1. We have added a Gift Upgrades feature that allows you to gift an account upgrade to another member, just in time for the holiday season. You can see the gift option when going to the Account Upgrades screen, or on any user profile screen.
    Dismiss Notice

About the Dark Ages and Stuff

Discussion in 'World History' started by elfstorm, Dec 29, 2001.

  1. elfstorm

    elfstorm Chieftain

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2001
    Messages:
    147
    I apologise in advance for the length of this post and that it is only vaguely Civ related. However I have something I want to get off my chest and I hope you find it interesting...

    How History is Written.

    or

    The Dark Ages Weren't so Dark.

    I apologise for the length of this thing: even then this is very simplistic.

    Most of you are perhaps aware of the historical period called the 'Dark Ages' but how many of you know how this name came about?

    To answer this question reveals something about HOW history is written and is something I wish people would appreciate before they spout some rubbish they picked up from the discovery channel.

    Before I go any further I should perhaps put the Dark Ages in their historical context. Roughly speaking there are nine ages in WESTERN history: don't take this too seriously, different historians may produce different tables - there is no right or wrong, just so long as you understand things chronologically.
    So here is my rough interpretation:
    Pre-History
    Stone Age
    Bronze Age
    Iron Age
    The Ancient World
    Dark Ages }
    Medieval }==========these two are often grouped as the Middle Ages
    Early Modern (the brief period known as the renaissance crosses over with the Medieval)
    Modern

    Now, so you have an idea of dates, here you go...
    Modern - 1789 till Present.
    Early Modern - 1453 till 1789.
    Medieval - 1066 till 1453.
    Dark Ages - 476 till 1066.
    Those of you who know your history will know that each of those dates corresponds with a major event. They are: 'Fall' of the Roman Empire (476), Norman Conquest of England (1066), Fall of Constantinople (1453), and French Revolution (1789).

    All these dates and events are hotly disputed as markers - I merely used them because they are the commonest. Also these historical ages, they are entirely invented! People never woke up one morning and proclaimed - so now we are in a new age woohoo! Modern Historians invented them all. So now, after that little side track why were the dark ages so named?

    It is often supposed by many that the Dark Ages in particular and the Middle Ages in general were the stupid ages when women were burnt as Witches, people thought the Earth was flat and thinking of any kind (except religious thought) was surpressed.
    UTTER RUBBISH.

    Firstly not one Witch trial occurred during this time. Funnily enough Witch trials began in most counties about the same time Renaissance ideas caught on. In other words Witch trials go hand in hand with the arrival of more 'modern' thinking and learning. Funny huh? Joan of Arc (coincidently) DID NOT stand trial for Witchcraft. She was accused of being a Heretic. Also her trial was entirely political, as most heretics upon conviction would not be burned (the Church seeked conversion not death.)
    (See any work by Witchcraft experts E. Monter or Stuart-Maxwell if you don't believe me).

    There was no persecution (not as we know it. Like Nazi persecution of Jews for example) during the dark ages. Why not is very simple if you think about it. There were NO states to persecute people for anything. This might be a little hard to understand for us modern people used to living in modern national states. But they didn't exist in Europe in this period. Sure there were Kings and Lords and feudalism and what not. But this is an exceptionally basic form of society. Who ever was strongest would be King. He would get money from his immeadiate lands (basically by crude extortion). His best and most trusted men would become Lords and he would give them Land to live off. They might then sub-divide their land to their men (or sons). That was your Kingdom. No Hospitals, no schools, no tax collection (not in a modern sense), no Police, no road building, no nothing. When the King went to war he would summon his Lords, who in turn summoned their men - hey presto! a band of Knights.

    I hope I am getting across how simple society was then. As for people outside this ruling elite their were three types: Women - didn't count and produced children. Peasants - didn't count and produced food and money for their Lord. And the Church. Generally only priests could read and write (and add). A King needed the Priesthood to supply him with fellows to do his basic accounts.

    Now we are getting close to why the Dark Ages are called the Dark Ages... See because so few people could write, very few written sources survive to this time to tell us what happened. So Historians called it the Dark Ages because lacking sources from this period it appears to them as 'A DARK AGE'. In the Roman Empire, for example, there were lots of Schools and many people could write. So even though it existed before the Dark Ages, we know FAR more about it.

