Barbarians to Angels: The Dark Ages Reconsidered

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9780393060751: Barbarians to Angels: The Dark Ages Reconsidered
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The barbarians who destroyed the glory that was Rome demolished civilization along with it, and for the next four centuries the peasants and artisans of Europe barely held on. Random violence, mass migration, disease, and starvation were the only way of life. This is the picture of the Dark Ages that most historians promote. But archaeology tells a different story. Peter S. Wells, one of the world's leading archaeologists, surveys the archaeological record to demonstrate that the Dark Ages were not dark at all. The kingdoms of Christendom that emerged starting in the ninth century sprang from a robust, previously little-known, European culture, albeit one that left behind few written texts. This recently recognized culture achieved heights in artistry, technology, craft production, commerce, and learning. Future assessments of the period between Rome and Charlemagne will need to incorporate this fresh new picture.

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Starred Review. Wells chronicles a revolution in the understanding of Europe after the Western Roman Empire s collapse. . . . Wells s aim is obviously a wide audience they won t be disappointed. "

Synopsis:

In "Barbarians to Angels" one of the world's leading archaeologists offers a surprising look at the least-appreciated period of European history: the so-called Dark Ages.The barbarians who destroyed Rome demolished civilisation along with it and for the next four centuries the people of Europe barely held on. The picture of the Dark Ages that most historians promote is one of random violence, mass migration, disease and starvation. But archaeology tells a different story and here Peter S. Wells surveys the archaeological record to demonstrate that the Dark Ages were not dark at all. The kingdoms of Christendom that emerged from the ninth century sprang from a robust, previously little-known, European culture, albeit one that left behind few written texts. This culture achieved heights in artistry, technology, craft production, commerce and learning. Future assessments of the period between Rome and Charlemagne will need to incorporate this fresh new picture.

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Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company, 2009
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