maintained roads), so things like book learning wasn't as common as it was in the roman era. Henceforth, there are less written sources during the dark ages (I would define it between the fall of rome (476AD) to around about the first crusade (1098)) than during the classical era. This is one of the reason that it is reffered to the dark ages IMO.

just my 2 cents as I am not overly knowledgable on the subject.
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ChickenMadness
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It was before the renaissance era basically.
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Kallisto
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(Original post by Angry Spartan)
This was brought up in a different thread and it seems a pretty interesting topic to discuss seeing as there were a few people on both sides of the argument. I've stuck the related posts in the spoiler below.
:lol: I would never have expected this development.

In my opinion, a dark age means that people have followed the rules and the sights of monarches, and believes in god without to use the mind to explain and to understand the surrounding around them and to clear contradictions in worldview up. This came to an end step by step when the renaissance, the enlightenment and the age of reason has begun.
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Sir Fox
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In my opinion a dark age is defined by a significant regression in technological advancement and scholarly pursuits as compared to a prior standard. Thus I'd definitely define the time between the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the rise of early medieval culture as a dark age in Western (!) Europe.
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thatcherblair
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No, just an era of relative instability after Rome collapsed. But Europe quickly recovered. The myth of the dark ages is slowly starting to be debunked.

http://www.cracked.com/article_20615...k-ages_p2.html

Notra Dame cathedral for example was built during the 'dark ages'.

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Sir Fox
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(Original post by thatcherblair)
No, just an era of relative instability after Rome collapsed. But Europe quickly recovered. The myth of the dark ages is slowly starting to be debunked.
Maybe in relation to the 'dark ages of Europe' as some sort of time when no progress was made at all - that's obviously wrong. But in general, Europe didn't recover to anywhere near Roman standard for a veeery long time. The road network, the water supply, the widespread advanced architecture (even the smallest Roman military camps usually had sophisticated thermae) ... nothing of that during the European middle ages. Sure, they spent a lot of money building fancy cathedrals, but that's about it. Many Roman middle-class citizens enjoyed a higher standard of life than most medieval monarchs.

And construction of Notre Dame began in 1163, 687 years after the fall of Rome. Hardly evidence of a quick recovery.
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Kallisto
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(Original post by thatcherblair)
No, just an era of relative instability after Rome collapsed. But Europe quickly recovered. The myth of the dark ages is slowly starting to be debunked.


Notra Dame cathedral for example was built during the 'dark ages'.
(...)
But what about the inquisition and burning of witches in middle ages? are these things not responsible for this bad term too?
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Angry Spartan
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(Original post by handycoder)
I think there was a dark ages. Since the Roman empire broke down and the dozens of tribes occupied the lands that were once roman, many of the luxuries such as schools weren't paid for due to empires being quite local (which hence made trade difficult by comparison of a large empire with lots of ports and well maintained roads), so things like book learning wasn't as common as it was in the roman era. Henceforth, there are less written sources during the dark ages (I would define it between the fall of rome (476AD) to around about the first crusade (1098)) than during the classical era. This is one of the reason that it is reffered to the dark ages IMO.
I think the writing and use of books is a bit of an unfair criticism. It was for the most part monks who would produce these works, and if you look at them you'll understand just how much effort was put into them. Books were expensive and time consuming to make. It's also not necessarily true that because there's not a huge amount of manuscripts from this period it meant that they didn't write much down. Factors like them being lost over time and being destroyed has lost us vast quantities of information, such as in the case of the Vikings being a significant reason for why there's such little written evidence from the East Anglian kingdom (amongst others).
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AntisthenesDogger
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No. In history we quite clearly define it's a pejorative. The defining characteristics of the supposed "dark ages" simply don't converge with reality. It didn't occur. End of. Move on.

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AntisthenesDogger
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And to go further. Anyone that clings to such archaic notions is historically (academically) illiterate. Especially when it's often made analogous that Europe regressed (never happened) analogously to other parts of the world. That is patently false, only Sassanid Persia and parts of the Chinese polities could claim to advance more in the interim of the collapse of the Western Roman Empire to the rise of Charlemagne.

