Didymos Thomas, I am going to try debating with you one more time. If you don't change the way you debate I am going to stop. You do not read my arguments and you deny having made your own. On top of that you seem to enjoy namecalling.
Give one example of "namecalling" in this thread?
As for not reading your arguments, you know better, How could I respond to them if I do not read them? If you think I have misunderstood you, show me where, and we can talk about it. Similarly, if I deny saying something I have, call me out on it.
But, hey, if you prefer not to discuss this subject or any other with me, I'm not exactly going to be bothered by your choice.
I was pointing something out to an inquisitive mind, you see. Namely the fact that mainstream history (and anything mainstream) is not correct.
Mainstream history, as you call it, can be incorrect. But to categorically reject 'mainstream' history does not seem sensible to me. But if you feel up to the task, I would love to look over your evaluation of the period based on source documents and archaeological evidence. Again, just point to a mistaken claim and correct it. Simple, really.
All you do is quote mainstream history as is anyones right to do. It is incorrect in the sense that it does not reflect history as took place.
You might be right, but so far, you haven't given me any reason to think so.
One can easily read up on this seeing as there is a large opposition in Europe. Is there also opposition to any mainstream in America?
Sure. Revisionist history is popular, and always has been popular. In the states, we see this with Civil War history from both Confederate and Union sympathizers. My favorite example are probably Kissinger's hallucinogenic accounts of Nixon's presidency.
And I will be the first to admit that when you have dissenting voices in the way history is taught, there are probably errors to be found. But small misunderstandings do not translate to the whole of the account being inaccurate.
When we take the matter to something as broad as comparing the cultural advancement of various world civilizations from 950-1400, even if we do not know everything about the period, we can still compare the civilizations to the best of our knowledge. And when we do, I think the obvious conclusion is that Europe was behind civilizations like the middle east.
I do not care about your position in this, but the arguments you make are for one thing flawed, sometimes untrue and for another thing you do not address the points I do make.
If you don't care, don't investigate by carrying on the discussion. If you decide you do care, by all means let's keep this going.
As for untrue statements, point them out.
As for ignoring your points, I don't think I have, but, again, point this out when I do.
The most important of which is that there are several views on this, of which you are voicing the mainstream opinion.
Sure, people can disagree on anything. That's why we talk about it. Maybe on this issue I do advocate the 'mainstream' opinion, none the less, it's my opinion and I back that opinion with history. You may think my account of history is wrong, that's fine, correct me. But saying 'oh, you're mainstream' doesn't do anything to shake the foundations of my mainstream opinion.
The reason that it is mainstream is beacause it is being taught in schools and "the main-stream" believes it to be true. The problem with "main-stream" is that these people are not the brightest of the bunch; but merely mediocre (not that there is anything wrong with that). I, for one, have a problem believing mediocre books over the books of specialists.
Who are "these people"? People being taught in school?
If you honestly want to argue that certain books are mediocre because they are widely read and respected, you'll have a hard time convincing me, or anyone else.
But let's not waste time debating, let's have an example. I contend that Barbara Tuchman's "A Distant Mirror" is an excellent text; certainly not a mediocre book. The book covers the life of a French noble in the middle ages. Or is this too mainstream?
It was ment to nuance a remark and place it within a different context. It was ment to show that one's civilization is anothers repression and destruction.
And I would agree with you when you say that the civilization of one group is the repression and destruction of another. The British and the Mongols are probably the most vivid two examples.
- When examining the facts of the history of Europe (as far as we know any facts) it is clear to see that it is the Chirstian Church who suppresses, murders, destroys any culture not sanctioned by the church. Throughout the dark ages the Christian Church has committed several genocides (well documented ones, no less). The inquisition suppressed a lot of opinions. I could name a long list of philosophers who died by their hands and an even longer list of works that were not or posthumously published. Try to remeber that the "free" cultures all had music, paintings, sculptures and whatnots of their own. That is the colourfullness I was speaking of. The "darkness" of the drak ages is the christion church by almost all accounts (the other accounts are servents of this church).
And I would absolutely agree with your claims about the Church.
However, I'm not sure what "free" people you speak of. Maybe you mean the people living in violent tribal societies. To the point, though, while the Europeans had painting and music and sculpture, when we compare these European arts to arts of the rest of the world of the same period, we find European examples to be more archaic, less developed.
The "darkness" of the Dark Ages has several factors. One is, as you say, the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church perpetuated the backwardness of Europe. But the fall of Rome, and the barbarian and Germanic invasions are what wiped out the advanced Rome culture to make way for the newer, less refined culture, which the Church would stifle for centuries.
- After the great movement of peoples from the steppes which moved a lot of peoples in Europe more different cultures than ever before were present in Europe. These cultures also had great things to offer. Most of them were swept away by christian doctrine over the years.
