The Early, High and Late Middle Ages

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Although in some languages the Middle Ages are labeled in the singular (it's le moyen age in French and das mittlere Alter in German), it is difficult to think of the era as anything other than ages plural. This is in part because of the numerous subjects encompassed by this long period of time, and in part because of the chronological sub-eras within the era.

Generally, the medieval era is divided into three periods: the Early Middle Ages, the High Middle Ages, and the Late Middle Ages. Like the Middle Ages itself, each of these three periods lacks hard and fast parameters.

Early Middle Ages

The Early Medieval Era is sometimes still called the Dark Ages. This epithet originated with those who wanted to compare the earlier period unfavorably with their own so-called "enlightened" age. Modern scholars who have actually studied the time period would not so readily use the label, since passing judgment on the past interferes with a true understanding of the time and its people. Yet the term is still somewhat apt for the simple reason that we know relatively little about events and material culture in those times.

Fall of Rome

This era is often considered, to begin with, the "fall of Rome" and end sometime in the 11th century. It encompasses the reigns of ​ Charlemagne , Alfred the Great, and the Danish Kings of England; it saw frequent Viking activity, the Iconoclastic Controversy , and the birth and rapid expansion of Islam in Northern Africa and Spain. Over these centuries, Christianity spread throughout much of Europe, and the Papacy evolved into a powerful political entity.

Late Antiquity

The Early Middle Ages are also sometimes referred to as Late Antiquity . This time period is usually viewed as beginning in the third century and stretching to the seventh century, and sometimes as late as the eighth. Some scholars see Late Antiquity as distinct and separate from both the Ancient world and the Medieval one; others see it as a bridge between the two where significant factors from both eras overlap.

High Middle Ages

The High Medieval Era is the period of time that seems to typify the Middle Ages best. Usually beginning with the 11th century, some scholars end it in 1300 and others extend it for as much as another 150 years. Even limiting it to a mere 300 years, the High Middle Ages saw such significant events as Norman conquests in Britain and Sicily, the earlier Crusades , the Investiture Controversy and the signing of the Magna Carta . By the end of the 11th century, nearly every corner of Europe had become Christianized (with the notable exception of much of Spain), and the Papacy, long established as a political force, was in constant struggle with some secular governments and alliance with others.

Flowering of Medieval Society

This period is often what we think of when someone mentions "medieval culture." It is sometimes referred to as the "flowering" of medieval society, thanks to an intellectual renaissance in the 12th century, such notable philosophers as Peter Abelard and Thomas Aquinas, and the establishment of such Universities as those in Paris, Oxford, and Bologna. There was an explosion of stone castle-building and the construction of some of the most magnificent cathedrals in Europe.

Feudalism Firmly Established

In terms of material culture and political structure, the High Middle Ages saw medievalism at its peak. What we call feudalism today was firmly established in Britain and parts of Europe; trade in luxury items, as well as staples, flourished; towns were granted charters of privilege and even established anew by ​feudal lords with alacrity, and a well-fed population was beginning to burgeon. By the end of the thirteenth century, Europe was at an economic and cultural height, perched at the verge of a downturn.​

Late Middle Ages

The end of the Middle Ages can be characterized as a transformation from the medieval world to the early modern one. It is often considered to begin in 1300, though some scholars look at the mid- to late-fifteenth century as the beginning of the end. Once again, the end of the end is debatable, ranging from 1500 to 1650.

Cataclysmic and awesome events of the 14th century include the Hundred Years War, the Black Death , the Avignon Papacy , the Italian Renaissance, and the Peasants' Revolt. The 15th century saw Joan of Arc burned at the stake, the fall of Constantinople to the Turks, the Moors were driven from Spain and the Jews expelled, the Wars of the Roses and the voyage of Columbus to the New World. The 16th century was wracked by the Reformation and blessed by the birth of Shakespeare. The 17th century, rarely included within the medieval era, saw the Great Fire of London, a rash of witch hunts, and the Thirty Years War.

