Stark dares historians to be honest about what he claims they know - there were no "Dark Ages."
"Ironically, the most beneficial factor in the rise of Western civilization was the fall of Rome!...(which) released the tax-paying millions from a paralysing oppression, (hence) many new technologies began to appear and were rapidly and widely adopted with the result that ordinary people were able to live far better, and, after centuries of decline under Rome, the population began to grow again. No longer were the productive classes bled to sustain the astonishing excesses of the Roman elite, or to erect massive monuments to imperial egos, or to support vast armies to hold Rome's many colonies in thrall. Instead, human effort and ingenuity turned to better ways to farm, to sail, to transport goods, to conduct business, to build churches, to make war, to educate, and even to play music." - Stark, TC, pp239-240.
He then goes on to argue that later, historians and gullible tourists note the great monuments and palaces of Rome and compare them to the provincial communities such as medieval merchant towns and are wrongly far more impressed with the former. Intellectuals, especially those with anti-religious, pro-enlightenment biases, refused to notice the enormous progress that took place in music, art, literature, education and science, along with the nuts and bolts of real, common life.
During the so-called "Dark Ages," Europe actually took such a great technological and intellectual leap forward that it found itself ahead of the rest of the world. (Stark, p240).