Out Here On The Perimeter, There Are No Stars


 Light and Dark

“But in the night of thick darkness enveloping the earliest antiquity, so remote from ourselves, there shines the eternal and never-failing light of a truth beyond all question: that the world of civil society has certainly been made by men, and that its principles are therefore to be found within the modifications of our own human minds. Whoever reflects on this cannot but marvel that the philosophers should have bent all their energies to the study of the world of nature, which, since God made it, He alone knows; and that they should have neglected the study of the world of nations or civil society, which, since men had made it, men could hope to know.”


T.G.Bergin & M.H. Fisch, edit & trans, The New Science of Giambattista Vico


Beneath The Skin: Of Memory and the Hearts Blood

A Sense of Time: ‘Time Out of Mind’

Memory, Time Of.- In the old books, when a person alleges in legal proceedings, that a custom or prescription has existed from time whereof the memory of man runneth not to the contrary, that is as much as to say that no man then alive hath heard any proof to the contrary.  This is also called “time of living memory” as opposed to “time of legal memory,” which runs from the reign of Richard I…….”

Under My Skin

The text above formed an older post that kept passing through my mind whilst reading Thony on the dark ages.

Chiefly, as when reading comments and text briefly things really did start running to the contrary.   A messy subject. I think I managed to make the worst comments but no one successful came up with anything that worked at anything other than a general level.

I am far from an expert or authority here but the key parts I am familiar with, comments would not work when you applied them specifically to the subject in context or more specifically the small part you are familiar with (for me ethnicity in sub and post Roman Britain).

I think as well it causes me concern with regard to the debate in H.O.S in regard to history, professionalism and the media (I think the subject goes a bit further than this) and positions taken that the authoritative voice of the historian must be accepted.

I think if you have a stupid question you should always expose it, get it out in the open. Authority has to be questioned or how else can you learn?

In terms of the Dark Age, its clearly a term that’s got under peoples skin. Its still used by a range of historians (they have that luxury studying the subject as an undergrad you’re choices are more limited) . It gives me a sentimental warm glow when I read the term, it reminds me of older texts I was reading aged 14 onwards (and still do). I could tell from comments that Thony probably did the same thing from the language he used referring to the ‘barbarian horde’ in comments. First set foot, the flag planted on European soil for the first time (another popular old school variation), common terms long in use. This period forms the historical horizon for European culture, it is the start of historical memory. Its understudied and underfunded but it plays a central role  in the stories people tell about who they are and where they come from and that is always going to create difference and debate. As is the institutional professional environment and its various fiefdoms and factions.

As a creature of habit I use the term that was standard when I studied the period which was Early medieval history (the term Dark Age had only recently been dropped when referring to the subject at a more general and vague level would be Early Medieval Europe or if you want to get really clunky with language, Early Medieval Period)  or sub and post Roman Britain specifically. It seems to be becoming known as The Early Middle Ages, I should really switch as being dyslexic no matter I have used the word countless times I can never spell medieval without the use of a spell check. I know I wont use the term The Early Middle Ages, in the same way I know I will never wear purple satin flared trousers a vest and a gold chain. I am a creature tied to my past and its cultural norms.


A Dictionary of American and English Law with Definitions of the Technical Terms of the Canon and Civil Laws. Also, Containing a Full Collection of Latin Maxims, and Citations of Upwards of Forty Thousand Reported Cases, in which Words and Phrases Have Been Judicially Defined or Construed, 1888.