The Light Ages: The Surprising Story of Medieval Science

The Light Ages: The Surprising Story of Medieval Science

An illuminating guide to the scientific and technological achievements of the Middle Ages through the life of a crusading astronomer-monk.

Soaring Gothic cathedrals, violent crusades, the Black Death: these are the dramatic forces that shaped the medieval era. But the so-called Dark Ages also gave us the first universities, eyeglasses, and mechanical clocks, proving that the Middle Ages were home to a vibrant scientific culture.

In The Light Ages, Cambridge science historian Seb Falk takes us on an immersive tour of medieval science through the story of one fourteenth-century monk, John of Westwyk. From multiplying Roman numerals to navigating by the stars, curing disease, and telling time with an ancient astrolabe, we learn emerging science alongside Westwyk, while following the gripping story of the struggles and successes of an ordinary man in a precarious world. An enlightening history that argues that these times weren’t so dark after all, The Light Ages shows how medieval ideas continue to color how we see the world today.

Title:The Light Ages: The Surprising Story of Medieval Science
ISBN:9781324002932
Format Type:

    The Light Ages: The Surprising Story of Medieval Science Reviews

  • Bradley

    The Light Ages. As opposed to the Dark Ages. Indeed.If I had to compare this to other History of Science nonfiction books, I'd have to rate this rather high. Of course, it debunks the basic idea that ...

  • Emma

    The framing of the medieval period as 'the Dark Ages' has long since lost its power. Even knowing that, it's still stunning to see just how fundamentally wrong that terminology is. As Seb Falk says i...

  • Nigel

    In brief - I found this fascinating at times and rather too technical at other times. Full review nearer the time of publicationThis book seeks to address the idea that the Middle Ages were not dark t...

  • Lou

    Soaring Gothic cathedrals, violent crusades, the Black Death: these are the dramatic forces that shaped the medieval era. But the so-called Dark Ages also gave us the first universities, eyeglasses, a...

  • Tim O'Neill

    It's always a pleasure when a book you've been waiting for since its publication was announced turns out to be every bit as good as you expected. And it's a double pleasure when a book on a subject yo...

  • raffaela

    Can I just say that I love the idea of calling the medieval period the Light Ages instead of the Dark Ages? Also that cover ­čśŹ...

  • Stephanie

    This is a really excellent book and has absolutely transformed my view of medieval history, science and culture. I didn't even think that I was particularly interested in either medieval science, the ...

  • Brian

    Some people would dispute the very existence of science as a discipline during the Early Middle Ages; not Seb Falk. He takes as his starting point a manuscript giving detailed instructions for the man...

  • Michael Cayley

    This book uses the life - about much of which relatively little is known - of the 14th century monk John Westwyk, who produced an important astronomical work, to explore medieval developments in scien...

  • Kim

    The common view of the medieval era in Europe is that it was a period of darkness. That it was an age when science was forgotten and books languished in the dusty back rooms while wild-eyed monks burn...