Following the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, the Dark Ages is a time period often associated with a decline in intellectual stimulation and an economy that seemed bleak in Europe. You’d think that the world stopped during this time, but in fact, a lot of good things were going on. In this article, you will learn about some of the positive movements and advancements that took place during the Dark Ages.
Sharing of Information and Knowledge
During the early Middle Ages, the church in Europe was not only unified, but followed a widely accepted canon of the Bible, and had developed their philosophical ways quite well. Because of this, the Western nations enjoyed a period of great peace. During this time, Islam did not agree with the doctrines of the West, but a lot of information transpired between the different nations. Today, the West still feels some of the contributions of Islam. Intellectual progress took place when certain aspects of both belief systems were embraced. One hundred years later, the first Crusade emerged in an effort to take back Jerusalem from the Muslims, and the two groups ceased their amicable sharing of knowledge.
A Boom in Education
In the early Middle Ages, universities started to emerge and the Classical education was born ”“ the first in history. Today, some schools still follow in the footsteps of these early educational institutions. Students learned law, medicine, theology and the arts in the universities. The first degrees were given to student in 1088 when the University of Bologna was founded. The Classical structure of learning was initially the brainchild of ancient Greek education with a bit of Islamic learning incorporated.
When universities were first developed, women were not allowed to attend. However, females were still educated during this time. Young women received their education from the convents, as they entered in their care at a very tender age. Women also held positions of power and influence (even if not official), such as Hildegard Von Bingen, who greatly influenced men in power during the medieval days. The German writer is known for penning theological, botanical and medicinal texts, as well as poems.
Steady Progress in Science
While impressive scientific advancements did not occur much in the West during the Dark Ages, there was steady high-quality work taking place. The building bricks of advanced science were laid down during this time, paving the way for the accomplishments made in the High Middle Ages. The things that were studied during the early Middle Ages would influence the education and learning of the future. The ancient science of the past was cut off by the rise in Christianity. The Medieval Christian Church did everything in its power to end the growth of natural sciences. Scientists of the Dark Ages lived in a time where medieval Christians believed the earth was flat and the church forbade autopsies and dissections.