Hello all, this debate topic is in response to the most recent crash course video about the medieval period or more commonly known as the dark ages. Before we begin I want to tell you a few things about me
1) I am dyslexic I try to do my best with grammer and spelling but there will be problems and odd bits. I am sorry for your pain for having to read the mistakes but being dyslexic does not make me dumb or any other names someone might feel like calling me.
2) I have a two degrees in history. Along with a few other degrees. But one of them is in world history focusing on fudeal, imperial, and medieval periods.
3) I have writen one thesis already on the crusades. I am not euro centric but do feel the love for my fudeual periods. I actually focused on the crusades from the arab point of view, damn those franks. ;)
4) I am doing this because the discution in youtube lacks a certain level of understanding and education. It also had to many moder biases that missed the larger point.
5) I dispise blanket statements about history but will unfortunatly be making this simplified so will be using them insert dependent on time and place as you see fit.
Now onto the show. John simply comprese a highly complicated period that incompased most of the world during rouughly the same time. Crash course has had an amazing ability to be mostly correct and stay broad without giving into too many blanket statements.
The comments on the otherhand have missed the point as per usual youtube. I am going to list a few points for discution feel free to agree disagree with support.
1: serfs are the same as peasents. No actually they are not peasents is a general term discriping those of a certain social and money class. They where often free "men" bound to areas by laws and loyalty. They could go to court, own land, become nobiltiy through deeds and family ties. They where educated. Serfs where bound persons, bound to the land they works and often where very very poor and had little education. They could become free men. You could be born as a sefr or become a serf through the loss of wealth. Peasents and serfdom varied from area to area. Serfdom being most common in Russia. (Which went through its own vastly diffrent fudal period then the rest of Europe)
2: peasents where forced into the fudal system or where slaughterd. This again is a blanket statement that lacks variation for area and time. There are a few large examples that peasents where not helpless to the sword so to say. The "Peasents revolt" being the largest. We also still have law text and church documents of who sued who aften peasents suing their "lords", who bought what and married who. being under a king or a lord was part of their social system just as for us being under a congress or parliment. The fuduel system was a complicated intertwining system of loyalty, formal and verbal contracts, family relations, and friends. You do not whole out slaughter your ties, family, and firends or the people that feed you.
3: The church limited education to control the masses. This is just not true for the large part of the period. The churches control did expand over time. But the church was the heart of learning as where trade schools. You learned to read and write about mathmatics. Literacy was not as large of an issues as it is today. you needed to know enough to do your books and complete contracts, but math was more important. Yes access to the holy books where limited. But the monistaries where open to all boys (and some girls) and where most often free for anyone serf, peasent, or nobility. Also this statement is completly Eurocentric and ignores what was happening in the arab world or in China. But let us stay on topic. Also the church was a part of everyday life it was your meeting house, your fair ground, your hospiltal, ect. No one for the most part thought of it as evil, corrupt, or a limiter of freedom. Education as for most of the other areas of the world during this time was interlinked with religion.
Ok so those are just a few very broad points in a very large complicated series of events that we are still learning about today. As with all history I feel it is important to see the intricate parts then the easy blanket statements. We are still being effected by the medieval period today. What happened in the crusades lead to parts of the enlightenment, the black plague helped to construct part of the economic foundation for the industrial revolution. This is just in Europe not including Russia. Once you look into the middle east, Asia, or Japan it turns things on its head and gets oh so much fun.
Ok have fun I have said my peace. Debate, read, learn, enjoy, and keep it civil.
This is all quite interesting, but I'm just wondering what your question is? I am inferring that you're wondering or proposing that the dark ages weren't as dark as we supposed: discuss.