Famine, Disease, and Population Decline

Though famine and disease had always been a lurking presence, the Late Medieval era saw the horrific results of both in abundance. The Black Death, preceded by famine and overpopulation, wiped out at least a third of Europe and marked the end of the prosperity that had characterized the high medieval era. The Church, once so highly respected by the general populace, suffered reduced status when some of its priests refused to minister to the dying during the plague and sparked resentment when it enjoyed enormous profits in bequests from plague victims.

More and more towns and cities were wresting control of their own governments from the hands of the clergy or nobility that had previously ruled them. And the reduction in population triggered economic and political changes that would never be reversed.

Seeds of Individual Rights

High medieval society had been characterized by the corporation. The nobility, the clergy, the peasantry, the guilds —all were group entities that saw to the welfare of their members but put the welfare of the community, and their own community in particular, first. Now, as was reflected in the Italian Renaissance, a new regard for the value of the individual was growing. By no means was late medieval nor early modern society a culture of equality, but the seeds of the idea of human rights had been sown.

Beginning and End Dates Vary

The viewpoints examined in the previous pages are by no means the only ways to look at the Middle Ages. Anyone studying a smaller geographical area, such as Great Britain or the Iberian Peninsula, will much more easily discover start- and end-dates for the era. Students of art, literature, sociology, militaria, and any number of subjects will each find specific turning points pertinent to their topic of interest. And I don't doubt that you, too, will see a particular event that strikes you as possessed of such towering importance that it defines the beginning or end of the medieval era for you.

Defining Historical Eras

The comment has been made that all historical eras are arbitrary definitions and, therefore, how the Middle Ages is defined really has no significance. I believe that the true historian will find something lacking in this approach. Defining historical eras not only makes each era more accessible to the newcomer, it helps the serious student identify interrelated events, recognize patterns of cause and effect, understand the influence of a period's culture on those who lived within it and, ultimately, find a deeper meaning in the story of our past.

So make your own choice, and reap the benefits of approaching the Middle Ages from your own unique perspective. Whether you are a serious scholar following the path of higher education or a devoted amateur like me, any conclusions you can support with facts will not only have validity but will help you make the Middle Ages your own. And do not be surprised if your view of Medieval times changes over the course of your studies. My own outlook has certainly evolved in the last 25 years, and will most likely continue to do so as long as the Middle Ages continues to hold me in its thrall.

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Introduction to the Middle Ages

The Lindisfarne Gospels, left: Saint Matthew, portrait page (25v); right: Saint Matthew, cross-carpet page (26v), c. 700 (Northumbria), 340 x 250 mm (British Library, Cotton MS Nero D IV)

The Lindisfarne Gospels , left: Saint Matthew, portrait page (25v); right: Saint Matthew, cross-carpet page (26v), c. 700 (Northumbria), 340 x 250 mm ( British Library , Cotton MS Nero D IV)

The dark ages?

So much of what the average person knows, or thinks they know, about the Middle Ages comes from film and tv. When I polled a group of well-educated friends on Facebook, they told me that the word “medieval” called to mind Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Blackadder, The Sword in the Stone, lusty wenches, feasting, courtly love, the plague, jousting and chain mail.

Perhaps someone who had seen (or better yet read) The Name of the Rose or Pillars of the Earth would add cathedrals, manuscripts, monasteries, feudalism, monks and friars.

Petrarch, an Italian poet and scholar of the fourteenth century, famously referred to the period of time between the fall of the Roman Empire (c. 476) and his own day (c. 1330s) as the Dark Ages. Petrarch believed that the Dark Ages was a period of intellectual darkness due to the loss of the classical learning, which he saw as light. Later historians picked up on this idea and ultimately the term Dark Ages was transformed into Middle Ages. Broadly speaking, the Middle Ages is the period of time in Europe between the end of antiquity in the fifth century and the Renaissance , or rebirth of classical learning, in the fifteenth century and sixteenth centuries.

