Jun 04, 2020
Barbarians to Angels: The Dark Ages Reconsidered
Posted by Peter S. Wells

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 SThe 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.

  • Title: Barbarians to Angels: The Dark Ages Reconsidered
  • Author: Peter S. Wells
  • ISBN: 9780393060751
  • Page: 194
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Barbarians to Angels The Dark Ages Reconsidered Wells Barbarians to Angels is what you might call a summary of the so called Revisionist view of the Dark Ages, specifically, that the Dark Ages weren t that dark, and that the period between of AD to AD was actually a time of urban growth and creative vitality. Barbarians to Angels The Dark Ages Reconsidered by Peter Barbarians to Angels uses archaeological evidence largely from burials to fill in gaps left by written sources about the dark ages, from the th to th centuries Because the contemporary writers were elites from the Roman tradition, they focused on the fall of the Roman empire and what they saw as decline of civilization. Barbarians to Angels The Dark Ages Reconsidered by Peter Aug , 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 ways of life This is the picture of the Dark Ages that most historians promote. Barbarians to Angels The Dark Ages Barbarians to Angels is what you might call a summary of the so called Revisionist view of the Dark Ages, specifically, that the Dark Ages weren t that dark, and that the period between of AD to AD was actually a time of urban growth and creative vitality. BARBARIANS TO ANGELS by Peter S Wells Kirkus Reviews Revisionist argument that the period following the fall of the Roman Empire was not an epoch of barbarian savagery, war, chaos and cultural bleakness. On the contrary, it was a time of brilliant cultural activity in Europe, writes Wells Archaeology Univ of Minnesota The Battle That Stopped Rome Augustus, Arminius, and the Slaughter of the Legions in the Teutoburg Forest, , etc Barbarians to Angels The Dark Ages Reconsidered by Peter Jul , The Hardcover of the Barbarians to Angels The Dark Ages Reconsidered by Peter S Wells at Barnes Noble FREE Shipping on or Due to COVID , orders may be delayed.

    Barbarians to Angels The Dark Ages Reconsidered 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 mig

    Terence

    I would describe this book as a professor s collection of undergraduate level lectures about the Dark Ages which, as he correctly points out, weren t quite as dark as the general public might think Of course, John Jane Q Public don t often consider the Dark Ages except when they re watching scurrilous TV shows or movies, and then, do they care Probably not.Among the cognoscenti of amateur and professional Late Antiquity Early Medieval historians, Wells is not exactly breaking new ground.Among th [...]


    Dan

    If you enjoyed either of Peter Wells prior books, The Barbarians Speak or The Battle that Stopped Rome, then his latest work will be a delight If you haven t read any of Wells books, I highly recommend them, but especially Barbarians to Angels I discovered the book in the midst of researching the Migration Era and after having encountered Walter Goffart s critique of current scholarship about both the end of the Roman Empire and the German ness of the barbarians who both attacked and defended th [...]


    Rindis

    Peter S Wells book is a look at the Dark Ages in the cultural continuity tradition that started in the 1970s It is mostly aimed at dispelling the extremely bleak view of post Roman history taken by the early Humanists to Gibbon and through most of the twentieth century.And it s a certainty that things weren t as bad as the traditional view represented them However, the arguments presented that the post Roman world continued without major disruptions are often nebulous, ill supported, and lacking [...]


    Steve Bivans

    As the defender of barbarian complexity and contribution, Peter Wells stakes a claim in the larger debate on the nature of the Fall of Rome, and with some interesting modifications, comes down on the side of continuity and gradual transition Barbarians to Angels continues the basic thesis of his The Barbarians Speak simply put, that the barbarians possessed a complex society of their own While adapting to Roman culture, and integrating and modifying Roman institutions of government, they retaine [...]


    Anatolikon

    To start off, I think that Well s thesis is correct Much of the cultural baggage attached to the term Dark Ages is Enlightenment Romanophilism and that picture deserves thorough revision which has been done in the academic sphere with major works like Wickham sFraming the Early Middle Ages Europe and the Mediterranean, 400 800 Unfortunately, Wells attempt to bring such research the popular sphere falls rather flat due to poor argumentation and highly questionable use of evidence Although the boo [...]


    Mary Catelli

    The Dark Ages not the entire Middle Ages that used to be called the Dark Ages, just the era that gets called the Dark Ages now as viewed by the eye of archeology.Let us say that it looks kinda different to them.For one thing, all the stories about invading barbarian hordes are overstated Archaeological evidence does not point to many people moving during the time The artifacts in locations said to be invaded, like England, did not change, and the skeletons teeth can apparently be analyzed and fi [...]


    Полиграф

    What an absurd book.After rapid growth in the latter part of the first century, London emerged as a stunning center of the Roman Empire on its northern edge, with monumental architecture, a thriving commercial center, and a military base characteristic of the greatest of Roman cities The third and fourth centuries at London are marked by a stoppage in the major architecture and a reverse of that process, the dismantling of major stone monuments, at the same time that much of the formerly urban a [...]