    Because this is how Historians work - they write History based upon archeological evidence and written sources. Now, to use a written source (lets say it's a Roman one) you have to be able to READ the source. So if it were Roman you must read Latin. If it's Greek you need to know Greek and so on. If it's in a long dead lanuage you need to somehow decode that lanuage - a very very difficult task (unless you have a 'rosetta stone'. This rock had the same passage inscribed on it in Greek and Ancient Eygption allowing us to decipher ancient Eygption.) There are some ancient lanuages we cannot decipher - therefore our knowledge of those people is severely restricted and they hardly feature in written History.

    Now here is something VERY important you must understand. England and USA have produced many Historians. What lanuage do they speak? English. They are all learned people so many no doubt know French and Latin. Many will know other modern European lanuages (German, Spanish etc.). How do you think this will effect the History they research?

    Yup: English (not Scottish or Irish) and American History mostly. Because if you go back far enough in the English records (generally all before 1400AD) they are all in Latin, many will know Latin. So they'll study the Romans as well. France is well served by it's own Historians and so are Germany, Spain and Italy. Much of this will be translated and shared among the various European historians.

    BUT!!! How many European historians do you suppose speak Japanese? Or Chinese? Or can read Sanskript? Or any Arabic lanuage? Not many. Look in any book shop in the History section (I did yesterday), how many Chinese History books do you see? (I saw none). There has been VERY little western research of other civilisations (Eygpt and the Holyland apart). So when our Historians come to write the History of the World where do you suppose they'll place the emphasis? On China who for the majority of History has been the most advanced and richest state in the World? Or will they write about what they know and present history in terms of the rise of the West?

    What is often not mentioned in Western History is that while Europe was in the dark ages - when few could read and write and civilisation had collapsed to a feudal level (yup feudalism is a simplistic form of society, lord knows why it is so far on in the Civ3 tech tree. Feudalism is basically warrior code.) - the rest of the world wasn't. There was no Dark Age in China or the Middle East. While Europe was barbaric they remained Civilised and continued making discoveries. They, for example, never thought the Earth was flat. The Chinese invented Gunpowder and Printing Press. The Sung Empire even built vast canals and FACTORIES (See recent Chinese Historical work summarised in English by Clive Ponting: they didn't have an industrial revolution because the Mongols invaded and destroyed everything. Recent estimates suggest a quarter of China's population died during the invasion: roughly equivalent to the death toll in World War 1). What we know as the 'Renaissance', or rediscovery of learning, occurred when trade links with the ARABS improved and WE gained access to THEIR knowledge.

    In History books the Dark Ages are often glossed over because we know so little about its events. The History of the rest of the World is often glossed over because historians know so little about it. Not because it was unimportant.

    Or, if you still believe Western History is so important - The Mongols possessed an army better trained and more numerous than anything Europeans at the time could dream of. Our little sub-continent would have been over run easily but for an event which occurred on the otherside of the world - the death of the Mongol Emperor. The Mongols left few written records and they rarely figure in western history to a large extent despite conquering the largest Empire of all time. (Some people think the Empire didn't last long. They are fools who should check historical fact.)

    So that is why the Dark ages were dark and why all the history you come across focuses on Europe. If you read the whole thing congratulations!

    For a good recent history of Europe try: Norman Davies, "Europe, A History"
    For the Dark Ages I recommend: Richard Fletcher, "The Conversion of Europe"

    Additionally try and consult books published in the last 10 years. Afterall you wouldn't get a computer book published in 1980 to learn C++ would you?

    Incidently I apologise for coming across as a know it all. I'm a final year History Student (4th year) at University and I merely wrote this for any who are interested. Don't take it as gospel, I only know enough about History to appreciate how little I actually know.
     
