Would you rather be born in Europe in 270AD or 1460AD?

Anthropology, Economics, History, Sociology etc.

Moderators: Calilasseia, ADParker

Re: Would you rather be born in Europe in 270AD or 1460AD?

#21  Postby Hermit » Jun 28, 2018 1:34 am

Thomas Eshuis wrote:
Hermit wrote:
Matt_B wrote:...there's the widespread myth of the dark ages...

It's not a myth. Have a look at the size of Charlemagne's empire. He owned most of western Europe and controlled huge swathes to the east of it as well.

Image

He was Europe's most powerful man by far. Way more powerful than the Pope, even. And he managed that without ever being able to read or write a word to his dying day.

Here's his signature:

Image

Well, the diamond shape formed by four straight lines in the middle is.

I put it to you that if an illiterate man can keep most of Europe under his thumb for 14 years until he died, aged 71, the dark ages were really dark.

That's in incredibly simplistis argument based on the idiosyncratic definition that the darkness of a historical period can be determined by literacy alone.

Who argues that the darkness of a historical period can be determined by literacy alone? Perhaps you should read post #10, where I have mentioned how the art of building covered sewers and running water got lost somehow. This did contribute to over three centuries of pestilence, which killed 30–60% of Europe's total population.

But never mind. Illiteracy was a major reason for the early medieval period being labelled "The Dark Ages". Just because it seems simplistic to you does not make it untrue. At least Petrarch, among others, thought it did not.
God is the mysterious veil under which we hide our ignorance of the cause. - Léo Errera


God created the universe
God just exists
User avatar
Hermit
 
Name: Cantankerous grump
Posts: 4334
Age: 67
Male

Print view this post

Ads by Google


Re: Would you rather be born in Europe in 270AD or 1460AD?

#22  Postby Matt_B » Jun 28, 2018 2:41 am

Hermit wrote:where I have mentioned how the art of building covered sewers and running water got lost somehow. This did contribute to over three centuries of pestilence, which killed 30–60% of Europe's total population.


Sorry, but that's just whig history.

Rome might have built some great civic works, but they hadn't entirely cracked sanitation. Running water doesn't necessarily equate to potable water for a start, and leading it to every household just means that everyone gets dysentery at the same time whenever your reservoir gets infected. History records that they were ravaged by many plagues with their habit of communal bathing doubtless contributing greatly towards the spread too. They also had something of a fondness for lead piping, and while I'm not one of those who'd blame the fall of Rome on that, it undoubtedly had some health impacts.

If anything, getting your running water would have been more of a status symbol than anything else. Sure, it's handy, but you wouldn't necessarily want to drink the stuff without treatment.

Whether in the fourteenth or third century your best bet for something safe to drink would be either boiled water or something at least mildly alcoholic, and you don't need a vast maintenance-intensive infrastructure for either.
User avatar
Matt_B
 
Posts: 4677
Male

Country: Australia
Australia (au)
Print view this post

Re: Would you rather be born in Europe in 270AD or 1460AD?

#23  Postby laklak » Jun 28, 2018 4:05 am

I'm going with 270, always fancied giving barbarism a try.
A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way. - Mark Twain
The sky is falling! The sky is falling! - Chicken Little
I never go without my dinner. No one ever does, except vegetarians and people like that - Oscar Wilde
User avatar
laklak
RS Donator
 
Name: Florida Man
Posts: 20878
Age: 66
Male

Country: The Great Satan
Swaziland (sz)
Print view this post

Re: Would you rather be born in Europe in 270AD or 1460AD?

#24  Postby Thomas Eshuis » Jun 28, 2018 7:17 am

Hermit wrote:
Thomas Eshuis wrote:
Hermit wrote:
Matt_B wrote:...there's the widespread myth of the dark ages...

It's not a myth. Have a look at the size of Charlemagne's empire. He owned most of western Europe and controlled huge swathes to the east of it as well.

Image

He was Europe's most powerful man by far. Way more powerful than the Pope, even. And he managed that without ever being able to read or write a word to his dying day.

Here's his signature:

Image

Well, the diamond shape formed by four straight lines in the middle is.

I put it to you that if an illiterate man can keep most of Europe under his thumb for 14 years until he died, aged 71, the dark ages were really dark.

That's in incredibly simplistis argument based on the idiosyncratic definition that the darkness of a historical period can be determined by literacy alone.

Who argues that the darkness of a historical period can be determined by literacy alone?

You did, when you made the argument that the early medieval period was dark because it's greates ruler was illiterate.

Hermit wrote: Perhaps you should read post #10, where I have mentioned how the art of building covered sewers and running water got lost somehow.

Indeed it did, but how does that make the period 'dark' exactly?

Hermit wrote: This did contribute to over three centuries of pestilence, which killed 30–60% of Europe's total population.

So did increasing trade.

Hermit wrote:But never mind. Illiteracy was a major reason for the early medieval period being labelled "The Dark Ages".

As you note yourself, the keyword is was.
This is no longer the current consensus among historians. In fact the current view being taught is that it is incorrect to refer to that period as the dark ages.



Hermit wrote: Just because it seems simplistic to you

Nothing seeming about it, it is simplistic.


Hermit wrote: does not make it untrue.

I never said it wasn't true that the early period had low literacy rates.
You haven't provided a sound argument as to why that makes it reasonable to call that period 'dark' however.
All you've done is appeal to an outdated view of the period.

Hermit wrote: At least Petrarch, among others, thought it did not.

Did not what exactly?
And Petrarch view is heavily influenced by Renaissance thinking which idolised the Greek/Roman era. Of course that would lead to thinking less of a period where that culture was no longer dominant.
"Respect for personal beliefs = "I am going to tell you all what I think of YOU, but don't dare retort and tell what you think of ME because...it's my personal belief". Hmm. A bully's charter and no mistake."
User avatar
Thomas Eshuis
 
Name: Thomas Eshuis
Posts: 31080
Age: 31
Male

Country: Netherlands
European Union (eur)
Print view this post

Re: Would you rather be born in Europe in 270AD or 1460AD?

#25  Postby jamest » Jun 28, 2018 11:23 pm

The question - albeit from a child - is daft because anyone's answer would of course be contingent upon circumstances. For instance Rome only conquered about half (rough guess) of europe so if you could be born outside of that territory then Roman history/politics is irrelevant to your choice.
I'm sure a place-or-two existed in Europe in either the 3rd or 15th century where even a peasant had the small potential for a semi-decent life. It wasn't all war, oppression, poverty, plague and famine. Just mostly.

However let's face it, it would have been a shit quality of life for most poor people in either century. Indeed, I strongly suspect that they'd have been better off being born in the stone ages. That's always been the case even in Europe, until social reforms started to kick in, circa 19th century onwards.

Given a time machine to visit either century though, I'd definitely choose the 3rd century and the Roman Empire. Fascinating stuff.
Il messaggero non e importante.
Ora non e importante.
Il resultato futuro e importante.
Quindi, persisto.
jamest
 
Posts: 18528
Male

Country: England
Jolly Roger (arr)
Print view this post

Previous

Return to Social Sciences & Humanities

Who is online

Users viewing this topic: No registered users and 1 guest