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Sir Fox
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(Original post by AntisthenesDogger)
No. In history we quite clearly define it's a pejorative. The defining characteristics of the supposed "dark ages" simply don't converge with reality. It didn't occur. End of. Move on. [...] Anyone that clings to such archaic notions is historically (academically) illiterate.
I'm sure you've got more to offer than argumenta ad hominem and ad verecundiam?
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AntisthenesDogger
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(Original post by Sir Fox)
I'm sure you've got more to offer than argumenta ad hominem and ad verecundiam?
It's not ad-hominem. It's not even an argument from authority for me to state (as I did) that academically the idea isn't credible and neither is it realistically. If I said you must believe me because the intelligentsia says X then sure, but for me to state that in precinct of an academic question (are the dark ages representative of reality or academic discipline) - then it's entirely concise of me to relate the role of it within academia and the intelligentsia.

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NJA
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I've read this book that gives the empirical evidence that when the large economic unit of The Roman Empire was broken up, the division of labour, trade, the variety of goods and supply of raw materials largely went with it.
Standard of living and even cattle size and longevity declined.
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Gos123
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No.

Sure there was more barbarism and a lack of central authority post Rome, however, to pretend that pre c.1450s there was widespread disorder, chaos and depravity is just delusional as some of the most fascinating things happened prior to the Renaissance & Enlightenment.
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Sir Fox
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(Original post by Gos123)
No.

Sure there was more barbarism and a lack of central authority post Rome, however, to pretend that pre c.1450s there was widespread disorder, chaos and depravity is just delusional as some of the most fascinating things happened prior to the Renaissance & Enlightenment.
It's more about a decline on the technological/architectural/medical/scholarly level in the period up to the late early middle ages (about 800, I guess?). No one claims there was widespread disorder and depravity up to the 1450s.
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Gos123
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(Original post by Sir Fox)
It's more about a decline on the technological/architectural/medical/scholarly level in the period up to the late early middle ages (about 800, I guess?). No one claims there was widespread disorder and depravity up to the 1450s.
I disagree about the architectural/medical and scholarly, many universities were established in the medieval period, Oxford, Cambridge, Paris, Padua, Rome and St Andrews to name some.

Thomas Aquinas was in the 13th century, the theologian of the Catholic Church.

Gothic architecture spread throughout Europe and some of the most beautiful churches were build in the period.

Technology wise? I'm not as well learnt on that area, however, there was no major technological innovation that lead to increased economic/educational development on the scale that the printing press did.
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(Original post by Gos123)
I disagree about the architectural/medical and scholarly, many universities were established in the medieval period, Oxford, Cambridge, Paris, Padua, Rome and St Andrews to name some.

Thomas Aquinas was in the 13th century, the theologian of the Catholic Church.

Gothic architecture spread throughout Europe and some of the most beautiful churches were build in the period.

Technology wise? I'm not as well learnt on that area, however, there was no major technological innovation that lead to increased economic/educational development on the scale that the printing press did.
Technologically Europe advanced. There's been no point in the anaals of any people where technology has stunted. Progressed far more slowly sure, Ming China being the prime example; if anything monolithic states dampen advancement. Change, zeitgeist of upheaval advance. Again I repeat, anyone adhering to this notion is historically illiterate.

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AntisthenesDogger
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(Original post by NJA)
I've read this book that gives the empirical evidence that when the large economic unit of The Roman Empire was broken up, the division of labour, trade, the variety of goods and supply of raw materials largely went with it.
Standard of living and even cattle size and longevity declined.
Without reading that, the premise is faltered. The idea of the dark ages is one of societal/philosophical/technological decline. That erudite became an apocrypha of the past; yes social division deepened but actually without Roman social state the upper class far flourished and surpassed the antediluvian Roman practice. Not to mention places like the Eastern Roman Empire were entering stages of exclaimed height. Social wellbeing for a lot diminished yes, but that only gives clairvoyance on the relation between social division. Not the relation of a societies progress technologically/intellectually.

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