  2. Knight-Dragon

    Knight-Dragon Unhidden Dragon Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2001
    Messages:
    19,963
    Location:
    Singapore
    "BUT!!! How many European historians do you suppose speak Japanese? Or Chinese? Or can read Sanskript? Or any Arabic lanuage? Not many. Look in any book shop in the History section (I did yesterday), how many Chinese History books do you see? (I saw none). There has been VERY little western research of other civilisations (Eygpt and the Holyland apart). So when our Historians come to write the History of the World where do you suppose they'll place the emphasis? On China who for the majority of History has been the most advanced and richest state in the World? Or will they write about what they know and present history in terms of the rise of the West?"

    In China even today, there are probably vast amounts of records which had been built up by the imperial Chinese bureaus thru out history that are slowly wasting away all over the country. The imperial Chinese govt had always been very fond of paperwork.

    A very interesting read, the main argument of which I had been aware of for years. Nevertheless, like they said, history is written by victors (and survivors). ;)
     
  3. Zachriel

    Zachriel Kaiser

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2001
    Messages:
    2,294
    Location:
    Jovian System
    Of course. The trials were a reaction to the new ideas. In any case, Dark Age is a poor term, like Dark Africa, or the dark side of the Moon. The word Dark refers to our own ignorance.

    Nevertheless, the fall of the Roman Empire meant the collapse of trade, learning and agriculture. Emigration and poverty led to lower populations. The collapse of a central government led to a disruption of culture. A new civilization was built on the ashes of the old.
     
  4. Knowltok 2

    Knowltok 2 Guest

    A bookstore is a bad place to go to see what historical works are out there. They are going to put on their shelves what will sell, not a necessarily a good cross-section of history. Supply and Demand and all that. For example, you will be hard pressed to find a copy of Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations even though it forms the basis of capitalism. Ironic, isn't it?
     
  5. Zachriel

    Zachriel Kaiser

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2001
    Messages:
    2,294
    Location:
    Jovian System
    Try a decent library.
     
  6. elfstorm

    elfstorm Chieftain

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2001
    Messages:
    147
    Of course bookshops only stock what they think will sell, but that was partly my point (though I didn't explain it well).

    They stock what they think their audience wants. But at the same time they can only stock books which have been written and very few books are written on the dark ages or China - in English at any rate.

    As for a decent library, I got one. Our University has a HUGE library, with a very large history section. It has very very few books on Chinese history - because none exist in English.
     
  7. Magnus

    Magnus Diplocat

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2001
    Messages:
    1,766
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    My history professor had a brilliant way of describing 'Dark Ages'

    he said think of the civilized area as a fire, and then when the barbarians conquer it, think of that as throwing a ton of leaves on that fire - initially almost snuffing it out, but eventually giving it fuel and the fire rages soon yet again, even brighter than before. The anology is to show that the more advanced culture will eventually assimilate its conquerors but also learn from them in the process. Thus whent he Dorians conquered ancient Greece and the Goths overran half of Rome and the Mongols enveloped China, it was only a temporary setback that had the potential of creating so much more... and it did. - so the Dark Gaes are not necessarily a bad thing at all - in the long run; granted it is not so much fun when you are the one having to live through them!
     
  8. History Guy

    History Guy Number Six

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Messages:
    162
    Location:
    In the Village
    Isn't it odd how most people's idea of the Dark Ages and the Middle Ages is guys with broadswords chopping away at each other? Boiling oil tumbling out of cauldrons onto some poor saps below? Longbow arrows being released across a plain into someone's tummy? People being whacked about with maces? Most people's conceptions of the Dark Ages and the Medieval period is of knights, castles, and most importantly, incredibly bloody battles. It is odd when one considers that the period was very peaceful, in actuality. The 20th Century alone has been thousands of times more bloody. Most people tend to forget that this was a period of enlightenment, spiritual enlightenment and scientific enlightenment. We should remember that the greatest single building of the Dark Ages or the entire Medieval period wasn't the Krak de Chevaliers, nor even Chartes Cathedral, but instead the Abbey of Cluny, the largest single inclosed space constructed by human hands right up until the building of the Pentagon. This was the period in which God meant everything, and fickle things were best left alone. In a sense I think it was a wiser period than even our own. I mean these were tough people. They did have to come up against the Black Death and that sort of thing. They did have to stop barbarians from sacking their towns. Most of them lived quite rural lives, had to earn a decent living (didn't have cell-phones, ha hah! :D ). Despite the plagues and the crusades, the Vikings and the Saracens, I'd rather have lived then myself! :goodjob:
     
  9. Nahuixtelotzin

    Nahuixtelotzin Huey Tlatoani

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2002
    Messages:
    591
    Location:
    Graz, Austria
    The "Dark Age" is an invention of the Renaissance who believed itself so superior, compared to the past centuries. Thus, it's complete bull**** of course...

