Dark Ages - A term worth using?

Nov 2010
6,999
Cornwall
#82
However, Daileader points out, that Al-Andalus (Islamic Spain) in the western scope of early middle ages as "remarkable in the early Middle Ages for its highly developed intellectual and economic life, as well as its ethnic and religious diversity." [2]

If the economic collapse and population decline was ongoing for the 5 centuries from the 2nd to the 7th, that implies a very low point ending in the 7th century. Let's call that the dark age, lasting from about 400 to 650.

Islamic Spain came after that.

Yep. Philip Daileader specifies the 8th to the 9th centuries as the Al-Andalus high point. ibid.p74.
Then I fear he is venturing into areas about which he knows very little or it is a mistake. The 8th and 9th centuries were clearly an extremely turbulent and rather anarchic time in Iberia, finally brought to an end by the ruthless talent of Abderraman III and his creation of the Caliphate - which is probably what he means. 929 to, effectively, 1008 (nominally 1031).

Though the earlier period was certainly 'ethnically and religiously diverse', it wasn't the high point in any way. That diversity was what caused division
 
Dec 2011
1,744
#83
Then I fear he is venturing into areas about which he knows very little or it is a mistake. The 8th and 9th centuries were clearly an extremely turbulent and rather anarchic time in Iberia, finally brought to an end by the ruthless talent of Abderraman III and his creation of the Caliphate - which is probably what he means. 929 to, effectively, 1008 (nominally 1031).

Though the earlier period was certainly 'ethnically and religiously diverse', it wasn't the high point in any way. That diversity was what caused division
Thanks for the heads up.

Obviously, I have in quotation marks what is written in the guidebook in the first quote that you posted.

The second quote is my reading of it and I could have misread it. I am not familiar with this part of history.

I have to go to work now but later when I have time I will type in the first several paragraphs of his exact words for context.
 
Dec 2011
1,744
#84
Thanks for the heads up.

Obviously, I have in quotation marks what is written in the guidebook in the first quote that you posted.

The second quote is my reading of it and I could have misread it. I am not familiar with this part of history.

I have to go to work now but later when I have time I will type in the first several paragraphs of his exact words for context.
Al-Andalus—Islamic Spain Lecture 21
Today, we’re going to turn to another territory beyond the boundaries of the Carolingian Empire. We’re going to turn to Islamic Spain, or alAndalus as the Arabs called it, and we’re going to focus on al-Andalus because al-Andalus was, in the 8th and the 9th and the 10th centuries, the most economically advanced and sophisticated part of Europe, surpassing even Italy in that regard.

Islamic Spain, or al-Andalus, was remarkable in the early Middle Ages for its highly developed intellectual and economic life, as well as its ethnic and religious diversity. These accomplishments were a result of the Arab conquest of most of Visigothic Spain between 711 and 716. In 750, the Abbasid dynasty overthrew the Umayyad caliphs and moved the caliphate from Damascus to Baghdad. A member of the Umayyad dynasty, Abd al-Rahman I, fled to Spain and established himself as ruler (emir) there in 756, proclaiming the political independence of al-Andalus. The Umayyad dynasty ruled in Spain until 1031.

The Umayyad dynasty reached its zenith during the reign of Abd al-Rahman III (r. 912–961). He was ruthless and creative in suppressing opponents and even took the title of caliph (khalifa) for himself in 929, thus establishing his religious independence from the Abbasid caliphs.

During the late 10th century, Umayyad caliphs came under the control of an official known as al-Mansur (d. 1002). Al-Mansur garnered popular support for himself by winning notable military victories against the Christian kingdoms of northern Spain. Among his most memorable triumphs was the sack of the town of Santiago de Compostela, where the most famous Christian shrine in Spain was located. Al-Mansur’s military campaigns diverted attention away from the fact that he had reduced the caliphs in Spain to figureheads.
SOURCE: LECTURE 21 Al-Andalus—Islamic Spain ...............................................................74
The Early Middle Ages Guidebook. The Great Courses. 2004. Philip Daileader.

Obviously, I did not distinguish between the Abbasid dynasty or the Umayyad dynasty.

I think your point stands. Daileader is saying the "zenith", is the Abd al-Rahman III period which incorporates your time frame. He did not say the 8th and 9th centuries were the high point, so I am wrong on that. What he specifically says about that period is that they were "the most economically advanced and sophisticated part of Europe...." I see my error in conflating those points. I have highlighted those areas that I am talking about.

Thanks for the correction.
 
Nov 2010
6,999
Cornwall
#86
SOURCE: LECTURE 21 Al-Andalus—Islamic Spain ...............................................................74
The Early Middle Ages Guidebook. The Great Courses. 2004. Philip Daileader.

Obviously, I did not distinguish between the Abbasid dynasty or the Umayyad dynasty.

I think your point stands. Daileader is saying the "zenith", is the Abd al-Rahman III period which incorporates your time frame. He did not say the 8th and 9th centuries were the high point, so I am wrong on that. What he specifically says about that period is that they were "the most economically advanced and sophisticated part of Europe...." I see my error in conflating those points. I have highlighted those areas that I am talking about.

Thanks for the correction.
Understood thanks
 
Jan 2010
3,983
Atlanta, Georgia USA
#87
Olleus, I would even make it shorter than that, maybe 400 to 650.
And I would further qualify it by area: the "Dark Ages" in the British Isles were very dark indeed, and as discussed above Gregory of Tours' History shows that northern France was pretty barbaric. But Italy (and perhaps southern France) were somewhat less devastated. The old "Roman" tradition continued to a large extent.
 
#88
I have just read a good book "The Fate of Rome" by Kyle Harper. It focuses on the effects of plagues on the Roman and Byzantine empires. It says:
"In the furthest west the free fall [into dissolution of society] was most undisguised.....By the end of the 5th century there were no towns, no villas and no coins..... now even those of priveleged station returned to the days of hand-thrown pottery. In the Iberian peninsula... the archaeology of the 5th and 6th centuries reveals above all, fragmentation. Towns did not disappear overnight, but by AD 600 most of the major cities that still existed entered a terminal decline. In [northern] Gaul, coins nearly disappeared for a few generations [around 600AD]. In the south, in the middle of the 6th century .... some of the last bastions of Roman urbanism, such as Arles, vanished completely. In Italy [after 543]..the combination of plague, war and climate change proved overwhelming. Most towns suffered a fate between hollowing out and utter annihilation. By the end of the 6th Century, the ancient practice of inscribing on stone comes to a wimpering end. People eerily retreat in the material [archaeological] record. The villages and farms which for a thousand years underpinned a considerable level of civilisation seem mostly to have gone. In the 7th and 8th centuries it is very difficult from field survey and even excavation to find any trace of settlement at all. Coins, once ubiquitous, vanished except for a handful of Byzantine outposts. The fertile lowlands - exposed to environmental stress and barbarian pillagers - were abandoned for the retreat of the hilltop village. Italy was sent reeling backwards, to a level of technology and material culture that had not been seen since before the Etruscans. "
 

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