Barbarians to Angels: The Dark Ages Reconsidered

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W. W. Norton & Company, Aug 24, 2009 - History - 256 pages
6 Reviews

A rich and surprising look at the robust European culture that thrived after the collapse of Rome.

The barbarians who destroyed the glory that was Rome demolished civilization along with it, and for the next four centuries the peasants and artisans of Europe barely held on. Random violence, mass migration, disease, and starvation were the only ways of life. This is the picture of the Dark Ages that most historians promote. But archaeology tells a different story. Peter Wells, one of the world’s leading archaeologists, surveys the archaeological record to demonstrate that the Dark Ages were not dark at all. The kingdoms of Christendom that emerged starting in the ninth century sprang from a robust, previously little-known European culture, albeit one that left behind few written texts.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ritaer - LibraryThing

Too long to do what it does, establish that Europe was not a depopulated wasteland between the Fall of Rome and the rise of Charlemagne. Too short to do more to explore what really was happening ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Chris_El - LibraryThing

A little dry. Not written for the causal read. Discusses why people think of the middle ages as the dark ages and why that view is influenced by the Roman writers in their days of waning power and ... Read full review


What Happened?
The Decline of the Roman Empire
The Peoples of Europe
Childeric and Other Early Dark Age Kings
What Happened to the Roman Cities?
The Revolution in the Countryside
for the New Societies
Royal Exchange and Everyday Trade
Arts Scholarship and Education
the History of Europe
Sources and Suggestions for Further Reading

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About the author (2009)

Peter S. Wells is professor of archaeology at the University of Minnesota. He is the author of The Battle That Stopped Rome and The Barbarians Speak. He lives in St. Paul.

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