How dark were the Dark Ages?
Are there no merits to the title? If we're willing to measure societies, wouldn't this era be on the low-end, with respect to the west?
Seems kinda dark, desu.
It depended on when and where you're talking about. The best claim to the Dark Ages would be the early medieval period, from around 500 to 800. Little political security does that to a culture. However, that depended on the place. Britain was pretty fantastically shitty at times while Lombard controlled Italy could be indistinguishable from the late Roman period which it replaced. Past 800, and when things settle down, you see culture flourishing all over the place. By the time you reach the 12th century Renaissance, nobody in their right mind could call it a dark age.
>but what we have is not particularly impressive
Ever heard of Thomas Aquinas? Or the various examples of literature from that era?
That period was also highly rich in art and architecture.
Pre-romanesque architecture, for example, is outstanding.
The term "dark ages" as a period we know little about is already considered somewhat incorrect too, because since the XXth century we had access to a lot of new insight about the early middle ages.
>implies high rates of illiteracy
There were "high rates of illiteracy" in all periods of human history up until the 19th century.
>Ever heard of Thomas Aquinas? Or the various examples of literature from that era?
Of course. I'm Catholic, btw. Not trying to hate on the Church.
Yea, but we still have roughly 600 years to make sense of. What happened between 500-1100? Seems pretty terrible.
Depends on what you call awful. Art had a different purposes and was judged by different standards, which you can see in the handling of perspective for instance. Things started looking pretty primitive during the early medieval period, but over time it really took off. Yeah, sculpture didn't have the the same muscle definition or detail as Renaissance art and people's faces and poses could look kind of funky, but many of those funky people were part of tiny illustrations in huge, gorgeous illuminated manuscripts. There's an immense level of detail on a lot of medieval art, and I personally find the architecture of the period to far surpass a lot of Renaissance architecture. You have the big stand outs like Notre Dame which is packed full of beautiful use of light and fantastic sculpture, but you also the have things like a small chapel nearby the cathedral which I unfortunately cannot remember the name of. The walls are almost entirely stained glass. The result is that the entire interior is bright blue like the sky, and you're surrounded entirely by extremely detailed stained glass representations of stories from the Bible and popular literature. It's a breathtaking place.
>I would argue that renaissance architecture is a lot more autistic than Gothic, Romanesque or Pre-Romanesque architecture.
I honestly don't know much about Architecture. Just remembering back to an art-hum class I took. I also don't think we learned about renaissance architecture (perhaps, for this reason). I'm guessing it was maybe the beginnings of neo-classical?
Anyway, if I'm not mistaken, isn't Gothic architecture somewhat primitive? I believe we learned it wasn't really structurally sound. Didn't the churches sway?
You should read up on Charlemagne's court, especially the surviving part of his cathedral at Aachen. Romanesque architecture at its finest, and I don't even particularly like Romanesque. Also, people like King Alfred the Great and British artwork from the period. Anglo-Saxon art is a personal favorite of mine, like the shield from Sutton Hoo which is a visual puzzle of hidden animal and human figures. Of course everyone loves the Book of Kells.
>There's an immense level of detail on a lot of medieval art, and I personally find the architecture of the period to far surpass a lot of Renaissance architecture
I think some of it's interesting, and I've enjoined learning about it, but I think it's difficult to compare to renaissance art. Pic related.
>What happened between 500-1100?
A lot of stuff happened.
Just grab a book about the early middle ages nigger.
Its interesting stuff: migrations, change and mixture of native cultures of the migrants with roman culture and language, the very foundations of the modern image of europe are based on that period.
There is a lot to know about that period, and a lot of info too
>Relatively speaking there was a decrease in literacy after the collapse of the western roman empire up until the carolingians
Source on that?
You people need to understand that it was not "literacy" that matters here.
It was the civilizational, cultural setup of europe that changed, and the new occupying groups had a completely different societal structure of that of the native romans.
A transition from an urban society to a rural society is the most important element here.
This ended up shaping the political, religious and economic makeshift of europe.
The "barbarians came up and ruined everything and were illiterate monkeys" is a meme.
Dont simplify history. You're making it a disservice
Bronze Dark Age or Classic Dark Ages?
