Dark Ages - A term worth using?

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
6,158
Portugal
Definitely, in many ways life in the Middle Ages was much worse than life before the collapse of Roman Empire. The only thing that is better is the abolishment of slavery.
There was no abolishment of slavery in the Middle Ages, as far as I know there were some prohibitions, mostly related with Christians enslaving Christians, and there was a slowly shift from slavery to serfdom in many regions, but all throw the Middle Ages slavery still existed in Europe.
 

Willempie

Ad Honorem
Jul 2015
5,588
Netherlands
Does anyone really think that the Netherlands lie in central Europe rather than western Europe? The confusions come about where eastern Europe starts, some people in the UK are inclined to leave out central Europe and place a country liske Austria in eastern Europe - which makes no sense at all!
Well talk to time lords. Amsterdam is on central European time for example. Or alternatively with football manager, where I have to scout central Europe in order to get proper players from Ajax.
 
Jan 2019
220
London, United Kingdom
There was no abolishment of slavery in the Middle Ages, as far as I know there were some prohibitions, mostly related with Christians enslaving Christians, and there was a slowly shift from slavery to serfdom in many regions, but all throw the Middle Ages slavery still existed in Europe.
Slavery might still exist, but not on a large scale like in ancient Rome. While you can argue that serfdom is a Medieval version of slavery, it is still more humane than chattel slavery in ancient Rome. At least lords could not kill serfs on a whim and without a trial. They could not sexually harass female serfs, which masters did so often to females slaves in Rome.
 

Willempie

Ad Honorem
Jul 2015
5,588
Netherlands
It's highly circumstancial. In the context of this conversation I draw the line at the Rhine River - the border between the empire and barbaria. Western Europe refers to the Latin former empire. Central Europe refers to the Germanic regions. In a different conversation I might have different definitions of Western and Central Europe.
Well I would certainly include north of France. Say anything north and west of Geneve.
 

johnincornwall

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,872
Cornwall
Well the term dark ages refers to the north-west of the European continent in the period of appr 450-800 (basically from the fall of the west to Charlemagne).
I am very much aware that applying this term to other areas is a bit daft. I mean in this period Justinian build the Haga Sophia and the Tang had exams for civil servants, whereas here people were still trying to figure out how to stop a river from flooding your house
Something like that. Btw I get constantly confused with the assignations of Europe. For some Brits I live in central Europe, for others, central Europe starts at Austria etc. I mean the area France, western Germany, Denmark, UK and those pesky countries in the middle.

One last word on the sources from the dark ages. Almost all those sources are from the days of Charlemagne in its oldest surviving form.
An early form of media spin and censorship :). Didn't write anything about Roncesvalles! Banned.

And it's Western Europe all day long
 
Jan 2019
220
London, United Kingdom
There was no abolishment of slavery in the Middle Ages, as far as I know there were some prohibitions, mostly related with Christians enslaving Christians, and there was a slowly shift from slavery to serfdom in many regions, but all throw the Middle Ages slavery still existed in Europe.
And according to an article I read, even slavery continued to exist in Byzantine in the Middle Ages, masters' power was more restricted. They could still buy and sell slaves like property, but they could not kill them without reason, and sexual harassment was also strictly prohibited.
 

johnincornwall

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,872
Cornwall
Slavery might still exist, but not on a large scale like in ancient Rome. While you can argue that serfdom is a Medieval version of slavery, it is still more humane than chattel slavery in ancient Rome. At least lords could not kill serfs on a whim and without a trial. They could not sexually harass female serfs, which masters did so often to females slaves in Rome.
Trouble with 'Medieval' is that sweeping broad statements like that can't possibly apply all round. The Visigoths inherited all the Roman slave system for their agriculture etc. And increased it if anything, as they forbade freemen to 'leave' with any goods, money or family.

Even the Bishop of Toledo left 600 slaves in his will
 
Jan 2019
220
London, United Kingdom
Trouble with 'Medieval' is that sweeping broad statements like that can't possibly apply all round. The Visigoths inherited all the Roman slave system for their agriculture etc. And increased it if anything, as they forbade freemen to 'leave' with any goods, money or family.

Even the Bishop of Toledo left 600 slaves in his will
Well, that is an exception, not the norm. The Visigoths controlled a much smaller territory than Rome I guess.
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
6,158
Portugal
While you can argue that serfdom is a Medieval version of slavery….
I didn’t argued that…

They could not sexually harass female serfs, which masters did so often to females slaves in Rome.
That I don’t know. And I don’t know if we know.

And according to an article I read, even slavery continued to exist in Byzantine in the Middle Ages, masters' power was more restricted. They could still buy and sell slaves like property, but they could not kill them without reason, and sexual harassment was also strictly prohibited.
Yes, slavery still existed in the Middle Ages that was my point, including in the Byzantine empire, even if I was mostly thinking about the Iberian Peninsula, it was my bias working.

As for sexual harassment was strictly prohibited? I must show my ignorance about that. Can you point us the article that you are referring? Honestly, it is good to see you mentioning articles, in this case I think you made significant improvements since you joined to use.

Well, that is an exception, not the norm. The Visigoths controlled a much smaller territory than Rome I guess.
Don’t know to what Bishop of Toledo in particular John is referring, probably all of them had slaves, not only the Visigothic ones. The issue here was not in the territories that the Visigoths controlled, that obviously were much smaller than the ones of the Roman empire, the issue is in the continuation of the slavery, and we probably see much more that continuity in the South of Europe than in the North. During the Middle Ages the influx of Slav slaves to the Muslim Iberian Peninsula was tremendous. And in the final phase of the period there was an influx of North African and Guanches, much of them later reexported to other regions of Europe.
 

Willempie

Ad Honorem
Jul 2015
5,588
Netherlands
There was no abolishment of slavery in the Middle Ages, as far as I know there were some prohibitions, mostly related with Christians enslaving Christians, and there was a slowly shift from slavery to serfdom in many regions, but all throw the Middle Ages slavery still existed in Europe.
Yep, though it differs greatly per area. Charlemagne tried to discourage it for example, but didn't ban it.
My guess is that because of the spread of Christianity (slaves also have a soul) it disappeared quickest in the autarkic areas as there is no real benefit in having slaves if you don't have real excess produce.