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Monks: What have they Contributed to Western Civilization?


European monks have been the saviors of Western Civilization in many ways, and even built it up higher. After the Roman Empire was destroyed, and chaos swept across Europe, the monks maintained oases of order. European Monks lived in monasteries, such as the one above. Each European monastery had copies of the Scriptures, and of ancient poets and authors, such as Virgil, Homer, and others, such as Plato, and diligently copied them, over and over, to preserve the constantly decaying pieces of parchment over the centuries. But, monasteries couldn’t produce everything they needed, so they needed to dip into the larger economy. So, some monasteries used water power to finish cloth, grind wheat into flour, and every monastery had large gardens, and maintained and developed agriculture, in order to barter with the local nobility and peasantry alike. They also served as defensive structures against attack, which served very useful when the Saracens came to invade Malta (the Knights Hospitaller might be an example of this).


The monks and their monasteries laid the groundwork for the reformation, which re-birthed Christianity and Western Civilization. The monasteries had protection from pillage and what they had to say and their reproductions of ancient works were trusted as accurate because they were affiliated with the Christian religion. Even though they had their faults, Western Civilization has much to owe European monasteries. Without the monasteries, Western Civilization would be almost non-existent.

One response

  1. I totally agree. During the Dark Ages, a monastery acted like a little oasis of knowledge and technology.

    January 8, 2014 at 4:59 pm

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