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View Diary: Books That Changed My Life: Said's Orientalism (124 comments)

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  •  Oh Jesus, the "Dark Ages" (16+ / 0-)

    The only reason they were "dark" is because we don't have all that many written records.  Archaeological finds, art, and architecture have made it abundantly clear that the so-called barbarians who swept through Europe after the deposition of Romulus Augustulus had very sophisticated material cultures and extensive trading networks.  Ditto the Vikings.  And there were areas, like Visigothic Spain, Carolingian/Ottonian Spain, and Anglo-Saxon England, that were literate, prosperous, and highly cultured.


    •  Do you know what (9+ / 0-)

      books on that are good?  It's kind of a grey, fuzzy area for me.

      If religion means a way of life, and life's necessities are food, clothing, and shelter, then we should not separate religion from economics. - Malcolm X

      by dirkster42 on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 07:09:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Pirenne--a guy who we studied in a course (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        poco, JDsg, Limelite, angry marmot

        called 'archaeology and the global economy', wrote a book called Mohammed and Charlemagne, in which he argued that the dark ages really weren't the direct result of a 'barbarian sack' by Germanic groups, but the result of major socio-economic shifts linked with the rise of the Islamic world.  Trade between Scandinavia and the Middle East, for example was thriving in, I think the 8th-9th centuries...

        We in the west still see the Dark Ages as a global phenomenon, with Europe, for all intents and purposes, representing 'global'.

        While it's true what Ellid is saying--that 'barbarians' is really a term that fails to recognize the complexity of different kinds of societies--I think the real issue is that we still fail to pay attention to the major complex societies of the time in the Umayyad/Abbasid caliphates, etc...For example, the Silk road centre of Merv, Turkmenistan may have been the third largest city in the world in the 10th century.

        Pretty happening Dark Age if you know where to look...

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