medieval biological knowledge. medieval period (aka the middle ages) 476 ad – 800 (“dark...
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Medieval Biological Knowledge
Medieval Period(aka the Middle Ages)476 AD 800 (Dark Ages)1000-1300 High Middle Ages 1300-1450 End of the Middle agesWar in Heaven, France, c. 1320, in The Cloisters Collection, New York City http://www.mythinglinks.org/euro~west~medieval.html
The Dark Ages476-800 ADThe beginning of the middle ages witnessed the destruction of the Western Roman Empire
The Dark Ages476-800 AD
The Dark Ages476-800 ADVarious barbarian tribes conquered the previously Roman controlled territories
The Dark Ages476-800 ADCivilization collapsed and there was a return to a simpler, more rural form of societyCities were depopulatedTrade and arts declinedLearning and knowledge declined (including biological knowledge)Literacy almost disappearedReading and writing barely survived.
The Dark Ages476-800 AD
The Dark Ages476-800 ADMost importantly, the philosophical approach to understanding reality also declinedThe ancient Greek and Roman texts almost completely disappeared
The Dark Ages476-800 ADOne institution did survive from Roman times:
The Dark Ages476-800 ADIts explanation of reality was deeply influenced by the Bible and by the teachings of the Church fathers.
The Roman Catholic Church
The Dark Ages476-800 ADThere was a return to supernatural explanations of realityThe Roman Catholic Church
The High Middle Ages1000-1300 ADHowever, beginning in the 11th century, trade, commerce, and urban life revived.Knowledge also revived and the first European universities were built in this period.
The High Middle Ages1000-1300 ADDamn! I wish somebody would invent a WordprocessorMarie de France some Medieval female scholars existed too.
The High Middle Ages1000-1300 ADMedieval students at the University of ParisWill this be on the test, sir?
The High Middle Ages1000-1300 ADOne reason for the revival of knowledge was the rediscovery of ancient Greek and Roman texts.
The High Middle Ages1000-1300 ADMany of these texts were discovered in Arabic translation in Muslim SpainSpain had been conquered by Muslim forces since the 8th centuryCities like Toledo, Cordoba and Granada became centers of great learning. The Alhambra of Granada (Spain). Picture by G. Tordjman
The High Middle Ages1000-1300 ADCordoba had dozens of libraries, some of which contained the writings of Aristotle, and other great Greek, Roman, Jewish and Arabic thinkers. The Great Mosque (Mesquita) of Cordoba (Spain). Picture by G. Tordjman
The High Middle Ages1000-1300 ADAs the Christian Spanish forces in the north slowly re-conquered Spain (The Reconquista), they came across these lost ancient works. Jewish and Arabic translators translated them into Latin. These works made a huge impact on the elite back in Europe.
The High Middle Ages1000-1300 ADLeaf from an Arabic translation of the Materia Medica of Dioscorides ("The Pharmacy"), dated 1224 Iraq, Baghdad School Colors and gilt on paper; 12.3 x 9 in. (31.4 x 22.9 cm) Cora Timken Burnett Collection of Persian Miniatures and Other Persian Art Objects, Bequest of Cora Timken Burnett, 1956 (57.51.21) Ancient Greek texts like this in Arabic translation were then translated again in Latin (a language of Europe)
Euclid, Elements of Geometry with commentary by Persian scholar Nasr al din Al Tulsi
The High Middle Ages1000-1300 ADThanks to the re-discovery of these lost Greek and Roman texts, the Europeans rediscovered the philosophical approach to understanding realityThis included the stress on: observation of fact (empiricism)Logic and deduction (rationalism)
The High Middle Ages1000-1300 ADEven the Catholic Church was influenced by the Greek philosophical approach This produced a kind of fusion of the Greek philosophical approach with the Christian religious approach to knowledgeTwo examples of this are:The Great Chain of Being conceptNatural theology
The High Middle AgesThe Great Chain of BeingThe Great Chain of Being was a Christian inspired view of the universe but also contained philosophical concepts borrowed from the ancient GreeksIt pictured the entire world as divided into a hierarchy of beings from lowest to highest (finally ending up in God).
On the lowest rung was inanimate matter, rocks, minerals and the sort, themselves subdivided into ranks Higher up were the plants, themselves also subdivided into higher and lowerThen came the lower animals, higher animals and human beings, which, as Psalm 19 says are just lower than the angels. Imagine this picture so that the center is like the bottom of a well and the outside rings are higher and more spiritual
The High Middle AgesThe Great Chain of BeingAbove humans were the angels and then God, the Architect of the entire chain. Thus, as one moved up the Chain, one moved from the purely material to the purely spiritualEach rung or link on the chain ruled over the rung below.
The Chain was static, meaning nothing could move up or down the Chain and no being could be removed or added to the Chain.Everything was in its place and there was a place for everything
The High Middle AgesThe Great Chain of BeingThe Chain was anthropocentric, meaning that humans occupied the central position (between God and the rest of creation) and were the highest creatures on earth.
The High Middle Ages1000-1300 ADNatural theologyregular theology is the study of religion, esp. the study of Sacred ScripturesAka the study of Gods wordNatural Theology is the study of nature to reveal evidence of the existence, power, wisdom, goodness of God. Aka the study of Gods works
The High Middle Ages1000-1300 ADThe two main arguments of natural theology:The argument from designThe cosmological argument (or, the argument from first cause)(we will be examining only the former here)
The High Middle Ages1000-1300 ADNatural theologyThe argument from design1. Things in the universe (esp. living things) show evidence of purposeful design (i.e., they show non-random, complex structure and organization)2. Designed things must have a designer3. The Designer of such things must be none other than GodTherefore, 4. God exists
The High Middle Ages1000-1300 ADDarwins theory posed a serious challenge to the argument from designDarwins theory also gave the last blow to the Great Chain of Being concept.
The High Middle Ages1000-1300 ADThere are few believers in the Great Chain concept today, However, the argument from design is still popular among some religious groups
Medieval Biological KnowledgeSummaryDark ages see collapse of Western civilization and decline of knowledgeHigh Middle ages revival of learning due partly to rediscovery of ancient Greek philosophy found in Arabic translation in Muslim Spain Two key concepts show evidence of revival of philosophy: natural theology and great chain of being conceptNatural theology includes argument from design seeking to prove God exists by using evidence from natureGreat Chain concept of universe as a hierarchy of beings from lowest to highest with God at the summit
CreditsMark Damen, USU 1320: History and Civilization, SECTION 8: The Fall of Rome http://www.usu.edu/markdamen/1320Hist&Civ/chapters/08ROMFAL.htmElizabeth Swanstrom, Comparative Literature 30C: Major Works of European Literature from the Romantic to the Contemporary Period, University of California at Santa Barbara. http://cl30c.wordpress.com/2007/08/20/links-the-victorians/British Views Of 18th Century Africa, http://courses.wcupa.edu/wanko/LIT400/Africa/index.htmhttp://www.roman-empire.net/Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D., Mything Links An Annotated & Illustrated Collection of Worldwide Links to Mythologies, Fairy Tales & Folklore, Sacred Arts & Sacred Traditions http://www.mythinglinks.org/euro~west~medieval.html