The Bridgeport Post, Connecticut, July 31, 1958
This is amazing. They had such high hopes for us. I am indeed a woman of faith, but sometimes I wonder how much farther we’d be today if the Dark Ages never happened.
Wtf you talking about moron
Pardon? If I’m not mistaken, the Catholic Church suppressed the expansion of knowledge in the name of religion during the Middle Ages, before the Age of Enlightenment. Book burnings, heresy murders, etc.. If that hadn’t happened, I do believe science could have evolved much faster, and then perhaps this headline from the 50s would be correct, and casual space travel might’ve been possible.
The “Dark Ages” are a myth, as my Medieval History Prof from University could tell you. The “Dark Age,” if ever used at all in historical writing, is based on a paucity of evidence for a period. Hence the so-called “Greek Dark Age” in the Bronze Age and the Byzantine Dark Age in the period prior to the Komnenian Dynasty. Beyond this, the only reason the term “Dark Age” is used at all is because Petrarch (writing in what WE call the Renaissance) considered his time “a dark age,” as nothing to the scholarly mind could ever compare to Ancient Rome.
In reality, the Middle Ages gave us such innovations as the University, common law and the adversarial court room model, flying buttresses and other architectural innovations that culminated in the Gothic Cathedrals, the horse-collar and mold-board plough which revolutionized European agriculture, the Stirrup, modern systems of banking, and the economic system we know as capitalism. There are far more, but to suggest that the MIddle Ages were a time of stagnation is erroneous, as the subsequent developments of the Early Modern Era would not have taken place without having foundations in the economic, social and cultural evolution of the Middle Ages which preceded them.
“the Catholic Church suppressed the expansion of knowledge in the name of religion during the Middle Ages”
This is blatantly untrue; Nicholas of Cusa held the the son was the center of the solar system long before Galileo did, while Nicolaus Copernicus was a Polish Catholic Priest when he published his works, and remained so when he died. Albert the Great, Duns Scotus, Thomas Bradwardine, and the Oxford Calculators were all clergy, and all took advantage of the Church’s support for Universities and the expansion of knowledge to make great advances in science. Atheist writer Tim O’Neill actually has a great article that discusses and debunks the myth, far more thoroughly than I could manage, so I’ll post the link here (I’ll also link to Regine Pernoud’s book Those Terrible Middle Ages, which takes on popular myths of the time). James Walsh wrote an entire book on the subject around the turn of the 20th century also, The Popes and Science.
The best example of this misconception on the internet is the infamous “Chart”
The subreddit of which I was a member, r/badhistory, gave this it’s name (the subreddit wiki should have a giant compendium of debunkings of it if memory serves). Suffice to say it is completely wrong. Technological advances in the Roman Empire were limited to copying the Greeks, and if any ‘lag’ was created it was due to the series of invasions which plagued Europe in the early part of the Middle Ages, namely those of the Germanic tribes, the Magyars, the Vikings and the Arabs.
This was a very educated and knowledgeable response; I stand corrected. Thank you for taking the time to explain things to me respectfully.
No problemo! Glad to help!
I remember seeing this graph before but the large drop was used in place of the burning of the library of Alexandria, know if that holds any weight?
From what I’ve read, the Library was basically a mixed bag. They recorded literally ANYTHING they could put their hands on, so presumably you’d find map charts like the Periplus of the Erythrian Sea, and say, “Nubile Gallic Teens Vol. 5″ or whatever the hell ordinary Romans read at the time. In any case, it was Caesar’s fault that the place burned down, and that was decades before the Roman Empire was founded.
This is a good thread. Not only educational and debunking tired misconceptions, but also respectful and nobody being belittled for being wrong.