Ireclan wrote:What I was always taught was that it was indeed the Dark Ages that resulted in Greek having to be rediscovered. You have to remember, during the Dark Ages (save for the time of Charlemagne), the world was a savage place, and in chaos. I'm sure you know from your Latin studies how powerful Rome was, so when it fell (well, more like slowly died, but still), it left a HUGE power vacuum. In to that vacuum plunged the so-called "barbarians" of the world- the Vandals, the Alans, the Goths, etc. The fall of Rome left every two-bit war prince eager for a slice of the Roman pie able to declare war indiscriminately. Really, if it hadn't been for Byzantium, who knows how long the turmoil would have lasted.
The idea that in Middle Age Europe (I am sure you meant just Europe, not "the world") was "a savage place" is not accepted by many, probably most, historians nowadays, just have a look at Le Goff.
The Dark ages weren't so dark. There were lot of scholars, theologists, poets and painters.
The Barbarians preserved also many Roman institution and laws. The Roman laws were applied to native people, on personal basis, in most early barbarian kingdoms (see lex romana Burgundiorum, lex romana visigothorum
etc.) and the Corpus Iuris Civilis were studied and applied before the 1000 a.d. (so it is dated the first manuscript the so-called littera pisana); later it spread in all Europe from Bologna and Padua, influencing feudal and germanic laws and creating an European Common Law, known everywere as Jus Commune.
As wars are concerned, Europe was not more peaceful later, during the Renaissance, or in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, letting aside 25 or 30 milion deaths in the 20th century.
The trade route were open in the Middle ages and culture travelled among goods like always happens. Prosperity changed society, a class of merchants and businessman took the power, first in the Italian cities and then in other part of Europe (e.g. Flanders, Languedoc).
You can say that the new society, the new economy, grown during the Dark Ages, helped to the rediscovery of the Greek, to development of arts, poetry (the troubadors, the Minnesaenger etc.) and music (Gregorian chant); at the same time, the Classics gave ideological basis to the new era. I said classics since also the Latin writers were read with new eyes.
Again, as I said, the Dark Ages were not so dark. Byzantium didn't count so much in changing the geopolitical assets of Europe after 1000 a.d. and the Renaissance (and earlier the Humanism) was autocton cultural movement, whose debts to the Middle Age are deeper than one could suppose just following acritically the illuministic and positivistic idea of "Dark Ages".
I'd like know the opinions of other people on this point.