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Ch 6: The Dark Ages

About This Chapter

Watch video lessons on the Dark Ages to learn about Germanic tribes, the spread of Islam, Byzantine art, and more. Each lesson is accompanied by a short multiple-choice quiz you can use to check your understanding of these history topics.

The Dark Ages - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

Join our knowledgeable instructors on a journey back in time. This chapter covers the Dark Ages, a historical period following the collapse of the Roman Empire. In these lessons, you'll be introduced to Germanic tribes, the birth and spread of major world religions, and early Roman economy, among other topics. By the end of this chapter, you should be familiar with:

  • Europe's loss of classical culture
  • The peoples who took the place of the Romans in the former empire
  • The differences and similarities between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
  • Muslim scientific, artistic, medical, and literary accomplishments
  • Mohammed
  • Iconoclasm or the destruction of art for religious purposes

VideoObjective
The Dark Ages: Loss of Classical CultureLearn what aspects of classical culture were lost and gained during the Dark Ages.
Germanic Tribes: Invasion in RomeUse this lesson to study the tribes who invaded Rome.
Heirs of Rome: The Church and the ByzantinesLearn about the role the church and the Byzantines played in maintaining Roman culture.
Early Church Conflicts: Arianism and IconoclasmReview church conflicts brought about by iconoclasm, Arianism, and more.
Roman Economy in the Dark AgesLearn about the trade habits of the early Roman economy.
Mohammed and the Birth of IslamReview a biography of Mohammed and an overview of the Near East before his conquest.
People of the Book: Comparing Judaism, Christianity and IslamCompare the content of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
The Spread of Islam and the Progress of the CaliphatesStudy how Islam spread throughout the world.
Muslim Learning: Scientific, Artistic, Medical & Literary AccomplishmentsReview scholarly accomplishments during the Islamic Golden Age.
Byzantine Art: Mosaics, History & CharacteristicsLearn about the art of the Byzantine Empire.
Byzantine Architecture: History, Characteristics & ExamplesExplore the architecture of the Byzantine Empire.
Frankish History: Clovis and the MerovingiansReview Frankish history from Clovis up to Charlemagne.

12 Lessons in Chapter 6: The Dark Ages
The Dark Ages: Loss of Classical Culture

1. The Dark Ages: Loss of Classical Culture

This lesson explores the loss of classical culture during the Dark Ages. We compare the life of a medieval peasant to that of a Roman pleb. We then examine the causes of this decline, as well as its repercussions.

Germanic Tribes: Invasion in Rome

2. Germanic Tribes: Invasion in Rome

As the Roman Empire became bigger and bigger, tribes from Germany began to invade various areas. Eventually the continuous attacks led to the break-up of the Empire. This lesson explores a few of the more dominant tribes.

Heirs of Rome: The Church and the Byzantines

3. Heirs of Rome: The Church and the Byzantines

The Roman Empire covered a vast area, and when it fell, its people were in danger of losing their civilization. This lesson explores some of the things that remained as the Empire fell, as well as how they affected Roman citizens.

Early Church Conflicts: Arianism and Iconoclasm

4. Early Church Conflicts: Arianism and Iconoclasm

This lesson explores two conflicts that occurred in the early church: Arian Christianity, which taught a taboo belief regarding the Holy Trinity, and iconoclasm, which was the destruction of religious images.

Roman Economy in the Dark Ages

5. Roman Economy in the Dark Ages

This lesson explores the Roman Empire's economy from its beginnings as a farming culture to its expansion into trade and finally its deterioration after invasion from surrounding tribes.

Mohammed and the Birth of Islam

6. Mohammed and the Birth of Islam

Out of the deserts of Arabia would come a man who would change the world. He was Mohammed, founder of the religion of Islam, and this lesson serves as a brief summary of his life and the founding of the religion of Islam.

People of the Book: Comparing Judaism, Christianity and Islam

7. People of the Book: Comparing Judaism, Christianity and Islam

The religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are often seen as competing doctrines and faiths by observers and adherents. Yet, a summary investigation of their doctrines illustrates they have much in common. This lesson will examine these similarities in greater detail.

The Spread of Islam and the Progress of the Caliphates

8. The Spread of Islam and the Progress of the Caliphates

After the death of Mohammed, Islam continued to spread through Arabia, the Middle East and Africa. This lesson is an overview of Islam's progress from the faith of Mecca to a faith for all the world.

Muslim Learning: Scientific, Artistic, Medical & Literary Accomplishments

9. Muslim Learning: Scientific, Artistic, Medical & Literary Accomplishments

The Abbasid caliphate (750-1258 CE) oversaw the Golden Age of Islam. Learn about the accomplishments of Muslim scholars in art, literature, science, medicine and mathematics during this time.

Byzantine Art: Mosaics, History & Characteristics

10. Byzantine Art: Mosaics, History & Characteristics

This lesson covers Byzantine art and explains the difficulties of imposing artistic periods. Justinian is introduced as the man behind the Byzantine Golden Age. We explore the interesting dynamic between Byzantine imperialism and Christian religion. Finally, we take a brief look at eastern religious icons.

Byzantine Architecture: History, Characteristics & Examples

11. Byzantine Architecture: History, Characteristics & Examples

In this lesson, we look at the development of Byzantine architecture. We examine its relationship to the Byzantine Emperor Justinian. We then compare Byzantine architecture to early Christian architecture and enumerate the distinctly Byzantine elements of their art and architecture: central-plan, domes and pendentives. Finally, we touch briefly on how these architectural masterpieces were decorated.

Frankish History: Clovis and the Merovingians

12. Frankish History: Clovis and the Merovingians

This lesson will focus on Clovis and the rise and fall of the Merovingian Dynasty. It will highlight his unification of the Franks, his conversion to Catholicism, and the cultural advancements of the dynasty's rule.

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