North Transept Rose Window, c. 1235, Chartres Cathedral, France (photo: Dr. Steven Zucker, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

North Transept Rose Window, c. 1235, Chartres Cathedral , France (photo: Dr. Steven Zucker , CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Not so dark after all

Characterizing the Middle Ages as a period of darkness falling between two greater, more intellectually significant periods in history is misleading. The Middle Ages was not a time of ignorance and backwardness, but rather a period during which Christianity flourished in Europe. Christianity, and specifically Catholicism in the Latin West, brought with it new views of life and the world that rejected the traditions and learning of the ancient world.

During this time, the Roman Empire slowly fragmented into many smaller political entities. The geographical boundaries for European countries today were established during the Middle Ages. This was a period that heralded the formation and rise of universities, the establishment of the rule of law, numerous periods of ecclesiastical reform and the birth of the tourism industry. Many works of medieval literature, such as the Canterbury Tales, the Divine Comedy, and The Song of Roland, are widely read and studied today.

The visual arts prospered during Middles Ages, which created its own aesthetic values. The wealthiest and most influential members of society commissioned cathedrals, churches, sculpture, painting, textiles, manuscripts, jewelry and ritual items from artists. Many of these commissions were religious in nature but medieval artists also produced secular art. Few names of artists survive and fewer documents record their business dealings, but they left behind an impressive legacy of art and culture.

When I polled the same group of friends about the word “Byzantine,” many struggled to come up with answers. Among the better ones were the song “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)” sung by They Might Be Giants, crusades, things that are too complex (like the tax code or medical billing), Hagia Sophia, the poet Yeats, mosaics, monks, and icons. Unlike Western Europe in the Middle Ages, the Byzantine Empire is not romanticized in television and film.

which labels for the middle ages essay

Approximate boundaries of the Byzantine Empire, mid-6th century (underlying map © Google)

In the medieval West, the Roman Empire fragmented, but in the Byzantine East, it remained a strong, centrally-focused political entity. Byzantine emperors ruled from Constantinople, which they thought of as the New Rome. Constantinople housed Hagia Sophia , one of the world’s largest churches, and was a major center of artistic production.

Isidore of Miletus & Anthemius of Tralles for Emperor Justinian, Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, 532–37 (photo: Steven Zucker, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Isidore of Miletus & Anthemius of Tralles for Emperor Justinian, Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, 532–37 (photo: Steven Zucker , CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The Byzantine Empire experienced two periods of Iconoclasm (730–787 and 814–842), when images and image-making were problematic. Iconoclasm left a visible legacy on Byzantine art because it created limits on what artists could represent and how those subjects could be represented. Byzantine Art is broken into three periods. Early Byzantine or Early Christian art begins with the earliest extant Christian works of art c. 250 and ends with the end of Iconoclasm in 842. Middle Byzantine art picks up at the end of Iconoclasm and extends to the sack of Constantinople by Latin Crusaders in 1204. Late Byzantine art was made between the sack of Constantinople and the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in 1453.

In the European West, Medieval art is often broken into smaller periods. These date ranges vary by location.

Early Medieval Art c. 500–800
c. 780–900
c. 900–1000
c. 1000–1200
c. 1200–1400

Bibliography

Smarthistory’s free Guide to Byzantine Art e-book

Art and Death in the Middle Ages on The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History)

Byzantium from The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History

Icons and Iconoclasm on The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History

Classical Antiquity in the Middle Ages, The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History

Hagia Sophia on The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History

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Middle Ages

By: History.com Editors

Updated: June 6, 2023 | Original: April 22, 2010

Knights Duelling On Foot In A Tournament 19th CenturyKnights duelling on foot in a tournament, 19th century. Plate 1 from The History of the Nations by Vincenzo Gazzotto, Vincenzo. Artist G Lago. (Photo by Historica Graphica Collection/Heritage Images/Getty Images)

People use the phrase “Middle Ages” to describe Europe between the fall of Rome in 476 CE and the beginning of the Renaissance in the 14th century. Many scholars call the era the “medieval period” instead; “Middle Ages,” they say, incorrectly implies that the period is an insignificant blip sandwiched between two much more important epochs.

