The Darkening Age
The Darkening Age is the largely unknown story of how a militant religion comprehensively and deliberately extinguished the teachings of the Classical world, ushering in centuries of unquestioning adherence to 'one true faith'.
Despite the long-held notion that the early Christians were meek and mild, going to their martyr's deaths singing hymns of love and praise, the tru...more
In my email today I received an invitation from a group called Developing a Christian Mind [DCM] to one of their programmes in Oxford entitled Seeking Wisdom. I am assured that essential issues relating to the “Humanities, Medical Sciences, Natural Sciences, Philosophy and Theology, and Social Sciences” will be addressed over a two day weekend by well-known academics. I will be informed, specifically, “How postgraduates, postdocs, and academics at the University of Oxford can ...more
(Hypatia, circa 350–370 CE to 415 CE, Philosopher, astronomer, and mathematician of Alexandria)
Knowing what I already knew about the destruction of the great Library of Alexandria and the torture and murder of the brilliant philosopher and mathematician Hypatia, I knew the early Christians weren't exactly kind to those who didn't believe as they did. I knew there was much they destroyed of the ancient world, much that is forever lost to history because they had no tolerance for those whose belie ...more
The title effectively sums up the book, the author is a journalist and maybe that is the kind of neat trick that she has picked up from her professional practise.
Putting words into her mouth, the story she tells is of the Christianisation of the Roman Empire, she goes back as far as the ...more
Rather than write my own review, I thought it would be apropos to present some more favorable reviews that others have presented to serve as a counterweight to all the nega ...more
Temples, statuary, books and other art was destroyed, vandalised, hidden and in many cases crudely "Christianised" by defacement. On the face of it, this isn't a surprise as it's a simple human trait seen throughout our history that the "good and right" will erase or change the "bad and wrong" to suit the narrative needed to "progress" a ...more
Yes, I would like to go back in time and wreak destruction on the barbaric Christians who gloated in the destruction of the Temple of Artemis and send lightning bolts to strike them down! Temple-destroyers! Murderers of Hypatia! Book-burners!
In the wake of such senseless destruction no real ‘triumph’ is possible. I’m afraid that Christianity spread the same way as the other monotheistic religions following it—through force and coercion. Nevertheless, it is the Greeks who will have the last laugh ...more
But – this is polemical history rather than objective history. Catherine Nixey picks up on an old theme of the greatness and glory of classical antiquity and how i ...more
Before Christianity, no one identified by their religion, says Catherine Nixey. It was not their defining characteristic. Christians imposed their beliefs on everyone else, and required everyone to identify as Christian. That is the essence of The Darkening Age. It shows how the free-for-all that was life in the Roman Empire became the dour, sullen austerity of Christendom.
The Roman Empire was about living life to the fullest. Sex was celebrated (Marc ...more
Constantine set up the first maj ...more
One final note: many, many good people are impelled by their Christian faith to do many, many good things. I know because I am an almost daily beneficiary of such goodness myself. This book is not intended as an attack on these people and I hope they will not see it as such. But it is undeniable that there have been — that there still are — those who use monotheism and its weapons to terrible ends. Christianity is a greater and a...more
Whilst I ...more
No doubt other factors influenced the loss of classical knowledge and culture, but bands of w ...more
The book waffles around without a clear structure, jumping from anecdote to anecdote. Barely half the chapters seemed to cover the period she was supposed to be writing about - we frequently digress to Victorian visitors to Pompeii or the writings of Celsus (second century AD Athens' ans ...more
Catherine Nixey, apparently, is such a person too, and the destruction of the library occupies several chapters in her new book The Darkening Age. It is both history and metaphor, as it comes to stand as a s ...more