This all ended in the Dark Age that existed between the fall of Rome and the beginning of the Renaissance. The invading barbarians were men of brute force, not advocates of the mind. They sacked the centers of civilization and, in some cases, burned them to the ground. The barbarians were eventually converted to Christianity, but religion emphasizes faith, not reason. During the period in which the Catholic Church held cultural and political power in Europe, unquestioning obedience to religious dogma was required, and freethinkers were often burned at the stake. Independent thinking was stifled, scientific advance was non-existent, and illiteracy was rampant. Europeans of this age fell far below the knowledge level, standard of living, and life expectancy that had been attained centuries earlier. They lost the advances that the Classical period had reached.
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