Engels on materialism: part 7 – the ‘Dark Ages’

Landscape with clerics studying astronomy and geometry, showing an armillary sphere, square, compasses, etc. La Vraye Histoire du Bon Roy Alixandre (The Alexander Romance in Old French prose), Pseudo-Callisthenes, French, early 15th century

Landscape with clerics studying astronomy and geometry, showing an armillary sphere, square, compasses, etc. La Vraye Histoire du Bon Roy Alixandre (The Alexander Romance in Old French prose), Pseudo-Callisthenes, French, early 15th century

This same unhistorical conception prevailed also in the domain of history. Here the struggle against the remnants of the Middle Ages blurred the view. The Middle Ages were regarded as a mere interruption of history by a thousand years of universal barbarism. The great progress made in the Middle Ages — the extension of the area of European culture, the viable great nations taking form there next to each other, and finally the enormous technical progress of the 14th and 15th centuries — all this was not seen. Thus a rational insight into the great historical interconnectedness was made impossible, and history served at best as a collection of examples and illustrations for the use of philosophers.

Frederick Engels, Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy, 1886

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Full text at Marxists Internet Archive

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2 thoughts on “Engels on materialism: part 7 – the ‘Dark Ages’

  1. Good post. Anyone who doubts the cultural vitality of the Medieval Age would do well to be dragged to a Medieval Cathedral. Far from being a time of stagnation, they testify to a thriving society. Admittedly one grounded in a more homogeneous ideological outlook than ourselves but even then, there is a lot of historical evidence of dynamism.

    Liked by 1 person

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