    Michael Burnam-Fink

    Wells uses archaeological evidence to argue that the Dark Ages weren t so dark after all, and that a vibrant culture of nobles and merchants, ruling over newly productive agriculturalists, thrived between 400 and 800 C.E For the average worker living in the cities of the Rhine basin, the Baltic Sea, or London, there wouldn t have been much change from year to year as Rome weakened New forms of art around finely crafted gold brooches and animal designs represent a shift away from Mediterranean cu [...]


    Tanya

    Barbarians to Angels uses archaeological evidence largely from burials to fill in gaps left by written sources about the dark ages, from the 5th to 8th centuries Because the contemporary writers were elites from the Roman tradition, they focused on the fall of the Roman empire and what they saw as decline of civilization Wells points out that these centuries were actually full of a re establishment of local architecture and personal art, and a strong continuation of long distance trade He argues [...]


    James

    I read this book, somewhat coincidentally, just after The Swerve It s another book I wish went further than it did Like a few other recent works on the early Medieval period, it s setting up an argument against the unsubtle view that after the Western Roman Empire fell, everything went completely to hell in a handbasket and there wasn t any real progress again until the Renaissance Well, that s an unsubtle view and tends to ignore anything happening elsewhere in the world , and Wells argues agai [...]


    Elentarri

    In Barbarians to Angels, Wells discusses his basic thesis that the Dark Ages weren t quite so dark That the barbarians invading the Roman Empire, adapted, integrated and modified the Roman government institutions, but also retained a great deal of their own complex culture and institutions after the collapse of the Roman Empire Wells decides to focus his attention on the examination of archaeological materials to construct a picture of barbarian society in northern Europe.In my opinion, Wells ar [...]


    Monica Willyard

    I enjoyed reading this book because it captivated both my imagination and my logic Are used to be somewhat uneasy of the description of the dark ages as a sudden, drastic decline from culture to anarchy However, since I m not a historian by training, I felt I couldn t argue with when I was reading and being taught This book is based on archaeological evidence from digs throughout Europe It makes sense that many of the people s during the dark ages were not literate, and so there were few survivi [...]


    Alex Telander

    BARBARIANS TO ANGELS THE DARK AGES RECONSIDERED BY PETER S WELLS Peter S Wells, professor of anthropology at the University of Minnesota, and author of The Battle That Shaped Rome and Barbarians Speak, takes on a bold new subject as he attempts to prove that the so called Dark Ages really weren t that bad at all, but were a time for important trading, the long term migration of different peoples, and that most of what we consider to know about the period from the fall of Rome in approximately 41 [...]


    Joyce

    University of Minnesota archaeologist Peter Wells, a specialist on Roman and post Roman history, turns his attention away from Roman civilization and onto northern European tribes long dismissed as ignorant barbarians for causing the Fall of Rome Wells presents a solid argument, based on material evidence, for considering northern Europeans, i.e the Franks, Celts, Saxons, Goths et al not as illiterate hordes, but as indigenous cultures whose trade, industry, agriculture, art and education belie [...]


    Joshua

    There were numerous times during the reading of this when I had to stop and say to myself, You have really boring interests That s not to say this book is boring My only real complaint is that I would ve preferred a thorough study Each chapter seemed like an introduction to a subject that could ve lent itself to a full book But there I go again, criticizing a book for what I wanted it to be instead of what it is A book of this size isn t going to be able to go into in depth details about each [...]


    Sara

    Peter Wells deftly tackles the bizarrely persistent idea that the early Middle Ages c 400 to 800 AD were, as the old moniker would have it, actually dark Crucially, Wells research is based on archaeological evidence rather than textual evidence The primary literate document producers of this 400 year period, namely clerics, subscribed to the late Roman Empire s school of thought regarding what makes culture and civilization According to these criteria which are much like our own monumental stone [...]


    Louise

    Due to the lack of a written record, it has been assumed that the decline in Roman civilization meant a cultural descent One result is that the name the Dark Ages was given to this period with very little understanding of what happened in them.With photos and drawings showing unearthed artifacts and maps showing the wide dispersion of where they have been found, Wells makes the case for a lively culture with active trade in this period Most striking to me was the minimal evidence of war in these [...]


    Karen Floyd

    Finally Someone who believes the Dark Ages weren t dark after all.The author takes a frsh look at the so called Dark Ages from the perspective of archeological evidence and reminds us that the few written sources we have are written from a particular point of view, mostly Roman, and then mostly Christian The physical evidence shows that the years between AD 300 and AD 800 were prosperous ones, with many new trade centers appearing all over Northern Europe And the invention of the moldboard plow [...]


