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The Dark Ages - Holy Grail of History

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The Dark Ages

circa ( 500 - 1500CE )

The period is characterized by a scarcity of historical and other written records at least for some areas of Europe, rendering it obscure to historians.

Originally the term characterized the bulk of the Middle Ages, or roughly the 6th to 13th centuries, as a period of intellectual darkness between the extinguishing of 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 usage.

The concept of a Dark Age originated with the Italian scholar Petrarch (Francesco Petrarca) in the 1330s. Petrarch regarded the post-Roman centuries as "dark" compared to the light of classical antiquity.

After the fall of the Rome much of western europe culture imploded. While in the Middle East Islam was on the rise. The Christian church divided, and Fuedalism developed in Europe. From Constantine to Martin Luther, the Dark Ages, was a crucible of conflict that in the end produced sovereign leaders who were pivotal catalysts of change.

This project aims to follow the Fall of Rome,
The Emperor Constantine through Augustine, The Franks, and Goths.
Then move onto Arthur's England, The Byzantine Empire
and Justinian, The Islamic Golden Age & Al-Andalus, Charlemagne and the Rise >and Fall of the Carolingians.
Conclude with early stirrings of the Renaissance,
the birth of France, England, Germany and the Reformation.

Medieval Lectures

The Roman Empire and its Transformation

The Germanic World and its Inheritance

  • Thoughts on Reading Beowulf
  • The Coming of the Germans
  • The Age of Justinian
  • Thoughts on Reading Athanasius' Life of Saint
  • Anthony and The Rule of Saint Benedict
  • The Rise of the Franks

The Making of Medieval Europe

  • Early Medieval Law
  • The Rise of the Western Church
  • The Origins and Expansion of Monasticism
  • The Rise and Expansion of Islam
  • Thoughts on Reading Sura 8 of the Qu'ran, "The Spoils"
  • The Carolingian Empire
  • Thoughts on Reading Alcuin's Life of St. Vedastus
  • The Fall of the Carolingian Empire

An Era of Decentralization

The Feudalization and Reform of the Church

  • Cluny and Church Reform
  • The Life of Gerbert of Aurillac
  • The Investiture Conflict

"Feudal" Society and Its Changes

  • Rodrigo Díaz de Bivar, El Cid
  • Thoughts on Reading The Song of the Cid
  • Thoughts on Reading The Song of Roland
  • The Peasants: Advances in Agricultural Technology
  • The Revival of Commerce and Towns
  • The Bayeux Tapestry (Background)
  • The First Crusade

The Twelfth-Century Renaissance

  • The Troubadours and the Development of Chivalry
  • The State of the Nobility
  • The Paupers
  • Medieval Philosophy
  • The Birth of the Universities

The Thirteenth-Century Crystallization

  • The Rise of Popular Heresies
  • Innocent III and Challenges to the Church
  • The Mendicant Friars
  • Thoughts on Reading The Little Flowers of St. Francis
  • Jofre Isaac and the Weight of Tradition
  • Frederick II, Stupor Mundi
  • Europe in 1300

The Ordeals of the Fourteenth Century

  • The Avignon Papacy
  • Thoughts on Reading The Process of Na Prous Bonett (1325)
  • The Rise of Capitalism and Decline of the Gilds
  • The Great Famine and the Black Death
  • The Plague
  • The Hundred Years' War
  • The Sundering of Society
  • The Great Schism
  • The Rise of the National Monarchies
  • Thoughts on Reading The Life of Margery Kempe of Lynn

The End of an Era and the Dawn of a New Age

  • Europe on the Eve of Discovery
  • The Discovery of the New World and End of the Old
  • Some Achievements of Medieval Europe


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