Matthew J. Franck
Robert P. George
William J. Haun
David T. Koyzis
Robert T. Miller
James R. Rogers
Russell E. Saltzman
Check out FT junior fellow Ryan Sayre Patrico’s review of Remi Brague’s Legend of the Middle Ages–this weekend on National Review Online.
I so appreciate the thoughts at First Thoughts that I have passed along the Honest Scrap award to this blog. For more details, see http://bedlamorparnassus.blogspot.com/2009/06/blog-award.html.
I’ve noticed this obsession among a certain faction of the social conservatives to somehow rehabilitate the Medieval period. I’m not sure what their purpose is or what they hope to accomplish, but it strikes me as nonsensical.
The Fall of Rome was really a fall. Trade declined dramatically. It is known that pottery production in Rome was on an industrial scale and that the quality was good. Pottery production completely disappeared within a century following the fall of Rome. A lot of engineering knowledge was lost as well. The viaducts and roads that the Romans built represented engineering accomplishments that were not matched, in some cases, until the early 19th century.
Also, general health declined as well. It is well-known that the average life expectancy of the average Roman was 40 years, the average for medieval Europe was 26 years. I don’t know if this decline represents an increase in infant mortality, actual decline in adult life span, or both. In any case, it represents a real decline in living standards.
Lastly, it was the Christians that burned that library in Alexandria, not the Muslims. I know that the Muslims have always taken the rap for this. Just like how the Nazis took the rap for killing the Polish officer corp in 1939 when, in fact, it was the Soviets that did the dirty deed. Likewise, it was the Christians, not the Muslims, who did the dirty deed in Alexandria.
I see no point in rehabilitating medieval Europe. Maybe these guys are all SCA members.
Terrific review Ryan!
“Lastly, it was the Christians that burned that library in Alexandria, not the Muslims.”
Umm….no. Caesar burned the Royal Library of Alexandria. Theopilus of Alexandria has been taking the fall for this one far more than the Muslims. As evidenced here.
“I’ve noticed this obsession among a certain faction of the social conservatives to somehow rehabilitate the Medieval period. I’m not sure what their purpose is or what they hope to accomplish, but it strikes me as nonsensical.”
I do not see how nonsensical it is to attempt to see the ideals and values, virtues and accomplishments of our spiritual ancestors in their proper light.
“The Fall of Rome was really a fall.”
Nobody disputes this. Heck, you’d have a greater problem with classicists romanticizing the Empire than people belittling it.
The Dark Ages, viewed in this light, only make the Middle Ages all the more remarkable.