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The Philosophical Thread

Although the Renaissance is credited with the ‘rebirth’ of the classical worldview, in fact, the Middle Ages were permeated by the ideas of Plato and Socrates. The documentary considers the contributions of the ancient world to Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas Aquinas. The short film presents Aquinas through the lens of modern Catholic teaching. Edward… Continue reading The Philosophical Thread

Rome: An Urban Barometer — Passion, Plagues, Piety-The World of the Middle Ages

The population of Rome provides an excellent measure for the Southern European region’s overall health and stability. Although the term “Dark Ages” has fallen out of favor, during the Medieval era it appeared that the Eternal City might be headed towards extinction. I find it incredible that, during the glory days of the Empire, Rome’s […]… Continue reading Rome: An Urban Barometer — Passion, Plagues, Piety-The World of the Middle Ages

David Macaulay, Illustrator

David Macaulay is a British-American illustrator who has recreated ancient worlds, looked into the future, and portrayed everything from the grand to the mundane. A MacArthur grant recipient and Caldecott medal winner, David will give us a unique look into the bones of medieval buildings. Davi’s books are usually found in in the Children’s section… Continue reading David Macaulay, Illustrator

“The Medieval Jew”

Norman Cantor was one of the most widely read 20th Century historians of the Middle Ages. This hour-long lecture shows Cantor at his best as his growly voice details 1000 years of Jewish history. Cantor is talking to a large audience before dinner and he knows to paint his history in broad strokes. Muslims, Christians,… Continue reading “The Medieval Jew”

The Two Faces of Islam

For Christian dominated Western Europe Islam represented an frightening wave that threatened to dominate the continent. Though the initial influx was repelled at the Battle of Tours, the stage was set for a centuries-long conflict. The Crusaders’ attempts to recapture Jerusalem led to endless, often inconclusive wars. Despite the on-going conflicts, another facet of Islamic… Continue reading The Two Faces of Islam

Monastic Life in the 40th Century

A Canticle for Leibowitz was the first book that enabled me to truly understand the world of monasticism. Written 1959 at the height of the Cold War, Canticle depicts a 40th Century, post-apocalyptic world. Monks picking through the ruins of a civilization evoke determination amidst horrors. Miller’s cautionary novel substitutes nuclear Armageddon for the fall… Continue reading Monastic Life in the 40th Century

The Barbarians

The Romans fought against the ‘barbarians’ for the entire lifespan of their Empire. Caesar’s Gallic Wars detailed endless campaigns against European and English tribes. By the 5th C. AD/CE Rome was exhausted and barbarian depredations menaced the Eternal City itself. Terry Jones a British popular historian has a multiple series on the full history of… Continue reading The Barbarians

Bergman’s 7th Seal

Ingmar Bergman’s brilliant 1957 film holds up to many viewings, A surreal landscape contains the Knight and Death in an eternal game of chess, The pandemic of the Black plague hangs over all and yet life and hope still remain. This is not a documentary, but it is truer than any history. Click here to… Continue reading Bergman’s 7th Seal

Why Did Rome Fall

Professor Alexander Demandt in his 1984 epic Der Falls Rom offers reasons cited by researchers. 210 of them… Professor Alexander Demandt’s Der Falls Rom (1984)  Abolition of gods,  abolition of rights,  absence of character, absolutism,  agrarian question,  agrarian slavery,  anarchy,  anti-Germanism,  apathy,  aristocracy,  asceticism,  attacks by Germans,  attacks by Huns,  attacks by nomads on horseback.… Continue reading Why Did Rome Fall

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