The Middle Ages: Birth of an Idea

The phrase “Middle Ages” tells us more about the Renaissance that followed it than it does about the era itself. Starting around the 14th century, European thinkers, writers and artists began to look back and celebrate the art and culture of ancient Greece and Rome . Accordingly, they dismissed the period after the fall of Rome as a “Middle” or even “Dark” age in which no scientific accomplishments had been made, no great art produced, no great leaders born. The people of the Middle Ages had squandered the advancements of their predecessors, this argument went, and mired themselves instead in what 18th-century English historian Edward Gibbon called “barbarism and religion.”

Did you know? Between 1347 and 1350, a mysterious disease known as the "Black Death" (the bubonic plague) killed some 20 million people in Europe—30 percent of the continent’s population. It was especially deadly in cities, where it was impossible to prevent the transmission of the disease from one person to another.

This way of thinking about the era in the “middle” of the fall of Rome and the rise of the Renaissance prevailed until relatively recently. However, today’s scholars note that the era was as complex and vibrant as any other.

The Catholic Church in the Middle Ages

After the fall of Rome, no single state or government united the people who lived on the European continent. Instead, the Catholic Church became the most powerful institution of the medieval period. Kings, queens and other leaders derived much of their power from their alliances with and protection of the Church.

In 800 CE, for example, Pope Leo III named the Frankish king Charlemagne the “Emperor of the Romans”–the first since that empire’s fall more than 300 years before. Over time, Charlemagne’s realm became the Holy Roman Empire, one of several political entities in Europe whose interests tended to align with those of the Church.

Ordinary people across Europe had to “tithe” 10 percent of their earnings each year to the Church; at the same time, the Church was mostly exempt from taxation. These policies helped it to amass a great deal of money and power.

The Middle Ages: The Rise of Islam

Meanwhile, the Islamic world was growing larger and more powerful. After the prophet Muhammad’s death in 632 CE, Muslim armies conquered large parts of the Middle East, uniting them under the rule of a single caliph. At its height, the medieval Islamic world was more than three times bigger than all of Christendom.

Under the caliphs, great cities such as Cairo, Baghdad and Damascus fostered a vibrant intellectual and cultural life. Poets, scientists and philosophers wrote thousands of books (on paper, a Chinese invention that had made its way into the Islamic world by the 8th century). Scholars translated Greek, Iranian and Indian texts into Arabic. Inventors devised technologies like the pinhole camera, soap, windmills, surgical instruments, and an early flying machine. And religious scholars and mystics translated, interpreted and taught the Quran and other scriptural texts to people across the Middle East.

The Crusades

Toward the end of the 11th century, the Catholic Church began to authorize military expeditions, or Crusades , to expel Muslim “infidels” from the Holy Land. Crusaders, who wore red crosses on their coats to advertise their status, believed that their service would guarantee the remission of their sins and ensure that they could spend all eternity in Heaven. (They also received more worldly rewards, such as papal protection of their property and forgiveness of some kinds of loan payments.)

The Crusades began in 1095, when Pope Urban summoned a Christian army to fight its way to Jerusalem , and continued on and off until the end of the 15th century. In 1099, Christian armies captured Jerusalem from Muslim control, and groups of pilgrims from across Western Europe started visiting the Holy Land. Many of them, however, were robbed and killed as they crossed through Muslim-controlled territories during their journey.

Around 1118, a French knight named Hugues de Payens created a military order along with eight relatives and acquaintances that became the Knights Templar , and they won the eventual support of the pope and a reputation for being fearsome fighters. The Fall of Acre in 1291 marked the destruction of the last remaining Crusader refuge in the Holy Land, and Pope Clement V dissolved the Knights Templar in 1312.

No one “won” the Crusades; in fact, many thousands of people from both sides lost their lives. They did make ordinary Catholics across Christendom feel like they had a common purpose, and they inspired waves of religious enthusiasm among people who might otherwise have felt alienated from the official Church. They also exposed Crusaders to Islamic literature, science and technology–exposure that would have a lasting effect on European intellectual life.

