The Darkening Age by Catherine Nixey
The Christian Destruction of the Classical World

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A fine history that is surely controversial in its view of how victims become victimizers and how professions of love turn to terror.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

A bold new history of the rise of Christianity, showing how its radical followers ravaged vast swathes of classical culture, plunging the world into an era of dogma and intellectual darkness
 
In Harran, the locals refused to convert. They were dismembered, their limbs hung along the town’s main street. In Alexandria, zealots pulled the elderly philosopher-mathematician Hypatia from her chariot and flayed her to death with shards of broken pottery. Not long before, their fellow Christians had invaded the city’s greatest temple and razed it—smashing its world-famous statues and destroying all that was left of Alexandria’s Great Library.
 
Today, we refer to Christianity’s conquest of the West as a “triumph.” But this victory entailed an orgy of destruction in which Jesus’s followers attacked and suppressed classical culture, helping to pitch Western civilization into a thousand-year-long decline. Just one percent of Latin literature would survive the great purge; countless antiquities, artworks, and ancient traditions were lost forever.  
 
As Catherine Nixey reveals, evidence of early Christians’ campaign of terror has been hiding in plain sight: in the palimpsests and shattered statues proudly displayed in churches and museums the world over. In The Darkening Age, Nixey resurrects this lost history, offering a wrenching account of the rise of Christianity and its terrible cost.
 
 

About Catherine Nixey

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Published April 17, 2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 384 pages
Genres: History, Religion & Spirituality. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Darkening Age
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Above average
on Jan 22 2018

A fine history that is surely controversial in its view of how victims become victimizers and how professions of love turn to terror.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Tim Whitmarsh on Dec 28 2017

It is, rather, a finely crafted, invigorating polemic against the resilient popular myth that presents the Christianisation of Rome as the triumph of a kinder, gentler politics. On those terms, it succeeds brilliantly.

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