    Max Carmichael

    This little academic summary is not a particularly lively read, but it joins a few other recent histories in a gradual paradigm shift about the human experience that I find hugely enlightening.The history that we ve been taught, and the history that will continue to be disseminated in mainstream media, is nothing but propaganda for the society of the elites As this book shows, our dystopian paradigm of the collapse of civilization is largely a myth empires are inherently oppressive, nations and [...]


    John Mccullough

    This small book has the task of convincing us that as the political power of western Rome declined, the Dark Ages were not all that dark True, Rome left the provinces due to economic collapse, but the populations survived and simply revived their normal cultural traditions, now much influenced by Rome Trade, crafts, arts, and economies changed but did not fall into a dark period Indeed, Wells argues this period substantially set the stage for the flourishing of the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and [...]


    David R.

    Wells objective, and I worthy one, I think, is to demonstrate that the so called Dark Ages ca 400 800 C.E were not so dark after all That is, that European polities were dynamic, prosperous, and vital than has been imagined in recent centuries In support of his thesis he musters a mix of source literature, archaeological discoveries, and deduction Unfortunately the end product doesn t quite get there The evidence is not well documented and various supporting points do not truly support their po [...]


    Relstuart

    A little dry Not written for the causal read Discusses why people think of the middle ages as the dark ages and why that view is influenced by the Roman writers in their days of waning power and influence and the influence of Gibbon s classic work, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire However, Europe was expanding in many other ways as trade and learning flourished in parts of Europe that were not Roman Many of these elements of society that flourished do have surviving written records which [...]


    Siggie

    The author makes the point that just because there is very little written in the period 400 to 800 AD that has survived or been found it doesn t necessarily follow that this period was a Dark period of stagnation, violence, chaos and starvation as we think Charlemagne s Empire and the Carolingian Renaissance of the late 8th and 9th centuries could not have sprung to life out of nothing He goes to archaeological evidence to show that this 400 year period was rich in developments in trade, agricul [...]


    Paul

    A great little book that systematically re reviews the so called Dark Ages, the time immediately after the decline of the Roman Empire, approximately 400 800 AD Because few writers of the time valued anything but the Roman Empire, histories have till now only reflected their view, which was basically that the world went to hell until the time of Charlemagne Archeological evidence paints a far different picture, one of continuity and a quiet flourishing of new centers of commerce, culture, and le [...]


    Hester

    What a tease I have always been confused about the Dark Ages and have struggled to find books that would tell me about them Who exactly were the Merovingians What were the northern Europeans like What was their religion Did it involve bison, like in Guy Gavriel Kay s Sarantine Mosaic books This book uses archaeology to begin to answer these questions, but frustrates me by not going all the way Why did they throw swords into rivers What did it mean How are Christmas trees related to old European [...]


    Andrew

    I finished this book a few weeks ago and enjoyed it, but felt like I had to slog through the final few chapters This is fairly normal for me in historical books as it can be difficult to engage the reader with a unique character or situation I think this work achieves it s maximum value as a reference book and an eye opening look at what the Dark Ages were really like If you are looking for summer reading just for entertainment s value, this probably isn t the book for you Still, it seems to be [...]


    Max

    First and foremost a study on the society during the so called Dark Ages, this book takes about 200 pages to prove the thesis that society did not collapse into Dark Matter after the end of the Roman Empire.Yes, this was interesting No, not much sticked PW does not attempt to captivate, that is for sure Long sections with archaeological evidence, detailing all items found in graves, are not my cup of tea I did like the fact that I d visited several of the sites mentioned, I will also include Reg [...]


    Andrea Dowd

    This is just a small portrait of Europe during the Dark Ages It s written by a professor of the University of Minnesota and I would recommend that anyone interested in histroy or in early cultures in Europe read this book first before getting into huge tomes It was a little too simplistic for my tastes, but I think that had to do with the fact that I already knew a lot of what was in the book.Overall, the writing was good and the scope of topics religion to construction was encompassing I also [...]


    Heather Domin

    This is one of my favorite periods in history, so when I came across this book I pounced It s very readable, very succinct, lots of info packed into a tight, short, well researched book I definitely recommend it for someone just starting out in researching this time The only thing is, the author touts it as being this edgy new theory, and itn t The Dark Ages weren t really dark is not a new concept, so the repetition throughout the book that it is comes off as a little bit odd.


    Margaret Sankey

    Archeological survey of the early medieval European period, taking into account the recent horde discoveries, scientific advances like tooth enamel analysis, a better understanding of nutrition and three field crop rotation and bone study with the not surprising outcome that Henri Pirenne was full of it and northern Europe was not cast into outer darkness by primitive barbarians, but continued to trade ideas, people and bling of various sorts as far away as India ivory Buddhas in Swedish elite g [...]



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      Posted by:Peter S. Wells
      Published :2020-03-03T10:44:18+00:00