The Philosophers And Theologians Of The Middle Ages

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The philosophers and theologians of the Middle Ages were aware of the limits of their Western European geography. Possessed with the knowledge of other countries and empires, but unable to actually travel there, these thinkers were tormented by their lack of information. Relying on stories told by merchants and sailors, local tales and legends, as well as varied and inaccurate ancient histories, they tried to cobble together maps, travelogues, and books detailing as much of the world as they knew, or believed existed. From these sometimes accurate and often fanciful accounts of mythical beasts and cities, one can see the development of many elements of modern day thought on race and racial origin. Reports of giants, of pygmies, of people…show more content…
There are many important thinkers, such as St. Augustine, who emerged during and after the fall of the Roman Empire and the Dark Ages that ensued, from roughly 476-1000, and their contributions will be addressed. However, it is with the advent of the High Middle Ages that books, philosophy, theology, and maps blossomed along with expanded ambitions of capturing all of the knowledge possible at the time. The paper will first explain the foundations of medieval race thought and cover some of the important philosophers, before moving on to discuss how these ideas were represented throughout the broader culture of the times. The second half of the essay will focus on several of the highlighted themes and how they have survived, and thrived, in modern racial thought. Entering the High Middle Ages, Western Europe had figured out most of its inner power struggles and the beginnings of nation-states had emerged. The dust had settled, relatively speaking, for a society that was built around a ruling warrior-class. Monarchies in England, France, and the Holy Roman Empire ruled with absolute and in some cases divine authority, and the encroachment of the Moors in Spain had reached a standstill. In these comparatively calm times, Western European men were free to turn their attention to the development of culture and the cultivation of knowledge. Old Roman and Greek histories were dragged out of
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