– No plagiarism
– No sources needed all answers are in the reading attached
– Minimal writing of question allowed in answer (This will show up as plagiarism)
Both faith and business can bring humans together in progress and security, and yet both can also create divisions and sow the seeds of war. Describe as best you can which did the most to bring the dark ages to an end and restore the world to civilization and progress: was it faith or business? Minimum ten full sentences in professional style and grammar.
– The question is NOT, “which had the biggest impact on the dark ages.”
– The question is “which DID THE MOST TO BRING THE DARK AGES TO AN END and RESTORE the world to CIVILIZATION and PROGRESS?”
– Critical Points to remember when composing your initial post:
The word CIVILIZATION means “People who build cities”.
The word CITY means “a market centered culture”.
The word CULTURE means “a society that uses critical thinking to make tools”.
– If we remove markets from this discussion, then we are not talking about a culture or a civilization. Markets are CENTRAL to the whole notion of CIVILIZATION.
Many of you are burdened (biased) by the old, obsolete, incorrect notion of civilized as a word meaning “moral”, “religious”, etc. That is not what CIVILIZATION means.
During the Middle Ages (also called the “Dark Ages”) city building collapsed. The CITIES of Rome, Athens, Alexandria, fell into ruins. Rome became a marsh filled with ruins sinking in the muck. What does it mean when CITIES fall into ruin? It means the economies that sustained them, e.g. MARKETS had vanished. It means no one came to buy goods, services, ideas, books or anything else in those places. What happened to the governments that DEPENDED on those MARKET CITIES? They shriveled and died. The Senate of Rome no longer met. The Senate Chamber stood empty for 1,000 years. What had been a unified CIVILIZATION of North Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and Russia, descended into countless petty (small) kingdoms constantly at war with each other.
Far to the North, people on the outside of the ruins of classical CIVILIZATION continued their maritime (ocean going) trade. The Norsemen (Vikings) traded from the ends of the world by river, and sea.
The Norsemen (Vikings) journeyed to great CITIES, e.g. MARKETS, e.g. CIVILIZATIONS, in the east. CITIES like Constantinople (in modern Turkey), Aleppo (in Syria), Tripoli (north Africa), Damascus (in Syria) and Baghdad (modern Iraq), and Tehran, Isfahan, Mashhad, Hamedan (Iran). Viking merchants traveled as far as India, and China. What did they bring back?
The Vikings or Norsemen (Northmen) returned with goods, much wealth, but they also returned with information, which is the first item on every merchant’s watch list, always. While there was no real CIVILIZATION in Europe at that time, the world outside it was filled with CIVILIZATIONS, CITIES, with MARKETS! They concluded, quite wisely, that Europe was in a state of decay, disorganized, lacking unity, and identity. Not so the CIVILIZATIONS outside Europe. In the south, the Almoravid Empire was spreading from North Africa, and reaching up into Spain, and France. In the east, the Byzantine Empire (the last bastion of ancient Rome) was struggling to survive against the pressures from empires further east. These CIVILIZATIONS were each centered around a MARKET-CITY, which dominated their economics, society, and politics. If something happened to the MARKET, the CIVILIZATION would vanish with it.
What was the Foundation of each CIVILIZATION? Answer: its MARKET-CITY. What did the Vikings see there? They saw market places so large that it took days to explore what was for sale. They saw large buildings built for special purposes: hospitals, universities, banks, and libraries. In those libraries they discovered that people were still reading the books of ancient Greece and Rome: Aristotle, Plato, Epicurus, and many more. The Vikings bought these books, and carried them home to the small trading centers in the ruins of Europe. The Vikings, now called NORMANS, (from Northmen, Norsemen) took some of these books to the courts of France, where one of the Popes (head of the western Christian community) heard their stories of the east.
The NORMANS (formerly the Vikings vis-a-vi Norsemen/Northmen) now spoke a mixture of French, Old-English and Latin. Unlike other people of Europe, the NORMANS spoke many languages. Why did they do this? Answer: it was good business practice, essential for trade or commerce. The NORMANS convinced several of the minor rulers of Europe to unite try to set up a MARKET of their own, somewhere in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. The best MARKETS must always have access to the best means of transportation: which is the sea. Even today, traveling by sea/ocean/river is still the cheapest, safest, and most efficient method of transporting goods. So, in that sense, the NORMANS were very modern in their thinking.
