Saturday, June 22, 2019

Vox Popoli: When the Middle Ages were Dark

Unauthorized professor Rachel Fulton Brown laments the colorization of what used to be known as the Dark Ages:

You remember, right? What it was like when the Middle Ages were Dark? The Roman Catholic Church made slaves of everyone, stripped them of their sense of dignity and independence and made social status a matter not of achievement, but birth. The Church hated science and industry and did everything in its power to keep people in chains. It guarded its authority with the sword and the stake, stifled all innovation, and fed the common people lies.

And why were these Ages so Dark? There were no universities, no towns, only castles with dungeons. Monks huddled in their cells thinking dark thoughts about sin, while Vikings stormed across the countryside, raping and pillaging and capturing Christians to sell as slaves. The Church refused to let anybody learn to read in case they got hold of the Bible and threatened its power.

Meanwhile, in the convents, women went mad, hysterically imagining themselves beloved by God, some even going so far as to have visions of being married to Christ. They were encouraged in these “absurd and puerile” delusions by their priests, themselves driven mad by their unnatural celibacy, who, when they were not seducing nuns, were inventing lies about witches having sex with the Devil, all the while blaming the women for inflaming their lust.

There was no commerce, no learning, no art. All was drab and colorless because the Church hated beauty. The kings were barbarians who knew nothing of law. The Church encouraged the worst superstitions so as to keep the laity bewitched and in fear of God. The barons thought nothing of torturing their own laborers, while the Church was ever on the lookout for heretics to burn at the stake.

Even the high culture was infected with superstition, as the Church coerced the laity into building great cathedrals simply in order to assert its power. Whereas the ancient Romans had build a great civilization (never mind the conquest and slaves), the Middle Ages knew only decadence and decline, thanks to the Church. There was no great literature or philosophy, only the demented ravings of the scholastics, who wasted their lives arguing such stupidities as how many angels could dance on the head of a pin and insisting that the world was flat.

And then along came Charles Homer Haskins (1870-1937) and ruined everything.

Prof. Brown's first Unauthorized video will be available on Unauthorized.TV later this month.