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And that as far as I know no historian believes non-historians should never be allowed to talk about history if they try to be careful and cite their sources. Read at your own risk anyway. The Dark Ages were never a thing. The entire concept is complete and utter horseshit cobbled together by a deluded writer. Petrarch used it to describe, well, every single thing that had happened since the fall of Rome. Not every scientist was burned at the stake, not everyone thought the world was flat and surrounded by space dragons, and the High Middle Ages were notable for impressive levels of material progress which in some cases outpaced the Classical World and which set the stage for the upcoming Renaissance the continuity thesis.
But I worry that as usual , this corrective to an overblown narrative of darkness has itself been overblown. The period from about to about in Christian Western Europe was marked by profound economic and intellectual decline and stagnation relative to the periods that came before and after it. Many other areas during this period had no warring states at all! What about the Bronze Age? The Time of Troubles?
Actually, outside of Russia there were no more troubles than usual. The Era of Good Feelings? Maybe there were a bunch of bad feelings not in the US. Every other historical age name is instantly understood by everyone to refer to both a time and a place. The only time anyone ever gives anybody else grief over this is when they talk about the Dark Ages. This is an isolated demand for rigor. What about all the great stuff in the Dark Ages?
The Song of Roland! Suppose someone tells you that the middle of America contains the Great Plains, a very flat region.
But you know that actually there are lots of tall mountains, like the Rockies. Have you debunked the so-called Great Plains narrative and proven that its believers are credulous morons?
The period after AD did indeed have lots of great accomplishments. I await people admitting that there was no Cold War, because who is George Orwell to think he can just name an era based on what he feels it was like? This is another isolated demand for rigor. Historical periods get their names from random individuals reflecting on them; the names catch on if people agree that they fit.
The idea of a Dark Age originated with the Tuscan scholar Petrarch in the s. Writing of the past, he said: Petrarch was the first to give the metaphor secular meaning by reversing its application. Petrarch wrote that history had two periods: In around , in the conclusion of his epic Africa, he wrote: But for you perhaps, if as I hope and wish you will live long after me, there will follow a better age.
This sleep of forgetfulness will not last for ever. When the darkness has been dispersed, our descendants can come again in the former pure radiance. The new age saeculum which was beginning, for its harshness and barrenness of good could well be called iron, for its baseness and abounding evil leaden, and moreover for its lack of writers dark.
This is not exactly a resounding victory for people claiming that the Dark Age had nothing wrong with it except slightly fewer records. The job of historians is to record, not to judge. So I assume you also raise a fuss whenever someone talks about Alexander the Great? The Golden Age of Athens? The Five Good Emperors? There were lots of ways they might have been good. That seems pretty light-side to me! Look, a lot of history sucked, and moral judgments are hard. Jared Diamond thinks hunter-gatherers were freer and happier than anyone since.
Maybe the real Golden Age of Athens was in 40, BC, when Neanderthals on the rocky plain that would one day become Athens hunted mammoths in carefree abandon, loving life and being at one with nature and the changing seasons. In order to avoid this kind of speculation, I think of history as being along at least two axes: Alexander may or may not have been a good person, but he was certainly an impressive one. Periclean Athens might not have been the most virtuous city, but it was certainly one with lasting accomplishments.
Since it is so hard to judge the goodness or badness of historical figures, most of our claims of greatness are claims about impressiveness. And compared to the periods before or after, Dark Ages Europe was unimpressive. The Dark Ages in Europe were a time when things would have been more towards the North Korean end of that picture. From The Muslims of Andalusia:.
My point is that there is some axis, not the same as morality but involving economic and intellectual activity, in which the period — AD was uniquely sucky. Okay, forget disputes about the meanings of words or how to do history. But even these attenuated numbers tell the story of an entire millennium when human economic progress across an entire continent went backwards. Although these numbers are inherently sketchy, the few real pieces of evidence we have seem to back them up.
Arctic ice cores preserve a record of how much lead pollution was in the air, probably linked to human lead-mining activities. This allows us a pretty good look at how much lead-mining various European civilizations were doing:. And granted, the Romans were a little more obsessed with lead than could possibly have been healthy.
But these data are supported by reconstructions of silver mining, copper mining, and iron mining. We see a similar decline in population. The Atlas of World Population History thinks that continental Europe had a population of 36 million people at its peak in AD, falling to 26 million at a nadir in AD, and gradually recovering back to 36 million or so around AD. These are the sorts of numbers usually only associated with the worst plagues and genocides.