Assuming the latter, things weren't as sweet as in antiquity, and most of the institutions the Roman state had built fell apart.
Dark ages come about for different places at different times e.g. British Dark ages differs to that of continental Europe.
>I believe we learned it wasn't really structurally sound. Didn't the churches sway?
I'm guessing you're a burguer?
Just come visit europe. You'll see that the gothic cathedrals still held up high after 800/900 years.
If thats not structurally sound I dont know what is.
>Sure, but don't you think it's better with a sort of narrative?
Only if its a narrative grounded in facts and solid analysis.
You can then simplify it for an introduction sure.
Distorting history for the sake of a narrative, thats an absolute horrendous thing to do honestly. Its just entertainment. And a bad one at that.
I am a "burger." (For the record, this meme is pretty stupid. Pic related. Also, I'm guessing you're a Bong).
Anyway, I lived in France for two years. I've actually been to Reims Cathedral and Notre Dame. Also spent some time in Belgium, if you're familiar with the Gothic Architecture over there.
I guess, but I think there's value in narratives.
>Distorting history for the sake of a narrative, thats an absolute horrendous thing to do honestly. Its just entertainment. And a bad one at that.
I'm not sure I agree, actually. Anyway, I don't think it's particularly relevant to the thread, and won't be that easy to explain.
not a bong. Portuguese
I didnt said it derrogatorily. Dont take it the wrong way pls.
>Anyway, I lived in France for two years
I lived in France for a while too!
I know Reims and Paris and visited all the important places in Belgium too.
Anyways, if you're interested to read about western architecture I recomend the Architecture Atlas from Werner Muller and Introduction to Architecture from Benevolo.
They're a easy read, and really give a good presentation about the different architectural periods up until modernism.
I've been planning on making a pilgrimage to Portugal (Fatima).
>I didnt said it derrogatorily. Dont take it the wrong way pls.
It's alright. A lot of Americans are stupid, as are most people. I think the reason we get labeled stupid is mostly because we're loud.
>I lived in France for a while too!
>I know Reims and Paris and visited all the important places in Belgium too.
Nice. Yes, those were probably the best years of my life. Wish I could go back. Hope it's still there, if I ever get the chance.
> if you're interested to read about western architecture I recomend the Architecture Atlas from Werner Muller and Introduction to Architecture from Benevolo.
I will definitely check these out
What kind of book?
>Before France and Germany: the creation and transformation of the Merovingian world
Is an easy read.
>Framing the Early Middle Ages: Europe and the Mediterranean, 400-800
Is a pretty exhaustive summary of the Late Antiquity.
If you are not some kind of hardcore I suggest you to begin with the first one.
The concept of a Dark Age originated with the Italian scholar Petrarch (Francesco Petrarca) in the 1330s, and was originally intended as a sweeping criticism of the character of Late Latin literature. Petrarch regarded the post-Roman centuries as "dark" compared to the light of classical antiquity.
>Framing the Early Middle Ages: Europe and the Mediterranean, 400-800
Yeah this is pretty much the go to. Anything by Averil Cameron is also pretty great as an entry point to Late Antiquity.
I thought Europe suffered from a constant onslaught of Muslim invasions during the Dark Ages. Thus, as a reaction the Crusades because after hundreds of years of constant attacks the pope was pressured to react.
It was called the Dark Ages because Petrarch thought Italy was hot shit, not knowing that life was becoming more and more terrible over time as the Black Death approached and constant unceasing warfare was becoming more and more common. The Dark Ages are a myth, pure and simple.
>le dark ages never happened meme
can't wait for this shit to die, the pendulum has swung too far in the opposite direction. Just because the entirety of Europe wasn't reduced to living in huts and eating each other doesn't mean there wasn't a precipitous decline in urban living, literacy, arts, and quality and quantity of basic household goods.
Entire towns were depopulated as people moved into the countryside throughout western Europe (the population of Rome declined from 400,000 in 400AD to less than 20,000 by 800), Britons and other Germanic peoples drastically reduced the number of coins or ceased minting them altogether and began wearing them on necklaces as status symbols, the quality and quantity of pottery shards found at late 5th -early 8th century archaeological sites severely declined, Christianity disappeared from the British Isles and remained only in Ireland.