    But on elfstorms word that there have been no persecutions: Lamentably, there were! Generally more local ones, due to the lack of "national" actions. Whenever a boy got murdered or a well was poisonous, medieval people had the ones to blame right at hand... The first big persecution though was at the very end of the Middle Ages. 1492 in Spain they forcefully expelled all jews or made them convert...

    On the Europe-Arab connection: AFAIK, european science had in most parts already caught up with arabian science in the 14th century, bypassing it still in the Middle Ages. The strongest influence towards the Renaissance was still the influx of greek people who fled from the turks 1400 onwards. That shall not disregard arabian achievements, but renaissance did not base on any islamic philosophy or something...
     
  10. FredLC

    FredLC A Lawyer as You Can See! Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2002
    Messages:
    5,372
    Location:
    Vitória, ES, Brazil
    Hi there, pals. I'm sending this message a LONG time after the immediate previous post, because i am brand new to this forum.
    Nonetheless, it's one that called my attention as i always liked the dyalethical study of ancient eras.

    I didn't have that naive notion that is attribed to most people about the "Dark Age" being the era of swordfights and damsels trapped in castle towers.

    Nonetheless, i always had a prespective that is also very diferent from the one in this discussion. Now, i'm not a history student like you guys, but my point still seen to make more sense than the "celebration of Dark Ages" that i encountered here.

    So, lemme describe it, and perhaps you guys can find out what's wrong about it.

    First, I'd like to say that to some we have one more Era; that the modern era, marked by the french revolution, has ended with the destruction of the Berlim Wall, that also marked the end of the comunism threat. It was the begguining of the contemporary Era. Well, i'ts very fluid, i know, and i am just saying that it IS a theory.

    Now, to the botton line: The term "Dark Ages" do come from the lack of knowledge in that Era, and it's so true that the "renascense" is also knowm as "iluminism" because it was the coming of the lights back to the European World.

    I couldn't agree more with the fact that the recession experienced in that Era was limited to Europe, and that other civilizations - Specially the Arabic - were living an age of enormous prosperity.

    But it's the mechanism of the Feudalism itself that doesn't look right to me; and the reasons why there's so few written history about it is something that you guys didn't discuss.

    Ok; We are now back in the Roman Empire, in the days of it's ruining. Many barbaric tribes like the Francs and the Germans (familiar names, isn't it) conquer large amounts of territory and found many citys.

    They are Barbarians, and have very little sense of nationality. Therefore, the citys become rivals among each other. The concept of Nation is abandoned due both to that AND the failure of Rome, that left the worng impression that a large Civ does not work.

    Well, alongside with that, is the expansion of the Arabic religion and the growing of the armies of Alla. They had an open way all up to Europe. Lots of land to take. And that's exactly what they did, making their untill where today is Spain.

    So, what's the scenario we have? Aparted barbaric cities with little or no boundaries with each other AND the constant presence of an organized army.

    How did they defend themselves? Closing in their own city walls. Building barriers. Shutting down the few tradelines they still had. The legacy of that forced enclosement was the vanishing of the comunication - thus leading to ignorance; the lack of necessity of registering events - little or no things of importance happened within city walls; and finally and most importantly, the establishment of an agrary echonomy that later on came to be known as feudalism.

    Together with all that was the Catholic church. The raising of it was one odf the reasons to the fall of Rome, because when the colonies (vital sources of slaves and defense and supplies) begun to believe in God intead of Zeus and other mythological figures, the identity of the Empire was lost.

    Ironically, the church found very promissing ground with the barbaric people. Without a real religion - just a set of myths and believes, they all got very impressed with a single God that was SO migthy that controled everything, intead of one god for the sun, one for the thunder, one for the moom, and so on.

