Prager University Shatters Myths Surrounding the Middle Ages
The Middle Ages represents a dark chapter in human history, a time to be skipped over while concentrating on more pertinent parts of our collective past.
Nothing could be further from the truth, argues Providence College Professor of English Anthony Esolen.
The professor's new course at Prager University describes the cultural richness of the Middle Ages, dispelling stubborn myths in a compact 5-plus minute format. “Were the Middle Ages Dark?” recalls some of the major cultural contributions from the era, from the dawn of the university to some of the most profound artistic achievements from any time period.
The era witnessed the rebirth of the theatrical drama, a dawn of musical notation and an increase in architectural masterpieces.
"We have nothing to match their complexity and beauty," he says of the architectural triumphs.
Esolen blames an educational system with little interest in setting the record straight on the Middle Ages, such as the notion that people still felt the earth was flat.
“Nobody teaches history in schools anyway, much less the history of Europe. They do current events, social studies,” Esolen tells Breitbart News.
“The literature of the Middle Ages is largely ignored … they’ll either do modern philosophy or jump from Plato to Descartes as if nothing happened of any important in between.”
Another reason for the false information is what the professor calls a sense of “desperation” powered by a lack of faith in modern achievements.
“Deep down, people know the cultural works we produce now are largely garbage,” he says.
The era was also marked by global warming, a weather trend which led to heartier crops, better health and the doubling of the population as well as an economic boom.
“We don’t know for certain us how warm it was .. we know it was very warm .. certainly a lot warmer in Europe than it had been,” he says. “We saw evidence of certain crops growing for the first time in northern latitudes.”
Those changes paved the way for people to embrace different vocations, allowing them to tap inner talents that otherwise might have been ignored.
“Not everybody has to be working the field to produce food. You can have towns filled with people who are artisans,” he says.
“You can be a goldsmith. You could also be people who are neither planters nor soldiers nor artisans, but businessmen and middle men.”
None of the above diminishes the violence that marked elements of the Middle Ages, although Esolen says
“It was a violent time in some ways, but it was violently good."