6 Insightful Reasons the Dark Ages Weren’t So Dark

The Dark Ages were not devoid of learning and light as seen by some scholars or historians lately.

6 min readApr 13, 2021


Saint Paul at Ephesus, painted in 1649 by Eustache Le Sueur: Source

What comes to your mind when you think of the ‘Dark Ages’? Do you think it was a millennium of superstition, poverty, ignorance, stagnation, obscurantism, and backwardness? Most people imagine that it was a chaotic time of thousand years where one could hardly imagine a good life.

The belief that the Christian Church held the people in darkness by burning books and witches, destroying classical texts, or telling the people that bathing was a sin is a wrong notion. We think there was no purpose in life, and everywhere there was killing and slaughtering for no reason. We also think of a lack of technological advancement, and thus, life was extremely miserable.

However, the truth is different. We are accustomed to the barbarous caricature of the middle ages in a way that we think was a long period of complete ignorance. In reality, historians referred to specific centuries of medieval western Europe that lasted a little over three hundred years after the fall of the Western Roman Empire; till the rise of the Carolinian Empire in the late eighth century.

1# The term ‘Dark Ages’ were used by later scholars

When the Western Roman Empire collapsed in 476 A.D. and failed to hold together the territory by the force of law, many new polities emerged. Various Germanic tribes invaded and conquered the Western Empire up to North Africa and established their rule. These conquests not only changed the leadership but also destroyed the ancient Roman tradition by introducing their own.

The early Roman and Greek ages were considered the ‘Golden Ages’ for their learning, art, engineering, innovation, and wisdom. With the collapse of the Western Empire, the Roman traditions saw a steep decline, and the love of education and innovation was lost to the ashes of history.

The centuries that followed the fall of the Western Empire didn’t give birth to great leaders, craftsmen, learning, or any scientific improvements. That’s why Francesco Petrarch, the Italian scholar of the Renniasannce referred to these centuries…




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