Maybe extending on what your saying, the dark ages weren't as dark as commonly thought because there were concepts of human rights in those days, although it was articulated a little differently to what we're used to. Or maybe not so differently because you've made the point that the system of lords and nobility was not that dissimilar from the concept of senates and congress we have now. Or at the very least because the monied classes are still the bosses....whether we vote or not :)
Working from that, I'd like to point out that in England at least, as far as I know anyway, one of the things that marked the difference between the dark and middle ages was the provision of rights. For example, in certain situations, the lords had the right to depose the monarch, and the parliament was formed. So perhaps I am unclear on what delineates what period in European history. If I'm looking at this accurately, then the idea of human rights in its post feudal form has it's roots in the feudal era (or the dark ages). So the reason why the dark ages weren't so dark is because the basis for what we have now lies there? Although during the "Renaissance" much older ideas were pulled out and dusted off and given a new lease, the ancient Greeks being an example....?
I was not saying the dark ages where dark at all I was going of the video title. I have dispised the classification of this period as the dark ages for a long time. I had no real question I just wanted to discuss this more with people who didn't have their fingers in their ears and where not listening to anything but their own prejudgments.
Dependent on which time period the history about the medieval ages is being looked at such as the romantic period or the modern period that dates for the stop and the start of the medieval ages varies. You find this to be true for most periods that are not in the modern age the fall of Rome is a a good example of this because it is dependent on which part of Rome you are talking about and if you consider the Holy Roman Empire to be truelly Roman or that the vatican is still in place and when it was implaced. All these varing date are good for a number of debates but the idea is still the same Rome fell.
Human rights do have there roots in the fuedal era they also have bases in the anceint period with Greece. Human rights is a subject that has evolved through time. With the adding of diffrent classes and genders. We are going through right now a transition of human rights but that is a discution for another day.
There is no true dark age transition for most if not all medieval or feudal historians the "dark ages" are an miss nomer (sp?). Debendent with whom you discus the topic with they may not even bat an eyelash at the words dark ages or get almost vilantly frustrated at you. You also have to remebmer all these periods where distingished long after the people who had lived in them had been buried. History is a story filled with facts that can be changed, corrected, or mislead by interpretation. It is much like science in the way that you have to keep tweaking the experiment to get it all just right but there is still unanswered questions.
In the Renaissance we had a return to old ideas to support the birth of new ones. The great masters where highly governed by the church but at the same time their work was focused around "pagen" idels that helped to give birth to the englightenment of man. The Renaissance also has its own periods and divides dependent on who and where you are talking about. When most people talk about the Renaissance they are thinking Italy or Venice not Germany.
In most part I posted the discustion because of frustation at a lack of critical thinking and viewing history as a clear black and white subject. Peasents where weak kings where tyrant sort of way. History as life is not black and white. It is not made up of blanket statements and narrow views.
I hoped that my post would help to correct miss conceptions and add a few more ways of thinking about a complicated period of western history that is often ignored or misrepresented.
Cool beans, so I take it you're a go-to person for questions on this general era of history and the door is open.
With the human rights thing, it's not so clear to me when these things really happened or just how many rights there are. I think Germany had a fairly particular philosophical period with moral issues but this didn't come until much later. France seems to be credited with the revolution, but that was also later, after uhm, was it the Stuart Monarchy in England? They did that Magna Carta. Anyway I don't even know what rights were in that so if you felt like elaborating that would be cool.
I have a degree in world history in feudal, medieval, and imperial periods please feel free to ask me stuff. I am shaking on modern periods. If I don't know I won't bullshit you.
I am also currently working on my masters that includes enviromental history, ecology, and forest managment.
So yeah I know old war and new plants. :)
The first rights of man, and they for where men and usally free men with money where established in the Greecian period. This is to not say that people did not have rights before the Greeks, the Babolonians where quit intresting. It is just most western historians look to the Greeks as the prim fatlius so to say.
The rights of man have changed and evolved over the years they have been added to and taken away from. The current rights of man are more then some had and less then others. We are just now having a univeral view towards them instead of just my county, city, or family. Some rights have never seemed to change the right to do business, the right to fair trial and law, the right to property. Matters of equality and morality have gotten mixed into it all in varing stages.
