22/05/2019 by Sebastian Major
There are few periods in history as hotly contested as the so-called “Dark Ages”. Traditionally, the 5th to 10th centuries in Europe have been characterized as “bizarre and monstrous”. But is this perception justified? Also, if there was a “dark age” should it be understood as a global phenomenon? Tune in and find out how Chinese paper, the biggest domed roof in the world, and Matt Damon movies all play a role in the story.
Listen Date: 2019-06-15
- Not many notes on the episode itself. It seemed to be more meta than the usual episode, looking more at the problems of the approach of categorising periods into ages, than at a specific topic. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it just didn’t give me anything new.
- The one train of thought this episode did spark was from the bit about grand narratives. Okay, I now realise that grand narratives are probably false, or overstated. But would I have reached this level of interest if I had not initially been hooked by the satisfaction that the grand narrative provided? A very sobering thought; considering it throws up the questions: can you reach a level of interest in a subject without grand narratives, and: how many people get stuck in the grand narratives without taking the jump to ‘Eh, grand narratives are an interesting first approximation, but reality is both less coherent and more interesting.’