“The Darkening Age – The Christian Destruction of the Classical World”,
Author: Catherine Nixey, Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Pp 315, Rs 2,467.65
The Dark Age of Europe is well known but what is The Darkening Age? It seemed like a new phrase coined by the writer; and when I read her book, it made perfect sense. Archimedes, Aristotle, Ceaser and countless other brilliant Greeks and Romans, with their science, arts, architecture and philosophy, had created a culture that has been enlightening readers for generations. Certainly it was a bright and shining Age in Europe. It was BC. But then, the dimming began.
The Dark Age of Europe, according to historians, begins around 400/500 AD and lasts till about 1300-1400 AD. The Dark Age had extinguished that bright and shining era of BC. Of course, the light did not go out in one day with a flip of a switch. Darkness began to spread gradually. It took about 400 to 500 years. Catherine Nixey writes about this era when lights began to fade and the darkness began to envelop the Roman Empire encompassing Europe, North Africa and Western Asia. It was not just Germanic tribes that defeated Romans, the empire was primed to be defeated by lawlessness and anarchy spread by a new religion of monks. The book exposes lies fed to us. It gives us several documented historical facts, the history that is currently missing from mainstream narration. Current narrations that Christians were persecuted by Romans and that Christians suffered at their hands are not true, even considering that Roman Roman Emperor Pontius Pilate had ordered the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Romans did not persecute anyone for following a new religion. The Roman administration took action only when the rule of law, maintenance of peace and liberty of citizens became an issue. Even under the grave provocation, their administration took action with a lot of restraint and even reluctance.
What Roman emperors did was, in the present context, precisely akin to the action of the Governments of the civilised world against ISIS and other similar groups who unlawfully take laws in their own hands and threaten the people. It is then, not persecution by the Government but solemn duty. That’s what any responsible government ought to do. Even Islam wherever came to rule the roost, created the same narrative against their predecessors, just as what Christians did. First, the then rulers persecuted pious and harmless converts and second, that ancestors were uncivilised pagans who worshipped silly idols. Victim-card currency is an extremely effective evangelical soft tool. Both, the hard and the soft tools were used and are being even currently used by both religions as and when opportunity presents itself.
The book shows that Romans were in fact tolerant and they easily let the newly arriving Christian faithfuls to freely propagate their ways and build churches and monasteries. They were even privileged by exemption from tax. On the other hand, whenever opportunity arose, Christians “gleefully” destroyed Roman and Greek temples, the beautifully carved statues of their gods, burnt books and libraries in bonfires in the city squares, even the library of Alexandria, housing thousands of hand-written books, was burnt down. Christian mobs lynched and horribly killed philosophers and learned. The Ageing Hypatia was just one of those killed by the mob. Some of those monks and priests were later pronounced Holy Saints, who not only actively sanctioned and watched over the destruction and cruelty, they even personally led the mobs to rampage on streets of towns and villages.The killing, torture, burning and looting was done as an “Act of Love” or “For helping God” “For establishing God’s Kingdom” and as “A favour to the victim”. “If done for God there is no sin”. The age towards the darkness, “The “Darkening Age” begins with the arrival of Christians and got accelerated the moment kings adopted Christianity, beginning Emperor Constantine. It was then the nature worship, fire worship, worship of ‘old’ gods; Apollo, Jupiter, Athena, Zeus, etc, offering sacrifice (presumably ‘sacrifice’ to be like ‘Prasad’ in Hinduism or ‘Kurbani’ of Muslims, or burning of incense) at the altar of their Gods, etc was strictly forbidden. Christian spied on the other Christians as well as on the other not yet baptised. A time came when baptism was made compulsory by law. Pagans were denounced as evil; sorcerer or witch. Leave alone, Heathens and Pagans, even those who were baptised, were punished for blasphemy and burnt alive at the stake or tortured for slightest deviation.
After total annihilation, the cultures of Greeks, Romans and Egyptians that were once flourishing are present today only as antiquities, history books and their artefacts in museums. Same thing has happened elsewhere too. Africa, America and large parts of Asia too have lost their original culture and their remains are now mere stories, myths, antiques, collector’s pieces or found in museums. The irony is, those “Heathen”, “Idolater” and “Pagan” Roman/Greek and other Europeans who had created and lived in a liberal, enlightening culture were later branded as cruel persecutors of Christians. World is made to forget both. But with the current resurgence of Islam, Taliban and ISIS, the world is reminded of history, with incidences of destruction of art, culture, science philosophy and free-thinking, wherever they come to dominate societies.
The book reminds Hindus of the Indian experiences of last thousand plus years with the arrival of marauding Islamic invaders, cruel Portuguese Christian rulers, clergy, crafty British rulers and missionaries who used the same proven template, pioneered during “The Darkening Age”, but in an even more vicious manner in that huge area, what is between Himalaya and Indian Ocean
The book reminds Hindus of the Indian experiences of last thousand plus years with the arrival of marauding Islamic invaders, cruel Portuguese Christian rulers, clergy, crafty British rulers and missionaries who used the same proven template, pioneered during “The Darkening Age”, but in an even more vicious manner in that huge area, what is between Himalaya and Indian Ocean. The area that was Bharatvarsh was an area of more than double the area of the current nation state of India. Darkness came over to large parts of highly civilised Indian culture. Areas North, North-West, East and West of the current Indian state, although battled and resisted for over thousand plus years, ultimately fell to the cruel, looters and killers, for whom “my way or highway” is the guiding principle of ruling. Even today, in the remaining free India, the same things are being done, well hidden in sight. Hard and soft, both tools are being effectively deployed by every variety of evangelisers. It would continue to go on until all the Indians are baptised or Islamised.
Catherine Nixey, authoress of The Darkening Age – The Christian Destruction of the Classical World, has Catholic upbringing. Her mother was a Nun and father a Monk. Thus presumably she has seen Christianty from close quarters. Her book is written with many historical facts and quotes, complete with information of their sources in the large bibliography section at the end of the book. Apart from the easy and gripping read, the book can be a good source of authentic references.
The book is a must read, especially for Hindus, who need it more than anyone to have more clarity on the modus operandi and protect themselves from proselytising religions.