The Middle Ages: Art and Architecture

Another way to show devotion to the Church was to build grand cathedrals and other ecclesiastical structures such as monasteries. Cathedrals were the largest buildings in medieval Europe, and they could be found at the center of towns and cities across the continent.

Between the 10th and 13th centuries, most European cathedrals were built in the Romanesque style. Romanesque cathedrals are solid and substantial: They have rounded masonry arches and barrel vaults supporting the roof, thick stone walls and few windows. (Examples of Romanesque architecture include the Porto Cathedral in Portugal and the Speyer Cathedral in present-day Germany.)

Around 1200, church builders began to embrace a new architectural style, known as the Gothic. Gothic structures, such as the Abbey Church of Saint-Denis in France and the rebuilt Canterbury Cathedral in England, have huge stained-glass windows, pointed vaults and pointed arches (a technology perfected in in the Islamic world), and spires and flying buttresses. In contrast to heavy Romanesque buildings, Gothic architecture seems to be almost weightless. Medieval religious art took other forms as well. Frescoes and mosaics decorated church interiors, and artists painted devotional images of the Virgin Mary, Jesus and the saints.

Also, before the invention of the printing press in the 15th century, even books were works of art. Craftsmen in monasteries (and later in universities) created illuminated manuscripts: handmade sacred and secular books with colored illustrations, gold and silver lettering and other adornments. Convents were one of the few places women could receive a higher education , and nuns wrote, translated, and illuminated manuscripts as well. In the 12th century, urban booksellers began to market smaller illuminated manuscripts, like books of hours, psalters and other prayer books, to wealthy individuals.

Did You Know? Juliana Morell, a 17th-century Spanish Dominican nun, is believed to be the first woman in the Western world to earn a university degree.

Chivalry and courtly love were celebrated in stories and songs spread by troubadours. Some of medieval literature’s most famous stories include “The Song of Roland” and “The Song of Hildebrand.” 

The Black Death

Between 1347 and 1350, a mysterious disease known as the " Black Death " (the bubonic plague) killed some 20 million people in Europe—30 percent of the continent’s population. It was especially deadly in cities, where it was impossible to prevent the transmission of the disease from one person to another.

The plague started in Europe in October 1347, when 12 ships from the Black Sea docked at the Sicilian port of Messina. Most sailors aboard the ships were dead, and those who were alive were covered in black boils that oozed blood and pus. Symptoms of the Black Death included fever, chills, vomiting, diarrhea, terrible aches and pains – and then death. Victims could go to bed feeling healthy and be dead by morning.

The plague killed cows, pigs, goats, chickens and even sheep, leading to a wool shortage in Europe. Understandably terrified about the mysterious disease, some people of the Middle Ages believed the plague was a divine punishment for sin. To obtain forgiveness, some people became “flagellants,” traveling Europe to put on public displays of penance that could include whipping and beating one another. Others turned on their neighbors, purging people they believed to be heretics. Thousands of Jews were murdered between 1348 and 1349, while others fled to less populated areas of Eastern Europe.

Today, scientists know the plague was caused by a bacillus called Yersina pestis , which travels through the air and can also be contracted through the bite of an infected flea . 

The Middle Ages: Economics and Society

In medieval Europe, rural life was governed by a system scholars call “feudalism.” In a feudal society, the king granted large pieces of land called fiefs to noblemen and bishops. Landless peasants known as serfs did most of the work on the fiefs: They planted and harvested crops and gave most of the produce to the landowner. In exchange for their labor, they were allowed to live on the land. They were also promised protection in case of enemy invasion.

During the 11th century, however, feudal life began to change. Agricultural innovations such as the heavy plow and three-field crop rotation made farming more efficient and productive, so fewer farm workers were needed–but thanks to the expanded and improved food supply, the population grew. As a result, more and more people were drawn to towns and cities. Meanwhile, the Crusades had expanded trade routes to the East and given Europeans a taste for imported goods such as wine, olive oil and luxurious textiles. As the commercial economy developed, port cities in particular thrived. By 1300, there were some 15 cities in Europe with a population of more than 50,000.

