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Displaced Continuity

Going by Wikipedia, as well as by general consensus, the Dark Ages ran approximately from the fifth to tenth centuries, achieving its name in light of the cultural and sociopolitical stagnation that swept through Europe following the demise of the Holy Roman Empire. It is my belief that the era actually had far more to do with a purposeful censorship and the forceful rewriting of history, and that the period began both symbolically and technically with the fiery destruction of the Library of Alexandria.

So that the reality of minimal information surviving of the times is by no means an accident. And as such, any idea that information from prior to whatever transpired in those centuries has indeed remained more in tact is greatly underestimating what truly could have been. Having ridden the coattails of Julius Caesar, Charlemagne and Constantine, the Christian church no longer wanted second fiddles in its empire-building. I believe that late antiquity was about the church leveling by the end of a bloody blade any and every Euro-centric power unwilling to abide by the new way, downplaying if not outright erasing all those geopolitical powers that would not or could not cross the line.

There’s some really scandalous ideas out there that I’ve read about, proclaiming how with apparently nothing exceptional occurring in the Dark Ages, and with so little records existing either which way, it would suggest that the time period did not happen at all. With full though fictitious centuries added to the calendar years after the fact, and the ancient world not truly being so far removed from our own. I bet such voices have a better sense of the forest but are completely misidentifying the trees therein. As but one modern example for what I’m proposing, American forces, when renewing their unprovoked warring with Iraq in the early 2000s, destroyed many museums and libraries. This enables the following generations of Americans to more easily consider that Iraqis of the past had no cultural or accumulated wisdom, with less examples of their actual past left to preach to their defense. The Dark Ages, I suspect, are the largest example of this happening in known, established history. A destruction of universities, houses of medicine and science, galleries exhibiting the history of histories and the intertwining of peoples prior to the abilities or machinations of whatever more current Powers That Be, all removed from the future. Allowing for every iota of it all to be re-imagined with victors permitting themselves more valiantly sympathetic lighting, and differing ideologies cast as ignorant and villainous. And all with such might behind it that a thousand years later vast elements of the real truth are still covered up and denied and ridiculed. A power extending over generations and centuries.

As joined at the hip as they were, when Rome fell the Christian church obviously did not fall with it. To the contrary, after the several hundred darkened years that followed the church was suddenly seated quite well, with a reach that matched the Roman empire before. Rome itself did not return as a global power until after the Christian church relocated its headquarters and corporate offices there. And I do mean corporate offices in the non-ironic sense, as the business relationships developed between the church and assorted royals and land-owners literally gave birth to the first banking system.

History is always written not just by the survivors, but by the victors specifically. The value of the massive collections of knowledge housed at Alexandria and elsewhere being lost forever to the sands of time cannot possibly be understated. When the storehouse at Alexandria burned, western civilization lost much of its history, its science and maths, its records and archives of past wars and alliances. Intended or not, this created a huge vacuum which demanded to be reengaged. You empty a bowl and you can refill it with whatever you wish.

Despite the fall of the Roman empire, the Christian church still required others to do its dirty work, so alliances were forged and cultivated with ruling classes, particularly family dynasties. I could imagine this as a slow process following Rome’s overreach, yet still successfully laying the foundations for later relations between the Papacy and the monarchies of Europe in the Middle Ages, at least up to the Renaissance. It could then even be argued that the Knights Templar were merely retreading steps, stomping down the last layer of symbolism upon the conquered peoples stretching from Scotland to the Silk Road, from the red-haired Irish to the red-haired Khazars. From Byzantine Constantinople back to Avignon.

The term of “pagan” was of course always a Christian word denoting any non-Christian belief or faith. Yet it also began as a derogatory term, along the lines of hillbilly or country bumpkin, denoting the remote clusters who maintained the older customs of their people which happened to predate Christianity. So the church’s ongoing struggles to convert pagans throughout the Middle Ages and likely throughout the generations leading up to them, was probably truthfully a war on these clusters of villages and tribes whose “crime” was the insistence on maintaining their own heritage.

The Dark Ages were about the genocide of ideas just as much as the genocide of peoples. Mass slaughter in diverse regions. I always found it curious that the Roman empire brazenly marched north, east and west, but rarely south unless to indulge romantic love triangles with Cleopatra and those beautiful women of the Levant. The later period innocently acknowledged as the Age of Discovery paints imagery that the dark continent was not explored deeply by European conquerors until centuries after the centuries of the Dark Ages, as though the wealthiest empire of old never exerted as much efforts on conquering the mineral-rich and culturally-rich peoples of Africa. But maybe they did just that. Maybe wide-scale, costly wars were fought against forces posing such a challenge that hundreds of square miles of forested jungle were rendered wasteland, and entire cultural heritages wiped from existence and memory of existence. Considering how every other conquered peoples are cast, perhaps the Muslim conquests were actually the fault of Christian conquests, with damages inflicted by Christian invaders later blamed on the very Muslim peoples that were warred upon. Lest we continue presuming that scapegoating peoples is a relatively new occurrence on the world stage, a charade which only benefits an ever-diminishing few. Maybe the Christians and Muslims warred with each other to see who would win the chance to colonize the African peoples much the same way the British and French would later war to see who would win the chance to colonize the Americas.

Maybe our real world history would be that civilization is older than we accept today, and our ancestors more advanced than we give them credit for. Maybe there was more trading, imports and exports around the world going on lifetimes earlier than the white Christian explorers who modern history books proclaim as the uniters mapping out all of the four corners.

An example of the times, Iowa Congressman Steve King said some inflammatory things in a panel discussion on the first day of the Republican National Convention of 2016, outright asserting that white Christian people have been the only subgroup of humanity to contribute to civilization. What was worse than his remarks were the people blasphemously, ignorantly, defending him, in believing that such concepts as Democracy, mathematics and written language were not birthed elsewhere. If it was not for Arab science teaching white Christian Europeans how to lance boils instead of relying on leeches the Bubonic plague would have finished off the European population altogether. The only things Americans in particular have given the world that do not fit under the category of weapons of mass destruction are comic books and jazz music, and white Christians had absolutely nothing to do with the foundations of either.

Lions have been widely portrayed as kings of the jungle, but only in recent decades of scientific observation has it been learned that lions actually leave the hunting to other beasts, stepping in at the final moments as bully scavengers to scare away the hunters and take full credit for the work, the kill and the feast. I would bet your left arm this is closer to reality where regards human history as well.