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Viggen

When Does Antiquity End?

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When does antiquity end?

 

A simple question, maybe the answer is not...

 

cheers

viggen

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I've always personally applied it roughly to the fall of Rome and the beginning of the "dark age" of Europe. However, from a military perspective I think an earlier pre heavy cavalry date is more appropriate.

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I guess it depends on what you mean by 'antiquity'.

 

1) When do the 'Classic' periods (e.g. Roman Empire) give way to the 'modern times'?

2) When do societies start to be thought of as 'modern'?

 

That's just two versions of that question...also, one must specify, I think, what area one is discussing. What we consider to be 'modern' and 'ancient' tends to revolve around Mediterranean society; but that may not be true for all.

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I have always assosiated antiquity with the beginning of byzantium, say about 500-600, when many peoples, nations were evolving and emerging. I suspect it will have differant meanings for differant people, and in differant contexts.

Edited by Aurelianus

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What becomes antiquity? That time from which there is no living generational memory? Or that time from which we have no conceptual understanding of the reality of life as experienced by the populus?

I (personaly) feel that the Roman society we discuss is just out of touching distance in terms of a breathing reality, far closer than many later societies.This is probably just an emotional attachment to the idea of "culture", or rather the idea of "my" cultural identity as a European.

We all know that there are plenty of "modern" people with no cultural knowledge or historical awareness (even of 20 years ago),

From being on this forum my idea of antiquity has been pushed backwards ,I would now say the "ancient" is Sumer or Akkad , and that Greece and Macedonia are "early modern" in terms of the emergence of thought and ideas of justice.

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I have thought about this a lot myself!

 

The way I see it, the problem with ending 'Antiquity' with around the time of the fall makes me feel uncomfortable because people weren't exactly on the short path to modernity in the 2nd half of the 1st Millennium AD...

 

So the tricky part is how do you classify the ~6th Century AD until the 15th Century AD & the Age of Discovery / Renaissance?

 

Those times have always seemed to me an awful lot more like 'antiquity' than the 'modern' times which I consider to start in the 1400's.

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I suppose I must reply "Dark Ages"-trite , but I am arraigned by my own suggestion of "modernity " as regards Greece and Rome.

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as i thought, not so easy the answer...

 

from Miriam Webster Dicitionary

antiquity : ancient times; especially : those before the Middle Ages

(which begs the question when did the Middle Ages start)

 

...it also raises in my opinion the question if the fall of Rome is considered the end of antiquity (while Byzanz flourished) and the classical antiquity of Rome and Greece ends with the fall (as docoflove mentioned mediteranean society, meaning basically European society?)

 

...is/was Byzanz not a european/mediteranean society?

 

cheers

viggen

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So the tricky part is how do you classify the ~6th Century AD until the 15th Century AD & the Age of Discovery / Renaissance?

 

well, thats the middle ages, or medeival times. i personaly would not equate antiquity to advancement, more to cultural periods.

 

edit: in reply to Viggen's Q. there are (in my opinion) no fixed dates, they vary, acording to the place you talk about, but i would say that the middle ages begin when clear cut natains started to appear after the fall of the west.

Edited by Aurelianus

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So does "Ancient" mean merely the passage of time or the "quality/timelesness " of ideas? I presume my education betrays itself.Surely time alone is not a factor?

 

Discuss

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I had always traditionally seen the end of antiquity as AD 476 and the fall of the Western Empire. Some Medieval Scholars are placing it earlier, with the Middle ages beginning around AD 300 due to the Feudalisation/Christianization of the Empire. Many other factors go with this theory, as PP has already mentioned heavy cavalry became more prominent at this period (Cataphracts and Clibanarii as early Knights?) and the richest Romans began recruiting their own soldiers to protect their property after Adrianople as well, spelling the end of the traditional Roman army and the beginning of the feudal soldiers of the Medieval period.

 

Other scholars suggest it's end at AD 800 with the fall of Ravenna and Charlemagne's re-establishment of the Holy Roman Empire, others claim it ends with the Rise of Islam and their conquest of the Middle East. This conquest did bring an end to urbanisation (which had been so important in the Classical era)and the re-distribution of the population in the countryside. It also signalled the beginning of a new world order - Islam, which would sweep away the Roman Empire in the east after the Germanic tribes had destroyed it in the west.

That is why I am starting to prefer that the Classical World came to an end in the 7th Century.

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So does "Ancient" mean merely the passage of time or the "quality/timelesness " of ideas? I presume my education betrays itself.Surely time alone is not a factor?

Of course time alone is not a factor, as it is the things within time that enable you to define it, so yes it is the ideas that characterise a period of time. So according to this, the ancient era should have a series of characteristics that gradually come into being and then gradually fade away, therefore making it difficult to define when exactly the era ends. Different people will have different ideas as to what his characteristics are, which will lead to controversy surrounding when an era begins and ends.

Edited by Aurelianus

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DC , very good point about urbanisation/de-urbanisation. The dissolution of the Roman urbs in Britain is certainly a critical event. Indeed the arrest of urban life in Europe as a whole and the rise of sub-infeudation is a critical point here , as is the effect of the Black Death in a similar context.

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(which begs the question when did the Middle Ages start)

 

The Middle Ages tends to refer to the period from the fall of the Roman Empire until the start of the Renaissance.

 

...it also raises in my opinion the question if the fall of Rome is considered the end of antiquity (while Byzanz flourished) and the classical antiquity of Rome and Greece ends with the fall (as docoflove mentioned mediteranean society, meaning basically European society?)

 

...is/was Byzanz not a european/mediteranean society?

 

That depends, I guess. It has always seemed to me that 'those folks' on 'the other side of the isthmus' (aka modern 'Asia') were never fully 'Europeanized' in the view of the documents that I've read. Certainly when the Crusaders got there, they had a hard time figuring out who was 'Christian' and who was not. But it has always struck me that the cultures on the northern shores of the Mediterranean always viewed those on the southern shores as 'others', as well as those on the eastern shores. Funny, really, as their histories are quite interrelated.

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You have classical antiquity which i suppose started with early greek poetry like Homer in the 7th century BCE and continued right through to the fall of the western empire in the 5th century CE, and then we move on to late antiquity which filled the gap between the fall of the western empire and the start of the middle ages in about 600 CE

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