Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Januszczak On The Dark Ages 2

The Huns may have been warlike but they also made lovely things out of gold. Their king, Attila, wasn't just or even primarily a destroyer but the ruler of an empire that rivaled Rome in size. On a field in Hungary they're in the process of building a replica of his wooden palace- a weird and beautiful thing- part Star Wars, part My Little Pony.

The Vandals started off in the Baltic, zig-zagged all over Europe and ended up in Carthage where they adopted Roman culture and built and wrote poems about bath houses. Waldemar waved a folder in our faces labelled "Vandal Poems" (oh, he was having fun). The Ostrogoths under Theodoric built San Vitale in Ravenna which has gorgeous mosaics. The Visigoths went to Spain and invented the horseshoe arch before handing it on to the Muslims for further development.

All these people were really rather wonderful and they reinvigorated western culture. It's time we stopped representing them as- well- vandals, goths and huns. 
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