• A blatant abuse of the bible!
  • The collapse of the Western Roman Empire (476 A.D.), which came gradually during the 5th century, as various barbarian groups attacked the western Roman Empire, starting with the Visigoths who sacked Rome in the early 5th century. As the Roman Empire declined, along with its military power (increasingly dependent on foreign, barbarian mercenary soldiers), more and more of the European land was ungoverned. The centralized Roman Empire was no longer providing the services common to any community, such as police or road construction and maintenance. Without such governing power keeping all the lands together and at peace, each region was left to itself and government became increasingly localized. Thus emerged local leaders, those who had more money and the power, to rule a certain part of land. Each local leader, or Duke / (Land) Lord as the idea came to be, might be able to control their own lands, and subjugate the people therein; but the neighboring region had its own competing leaders and their peoples.
  • Probably the only factor is the fall of The Western Roman Empire in the 5th Century AD. After the battle in Teutoburg Forest, where three Roman Legions were completely destroyed by an army of allied Germanic tribes, the Roman Empire stopped expanding, because it was decided that the lands east of the Rhine were not worth the cost. The Western Empire continued to lose land all over the Empire. Rome was sacked several times, particularly by the Visigoths and the Vandals. Eventually, all that the Western Empire had left was a small hold in the province of Illyria et Dalmatia, and they soon lost that too. So, there was no authority in the former Imperial provinces. Sure, the Eastern Empire (now the Byzantine Empire) came in and took Southern Italy and part of North Africa, but as for everywhere else, there was no order. So the Catholic church came in as the unifying force in Western Europe and brought at least a little order to the land. Later, as local big shots would start to expand their small holdings, they would seek protection from other rulers. The rulers got the help from anyone who had a horse, paying them for military service with land and title; the beginning of the Feudal Age. The last leg of this would be the Battle of Manzikert, where the Byzantine Empire suffered a huge and embarassing defeat that would prove to be their downfall. They called for help from the West, and being Christians (though not Catholics), the Pope provided it by ordering the Crusades. Sorry, I think I went too far.
  • An unwillingness to advance (or ignorance of the ability to progress, whether that ignorance be forced or innocent), extreme willingness to believe in the supernatural, the instatement of Christianity as the official religion of the (then, just prior to the Dark Ages) most powerful country in that area, the subsequent forced following or submission to Christianity, etc... Many various factors that are themselves relatively benign (though undesirable in hindsight), except for Christianity, which was very, -V-E-R-Y- far from benign. An illustration to demonstrate it's effects : P
  • We today can hardly imagine the vast movements of huge tribes that came boiling out of Asia in search of land and pushing other whole nations before them. I forget who all of them were, there were so many. And at approximately the same time, the Vikings began their depredations wherever there was a coastline. As hard as life was to begin with, they then had to cope with generations-long wars and more generations when their governments had to recreate themselves in long power struggles. After a couple centuries of this, things settled down and the Dark Ages began the long, slow climb toward the Middle Ages and eventual Renaissance.
  • The patriotic imagination and wishful thinking of a 13th century Italian - Petrarch - twisted and perpetuated by anti-clerical secularists in the 18th-20th centuries. Fact is, "the Dark Ages" are a fiction. Classical civilization continued to thrive and develop around the Mediterranean until Islam swept it away - and it took it until 1453 to complete the job. The "Barbarians" who moved into the Western Empire in the 400s were calling themselves Romans, and were called Romans by the Romans themselves - and they were hailed as liberators! Roman government had become inceasingly despotic, oriental, and oppressive, and its taxes ever-more confiscatory, since the days of the Severans, and under Diocletian the vast majority of people were no more than serfs, bound to the profession and/or plot of land of their father. The Federati (aka the "barbarians") put an end to all that. The Vandals, Visigoths, and Lombards built very promising and developed societies for their time. The cities and towns of Gaul (France) and Britain had always been wealth-comsuming centers, and so with the demise of the Roman political apparatus - financed with the wealth of the East - they went into decline and demographic collapse. But the Franks and Anglo-Saxons, along with the Celts before them, had thriving rural civilizations. Cutlure, learning, and society thrived under the Carolingians. The Viking, Moorish, and Magyar raids and conquests of the 9th & 10th centuries did do a lot of damage though, and it was in this time under these threats that serfdom was improvised.
  • Religion was not seperate from government.
  • The Bush Administration.

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