In these cities, a new era was born: the Renaissance. The Renaissance was a time of great intellectual and economic change, but it was not a complete “rebirth”: It had its roots in the world of the Middle Ages.

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Course: ap®︎/college art history   >   unit 5, introduction to the middle ages.

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which labels for the middle ages essay

The dark ages?

Not so dark after all.

PeriodDate range
Early Medieval Artc.500–800
c.780–900
c.900–1000
c.1000–1200
c.1200–1400

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Athens: Acropolis

Middle Ages summary

Middle Ages , Period in European history traditionally dated from the fall of the Roman Empire to the dawn of the Renaissance. In the 5th century the Western Roman Empire endured declines in population, economic vitality, and the size and prominence of cities. It also was greatly affected by a dramatic migration of peoples that began in the 3rd century. In the 5th century these peoples, often called barbarians, carved new kingdoms out of the decrepit Western Empire. Over the next several centuries these kingdoms oversaw the gradual amalgamation of barbarian, Christian, and Roman cultural and political traditions. The longest-lasting of these kingdoms, that of the Franks, laid the foundation for later European states. It also produced Charlemagne , the greatest ruler of the Middle Ages, whose reign was a model for centuries to come. The collapse of Charlemagne’s empire and a fresh wave of invasions led to a restructuring of medieval society. The 11th–13th centuries mark the high point of medieval civilization. The church underwent reform that strengthened the place of the pope in church and society but led to clashes between the pope and emperor. Population growth, the flourishing of towns and farms, the emergence of merchant classes, and the development of governmental bureaucracies were part of cultural and economic revival during this period. Meanwhile, thousands of knights followed the call of the church to join the Crusade s. Medieval civilization reached its apex in the 13th century with the emergence of Gothic architecture, the appearance of new religious orders, and the expansion of learning and the university. The church dominated intellectual life, producing the Scholasticism of St. Thomas Aquinas . The decline of the Middle Ages resulted from the breakdown of medieval national governments, the great papal schism, the critique of medieval theology and philosophy, and economic and population collapse brought on by famine and disease.

Athens: Acropolis

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The Dark Ages: A Chronicle of Suffering and Devastation

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The Age of Feudalism: A Social Order Forged in Necessity

The age of faith: the pervasive influence of the catholic church, conclusion: a nuanced perspective on the middle ages.

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Power and Identity in the Middle Ages: Essays in Memory of Rees Davies

Power and Identity in the Middle Ages: Essays in Memory of Rees Davies

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This volume celebrates the work of the late Rees Davies. Reflecting Davies' interest in identities, political culture, and the workings of power in medieval Britain, the chapters range across ten centuries, looking at a variety of key topics. Issues explored range from the historical representations of peoples and the changing patterns of power and authority, to the notions of ‘core’ and ‘periphery’ and the relationship between local conditions and international movements. The political impact of words and ideas, and the parallels between developments in Wales and those elsewhere in Britain, Ireland, and Europe are also discussed.

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Middle Ages

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Best Label for the Middle Ages

Best Label for the Middle Ages

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From the 6th to 15th centuries in Europe, there was a time widely regarded as The Middle Ages. This period of time also goes by many other names. Some of these are The Age of Faith, The Dark Ages, The Age of Feudalism, and The Golden Age. The chaos and disorder during this time, sparked by the fall of the Roman Empire, called for a new type of localized government, feudalism. The church acted as the main way for one to learn and make advancements in science and art.

This is what leads one to believe the proper label for the Middle Ages is The Age of Faith. Another way, but not the best way to describe the Middle Ages, is the Golden Age. During this time there was not a lot of smart individuals, but there was a keep of knowledge, and new inventions and advancements in technology, architecture, and art came about. “Even at its worst it performed the function of guarding…the knowledge and treasures of what had come before, but more it was creative and inventive, and transmitted to later ages great riches of its own. (Doc. 6).