Classical Rome had a population of between , and a million. Even classical Athens had a population of over , The infrastructure for maintaining large urban populations had fallen apart. And true, a lot of this is sparse and reconstructed. But aside from the economy, there was still lots of great culture and intellectual advancements.
If I ask Google for a list of the hundred greatest philosophers of all time, it brings up http: The giant pit from to where there was not a single European philosopher worthy of inclusion on the list corresponds to the traditional concept of a Dark Age without very impressive intellectual output.
Once again separating them into year intervals and graphing:. Again, we see a giant pit from to AD though this time it is not completely empty — Beowulf is the sole qualifying work. But as far as I can tell, this really was state-of-the-art.
The decreased quality of intellectual output seems to have been matched by a decline in quantity. The Ulpian Library of Emperor Trajan seemed to have tens of thousands of scrolls, and it was only one of as many as 28 libraries in Rome. Estimates of the number of volumes in the Library of Alexandria range from 40, to , Archaeologists studying the Villa of the Papyri in Herculaneum, a private residence in a medium sized town, have found a private library of almost 2, scrolls.
Medieval libraries seem to be much smaller. It follows from this that the wealth and fame of any institution that required books would inevitably affect the size of its library, and, given the fact that books were always expensive, medieval libraries were, from a modern point of view, not large. The largest Anglo-Saxon libraries may have contained about two hundred books. In the collection at Christ Church, Canterbury, numbered 1,, which may well have been the biggest collection in England and Wales.
In the library of the university of Paris contained 1, volumes which, by , had increased to 1,—an increase of about 70 percent.
This might not be entirely fair — Roman scrolls were smaller than medieval books, so a work that took up one medieval book might have occupied several Roman scrolls, inflating the size of Roman libraries.
But there still seems to be a pretty big gap between the tens to hundreds of thousands of volumes in classical libraries and the few hundred to few thousand in libraries all the way up until the High Middle Ages.
This might not be true — see here ]. In a lot of cases, the people of the Dark Ages and the High Middle Ages afterwards themselves acknowledged this.
The Roman author Vitruvius was the gold standard for architecture up to the Renaissance, and Brunelleschi became famous for creating a dome that surpassed the Roman domes made years earlier. Roman doctors like Galen and Celsus were semi-worshipped by medieval doctors; when the 16th century! There were still a few important accomplishments. The night includes several bright things, such as the moon, the stars, and streetlights.
One of the links from the top of the post says:. A simple listing of inventions, discoveries and developments demonstrates the the Middle Ages were anything but dark.
I am sure that horseshoes were a revolutionary advance in equine footwear. But the ancient Greeks gave us geometry, history, cartography, the screw, the water wheel, gears, cranes, lighthouses, and fricking analog computers. If you want to stake your claim to be more than a miserable failure as a historical age, you are going to have to do better than horseshoes.
See previous work on is Pluto a planet? There was darkness everywhere, not just in Europe 2. Every single person in this era was an illiterate superstitious peasant covered in filth, and not one good thing ever happened 4. Greco-Roman civilization was better in every way than the period that followed it, including morally./p>
Martha Stout, the author of The Sociopath Next Door, wrote that 4 percent of the population can be characterized as conscienceless sociopaths, or one in every 25 people. While there are female sociopaths, men are three times more likely to be one.
It is likely that you know a sociopath: The following are typical signs of a sociopath. The first time a woman meets a sociopath, she is struck by his charm, wit, friendliness, helpfulness, and attention to detail. A sociopath targets his victim with almost surgical precision.
He showers her with gifts, flowers, and, most of all, undivided attention. Phone calls, text messages, and emails pour down like rain. The victim feels flattered by the careful, calibrated excess of attention she is suddenly experiencing. However, she may also feel suffocated by loss of space or quality time for her family and friends. A sociopath wants the woman to spend all her time with him and, in the process, makes her the center of his attention, indeed, the focus of his universe.
If a marriage partner has any value to the sociopath, it is because the partner is viewed as a possession, one that the sociopath may feel angry to lose, but never sad or accountable. A sociopath is a master of disguise and can concoct a manufactured love, and fake emotions. He can easily walk away without showing any emotion or feeling an ounce of guilt.
The victim, who has put so much time and effort into the relationship, finds herself dazed, bewildered, hurt, and anguished.
