Does anyone say "Dark Ages" about the period from 1000-1350 A.D.? It used to be a term more or less applied to something more like 500-1000 A.D., which was frankly pretty dingy. These days I more often see "Late Antiquity."
Usually the "Dark Ages" are ~400-800 AD, depending on the area. They are normally said to come to an end with the rise of the Merovingians. By the time Charlemagne is on his throne, with Alcuin at his court, we are not talking about the 'Dark Ages' any more. We're talking about the Early Middle Ages. The lights were coming back on by this time, with the Irish having brought back Christianity from the West and a lot of learning to the Anglo-Saxons and Picts. Alcuin was from York. Charlemagne was crowned by the Pope. Alfred the Great was ordering translations of the great works of Latin civilization into the English, and himself translated Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy, some of St. Augustine and Gregory the Great, and others. It wasn't as good as it became in the High Middle Ages, but it was a good beginning.
I think he's addressing a popular audience that really views the whole medieval period as the Dark Ages, and I think there really are a lot of people who think that.
They were (for a time) called the Dark Ages--not the Ninth Circle of Unrelieved Perdition or the Totally Impossibly Awful Ages or the Ages in Which Literally No One Had a Life of Any Kind--for the very good reason that they were a significant problem period between two considerably brighter periods. (Though, again, the flanking brighter periods are not known as the Ages When Everything Was Perfect.) The Dark Ages were also a relatively unrecorded period between two ages for which we have much more extensive written records.What the great cathedrals of the 14th century have to do with it is not so clear to me. But I've been running into this a lot lately. I can't hear a lecture about "Late Antiquity" that doesn't start with apologies about how people used to call it Dark, as if people used to believe that one day there was a thriving Roman Empire and the next everyone in Europe was stone cold dead. Civilization didn't literally disappear from the face of Western Europe, but I hope we don't have any 400- or 500-year interludes like that again any time soon.
The Dark Ages were also a relatively unrecorded period between two ages for which we have much more extensive written records.I think that's the real motivation, actually: they're dark to us. King Arthur's time in Britain: who was this guy? We have his name in a line of poetry, we have a tradition of legend, we have some archaeology, but mostly we have a lot of shadows and surmises. There's a similar "Dark Age" in ancient Greek history, in which we know a lot before and after -- but for a while, for reasons we do not know, the lights went out for a long time.
Yeah, no, it's not just that things were hunky dory but no one left a record of what a good time they were having.
The indications are that the Greek Dark Ages were horrible. "The archaeological evidence shows a widespread collapse of Bronze Age civilization in the eastern Mediterranean world at the outset of the period, as the great palaces and cities of the Mycenaeans were destroyed or abandoned. Around this time, the Hittite civilization suffered serious disruption and cities from Troy to Gaza were destroyed. Following the collapse, fewer and smaller settlements suggest famine and depopulation. In Greece the Linear B writing of the Greek language used by Mycenaean bureaucrats ceased."At least during the Dark Ages in Western Europe, people didn't forget their entire writing system. We didn't realize that Linear B was an earlier form of Greek until the mid-20th century.
Yes, the European Dark Ages were horrible, without being the most horrible thing that ever happened in human history.
You know, actually, looking it up it appears the original "Dark Ages" were much later than I would have thought -- 10th and 11th century. The period is characterized by a relative scarcity of historical and other written records at least for some areas of Europe, rendering it obscure to historians. The term "Dark Age" derives from the Latin saeculum obscurum, originally applied by Caesar Baronius in 1602 to a tumultuous period in the 10th and 11th centuries.That's not how we usually encounter the term today in historiography: we talk about the period from the fall of Rome until the re-establishment of "Roman" civilization via the Holy Roman Empire that came out of Charlemagne and his offspring. Apparently the Latin term was translated and then applied to the whole of the middle ages by earlier historians, and we've revised downward as we've come to realize that the darkness was ours more than theirs for much of the period. So I suppose that justifies the piece to which Tom directed our attention: apparently there was once a widespread idea that the Middle Ages were "dark" in this sense.
Yes, unless the clip was almost exclusively about un-dark stuff that happened after 1100, or the term "Dark Ages" as used in the last 115 years or so. By the 1602 definition the guy has a definite point.
I'm curious why you picked the number 115. Were you thinking of any particular change around that time?
Waspishness on my part--the cited Wiki article referred to usage from the 20th century on.I am being too pedantic today. The clip clearly was directed at a popular misunderstanding; whether it's been mine is not the point. My apologies to everyone for my rotten mood. One more phone call of the sort I've been getting all day will just about put me over the edge.
Not to mention WiFi connection burping and farting. :-)
In terms of justifying the video, popularly the term tends to refer to the whole medieval period. Going to Grim's Wikipedia link (emphasis mine):"The term once characterized the bulk of the Middle Ages, or roughly the 6th to 13th centuries, as a period of intellectual darkness between extinguishing the 'light of Rome' after the end of Late Antiquity, and the rise of the Italian Renaissance in the 14th century. This definition is still found in popular use, but increased recognition of the accomplishments of the Middle Ages has led to the label being restricted in application. Since the 20th century, it is frequently applied to the earlier part of the era ..."Not only do I still run into people who think that Europeans thought the earth was flat until Columbus proved them wrong, I see that myth in non-history textbooks published in the last 10 years. These things can linger in the popular culture for decades or even centuries after historians have abandoned them.
Alas, I commented before I saw your comments. I'm sorry about the day; I hope it gets better.
It's nothing serious, really, just petty exasperations. I'm making too much of it. Is 2:15 pm too early to start drinking?
Karl Karling, or perhaps that was his brother since Karloman=Charlemagne was also a big promoter of learning. He liked astronomy and wanted to read/write, had tablets under his bed at night. Unfortunately he seemed to have been dyslexic to some degree. Or perhaps even Asberger like, with superior focus on martial body movements, inferior at certain abstract fields.Becoming king, meant a lot of monasteries benefited from protection and patronage.The Pope also got ran out of Rome and got help from Karloman. So the Pope kind of had a debt to pay off there.But I've been running into this a lot lately. I can't hear a lecture about "Late Antiquity" that doesn't start with apologies about how people used to call it Dark, as if people used to believe that one day there was a thriving Roman Empire and the next everyone in Europe was stone cold dead.As I said before here, the Dark Ages were the period before the resurgency of Imperial law and order or in the case of Karloman, king justice and protection. After the fall of Rome, the Western Roman Empire, there was an interregnum where things kind of fell apart. Sort of like the invasion with Europe. People trying to paint that period as bright, not Dark, because the medievals had colored cloth, is distract from the issue. Why? Because their Leftist professors keep telling them that the Middle Ages after Stamford Bridge, were Dark. Dark I say. Really Dark. So they get programmed by Leftists, as usual, then spout off the same rhetoric elsewhere.
Tex, as Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffet remind us, it's always 5 o'clock somewhere.
The sun's always over the yardarm somewhere in the British Empire.
What I've read recently is that the term "Dark Ages" came about because of the lack of written source material during the time that was available to historians in the early 19th late 18th centuries. No sources = ignorance, backsliding, barbarians, the usual non-Classical stuff. Then came the Renaissance and the sun rose, birds sang, and we have written works again."Late Antiquity" came into use because the archaeologists and affiliated disciplines said "Um, yeah, that's not quite what happened," and provided evidence that in some areas, it wasn't that Dark. In other areas, it was pretty miserable. I refer to 476-800 as the "era formerly known as the Dark Ages." Alas, the best material I've found is all in German, which is a real shame, because there's a LOT of neat material about the period. Just not in English.LittleRed1
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