The Middle Ages as the “Dark Ages”
The Early Middle Ages also known as the Dark Ages was a time span in the history of Europe soon after the fall of Roman Empire. “The term Middle Ages seems to have been first used by Flavio Biondo”. There seems to have been retarded development which plunged Europe into a state of retrogression for a long period of time. There was a serious economic problem by that time. According to world almanac, there was “…notably a severe economic dislocation and the invasions and settlement of the various Germanic tribes…”
It is understood that Western Europe “remained essentially a primitive culture”. No government existed during this time. Economic developments were very marginal at this time. The “only universal European institution was the church”. The power within the church was all bestowed to bishops locally.
There were less scientific records kept during the Dark Ages. This is true because even technology in terms of innovation and invention was non existent. Hence people were kept in the “dark” compared to the modern times. Not much was known and practiced. There was much importance given to Godly matters. Going to heaven was given a higher priority than scientific explorations.
Governance was carried out by the most uncivilized tribes who were very barbaric. These tribes could not control war activities. Fighting and territorial wars was a common experience during the Dark Ages. They would fight over power and gaining more territories. These continual wars led to serious political and economic breakdowns. There was abject poverty and suffering among the people. Their effort went towards fighting, building weapons, and fending for food to support their very survival. They used the same weapons to maim and kill themselves. All these reasons support the reason why this period was referred as the Dark Age.
There was no peace as fighting for supremacy was commonplace. Education and art lost their meaning ad importance after the collapse of the Roman Empire. There were other important things to be other than education and art work. The number of those receiving formal education went down drastically because the barbaric tribe did not see the need for it. For those who were still interested in education, poverty, and poor economic base could not allow them. It was impossible for them to afford the cost of education. Illiteracy level went up in an alarming level making these people to remain in the deeper darkness. Besides teachers, learning facilities for example books were not sufficient following the high demand. This led to sharing of especially books by students hampering the learning process.
Charlemagne was a very powerful king in Europe as he succeeded in changing all the barbarian tribes into Christians. He also showed them the importance of education by starting a common language to all “Latin”. This language enabled the scholars around the nation to exchange communication. The king also introduced a common currency. His aim was to unite the nation. He knew that by uniting the nation, he would achieve a lot in fighting the “dark age”.
Trouble with religious affiliation was a problem associated with the Dark Ages. There were serious disagreements among the Christians, the Roman Catholics and Muslims. Each was trying to win a convert for his religion.
As can be observed from the Dark Ages, we learn that war is not the best solution to gain power. It is a primitive way of life. It causes unhappiness, poverty, suffering, and downfall of a nation. The political and national economic strength is weakened as a result of war. It is also important that we keep our historical records straight for the next generation to learn from it.