Sure they had great things to offer, all cultures, even the most primitive, have great things to offer. However, this does not change the fact that Europe was culturally backwards compared to the middle east.
- I think the most important point I was making is that scientific development or urban sizes are no standard for culture; nor for civilization. America for instance is quite technologically advanced and has great urban locations; but no culture. I, personally, rank America among the lowest forms of civilizations ever to have existed. This is an opinion and no fact. It refelcts the way I view things. All values reflect the way things are viewed and not the way things are. I hope no Amreicans will take offense at my opinion. I am nuanced enough to value certain specific Americans regardless of the country they were born in.
You may be surprised to hear that I too share your low opinion of western consumer culture, best exemplified by the US.
However, my comments were directed at daleader's questions about Europe as compared to the rest of the world. As I see no reason to bog him down in my personal view of civilization, I compared Europe to the rest of the world using fairly standard notions of civilization and what it is to progress as a society.
However, issues of civility aside, there is no doubt that the rest of the world was more developed than Europe. Even with our critical view of America, we could not honestly argue that America is not generally more developed than the rest of the world.
- You may not have given any firm definitions, but I am sure you handle a set of ideas as definition. A few (of many examples):
I'm not sure what the following examples were supposed to prove. They were straightforward facts. European Dark Ages art was not as refined as art of the same period in the middle east. Nor was European technology. Europe caught up with the rest of the world, so to speak, with the Renaissance.
None of these statements of historical fact add up to a definition of "valuable art".
Notice that I did not claim that Europe's lack of advancement meant their art was of no value. Notice that I even blatantly stated that studying medieval Europe is valuable and worthwhile.
Although I must admit that you have not given any explanation of words as "backwards" or "barbaric". If it is the same as mainstream then I must come to the conclusion that it means something along the lines of "different".
Well, yes, backwards would be different from not-backwards, and barbaric would be different from not-barbaric.
Backwards referring to the general state of Europe being artistically, scientifically, and technologically behind the rest of the world.
Barbaric being uncivilized, especially by the lack of writing and literature. Not to say that no barbarians could read, but that the culture did not promote literacy, nor have any real literary body to speak of.
I would like to point out that "greatness" in art for instance has no bearing on the level of any other kind of the society whence it came. I bet you know this.
You're trying to find something to argue about when we agree. Didn't I already say we can always find counter examples? Sheesh.
I do not appreciate Hermeneutics. These people use their "goals" to allow themselves to reshape real meanings to fit their own selfish bills.
Cool? Seriously, where did this come from?
If you would study the cultures you name as examples you would find that they also worshipped Freya for instance and that the reality of the matter is that these tribes became warlike because of the threat Rome posed. It s also the explanation why this part of their culture is overstudied.
So your objection is that they were warlike? Yeah, I agree, they were warlike, but this does not suddenly make their art the most advanced and well developed in the world.
Besides that I would like to note that it is not your place to value any culture by your standards.
I shouldn't value cultures by my standards?
The point of this remark is to show that it is not what happens in a culture, but what it means to the culture. The height of a culture can only be measured in their own standards.
The whole point of the thread was to compare European culture of a certain period to the rest of the world.
- The Christian Church did, in fact, create religious strongholds to spread the word of the Lord. The pope placed into position more than one King to accomplish this. Feel free to read up on the churches "colourfull" history if you disagree. Oh, did you ever think to consider that we just may mean the same thing so nicely set apart in this quote?
That's why I asked you to clarify your remarks. Given my other comments about the original "stronghold" statement, I'm not sure why the rest of this condesending statement was necessary. Or did I not mention that the spread of Catholic Christianity was political?
Honestly, here is something we agree on and you arrogantly suggest I "go read up".
- The reason I used the word "enlightenment" is because of the historical period in Europe called "The Enlightenment". Apart from that I am also saying that the Christian Church preached (and still does) pretty backward ideas. There is a reason why it is called the "dark ages", mind. That reason is the Christian Church repressing any and all unsanctioned art or science in my opinion.
So, how were the Germanic tribes enlightened before the Catholic Chruch took hold?
We agree on the Chruch's role in devastating European thought, but the notion that people in Europe were "enlightened" in some Age of Enlightenment sense is silly - we are talking about people who didn't even have a literary history.
If you wish to make the difference between saying the church being a boon for art, science, culture, etc and saying it was more refined than some other cultures, and helped the people of those cultures along by conversion and through the churches research centres (religious institutions), go right ahead.
I haven't, though. The Church was terrible, for art science and the rest. However, the Church was also responsible for much of medieval Europe's art science and the rest. That medieval Europe's art science and the rest was backwards, then, should come as no surprise.
I hope you have fun reporting my posts