The Magna Carta don't quote me on this, I am shaky on modern stuff. (Modern stuff being anything after the Renossance and the dawn of guns as the primary wepon of war.) The Magna Carta focused on the rights to freedom, representation, power, and most importantly issues dealing with money. They hoped to organize a system where all where equal and free. (Especially if you where male and not foreign) It was a response to the corruption of the monarcy and mass starvation. That Magna Carta helped to inspire revolutions across Latin America. (I recomend a book called Born in Blood if you want to know more about the Latin revolutions)
Franchs revolution is credited with sparking so many others that changed most of the world from monarcy to democracy, even though for Franch it lead to dictatorships and later fascisum (sp?). In truth for most of latin America it went the same way but often ended in communisum.
I have no clue about the Stuart Monarchy sorry or German philosophy.
Ok....sounds like my knowledge of history is pretty limited. I was pretty sure the Magna Carta was written in the 1200s or something, the Spanish invasion of Latin America was in the 1600s and renaissance was from about 1450 - 1650 (after that it's the enlightenment period / baroque)......
What about the Babylonians concept of rights? I don' t know anything about that....
Sorry I was thinking of the French version not the English. My husband pointed that out to me last night.
Rough timeline: ramn empire medieval period renaissance englightenment (there is another period in American history called the enlightenment that gets people confused.)
I doubt your knowlage of history is limited you know what the magna carta is and you have a good idea of times. Trythfully my schooling taught me to concentrate more on ideas and impacts then dates so I get shacky on dates. You also have discussed ideas with me that many people don't even know about.
The babolonian concept of civil rights: you had the right to own property including claves if you where of a certain age and standing (I believe woman also had their own sets of rights), they had complications dealing with religion and nobility. You had the right to far judgement if you where of a certain class and standing (are you feeling a theme here, if you are you will feel this theme throughout human history). They would not have called them rights but more like methods of law. Trades peope had a sort of union where they could strike. This idea repeats itself in Eqypt.
Ok so a little off topic but one of the best know labor strikes in eqypt was when workers building the piramid would not work because they did not have enough makeup. makeup was their verson of sunblock.
Oh I wish my anciant history friend was around. She explained all this to me once.
I hope that answers some questions and sparks your intrest to go find out more.
Cheers have a good weekend. Feel free to keep poking for more history information.
Oh where are you from? (You don't have to answer that)
Diffrent countries teach diffrent parts of history that are important to them. Though it does not seem anyone really teachs ancient or medieval history anymore. You may never heard of the American enlightenment, then again I do not know how many American have. XD
Oh that is so awesome. Trade unions in Ancient Eygpt. You know in movies and all that they seem to portray ancient working class as weaklings, like they blindly and stupidly took everything they were given and worked worked worked. So it took what? The European renaissance or something to even get to a point where various concepts of human rights, fair wages and labor, could 'evolve' socially.
And here were are. Discussing working conditions in ancient eygpt. I love it. More people ought to know that, cos then we'll start to realise that we don't need to 'learn' to rebel against the masters. It's nothing new, is it....
Tell me more...XD
P.S. I'm from Australia.
So our version of history in schools is "In 1788 the first fleet landed with some convicts in Australia (and as a side note, there were some aborigines here too but they lived in the bush and Sydney is a city). In 1901the federation was formed. Then there was Gallipoli. Then Hitler. Then a bunch of stupid hippies. And now you"
History 'education' is a massively political issue here. There are many people, myself included, who are getting very cranky about it. Espec concerning recent history, and Indigenous issues. The teachers, in many cases haven't even been properly educated. So it's been a bit of pot luck learning anything at all, some people said they learned about it, most seem to have not.
As for ancient history, this is covered in some secondary (high school) electives in senior years. I didn't take history. Whatever limited knowledge I have comes from my own research, including having friends who have shared tidbits with me. So anything you can teach is cool.
Like that Magna Carta thing - see, out here in the colonies, it's all about mother England. I didn't even know the 'frogs' had one, too.