    That way, the church managed to escape unscatched from the Fall of Rome and even grew stronguer as it not only stayed but also spread.

    As ignorance grew within city walls, where people was always imprisioned in fear of the lots of enemy armies and unsettled barbaric groups that were freely traveling in Europe, the influence of religion also grew more and more. When life in earth is horrible and has no perspective of changing, the promisse of a Heaven's paradise is much more appealing.

    The church, however, had a free pass trough all that mess, all because of the increase of God's fear, because of the fact that it was the single common factor between the closed feuds, and because the Muslim armies wouldn't threat it - even their sacred book, the Coran, call their religion and the catholicism brothers on faith (the anthagonismy begun much later, with the crusades of the 16th century).

    The catholic monks became the sole deposits of knowledge, but the Church had learned a lesson while in Rome; allowing peple to think in difficult times is dangerous, they tend to try solutions that are diferent than the current ones. Back than it was the very Catholic Church that came from people's insatisfaction with the goverment. What would they come up with next?

    Wishing to mantain the "status quo", they developed the concept of shutting down all that was left on research, and just teach the ancient knowledge. There's a line on the book "The name of the Rose", from Humberto Eco, that's very illustrative; The leading Monk of a monastry says, discussing in dinner to other Monks: "Let us reassure what we know. Yes, reassure. Because through the history of knowledge there had being no additions. Just an eternal and sublime repetition".

    So, THAT's the reason why the registry of that time in Europe isso thin. It was an age when the idea of thinking and writing was offensive to the church, that was the equivalent of an UN back than. Writing specially, becvause it was... it STILL is the most perfect way to spread wisdom.

    What do you think the Dogmas - untouchable truths - were all about? And why Galileo was imprisioned? And why all the cults and books and everything had to be in Latin?

    TO KEEP KNOWLEDGE UNDER CONTROL.

    Ok, back to feudalism. We have now closed citys and castles with growing ignorance and fanathic religion. We had Nobles (descendent of the 1th barbarian leaders) that ruled their share of land as dictators.

    It's truth that the most powerful noble would be "The King" But it's also true that it was just a figurative title. The king ruled over his share of land, a Count in his, a Duque in his, every noble with life and death powers over his servants and little-to-no ingerency from any a kind of external power. As it was already extressed before, there were NO nations as we understand them.

    It was really a very simple form of organization. There was the land owner - the overlord. People begged for the right of using his lands to work and for protection, and he agreed in exchange for their loyalty and a not so fair share of the production.

    It's really that simple. It's also really that unfair. It was a very rigid economic system, where it was IMPOSSIBLE to change your life conditions. A servant would die a servant, no matter how hard he worked. Nothing could be achieved. A noble would be a noble forever, no matter what would happen. The same with their prole.

    As you see, it suffered from the same desease that URSS communism; lack of incentive. people would do the minimal because they would have the same no matter what. So, production in that system drops to nothing, bringing frequent privations and famine to people.

    It's also true that there were some small but important social groups - the master's workshops and the burguesy - but they are unimportant in the peak of feudalism and their roles would be better discussed if we were dealing with the coming of iluminism and mercantilism.

    Well, the privileges of the landlords over the servants were immense. They weren't slaves, but they also weren't all that far away from that. They worked for their food, lived in terrible conditions and could be killed without trial or anything, just for displeasing the feudal master.

    They didn't have even the most basic rights. The Landlord right that i use as example is the "prima nottis" (forgive me for the probably worng latin, i was just thinking of the pronunciation), that was basically the right he had of having the 1th night with every of his female woman that got married.

    HE HAD THE RIGHT TO TAKE ALL OF HIS WOMAN'S VIRGINITYS.

    Also, the servants were conected to the land. If he decided to sell or trade or donate part of his land, the workers of that partuicular area would also become subjects of another lord.

    HE COULD SELL OR TRADE OR GIVE HIS PEOPLE.

    now doesn't that look a little too much like slavery?

