Sunday, 27 December 2009

Civilisation 1: The Skin of Our Teeth: 2

The above is the second clip from the first episode “The Skin of our Teeth” and begins waves and waves of barbarians crossing the Danube. Some become romanized and then other more destructive forces arrived: Huns amongst them. Rome had practically collapsed and Civilisation according to Clark “might have drifted downstream for a long time”, if it had not been for the appearance of “a new force” in the middle of the 7th Century, “with faith, energy, a will to conquer and an alternative culture: Islam” (1969, p.7).  The classical world was overrun in about fifty years: “only its bleached bones stood out against the Mediterranean sky” (1969, p.7). 
                So now the new civilisation would have to face the Atlantic. For now the old source of civilisation was sealed off.  The experience according Clark was one of melancholy and boredom. Christian scholars would seek out refuge in “the most inaccessible fringes of Cornwall, Ireland and the Hebrides” (Clark, 1969 p.7). Places “on the edge of the world” like Skellig Michael in the West of Ireland were places where fragments of Western Civilisation found take refuge from Viking raiders  and survive (Clark, 1969 p.7). 

Clark, K (1969) Civilisation: A personal view. London: BBC/J. Murray

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