Latin Thought during the Middle Ages

Latin Thought during the Middle Ages

Latin Thought during the Middle Ages

Latin Thought during the Middle Ages

Excerpt

It is as easy to take the Middle Ages as the background of legends and fantastic stories as it seems to be difficult correctly to appraise that epoch in its complex reality. Just as there are nations and individuals who seem never to succeed in living down certain opinions about themselves which may or may not have had some justification at one time but have long ceased to have any basis in fact, so the Middle Ages have often suffered through the after-effects of old misunderstandings. The Renaissance dawned when the Middle Ages were setting: and the men of the Renaissance saw merely a period of decadence which followed upon the downfall of the Western Empire. Medieval learning and art could scarcely have any claim to the attention of Renaissance scholars who judged everything by the standard of ancient Rome and ancient Greece. There arose later a reaction against classical standards and against classicism; and the men who promoted this reaction were more favourably disposed towards the Middle Ages, as representing a direct opposition to classicism; they admired the Middle Ages because, in the course of the centuries so described, the ancient world was supposed to have been destroyed by the advent of Christianity and the barbaric invasions of Western Europe. Their admiration was thus based on the negative rather than the positive activities of medieval men. It was only later realized that the Middle Ages had created besides destroying. Allegories, romances, epic cycles, Gothic architecture were clear evidence of . . .

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