    On top of all that, it is the terrible coincidence that in that exactly historical time the Europe was devastetad by the "Black Death" - leprosy - and in that enviroment of ignorance and imprisionment it found the perfect land to spread.

    Leprosy killed half the Europe population in the Dark Age.

    Well, such a situation didn't last forever, and changes begun to appear, but i'll not dig into them because it's not the reason for my posting here. nonetheless, altough my vision of European "Dark Ages" is not that romantic King Arthur's crusaders thing, it's also veru diferent than the time of peace and prosperity that i saw here.

    If you were born back than, you were likely to be a religious fanathic semi-slave condamned to work for food, live very little (lots of deseases because there were no public sanatory system or education on how to deal with food and feces and the dead) and in ethernal fear of the external and internal enemys and of displeasing your lord.

    It was actually a terrible time for being in Europe.

    Well, of course you could be born a noble and things would be considerably better:) .

    That's what i knew abot the Dark Ages. I also want to apologize for the long post, and i also want to say that i don't intend to sound as a know-it-all. I just figured that a comprehensive description was in order, specially because i'm going against every other post i saw in the topic, so i needed back up real bad:) .

    It's avery "cause-and consequence" thing. Very dhyalethical.

    That's all, f-f-f-f-folk
     
  11. Jimcat

    Jimcat Culture Vulture

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2001
    Messages:
    762
    Location:
    Darkest New Jersey
    Interesting topic, and I'd like to recommend an excellent book on the subject of technological advance in the "Dark Ages".

    The title of the book is "Cathedral, Forge, and Waterwheel: Technology and Invention in the Middle Ages". It is by Joseph and Frances Gies. It's currently in print, and you can order it from Amazon (I just checked), or try your local bookstore or library.

    It puts to rest the mistaken notion that the Middle Ages were a time of technological stagnation, and gives a good survey of the innovations during that time.
     
  12. FredLC

    FredLC A Lawyer as You Can See! Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2002
    Messages:
    5,372
    Location:
    Vitória, ES, Brazil
    Note that i'm not denyinf that SOME evolution could have happened in the "Dark Ages". What i am saying is that it was MAINLY a period of stagnation.

    And let's look at things with perspective. The little scientific production back than was a privilege of the elite. It's for the population that it was a time of ignorance.

    Or someone here would like to be a french peasent back in 1420?:)
     
  13. Zachriel

    Zachriel Kaiser

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2001
    Messages:
    2,294
    Location:
    Jovian System
    IT WAS the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way- in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

    -- Charles Dickens
     
  14. Nahuixtelotzin

    Nahuixtelotzin Huey Tlatoani

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2002
    Messages:
    591
    Location:
    Graz, Austria
    Science was an elitarian thing in antiquity too and who wants to be a grainless proletarian in ancient rome , or a red haired woman in 1700, or even a french peasant at the end of the 18th century before the gates of the palace, having Marie Antoinette tell him to eat cake if he got no bread...;)
     
  15. FredLC

    FredLC A Lawyer as You Can See! Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2002
    Messages:
    5,372
    Location:
    Vitória, ES, Brazil
    True. I believe that it's true to all Eras. Probably, in the year 2350, people on the Civ LXXXXIIII board will be asking "Hey, would you like to be a internet user in the horrible year of 2002?"

    And they will probably be right. Way i see things, mankind is getting better and better. Nonetheless, the point is: I never said that those periods you mentioned were good for the general citzen.

    The previous messages of this topic, on the other hand, mentioned the "Dark Age" as a period of peace and well being, that is misunderstood because of the lack of historical records. I was just emphasizing that it was not exactly like that.

    If i were to choose to be something, i'd probably pick being a Movie Star in the present days. Little responsability, lots of money...:)
     
  16. Nahuixtelotzin

    Nahuixtelotzin Huey Tlatoani

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2002
    Messages:
    591
    Location:
    Graz, Austria
    and lots of white stuff and happy-makers...:D

    And regarding to the lack of records. That primarily counts for the centuries 5-10, after that the situation is WAY better, we even have more historical records than for most of the antiquity (partially because of the smaller time-distance and thus the lost accounts, that's true). Taking a closer look, our sources for the 3rd and 4th century (i.e. "antiquity") are no less doubtful than early medieval records.
    Ancient writers can make you laugh, regarding their naiveness, just as much as some medieval.
    For europe, the centuries 3-11 cannot be seen as the most productive or best researched of all times that's sure.

