The Darkening Age
In The Darkening Age, Catherine Nixey tells the little-known - and deeply shocking - story of how a militant religion deliberately tried to extinguish the teachings of the Classical world, ushering in unquestioning adherence to the 'one true faith'.
The Roman Empire had been generous in embracing and absorbing new creeds. But with the coming of Christianity, everything changed. This new faith, despite preaching peace, was violent, ruthless and intolerant. And once it became the religion of empire, its zealous adherents set about the destruction of the old gods. Their altars were upturned, their temples demolished and their statues hacked to pieces. Books, including great works of philosophy and science, were consigned to the pyre. It was an annihilation.
A Book of the Year in the Daily Telegraph, the Spectator, the Observer, and BBC History Magazine
A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice
Winner of the Royal Society of Literature Jerwood Award for Nonfiction
In the media
This book uncovers what was lost when Christianity won…. a delightful book about destruction and despair. Nixey combines the authority of a serious academic with the expressive style of a good journalist. She’s not afraid to throw in the odd joke amid sombre tales of desecration. With considerable courage, she challenges the wisdom of history and manages to prevail. Comfortable assumptions about Christian progress come tumbling down.
Catherine Nixey has written a bold, dazzling and provocative book that challenges ideas about early Christianity and both how – and why – it spread so far and fast in its early days. Nixey is a witty and iconoclastic guide to a world that will be unfamiliar, surprising and troubling to many.
Peter Frankopan, author of The Silk Road
A searingly passionate book . . . Nixey writes up a storm. Each sentence is rich, textured, evocative, felt . . . Nixey delivers this ballista-bolt of a book with her eyes wide open and in an attempt to bring light as well as heat to the sad story of intellectual monoculture and religious intolerance
Bettany Hughes New York Times