The problem facing the NORMANS was how to unite all the Europeans. The NORMANS were clever, ambitious, and uncompromising merchants, capable of adjusting their morals to fit the needs of the situation. At that time the only thing that even loosely united Europe was Christianity, and it was the brand of Christianity that spoke Latin, not Greek, and it was very divided against itself. By “divided” I mean simply that lots of Latin-Christians were fighting over who was head of the church and what it should believe, etc.. No matter. To any smart merchant, divided counsels at the top are an opportunity for clever people. The NORMANS (i.e., former Vikings) decided to become POPES, that is, head of the Church. That is another, fascinating (but long) story, well outside this one. Suffice it to say, that a pope, named Urban II (that is not his real name) knew that Europe at that time was land of poor peasants, with nothing to do. He craftily and cleverly realized that an easy way to employ everyone was a good, old-fashioned war. So, he called on the peasants to unite, arm themselves and march to the Holy Land, which belonged to the wealthy CIVILIZATIONS already there. Setting morals aside, he mobilized western Europe to go to the Holy Land. Getting there was a problem. The Holy Land was across the Mediterranean sea.
The NORMANS had ships, lots and lots of dual purpose Viking-merchant ships. They offered to sell passage across the sea, and drop the armed peasants off to do battle against the owners of the MERCHANT-CITY-CIVILIZATIONS on the eastern Mediterranean sea. The Leader of the NORMAN soldiers who led them was Bohemond, a brother of the other NORMAN (the Pope).
This was the First Crusade (into the Holy Land). It was the only successful crusade. Soon the NORMANS had an empire of their own, with NORMANS running the Church in France, and other ones running the business end of things Antioch, the first NORMAN (Viking) MERCHANT-CITY-of the NORMAN empire.
What did these men look like? The Byzantine Empress Anna Comnena gives a very good description of Bohemond,
“. . . the man was . . . a marvel for the eyes to behold, and his reputation was terrifying . . . more particularly – he was so tall in stature that he overtopped the tallest . . . narrow in the waist and loins, with broad shoulders and a deep chest and powerful arms. . . perfectly proportioned and . . . His skin all over his body was very white, and . . . His hair was yellowish, but did not hang down to his waist like that of the other barbarians; for the man . . . had it cut short to the ears. Whether his beard was . . . any other colour I cannot say, for the razor had passed over it very closely and left a surface smoother than chalk . . . His blue eyes indicated both a high spirit and dignity . . . A certain charm hung about this man but was partly marred by a general air of the horrible . . . He was so made in mind and body that both courage and passion reared . . . within him and both inclined to war. His wit was manifold and crafty and able to find a way of escape in every emergency. In conversation he was well informed . . .” [“Diary of Anna Comnena,” Empress of the Byzantine Empire, Constantinople, who lived from 1083 – 1150. From: “The Portable Medieval Reader”. Penguin Publishing Group. p. 211. ISBN 978-1-101-17374-9. ]
As interesting as Empress Anna’s diary entry might be, return with me now to our discussion of what caused the dark ages to end. Earlier modules of this course describe what brings CIVILIZATION into existence, trade, commerce, business (they all mean the same thing). Earlier modules also describe what brought CLASSICAL CIVILIZATION down. Now you must focus on how CIVILIZATION rose again in the ruins of what had fallen. In the science called Physics we say that nothing happens in a vacuum. If anything happens anywhere in the universe, it is not happening in a vacuum; something is present, however small there are forces, and fields and matter at work. In this sense, science informs us that there are no true vacuums, absolutely. Science cannot find a place anywhere where there is not something.
