It's been 900 years since the collapse of industrial civilization, and the New Middle Ages are upon us.
No one really knows all the details of civilization's demise. Whether it was nuclear war, famine, taxation, plague, killer asteroids, petroleum depletion, erosion, sunspots or alien invasion is anybody's guess. The records of that period are scanty because everybody was too busy blaming everybody else to sit down and describe exactly what happened, but the world lost about 1000 years of technological development in the blink of an eye. Computers and airplanes disappeared from the face of the earth. Cars were replaced by mules; guns by bows; power plants by water mills; tractors by oxen.
The catastrophe that hit the human race - whatever it was - spared the Earth. The world was not beset by radioactive mutants or anything like that. The coasts were not washed away by the melting of the ice caps. Nature is old enough and big enough to take care of herself, and she rode the crisis admirably, quickly reasserting her dominance over the planet. Wolves moved down from Canada to stalk the edges of what remained of human civilization. Weeds broke through the asphalt.
In most of the world, the New Middle Ages were merely a rerun of the Old Middle Ages. In England and Japan, the constitutional monarchies dumped their constitutions. Europeans turned again to the Roman Catholic Church for guidance. Camels plodded along the caravan routes of the Middle East, bringing silk from China and pilgrims to Mecca, just as they did a thousand years ago. In America, however, Middle Ages were a new experience.
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Last Updated June 2003
Copyright © 2003 Matthew White
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