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Bob Hook

Initially, I believed that the term Dark Ages was appropriate. Comparing these cultures to the glory days of the Roman Empire it is easy to declare that there is a decline in both art and literature. In reality, it was the loss of the centralized language and centralized governments that give that perception. After reading and reviewing the material in the medieval wing I now realize that culture may have changed but it soon recreated itself and began to move forward. There were changes that brought both innovation and creation of new methods. New techniques of working precious metals were created such as repoussé, chasing, cloisonné, and micro-goldsmithing techniques were developed. Important innovations in writing and copying of the illumination of religious materials were elevated to an art form. Charlemagne was very influential in the literature where the monks within his scriptoriums increased the production of manuscripts. Before Charlemagne, there were an estimated 500 manuscripts that have survived. After the Carolingian period, we have over 7,000 manuscripts and the punctuation we use in writing today. The appropriate phrase may not be the “Dark Ages’ but the era of change and reorganization of western culture.