The Forgotten Time of the Middle Ages

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Professor Anthony Grafton is a renowned historian at the Princeton University. He is noted for his studies about the history of culture and science of Renaissance Europe. In his paper, Dating history: the Renaissance & the reformation of chronology, he first talked about the science of geography that was revolutionized by European explorers in the fifteenth and sixteenth century. As Grafton argued that “While the western understanding of geography expanded during the Renaissance, then, the traditional dating of the past and future remained curiously narrow-minded.”, he then started to talk about his profound study of the scholarship and chronology of one of the most significant classical scholar of the late Renaissance, Joseph Justus Scaliger: “……won renown for his reformation of the traditional approach to chronology. Working in decades around 1600, Scaliger relaid the technical foundations of the field.” According to Grafton, in order to “appreciate the explosive impact of this reformation of historical chronology, we need to look backward”. He looked back to examine the chronology in fourth and fifth century C.E., in the fifth century B.C. Greek, and in the Romans of the late Republic and early Empire.

However, Grafton did not look back to the Middle Ages which was the period between the collapse of the Western Roman Empire and the beginning of Italian Renaissance. People generally considered the Middle Ages as very dark era, where nothing happened except for plague, famine, and the well-known black death. People considered this period as stagnation that they believe there was no growth in the socioeconomic prospective. For example, they believe there were no development of new technology and no expansion of towns and city. ...

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...ugh many people considered the Middle Ages as an era where nothing happened, my paper conveys that point that lots of territorial, demographical, cultural, economic, and scientific developments took place in the Middle Age. I hope that people could abandon their stereotype of the Middle Ages and could come to learn this colorful time period.

Works Cited

1. Dating History: The Renaissance & the Reformation of Chronology, Anthony Grafton,
Daedalus, Vol. 132, No. 2, On Time (Spring, 2003), pp. 74-85

2. North, J. (2004) God's Clockmaker: Richard of Wallingford and the Invention of Time. Oxbow Books.

3. The Rise of the Western World: A New Economic History. By Douglass C. North and Robert Paul Thomas. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1973.

4. Church time and merchant time in the Middle Ages, by Jacques Le Goff, Social Science Information 1970 9: 151
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