How Dark Were the Dark Ages?

“No period of history is more misunderstood or underappreciated than The Middle Ages, the ten centuries from the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century to the start of the Renaissance in the 15th,” wrote Anthony Esolen, an English Literature professor at Providence College, in a brief lecture broadcast for the Prager Institute.

“This is especially true between the year 1000, when global warming brought grapes to England and grain to the coasts of Greenland, doubling the population and reviving town life all across the Europe, and 1348, after the warming had ended and the Black Death arrived from the east. Let’s take a closer look at these years. We’ll make a good start by dispelling some nonsense….”

He goes on to describe the happy lives and advancements of the Middle Ages, that is, until global warming ended, the little Ice Age began, creating famines, and the Black Plague struck, killing off half the population of Europe and at least 25 million people in Asia. Estimates are it killed between 75 million and 200 million people in Eurasia. 

Drill Deeper: 

Crash Course: How Dark Were the Dark Ages? 

“John Green teaches you about the so-called Dark Ages, which it turns out weren’t as uniformly dark as you may have been led to believe. While Europe was indeed having some issues, many other parts of the world were thriving and relatively enlightened. John covers European Feudalism, the cultural blossoming of the Islamic world, and the scientific and artistic advances in China, all during these “Dark Ages.” Along the way, John will raise questions about the validity of Europe’s status as a continent, reveal the best and worst years of his life, and frankly state that science and religion were once able to coexist.” Transcript.

5 thoughts on “How Dark Were the Dark Ages?

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