The Medieval Period Was Not ‘Dark’ in the Islamic and Chinese Empires

The period from 600 to 1450 AD is commonly known as the ‘Dark Ages‘. At best this is a Eurocentric term. Even in Europe, under the feudal system, there was little warfare until the 14th century.

In the Islamic world, there were huge cultural and political advances. The Ummayad dynasty took Spain, but were supplanted in 750 by the Persian-influenced Abbasids, who presided over a golden age of artistic and intellectual endeavour, developing algebra, adopting the zero from Indian mathematics, and producing wonderful poetry, art and architecture. They also translated great philosophical and medical texts from Greek.

The Chinese were also experiencing a ‘golden age’. Their art was traded everywhere, as was their beautiful blue and white porcelain. In the 11th century they invented paper money and gunpowder.

Dark Ages? Taking a balanced view of world history, far from it.

I graduated in English language and literature with Latin subsidiary. I write poetry, act, and have worked in reference and educational publishing for decades. I was commissioned in 1994 to write The Ladybird Book of Kings and Queens, did extensive editing and writing for Harraps 20th-century History series, and was one of the contributors to Helicon's Book of the Millennium, a 4-volume children's world history book.