June 29, 2004

History teaches

I remember reading in an introduction to a collection of his essays, Medievalist Lynn R. White told an anecdote about the reaction from his academic advisor to his decision to concentrate his studies on Medieval science. "There wasn't any and Roger Bacon got in trouble with the Church for working at it," White recalled the man as saying. I always loved that quote.

Over at the always invaluable Cronaca, David notes that professional historians sometimes get things wrong, that popular historians are on another order, and then there are the out and out crackpots: Follow the links.

Posted by Ideofact at June 29, 2004 11:06 PM

The collection of links given at Cronaca is very enlightening.

I liked the description of the Inquisitions as the fairest, most humane courts in Europe, and the technological advancements of the "high" middle ages. (The great expansion of scientific knowledge began with Copernicus, most people think...but Copernicus used Medieval tools and patterns in his work. And giants like Galileo, Kepler, and Newton used Medieval borrowings and discoveries in the field of algebra to advance their scientific work.)

There is possibly a larger historical disconnect between the early 1700's and the late 1800's (Enlightened philosophy, industrial revolution, spread of democratic ideals) than between the early 1400's and the late 1500's.

But I'm only an amateur historian...

Posted by: steve h at June 30, 2004 10:41 AM