Ni vet att jag påstått att medeltiden är väldigt förtalad. För det har jag kallats allt möjligt och blivit misstrodd. Det har lite känts som när man debatterar med kreationister som säger att man ljuger när man hävdar att evolutionsteorin är den som forskningen idag ser som sann och inte pseudovetenskapliga skapelseteorier. Faktiskt har det känts exakt så eftersom jag ju vet var forskningen står idag. Oerhört frustrerande minst sagt.
Men idag känns det lite bättre eftersom jag av slumpen sprang på en bra artikel. Som ni ska se är det inte min åsikt, utan den som forskningen faktiskt har idag. Wikipedia sammanfattar väldigt väl varför ”The Dark Ages” är en totalt ovetenskaplig benämning på en väldigt förtalad period.
Jag har plockat ut det jag personligen tyckte var viktigast. Jag lämnar kvar wikipedias fotnots-länkar så ifall någon vill kontrollera källorna så kan de göra det. Jag rekommenderar en läsning av originalartikeln eftersom den innehåller mycket mer om varifrån det vinklade begreppet kommer ifrån och hur mycket det har färgat vår synsätt.
Om begreppet ”The Dark Ages”:
The concept of a Dark Age originated with the Italian scholar Petrarch (Francesco Petrarca) in the 1330s, and was originally intended as a sweeping criticism of the character of Late Latin literature. Petrarch regarded the post-Roman centuries as ”dark” compared to the light ofclassical antiquity. Later historians expanded the term to refer to the transitional period between Roman times and the High Middle Ages (c. 11th–13th century), including not only the lack of Latin literature, but also a lack of contemporary written history, general demographic decline, limited building activity and material cultural achievements in general. Later historians and writers picked up the concept, and popular culture has further expanded on it as a vehicle to depict the Middle Ages as a time of backwardness, extending its pejorative use and expanding its scope.
The rise of archaeology and other specialties in the 20th century has shed much light on the period and offered a more nuanced understanding of its positive developments. Other terms of periodization have come to the fore: Late Antiquity, the Early Middle Ages, and the Great Migrations, depending on which aspects of culture are being emphasized. When modern scholarly study of the Middle Ages arose in the 19th century, the term ”Dark Ages” was at first kept, with all its critical overtones. On the rare occasions when the term ”Dark Ages” is used by historians today, it is intended to be neutral, namely, to express the idea that the events of the period often seem ”dark” to us only because of the scarcity of artistic and cultural output, including historical records, when compared with both earlier and later times.
The idea of a Dark Age originated with Petrarch in the 1330s. Writing of those who had come before him, he said: ”Amidst the errors there shone forth men of genius; no less keen were their eyes, although they were surrounded by darkness and dense gloom”.Christian writers, including Petrarch himself, had long used traditional metaphors of ”light versus darkness” to describe ”good versus evil”. Petrarch was the first to co-opt the metaphor and give it secular meaning by reversing its application. Classical Antiquity, so long considered the ”dark” age for its lack of Christianity, was now seen by Petrarch as the age of ”light” because of its cultural achievements, while Petrarch’s time, allegedly lacking such cultural achievements, was seen as the age of darkness. As an Italian, Petrarch saw the Roman Empire and the classical period as expressions of Italian greatness.
When modern scholarly study of the Middle Ages arose in the 19th century, the term ”Dark Ages” was widely used by historians. In 1860, as John Barber notes, Burckhardt in The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy ”formulated the classic contrast between the medieval period as the ‘dark ages’ and the achievements of the Renaissance as a period of revived antiquity that included literature, elegance and erudition”. However, the early 20th century saw a radical re-evaluation of the Middle Ages, and with it a calling into question of the terminology of darkness, or at least of its pejorative use. Historian Denys Hay exemplified this when he spoke ironically of ”the lively centuries which we call dark”.
When the term ”Dark Ages” is used by historians today, therefore, it is intended to be neutral, namely, to express the idea that the events of the period often seem ”dark” to us because of the paucity of historical records compared with both earlier and later times. The term is used in this sense (often in the singular) to reference the Bronze Age collapse and the subsequent Greek Dark Ages, the dark ages of Cambodia (c. 1450-1863), and also a hypothetical Digital Dark Age which would ensue if the electronic documents produced in the current period were to become unreadable at some point in the future. Some Byzantinists have used the term ”Byzantine Dark Ages” to refer to the period from the earliest Muslim conquests to about 800 AD, because there are no extant historical texts in Greek from this period, and thus the history of the Byzantine Empire and formerly Byzantine territories that were conquered by the Muslims is poorly understood and must be reconstructed from other types of contemporaneous sources, such as religious texts. It is also known that very few Greek manuscripts were copied in this period, indicating that the seventh and eighth centuries, which were a period of crisis for the Byzantines because of the Muslim conquests, were also less intellectually active than other periods. The term ”dark age” is not restricted to the discipline of history. Since the archaeological evidence for some periods is abundant and for others scanty, there are also archaeological dark ages.j
However, from the mid-20th century onwards, other historians became critical of even this nonjudgmental use of the term for two main reasons. First, it is questionable whether it is possible to use the term ”Dark Ages” effectively in a neutral way; scholars may intend this, but it does not mean that ordinary readers will so understand it. Second, the explosion of new knowledge and insight into the history and culture of the Early Middle Ages, which 20th-century scholarship has achieved, means that these centuries are no longer dark even in the sense of ”unknown to us”. To avoid the value judgment implied by the expression, many historians avoid it altogether.
Och så den moderna vetenskapliga synen på medeltiden:
The medieval period is frequently caricatured as supposedly a ”time of ignorance and superstition” which placed ”the word of religious authorities over personal experience and rational activity.”
However, rationality was increasingly held in high regard as the Middle Ages progressed. The historian of science Edward Grant, writes that ”If revolutionary rational thoughts were expressed [in the 18th century], they were only made possible because of the long medieval tradition that established the use of reason as one of the most important of human activities”. Furthermore, David Lindberg says that, contrary to common belief, ”the late medieval scholar rarely experienced the coercive power of the church and would have regarded himself as free (particularly in the natural sciences) to follow reason and observation wherever they led”.
The caricature of the period is also reflected in a number of more specific notions. For instance, a claim that was first propagated in the 19th centuryand is still very common in popular culture is the supposition that all people in the Middle Ages believed that the Earth was flat. This claim is mistaken. In fact, lecturers in the medieval universities commonly advanced evidence in favor of the idea that the Earth was a sphere. Lindberg and Numbers write: ”There was scarcely a Christian scholar of the Middle Ages who did not acknowledge [Earth’s] sphericity and even know its approximate circumference”.
Other misconceptions such as: ”the Church prohibited autopsies and dissections during the Middle Ages”, ”the rise of Christianity killed off ancient science”, and ”the medieval Christian church suppressed the growth of natural philosophy”, are all cited by Ronald Numbers as examples of widely popular myths that still pass as historical truth, although they are not supported by current historical research. They help maintain the idea of a ”Dark Age” spanning through the medieval period.