Sticky toot

Probably last meta for a while, read if you interact with me 

Sticky toot

That's the idea you're repeating when you operate blindly according to the belief that the Middle Ages were dirty, ignorant, excessively pious compared to the Roman Empire and the early modern era. You're identifying culture and freedom with the extreme subjugation and systematic violence of colonialism.

These two events indicate the reason why the Renaissance is constructed as a moment of sudden renewal after a millenium of misery: you're taught to identify "progress" and "culture" with the establishment of colonialism, the reinvigoration of slavery, and the movement towards a uniformly "white" Europe.

You just have to look at which periods you're told to admire: the Roman Empire, and the Renaissance. The Roman Empire is presented as a "civilising force", that brought "democracy" and "knowledge" to the uncultured lands it conquered, and established great infrastructure at the slight cost of large-scale slavery. The Renaissance, meanwhile, is often taught as beginning in 1492, the year of Columbus's encounter with the so-called New World and of the Spanish Reconquista.

I won't go into the miriad reasons why this narrative is absolutely ridiculous, I just want to focus on why it's the narrative you're taught. Why is it that we're taught to think of medieval people as stinky and disgusting, and of ancient Romans as glittering Adonises, even though soap was invented (and widely used) in the Middle Ages? The answer is very simple.

I spend a lot of time on here getting pissed off at myths about the Middle Ages, whether it's the idea that they didn't do philosophy, or that they were idiots who couldn't draw. These misconceptions are down to the myth of the Dark Ages. The Dark Ages is the way the medieval period is taught at school: you had the enlightened Roman Empire, a golden era of wisdom and liberty, then you had a millenium of pure wretchedness before the Renaissance kicked "Western civilisation" back into high gear.

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