UNIVERSAL HISTORY: WESTERN REVISIONISM CREATED ‘THE DARK AGES’
History is written by the conquerors. Or at least, the dominant culture. In the Western narrative the historical timeline runs from ancient Greece to Rome, the collapse of the Roman Empire, followed by The Dark Ages, the High Middle Ages and the Renaissance . The rest as they say, is history. This timeline entirely negates Eastern Rome a.k.a. Byzantium, an amalgam of Greek and Roman culture fused together by early Christianity, where civilized life continued after the collapse of Western Rome. Of this era and its culture, they know next to nothing.
The pervasive historical timeline runs from ancient Greece to Rome, the collapse of the Roman Empire under the invasions of Germanic tribes, followed by a pitch black period of nothingness, called The Dark Ages – a cultural void now often blamed on the onset of Christianity. The darkness eventually gave way to the High Middle Ages and the Renaissance. You know the drill.
These Dark Ages are cover for Western historians denying the existence of the Eastern Roman Empire, founded in the year Anno Domini 330 in Constantinople by Constantine the Great, thereafter obfuscatingly referred to as Byzantium. Of this era and its culture the West is blissfully unaware. It is in Constantinople where civilized life continued as the Germanic tribes were settling into their new homes in the former Western part of the Empire (video: The Battle For Europe After The Fall Of Ancient Rome).
Especially in Postmodern times academics are obsessed with raw power. The Romans are painted as a cruel and ruthless, power hungry bunch of conquerors who worshiped a pantheon of quarrelsome gods, sacrificed slaves to wild animals in the Colosseum and oppressed women in their homes. That’s about it.
True history is so well buried, that you stumble upon it only occasionally. Thankfully not everyone is as disinterested in history as most Westerners are these days. Truth came to us this morning by way of a gem of a tweet by Mary in Greece. Its translation reads as follows:
Constantine the Great did not impose Christianity, but secularism with the Edict of Milan in 313. He was not sanctified by the Church but by the people. The Church does not sanctify but consecrates if the people request it. In fact, many years passed before his canonization, before the first enthusiasm took root and settled into the consciousness of the faithful.@Mary572520582
This destroys the pervading narrative that Constantine the Great converted to Christianity and that thereafter the entire Roman Empire forcibly converted to the new religion. Constantine declared Christianity merely a preferred religion among many. It was Emperor Theodoseos who integrated Church and State and made Christianity the State religion with the 2nd Ecumenical Council of Constantinople in 381.
Western historians do not even realize Constantine is considered a saint in the Orthodox world. According to Mary, Constantine (and his mother, Helen) was adored by the People who initiated his sanctification; he was only afterwards canonized by the Church.
Next, it shows that the lens through which Rome is frequently viewed, as a force that was only interested in raw power, is actually Western bias. Charlemagne too, envious of the powerful Byzantine state wanted to emulate Constantine the Great and colluded with the Bishop of Rome a.k.a. the Pope, to crown him Caesar, Augustus and Imperator on Christmas Eve in the year 800. In order to bring East and West together he proposed to the Empress of Byzantium, but nothing came of that plan.
Charlemagne nor present power brokers in the West understand how the subtle balance of power functions in the East. The King of the Franks, with a political trick usurped the Imperial Crown in order to rule the entire former Empire himself: power for power’s sake. As it happens the Franks to this day are still looking for power without the consent of the people. Consider what is currently happening in the EU and in its central bank based in Frankfurt.
Mary just showed that power in Eastern Rome was an unwritten symbiose of Sacred Authority (the Church), Secular Authority (the State) and the will of the People (more in Secular Law, Common Culture and Personal Liberty). All together Greece, Rome and the fusion of both rooted in Constantinople lasted for 3,500 years. The EU after 70 years of ruling by decree is already hanging by a thread.
The Eastern Roman Empire would have lasted longer were it not for the betrayal of the medieval Latin and Germanic powers, who first attacked the New Rome in the 4th Crusade and then fed her remains to the Turks a few hundred years later.
The vision of the framers of the United States of America envisioned Rome as well. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were written with the Roman Republic in mind, with a Senate made up of sturdy men, part farmer, part soldier, part politician for which Cincinnatus stood model as the ideal.
This vision of the US changed in the Progressive Era. American politicians, often educated in Germany began to internalize German philosophies and emulated the mistakes of Western Europe. If the ship isn’t turned in time the US will go down with Western Europe.
Watching a two hour documentary last night on Eastern Rome (video: Byzantium, The Lost Empire), it became apparent that the narrator knew the facts, but had no clue what he was talking about. You can hardly blame him. In order to explain Eastern Rome you need to understand Orthodoxy and its rich vision of the cosmos, inhabited by more heroes and demons than Tolkien’s Middle Earth. Here’s more on East vs West.
That the balance of powers as explained by Mary is not dead is exemplified by modern Greece, where the same unwritten co-existence between the Church, the State and the People still functions admirably. Don’t tell the EU, but Greece does not have a separation of Church and State as it is thought of in the West.
Watch here a discussion between Jonathan Pageau and Richard Rohlin about Universal History, drawing mythological connections between Troy, Rome and ancient Britain. It may, or it may not be factual, but this is how people saw it at the time.
The Symbolic World: A Universal History: History through the Symbolic Lens.
The entire playlist of this fascinating series is available on the page on Universal History on the site of The Dystopia of Paradise.