Random Facts about the Dark Ages
THE DARK AGES
The Dark Ages is a name often applied by historians to the Middle Ages, a term comprising about 1,000 years, from the fall of the Roman Empire in the fifth century to the invention of printing in the fifteenth. The period is called "dark" because of the generally depraved state of European society at this time, the subservience of men's minds to priestly domination, and the general indifference to learning. The admirable civilization that Rome had developed and fostered, was swept out of existence by the barbarous invaders from Northern Europe, and there is no doubt that the first half of the medieval era, at least, from the year 500 to 1000, was one of the most brutal and ruffianly epochs in history. The principal characteristic of the middle ages were the feudal system and the papal power. By the first the common people were ground into a condition of almost hopeless slavery, by the second the evolution of just and equitable governments by the ruling clashes was rendered impossible through the intrusion of the pontifical authority into civil affairs. Learning did not wholly perish, but it betook itself to the seclusion of the cloisters. The monasteries were the resort of many earnest scholars, and there were prepared the writings of historians, metaphysicians and theologians. But during this time man lived, as the historian Symonds says, "enveloped in a cowl." The study of nature was not only ignored but barred, save only as it ministered in the forms of alchemy and astrology to the one cardinal medieval virtue--- credulity. Still the period saw many great characters and events fraught with the greatest importance to the advancement of the race.