Just as there are no true vacuums in nature, there are no true vacuums in history. Since all human existence is within this universe described by science and Physics, we must explain the happenings, how they happen, and the place in time and space where they happen. History does not happen in a vacuum. Things are present, nature is present, some kind of natural environment; but other things are also present, plants, animals, air, water, minerals, and sometimes even humans. Sometimes we call the thing filling human existence “Context”. Every human society has a context, of time and place, but also technological level, language level, awareness of things inside and outside their society. If the humans being studied have risen from FAMILY to SOCIETY, and from society to CULTURE, they may have risen to the stage called CIVILIZATION, which means CITIES, which means MARKETS, which are places dedicated to trade, commerce, and business.
However, in this module we are dealing with a society and cultures but with no CIVILIZATION. It is the Middle Ages, the Dark Ages, and no CIVILIZATION spreads across Europe. Nevertheless; once upon a time this place had had its own CIVILIZATION; but at the period we are studying—all that is gone, during this period the land is a mess of tiny communities, constantly at war, divided into many languages, they cannot even speak to each other. It has no banks, no universities, no hospitals, no education system, no libraries. If any of these exist, they are help in private chambers, the property of local war lords, chiefs. Nothing is public. There is no public place. There are signs (evidence) all around that roads once united all this place. Along the coasts, there are ruins of great harbors, lighthouses, ports, warehouses, and armories, ship yards, all abandoned, barely recognizable. No one knows what they were for, or how to put them back into use. What once took a few days, to cross the land, now takes months. What was once safe transportation by land is now overgrown with forest and weeds, and the territory of brigands, pirates, and worse. At this time, the largest communities anywhere in Europe are no larger than 10,000 people, huddled inside the ruins of ancient walls, where they use ancient market places as a setting for outdoor church services. The roofs have caved in, but the walls are still there. All Europe is a ruin. And it sat in this condition from the 4th century ACE (AD) to the time of this module, the beginning of the 11th century.
The NORMANS have just united their ancient homeland, Scandinavia. The NORMANS have conquered England, Scotland, Ireland, northern Spain, Italy, and northern France. The NORMANS have just conquered the coast of Syria and established a MARKET in Antioch. The NORMANS have their own man on the throne of western Christianity, the Papacy, the Pope. They have established the NORMAN EMPIRE, from Syria to Ireland, from North Africa to the Artic. Tying all this together is their ambition, to lay hands on the wealth of the world, and bring it home. And what do they do with it? They build the first universities in Europe, the first hospitals, the first banks, the CIVILIZATION of everyone else is rising again in Europe But CIVILIZATION was never truly dead. What dies in one place may live on in other places. CIVILIZATION is not morals, or faith. CIVILIZATION means people who build CITIES, and cities are MARKET centered culture. What happens now in Europe will be discussed in future modules. The new age of market cities, commercial cities, banking centers, and universities begins. With it, begins a new age of questioning the intolerance of the past age.
STOP. “which DID THE MOST TO BRING THE DARK AGES TO AN END and RESTORE the world to CIVILIZATION and PROGRESS?” Faith or business? No one is suggesting that faith has died. Far from it. But that is not the question. Faith remains to this day. Faith in many varieties. What you must investigate is how and why CIVILIZATION and PROGRESS returned to a land that once had it. It would not make any sense to say that Europe of this time converted to the faiths outside of Europe (Islam, Buddha, Hindu, etc.) So, faith, in that line of reasoning was not brought from outside to inside. Europe already had faith, and it had had one the whole period of the dark ages. Europe had made no progress during this period. It declined, in fact. In fact, the dark ages are called “The Age of Faith,” by many historians, such a Durant, Russel, Spengler and Toynbee, But somehow, suddenly in the 12th century progress began anew. Obviously to those who got around (NORMANS and Vikings), PROGRESS was visible in the outside world. During the Age of Faith, the mind of Europe had become a province of intolerance and superstition, utterly uninterested in the doings of outsiders. PROVINCIALISM, and provincial thinking began to collapse under the tales of better, safer, wealthier lives happening in the outside. Psycho-Historians refer to this as “cultural shock.” During the dark ages, Europe had the silly idea that their life of asceticism was good. However, the silly idea that dark age Europe had it good vanished almost overnight, when the knowledge of better ways returned with the tales and goods of the merchants. A new dialogue began. “The Renaissance,” which literally means a rebirth of ancient reason.