Yeah here in America history gets more limited by generation. The basic history outline for most people is:
We landed here there where pilgrims and some native folk.
Hushly go over how we fought with them and wiped out in mass their society (some of them being my people since I am part Native American so yeah I can rant)
Then we formed colonies 13 adn didn't like taxes so their was a tea party and then a revolution.
Revolution discussed at nausium then we seem to just jump to the Civil War.
Then jump from the Civil War to WW2, because you know ww1 wasn't really that big a deal over here (roll eyes)
Then briefly about today.
We do have to learn all the names of the presidents and the state capitals. In highschool you can take American history again or world history. I took both. American history goes over the same little bits as above wrold history briefly goes over ancient, medieval (one page ), the renaussance and then jumps into modern history.
I learned a whole lot more in college, but I would say most Americans can only tell you fractured knowlage about American history and non about the rest of the world. Because histroy is boring (quoting many people I have talked too)
Protection of workers rights is why people went into trades. You learned a life time skill, recieved education, sometimes room and board, and could complian after you where a full master.
Then all that seems to get forgotten. History does repeat itself I just wonder why we didn't learn it right the first few times.
Ok going to touch a controversale subject: warning warning!
For example the idea of marrage and the contract of marrage has evolved greatly over time throughout the world. I am going to concentrate on western Europen society here for this example.
Marrage was formally recognized as part of the church, but the idea for a ring comes out of the british trbes such as the celts. They where the first as far as I know to use a ring on the hand to symbolize union. The church adapted this in the early medieval period.
You where bound by church under cross and holy text under certain saints. There was even a seprate part of the church for the formation of joining of same sex couples under two saints male saints who where married.
So same sex couples and saints who are married yes amazing. These two saints and the part of the church ddi not fade completly away till the 16th century.
Outside the church marrages where recorded under law you could be married by anyone really but heads of trade guilds and members of the law who could record your marrage where best suited to this task. Civil marrages are not a new idea they are very very old.
You where married in you best cloths. Those you could afford to have cloths made especially a dress went for color. Died cloths where more expensive. The most important colors a girl could where if she could afford it where red or blue. The white dress was due to Queen Victoria. Actually most of modern wedding tradition was instated durin the victorian age.
So one example in just one area of one important thing that people in America hurt, hate, and fight about alot right now.
I hope I do not offend but it is a really good example of how static people think their own history is and how being educatate, mostly by reading and more reading, is important. Also to have educated converations with others is a very important part.
Just saying enjoy them for their entertainment not their facts. But you know that.
Wow I was gappy today hope you enjoy the read. it is nice to talk history with someone. Right now my head is filled with fire and ecology it is nice to go back to old roots.
It;s all good. Talk away we might all just learn something. I am anyways.
Yeah I have heard this pattern. It seems like they teach the bits that get people to join the army and wave the flag and that's about it.
Funny I went to catholic school and we never heard of gay saints. That'd be right. It's not a modern church propaganda teaching.
Uhm, and no need to apologise about the GLBTIQ rights thing. It's a big deal over here too. I hear that Obama finally supports gay marriage and that this is reason to make Gillard sound backward. Which she is, by not supporting it yet. But they both have the party to answer to, and voters who have their heads up their butts.
And feel free to rant all you want about Indigenous rights & history, I could stand to learn a lot more about that. It seems to me it's easier to understand these issues when it's not in your own country. Like people will talk about the raw deal Americans got with colonialism over here and then claim that Australians have got it made, when the same bullshit is going on these days. *majorfacepalm*
I also want to ask you about the trades thing. I have heard that they had an apprenticeship type system in the middle ages, like they had esquires and stuff like that. But not how it worked. And did they do that before that? It's like in my head there's what the Greeks did and then there's a gap of nearly a thousand years, then a couple of stories, then a gap of about four hundred years, then some tasty bits from the enlightenment, then a bunch of other stuff. So many gaps!