The Byzantine Dark Ages

In my last post, I urged the use of the unpopular term “Dark Age” as a valid historical and archaeological concept. Specifically, I suggested that it should refer to eras of “systematic societal collapse and cultural impoverishment, reflected in collapsing population levels, and acute declines in urbanization, technology, literacy, productivity and communications.” This is in [Read More…]

Jesus at Dabiq

The Hadith are sayings attributed to the Prophet Muhammad, and some address apocalyptic themes. One in particular has attracted a lot of attention recently because it refers to the North Syrian city of Dabiq, and that name and the associated story have inspired the murderous sect known as ISIS/Daesh. Despite that connection, though, the passage [Read More…]

Apocalypse at Dabiq

Over the past year, the word Dabiq has come to be associated with some horrendous deeds. That is the name of the emetic publication of the group ISIS/Daesh, in which it presents its propaganda and advocates acts of terror worldwide. Here, though, in a series of posts, I want to describe where the name comes [Read More…]


I have been writing on the persistence of alternative forms of Christianity through the long Middle Ages. In my next couple of postings, I will be focusing on one remarkable and powerful movement that flourished in South-Eastern Europe, namely the Bogomils, and their truly ancient ideas. When we look at the alternative Christian worlds of [Read More…]