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It was first used when people started to see a contrast between the brilliance of Europe throughout the time of Roman Empire, the “light” period, and the abrupt wear and tear throughout the centuries after the collapse of Rome. Throughout the time of Roman profession in Europe, the European economy and culture were growing. Nevertheless, when the Empire collapsed in the first millennium AD, Roman impact throughout Europe began to decrease significantly. The fast drop in development of Roman ideology was not just restricted to their economy, the different fields of science (e.
g. mathematics & & medication) that the Romans tinkered with was also impacted. The Dark Ages lasted for about nine centuries (600-1500AD). For the first half of this era there was a stable decrease within Europe in regards to the sciences and philosophical works, Nevertheless, I think that the pinnacle of this all-time low in Europe was the Black Death (also referred to as the Black Plague.
The Black Death was triggered by a bacterium (Yersinia pestis) that was brought in fleas that travelled to Europe on the backs of rats that snuck aboard global trade ships around 1347. The Black Death quickly spread from different port-cities in the south of Europe throughout all of Europe. Ultimately the Black Death would erase a 3rd of the European population before the devastation of this bacterium is practically extinguished about a century after the afflict initially hit the coasts of Europe. The Black Death or Black Plague is, for me, among the most defining qualities of the Dark Ages.
However, the Black Death did have some rather intriguing things come out of it.
For instance, I know that the connotation of calling bad doctors “Quacks” comes from the Black Death as doctors during the Dark Ages thought that the Black Death spread through touch and covered themselves in large heavy black cloaks and a mask shaped like a duck’s head with a sponge soaked in Vinegar skewered on the end of the bill to prevent themselves from being contaminated. And the nursery rhyme Ring-a-ring-a-Rosie derived from the Black Death as people used to carry sweet smelling flowers (e.g. Roses) to mask the ever present scent of death and decay. Although the Yersinia Pestis virus has not been fully eradicated (PubMed.com, 2004) modern medicine has managed to subdue most of the fatal ability of this bacteria.
However, in contrast, Ming Dynasty China was relatively more sophisticated compared to Europe during the early fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The Ming sciences (particularly those of mathematics and medicine) were far more advanced than their European counterparts. Unlike some European countries education was widespread for both men and women. During the Ming Dynasty China were also the first develop the woodblock printing press, as a result of this, China was able to publish large amounts of books during this period.
For the Europeans during the ‘Dark Ages’ these times were indeed dark and dreary, things were however, picking up in other parts of the world. For me personally, I believe that had the Dark Ages not occurred, Europe’s standing as a modern superpower would not, and could not have occurred as I believe that the ‘Dark Ages’ was the forerunner of the Renaissance and Industrial Revolution could not have been possible. Europe’s status as a superpower and (at one stage home to three biggest empires throughout history), the world would not have advanced as whole as it has in this day and age.
Bottaro, J. Visser P. Worden N, In Search of History Grade 10 page 27 Bottaro, J. Visser P. Worden N, In Search of History Grade 10 page 12 Bryant, G. The Dark Ages: Where They Darker Than We imagined?[posted:September 1999] http://gchbryant.tripod.com/Articles/darkages0999.htm,[accessed:28January2013] MedNet.com,DefinitionOfTheBlackDeath,[updated:April27th2011] http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=2470,[accessed:January28th2013]
History Channel, Black Death, first aired 2009
Oxford English Dictionary (2ed.) Oxford England: Oxford University Press 1989
[ 1 ]. Oxford English Dictionary (2ed.) Oxford England: Oxford University Press 1989 [ 2 ]. Bryant, G.,TheDarkAges:WhereTheyDarkerThanWeImagined?,[posted:September1999], http://gchbryant.tripod.com/Articles/darkages0999.htm,[accessed:28January2013] [ 3 ]. Bottaro, J.,Visser P., Worden, N, In Search of History Grade 10 page 27 [ 4 ]. MedNet.com,DefinitionOfTheBlackDeath,[updated:April27th2011], http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=2470,[accessed:January28th2013] [ 5 ]. History Channel, Black Death, first aired 2009
[ 6 ]. Bottaro, J. Visser P, Worden, N, In Search of History Grade 10 page 12
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