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30-Sep-2017 01:55

This is incompatible with the “no such thing as the Dark Ages” claim except by a bunch of tortured logic, isolated demands for rigor, and historical ignorance. I wonder if these people interrupt anyone who talks about the Warring States period with “actually, there were only warring states in China. Or have you just missed that there’s a natural and well-delineated area suitable to be called “Great Plains” that doesn’t include your supposed counterexamples?

Many other areas during this period had no warring states at all! Huge swathes of the Earth’s land area remained un-Hellenized. Actually, outside of Russia there were no more troubles than usual. Maybe there were a bunch of bad feelings not in the US. The period after 1000 AD did indeed have lots of great accomplishments.

Not every scientist was burned at the stake, not everyone thought the world was flat and surrounded by space dragons, and the High Middle Ages were notable for impressive levels of material progress which in some cases outpaced the Classical World and which set the stage for the upcoming Renaissance (the continuity thesis). But I worry that as usual, this corrective to an overblown narrative of darkness has itself been overblown. But you know that actually there are lots of tall mountains, like the Rockies.

People are now talking about how you’re a gullible rube if you still believe in a so-called “Dark Age”, and how all the real intellectuals know that this was a time of flourishing civilization every bit as good as the Romans or the Renaissance. The period from about 500 to about 1000 in Christian Western Europe was marked by profound economic and intellectual decline and stagnation relative to the periods that came before and after it. And not even all of Europe – not in the Eastern Roman Empire, not in al-Andalus… Have you debunked the so-called Great Plains narrative and proven that its believers are credulous morons?

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And that the people I am disagreeing with are not historians themselves, but other non-historians trying to interpret historians’ work in a popular way that I interpret as wrong.

The mechanism clashes with a previously offered explanation of why the melting of the northern glaciers, or deglaciations, leads to the release of ocean carbon dioxide from the Southern Ocean – the theory that the melting glaciers in the north increased southern hemisphere westerly winds, which in turn caused upwelling of Southern Ocean deep waters.

"While distinguishing between these alternatives is important," says Sigman, "the greater challenge is to test and understand a premise that is shared by both of these scenarios: that ice age conditions around Antarctica caused the deep ocean to be sluggish and rich in carbon dioxide. Deglacial pulses of deep-ocean silicate into the subtropical North Atlantic Ocean.

But I think that there’s also a five hundred year period – more than long enough to count as a real historical age – that absolutely fits the bill. The term “Dark Ages” was invented by Petrarch – who wasn’t even a real historian – based only on his personal opinion.

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The term “World War I” was invented by Ernst Haeckel, who was not a historian, based on his personal opinion that it seemed to be a war, and involve the whole world, and be the first one to do so.

As glaciers melted in the northern reaches of the globe (far upper left), the influx of freshwater, which is naturally less dense than salt-laden ocean water, caused a reduction in the normally strong sinking of water in that region.