Petrarch Presents: Lights in the Darkness – The Survival of the Classical Tradition in the Early Middle Ages
Brought to you by the Petrarch Insitute
The Petrarch Institute presents part II of our series on the history of Western civilization. The destruction of the Western Roman Empire culminating in 476 AD was arguably the single greatest crisis in the history of Europe when its civilization as it had been known came close to vanishing altogether. Where the Roman empire once stood, fierce barbarian tribes roamed to sack and plunder, the population declined, cities were depopulated, law and order collapsed, libraries and schools closed, literate culture almost vanished. Yet against all odds Europe survived and began to rebuild a new form of European culture based on a synthesis of Catholic Christianity and the classical tradition. A number of heroic and accomplished figures stand out in this story – Boethius and Cassiodorus, St. Benedict of Nursia, Pope Gregory the Great, the Venerable Bede, St. Isidore of Seville, Charlemagne, and King Alfred of England. This episode focuses on this remarkable saga of Europe’s recovery from the brink of destruction.
Here it is: