The transfer of knoweldge from the Eastern Roman Empire to Europe: A more true reading of what happened.

Indeed, although there is a bit of mythos surrounding the rediscovery. The BBC rendering of history still clings to old notions of dark/middle ages, even though that’s discarded by historians now.

The knowledge stayed intact elsewhere, but Europe _was_ in a crap state for a few hundred years. The beginnings of Scholasticism in the 11th century started to see a shift though. The start of the University system, with the assistance of the writings they had of aristotle and especially improved with 11th century commentaries.

However, a HUGE boost came about during the Council of Florence in the mid 1400s.

It completely failed in its aims to reunite the Eastern Churches and the Latin Church, who had gone her own way a few centuries before that, HOWEVER, the Byzantines, likely in a compassionate move, brought along a scholar named Gemistus Pletho along with others scholars, to help re-introduce the classics of Byzantine thought to an intellectually needy West, which they quickly translated from Greek into Latin and vulgar tongues and began teaching in their existing University system (which was already 300 years old by then), bringing about a popularization of humanism and other thoughts to a new generation of students.

Byzantium was struggling and it was only a few years later that it fell completely to Mehmet II, marking the end of an era for one intellectual culture yet thanks to the last-minute transfer of knowledge, brought about the start of another.

Had Byzantium not falling to a “let’s wipe out everything and do it right this time” mindset (which was new to Islamic education and began the start of the Ottoman empire), it’s very likely that the East and West would’ve been able to join together in this new revolution, the old educating the new in an ongoing basis.

But alas, all the West had were some books given right at the end of the Eastern Roman Empire and we’ve done the best we can with them ever since, shaping the course of Europe for centuries to come.

We’re still picking up the historical pieces and some of our misreadings of history have yet to be improved, but I think a lot of that has to do with an England-centric view of history that we’ve inherited since the 19th century.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

2 × = four

Leave a Reply