The End of the Dark Ages

Joseph Mitchell and Helen Mitchell present two viewpoints concerning the end of the Dark Ages. They specifically ask the question, “When does the period of the Dark Ages end?”1 Mitchell and Mitchell present excerpts from Kevin Reilly and Joseph Dahmus that argue two differing viewpoints. Reilly argues that the ninth century was marked with violence that still continues to this day while Dahmus contends that the ninth century is more of a turning point than it is a continuation of a violent culture.

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Abelard and Héloïse: A Peculiar Relationship

The twelfth century provided ideal conditions for a peculiar relationship between Peter Abelard, the teacher, and Héloïse, the pupil. Many factors contributed to an environment where education was a major focus in society. The stable political climate, coupled with increased agricultural production and a religious revival, among other factors, allowed a society to exist where education grew to become significant. This was evident by the rise of the universities throughout Europe.1

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A Holy War?

The Crusades were a significant series of events that help define the Middle Ages. The cause of the Crusades is debated among historians to this day. This is evidenced by the assertions made by Arthur Jones and Jonathan Phillips. Jones argues that the Crusades were a holy war and supports this claim through several key points. Conversely, Phillips stipulates that religious fervor was not the sole cause of the Crusades. He maintains that there were many other significant factors leading up to the Crusades.

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