A sociopath lacks empathy, or the ability to feel remorse. A sociopath does not feel bad about the emotional pain he inflicts on his lover.
It is she who is stressed about the relationship, not him. Among the signs of a sociopath is likely to exhibit are jealousy and a sense of paranoia. He is suspicious and jealous of other people in her life. Past relations are zealously scrutinized and, if possible, used against her. A sociopath is more likely to accuse his partner of cheating, when perhaps he is the guilty party.
The woman finds that she is constantly defending herself from false accusations. A sociopath reveals little about himself even though he talks incessantly about various subjects.
He has no connection with his past and maintains superficial friendships. A partner is not likely to meet someone important in his past or witness his family members visit him or interact with him in any meaningful way. Some sociopaths conceal a significant portion of their lives for fear they may expose their dark past.
Moreover, they do not like exposure and tend to ask their lovers not to share too much about them. As an example, one married man in California concealed from his wife he had another woman and five children back in Africa. Sociopaths are pathological liars. It is a habit to deflect blame. A sociopath does not own up to his mistakes and takes no responsibility for his actions.
This is because he does not believe he has done anything wrong—it is his partner who is at fault. What seemed an act of generosity to her turned into a ploy to spy on her activities.
When she told him she was leaving his plan, he was flabbergasted and accused her of cheating on him. A sociopath has a list of phrases he likes to use, as compiled by Paula Carrasquillo, author of Escaping from the Boy: My life with a sociopath:. Wickman reasoned that if Cuddyer was on third base, his view to the catcher would be significantly hampered.
So Wickman invented the intentional balk: The plate umpire did just that, and sent Cuddyer to third. Generally speaking, the prohibited substances fall into two categories: Tacky stuff like pine tar or even mud are used by pitchers to improve grip in cold weather, but can also weigh down one side of the baseball, lending an extra degree of sink.
Slick substances like petroleum jelly allow pitchers to deliver offerings at near-fastball speed but with substantially less rotation, because the ball squirts out of the hand rather than being spun across the fingers upon release. This lack of backspin provides significant late drop. Use of the pitch grew so pervasive in the s that Commissioner Ford Frick briefly lobbied for its relegalization.
Even as the spitball was forbidden, it continued to evolve. In the s, Yankees great Whitey Ford mixed up a concoction of turpentine, baby oil, and rosin that he stored in a roll-on deodorant container that he freely brandished in the dugout during games. Henceforth, the peculiar movement of a pitch provided ample evidence.
Not that it mattered: By the end of the season, he had won 21 games, made the All-Star team, finished fourth in balloting for the Cy Young award, and was thrown out of exactly zero games for doctoring balls.
The industry standard for bat augmentation involves drilling a hollow core into the barrel, about a half-inch wide and up to 8 inches deep—then packing the hole with cork or various forms of shredded rubber, which can remove up to 2 ounces from a 2-pound bat. A plug is then inserted, and the bat end is sanded to look as much as possible like a whole piece of wood. The practice has been going on for generations, but its effectiveness is still up for interpretation. One thing to which corked bats can contribute, however, is a positive mental attitude.
Put simply, because a player thinks his bat is quicker, it might actually be. The list of guys who have been caught using doctored bats contains such prominent names as Sosa, Albert Belle, and Graig Nettles.
Norm Cash, a four-time All-Star with the Detroit Tigers, may provide the best example of what a doctored bat can do for a player. In , using a bat he later admitted was filled with cork, sawdust, and glue, Cash led the American League with a. Cash was a firm believer in getting away with whatever he could. Throughout his career, on the rare instances when he was on base when a rain delay was called, he would try to advance illicitly before play resumed—returning to third base if he had been on second, or to second if he had been on first.
Instead of asking the umpires to check the hand, he apparently asked them to have Rogers wash it off between innings. One reason this code of chivalry exists is that calling out a rival would be opening a can of worms. An incident from proves the point. New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner was watching his team play the California Angels on television, and was shocked when the camera zoomed in to show close-ups of what appeared to be a small bandage on the palm of the left hand of Angels pitcher Don Sutton.
The Yankees television broadcasters brought it up whenever the pitcher appeared to grind the ball into his palm between pitches. He was in all likelihood scuffing the baseball. Was he aware, asked the owner, that Sutton was cheating? Now, I want you to go out there and make the umpires check Don Sutton!
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