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After the Fall

of Rome
After the fall of Rome
 The fall was a real decline in quality of life
 Church was primarily urban, in no position to
control rural areas
 Pagan comes from Latin pagus, countryside
 Heathen means someone who lives in the heath
 Traditional Roman cults persisted until 600 A.D
and beyond in rural areas
There were two "dark ages".
 The first, due to the collapse of Roman
infrastructure and trade, bottomed out
around 600-700 A.D.
 There was a revival around 800 culminating
in the reign of Charlemagne
 Another decline about 900-1000 due to the
raids by Vikings and Magyars.
Technological innovations in post-
Roman Europe
 Steel--most Roman  Heavy plow
steel came from Austria  3-field crop rotation
 Rise of water wheels  Horse collar
 Stirrup
 Motte and Bailey castle
(stockade on a mound).
The lifestyle of many parts of
Western Europe around 700 A.D.
would not have differed greatly
from the Mound Builder
societies in North America that
would arise a little later.
The role of Ireland
 Romans abandon Britain in A.D. 409 to
defend closer to home.
 Ireland at this time was a clan society, with
frequent petty warfare, not so much for
conquest as adventure.
 Irish frequently raided Britain for slaves
 Also, the culture was remarkably casual
about sex.
Ireland
Saint Patrick
 Patricius, a Romanized Briton, was kidnapped
and taken to Ireland as a slave about 410 A.D.
 After seven years as a shepherd, he escaped.
 After escaping, decided to become a priest.
 He interpreted dreams of Ireland as a call from
God to evangelize Ireland, and he returned.
Patricius is better known to us as St. Patrick.
What Patrick accomplished:
 First missionary in 300 years (since Paul) to
travel widely, and the first ever to venture
outside the Roman realm in Europe.
 He successfully identified the core values of
Irish culture and tailored Christianity to
those values.
 Ireland is the only country ever converted
to Christianity completely without
bloodshed.
What Patrick accomplished:
 Patrick so successfully converted Ireland
and pacified it that it became a source of
slaves for petty warlords in Britain.
 Patrick protested to his British fellow clerics
and is the first known person in Western
history to condemn slavery as evil.
After Patrick
• The Irish, who loved epics and adventures,
became fascinated by Greek literature, and
developed a tradition of literacy.
 Some fulfilled their cultural desire for
adventure by venturing out on missionary
travels of their own.
 Irish missionaries are among the first
people in the West who go to difficult
places just "because they're there."
Ireland Reaches Out
 Followers of Patrick, Aidan and Columcille,
spread Christianity back to Scotland and
northern Britain.
 Irish had no racial or cultural biases against
converting the Saxons, who were invading
Britain
Ireland Reaches to Europe
 Columba (ca 500) spread Irish Christianity to the
European mainland.
 He and his successors established dozens of
monasteries in Germany, Austria, and even Italy,
traveled as far as Kiev
 Irish missionaries re-disseminated literacy to
Western Europe.
 They also established Christianity outside the
cities, something the Romanized Christianity of
the time had not done.
Decline of Ireland
• Vikings sacked Irish monasteries beginning
about 700 A.D.
• Vikings occupied much of Ireland, built first
cities (Dublin)
• Real decline began in 15th-16th centuries
as English stamped out Irish resistance
• Disastrous famine and migration, mid-19th
century.
• Recovery only in Twentieth Century
What Happened to the Celts?
What Happened to the Celts?
• In Pre-Roman times, occupied most of
Western and Central Europe
• Now occupy fringes of Europe
• Romans did not engage in genocide
• Celts had some familiar values:
pragmatism, love of adventure and
exploration
• To what extent is Western culture really
Celtic?