    But nor antiquity nor age of humanism were so much better when it comes to attributes like "peaceful" for example. The reason why roman times in their best age (~69-180 AD) seem so peaceful is simply explained by the existance of a big, well established empire that managed to avoid inner conflicts. Just take a look what "civilized" Athenians did to conquered cities during the Pelopponesian War (just a random example), or what Syracusans did to the defeated Athenians. Such deeds would honor even the most cruel medieval rulers!
     
  17. Nahuixtelotzin

    Nahuixtelotzin Huey Tlatoani

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2002
    Messages:
    591
    Location:
    Graz, Austria
    Oh, and a better modern example than an Internet surfer would be bosnian children, afghan women etc. I spoke of ruined existances and poverty that every era has. Just as every era has its political "hot spots".
    And actually I'd probably prefer being a french peasant in 1200 than a french peasant in 1785.
     
  18. Evie

    Evie Pronounced like Eevee

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2002
    Messages:
    8,937
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    Ottawa, Ontario
    HE HAD THE RIGHT TO TAKE ALL OF HIS WOMAN'S VIRGINITYS.

    Many recent historians,especially french, have noted that THIS was an invention of the revolution (1789) to make everything before the revolution looks dark. There was NO Prima Noctis right. Just like knighs in the middle age did NOT lock their ladies in chastity belt before going to crusades ; all those belts on display in museum are from *after* the dark/middle ages. Just like the "fear or year 1000" is pure non-sense - there was no such thing. So to speak, people shortly before year 1000 were starting long projects (Cathedrals, Castlles and the like) that they couldn't hope to complete before the year 1000. The church and pope never once mentioned the "end of the world" or any such in any of the great religious assemblies they held around there. And as I said, the common people wasn't even aware that year 1000 was coming. See Joan of Arc during her trial saying she was "About 18 years old" - that clearly indicate they weren't keeping too good a track of years.

    Also, the servants were conected to the land. If he decided to sell or trade or donate part of his land, the workers of that partuicular area would also become subjects of another lord.

    HE COULD SELL OR TRADE OR GIVE HIS PEOPLE.


    Uh...well.... They were subject to the previous lord. Said lord sold his land to another guy. That other guy became the local lord. They were his subject. That's NOT slavery at all, that'S pure common sense for the system of the time. I mean, if a lord died and bequeated his estates unto his son, do you think all the peasants should kill themselves, or should they become subjects of the son just as they were subject of the father?

    He couldn't sell or trade or give away the people ; he could sell or trade or give away the land, where the people lived. The land came with the pesants who lived there. Why? Because it would make no sense to tell the peasants whenever you sell the land "Ok, get moving, I swapped this estate for another further down the road, and you all have to tag along with me".

    For a modern analogy, there are in most countries laws that force someone, when buying a corporation from a previous owner, to keep the old employees of teh corporation. IE, you don't get a whole changeover of employees because the corporation has a new owner.

    There was a lot of wrong with the institution of Serfdom, this is not however part of it - this is just plain common sense.

    Calling them dark age and many of the popular believes about how things used to be back then stems actually from the french revolution and the moralistic influence of the victorian era ; one for the "it was the darkest time for people" influence, the other for the "open manslaughter" vision (French and Victorian era, in that order).
     
  19. Kahran Ramsus

    Kahran Ramsus Chieftain

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2001
    Messages:
    149
    Location:
    Ottawa, ON
    There were persecutions during the Middle Ages. The Jews were expelled from England during the 12th Century, and later they were blamed for the 'Black Death' in Europe and slaughtered by the hundreds. Except in England, because there were no Jews left by 1349.
     
  20. Evie

    Evie Pronounced like Eevee

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2002
    Messages:
    8,937
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Sorry about this. I thought I had hit the edit button for my previous post when in fact I hit "quote", and didn't realize it was a "post reply" button below.
     

Share This Page