Culture of the Middle Ages

After the death of the Western Roman Empire, the West plunged into the darkness of decline and barbarism. This resulted not so much in the barbaric conquests, as in the confusion and indifference of the population. People did not have neither the strength nor the desire to resist the oppression of life’s circumstances.

But the cultural decline of the V-VII centuries. was a temporary occurrence. Gradually formed a European culture – a new, different from the ancient. It was created jointly by the Greeks, Romans, Celts, Germans, Slavs and other peoples. They merged very different cultures into one, European, thanks to Christianity, which itself became a kind of culture.

At the same time, the Church helped and prevented the emergence of European culture. So, she instilled in the human soul a hope for peace and peace, but fought against the ancient polytheism, introduced a severe Censorship and this almost condemned the antiquity to oblivion. In this it was supported

by the state.

XIV century. From the decree of the German Emperor Charles IV on the introduction of censorship

… To books in the national language, as well as tracts and sermons that can generate false teaching and false preaching… were confiscated from the white and black clergy, especially among the laity, especially since laymen… are forbidden to read anything according to church regulations from the Scriptures, even in a simple language, so that, because of a poor understanding, they did not fall into heresy and delusion.

In the VIII century. cultural life in Western Europe is reviving again. A great deal of effort for this revival was made by Charlemagne. Although he himself was semi-literate, he still understood that it was indispensable without educated assistants and that only the church was capable of preparing such assistants. He issued a special decree to open schools for children of clergymen and lay people at the episcopal courts and monasteries.

VIII century. From the decree of Charlemagne “General Instruction”

Let schools be set up to teach

boys reading. Psalms, notes, grants for singing and scoring, grammars and liturgical books in monasteries and bishoprics should be corrected. For often it happens that some, wanting to pray to God, pray poorly for uncorrected books. And do not allow your boys to spoil them when reading and writing. If there is a need to rewrite the Gospel, the Psalter or the Prayer Book, let the people of mature age rewrite them with proper diligence.

Charlemagne ordered the development of a single Latin text of the Bible, as well as a special beautiful font for rewriting it. Monasteries opened schools for copying Christian texts and libraries for their storage. Church handwritten books were made out in the form of luxurious Foliantos, in covers decorated with gold, ivory and precious stones. The pages of these books were adorned with magnificent Miniatures.

The center of enlightenment under Charlemagne was the Court Academy in Aachen, where the most educated people of the West worked, among them the Briton Alquin, who recommended teaching children not only theology, but also literacy and philosophy.

Carl the Great took care of the development of architecture, especially the church. His masters built over three hundred palaces, cathedrals and monasteries. Majestic church buildings, on the walls of which were depicted kings and bishops, not only amused, but also glorified authority – secular and ecclesiastical.

After the death of Charles the Great, in the midst of wars, feudal strife and political disorder, schools began to close. The light of secular cultural life again almost died away. Culture again took refuge in the monastery walls. IX-X centuries. historians called the period of “cultural silence”.

Censorship – state or church control over the content of works of art and scientific works.

Folio – a thick book of a large size.

Miniature is a drawing in a manuscript book, distinguished by a thin manner of execution.

Academy – the highest scientific or educational institution.

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Culture of the Middle Ages