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BBC Four: "The Dark Ages have been misunderstood. History has identified the period following the fall of the Roman Empire with a descent into barbarism - a terrible time when civilisation stopped."...
“Waldemar Januszczak disagrees. In this four-part series he argues that the Dark Ages were a time of great artistic achievement, with new ideas and religions provoking new artistic adventures. He embarks on a fascinating trip across Europe, Africa and Asia, visits the world’s most famous collections and discovers hidden artistic gems, all to prove that the Dark Ages were actually an ‘Age of Light’.
Along with Christianity, the Dark Ages saw the emergence of another vital religion – Islam. After emerging in the near East it spread across North Africa and into Europe, bringing its unique artistic style with it. Waldemar examines the early artistic explorations of the first people in Muslim Civilisation, the development of their mosques and their scientific achievements” (archived link)
A short scene from the program: