A pink taxi

A pink taxi

January 18, 2012

Medieval Ages

As a child, I day dreamed for hours at school. I remember the shape of the class windows, the view of the desert landscape where our French lycee was built in Sharjah, the monocord voice of any given secondary teacher....I day dreamed for hours, through physics, chemistry, geology, geography and history.

And I skimmed through Medieval History as a result. The French educational program is redundant though and most principles are re-introduced 3 times. Thus, I came across Medieval history in 4th grade, 6th grade and 8th grade! Every two years that history lesson was more dense, the details more intricate...and still I day dreamed. I was convinced that any history before 1914 was plain boring.

Somehow the ONLY thing I remember with acute perception is the Four Seasons by Bruegel. French history books are illustrated with art and I believe I used to stare at them while the teachers babbled....

And thus, it was through art history that I reappropriated Medieval Ages. I attended courses at the University of Geneva and realized that the Medieval Days were not Dark Ages, that in fact scribes painted their books with "Illuminations". That stained glass was so magical, Matisse and Chagall renewed the tradition.  That Cathedrals were glorious enough for Chris Martin to "build them in his heart". That today's tryptichs herald from those days...

My son is onto his third repetition of Medieval Ages and me in tow. We have examined how books were created in the day, those leather bound, parchemin scribed illuminated treasures. We have discussed the power structure, the agricultural practices, the poetry of the day...and I marveled at the second chance offered to me to make up for all those hours of day dreaming.


  1. You forgot to mention that the Andalusia culture has removed Europe from the dark age and introduced them to medicine,culture,sciences,architecture and medicine.When Europe went into Renaissance,the Middle East was plunged into the dark ages by the Ottomans for over 500 years,until the Arab Spring is may be giving them a window of opportunity.