We know that the dawn of the age of Renaissance and the dusk of the Middle Ages were accelerated by the fall of Byzantine Empire and the transfer of a big chunk of "Ancient Knowledge" from Greece to Italy, since many scholars fled from the Arabs/Turks there.

But what about the "Ancient Knowledge" in the Western half of the Roman Empire? I am aware of the fact that Western Roman Empire fell around 450, while Eastern Roman Empire fell around 1450. But what happened to all the scholars and sciencists of Western Rome during the Barbarian Invasions? Did they left for another part of Europe? As we know, dark times followed upon Italy since the fall of Rome until the Renaissance when it comes to science.

  • 5
    I find the premise of your question questionable, Many things were coming together, from changes in agricultural efficiency and industrial output in the West to ancient classical works preserved by Muslim scholars. – o.m. Jul 4 '16 at 18:29

There is no analogy in this respect between the fall of the Western empire and the Eastern one. Decline of ancient scholarship happened before the main barbarian invasions, in both East and West. When the Academy in Athens was closed by the emperor's edict, the last few scholars emigrated to Persia. Many years later they were allowed to return, under the condition that they will not teach. What remained of scholarship in Europe after the spread of Christianity was exclusively "Christian scholarship".

Takeover of the Western empire by the "Barbarians" was a slow, gradual process, in which most of these Babarians became Christians. Christian scholars were not especially endangered by this process.

Concerning the Turkish conquest of Constantinople, the reason why many scholars moved was probably not the special hostility of the Turks to scholars, but general conditions of conquest by people of another religion. So those who could, emigrated to Christian countries.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.