Book Review Barbarians to Angels Essay

749 Words Jan 19th, 2014 3 Pages
Wells, Peter. Barbarians to Angel: The Dark Ages Reconsidered. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2008

Barbarians to Angels written by Peter Wells is an enlightening read that sheds light on to what really went on during “The Dark Ages”. The written word during 400-800 AD came from educated citizens of the Roman Empire and their recount could be judgmental. Many historians are led to believe that Barbarians destroyed Roman and everyone suffered from acts of violence, a mass migration, disease, starvation, and this was the way of life for hundreds of years. But Peter Wells goes beyond the information in the written accounts and looks at the actual archaeological evidence. He uses this information to help visualize life that went
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But over time some of these building would be torn down to make room for other uses and the some of the larger stones would be reused. Wells see’s this as another example of how life didn’t stop just continued on differently. The studies of these cities reveal that there was continuity from one generation to the next and not abrupt declines followed brilliant discoveries.
Wells points out several times throughout the book and he even uses a whole chapter to talk about Religion. The way Wells stresses that even though the declared religion is Christianity people still used or practiced their beliefs from before. Wells does use archaeological evidence to back this up from the burial sites, burial practices in Christian literature, artwork, and mythological themes hidden with Christian imagery. This evidence shows that the general public was very slow to accept proper Christian practice, and even those converted rulers held to traditions too. The book makes one think about how long and how many of these traditions survived. Wells even states in the book on pages 184-185, “Wearing or carrying charms, saying prayer before meals, decorating Christmas trees, coloring eggs at Easter, and tossing coins into fountains are parts of practices that were carried out by the prehistoric Peoples of Europe. What people think today when they toss their pennies, dimes, and quarters into the water may not be very different from what…

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