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Although this age was surrounded by rude and fierce ideas, it still managed to propose some advancement in poetry, philosophy, and law (Doc. 7). There was the revival of learning during this time period, and the emergence of the scholastics. While the Middle Ages resemble somewhat of a Golden Age, it is not the best way to describe the Middle Ages. A label that is just but not the most just is the Age of Feudalism. During the middle ages, there was a great lack of centralized government, and people turned to local leaders for protection.

This type of local government was based off of a number of rules, belonging to the code of chivalry. Lords provided protection and land to vassals, who in return provided the lords with loyalty, military service, and ransom (Doc. 4). Through Feudalism, people lived on manors, or the estate of the lord. Manors were self-sufficient communities, which consisted of a village, a castle, military protection, and knights. They could produce their own resources and live independently.

Knights were warriors who were granted fiefs for protection of the land and devoting loyalty to their lord. Although Feudalism was important and a large part of life, it is not the most exact way to describe this age. The final and most accurate way to describe the Middle Ages is the Age of Faith. All throughout the Middle Ages, from the beginning to the end, Christianity flourished and took over total religious power and even poured over into political power. There was little learning during this time so people turned towards Christianity to guidance.

Monasteries were also the only place you could go to learn. Even a king, Pepin the Short, was crowned by the Pope and named “King by the Grace of God”, and showed how much political power he had. Also, the Church commanded what everybody did, even if they were not a part of the church. “And throughout this year on every Sunday, Friday, and Saturday, and on the fast days of the four seasons…no one may commit murder, arson, robbery, or assault, no one may injure another with a sword, club, or any kind of weapon. ” (Doc. 5).

This was a sacrament to military power of the Pope, as the Pope was the one who sent knights off to fight. Many people totally and completely devoted their lives to the church for the mere thought of eternal bliss in the afterlife. The church was a major power in the Crusades, ad it declared war , and attempted to control the Holy Land and convert people to Christianity. The Church had much power, for it was the largest structure, and was surrounded by people. During the Middle Ages, everyone’s life revolved around the Church (Doc. 10).

There are many different possible labels for the middle ages. You could call it the Age of Feudalism, the Golden Age, or the Age of Faith. While all of these are technically correct, the Age of Faith is by far the most fitting one. People totally relied and were dependent on the church in this Dark Age which needed guidance. The lack of overall knowledge contributed to this because people could not explain certain things so they connected it to God. This just intensified the Age of Faith. So while you could call this age many things, the Age of Faith is most fitting.

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COMMENTS

  1. Middle Ages

    Feudalism designates the social, economic, and political conditions in western Europe during the early Middle Ages, the long stretch of time between the 5th and 12th centuries. Feudalism and the related term feudal system are labels invented long after the period to which they were applied. They refer to what those who invented them perceived as the most significant and distinctive ...

  2. Explain The Labels Of The Middle Ages

    Explain The Labels Of The Middle Ages. 700 Words3 Pages. The Labels of the Middle Ages From 500 AD to 1400, the Middle Ages in Europe have had three different ages. These ages are; the Age of Faith, the Dark Ages, and the Age of Feudalism. Europe used to be controlled by the roman Empire, but when the empire fell, the middle ages began which ...

  3. The Dark Ages: The Labels Of The Middle Ages

    The Middle Ages occurred between the fall of Roman Empire and the fall of Constantinople (400-1500 C.E). Historians establish numerous attributes to give reasoning why the Middle Ages is believed to deserve multiple labels. This was a time of darkness that correlates with chaos, unorganization and violence.

  4. The Early, High and Late Middle Ages

    The end of the Middle Ages can be characterized as a transformation from the medieval world to the early modern one. It is often considered to begin in 1300, though some scholars look at the mid- to late-fifteenth century as the beginning of the end. Once again, the end of the end is debatable, ranging from 1500 to 1650.

  5. Smarthistory

    Broadly speaking, the Middle Ages is the period of time in Europe between the end of antiquity in the fifth century and the Renaissance, or rebirth of classical learning, in the fifteenth century and sixteenth centuries. North Transept Rose Window, c. 1235, Chartres Cathedral, France (photo: Dr. Steven Zucker, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

  6. PDF DBQ 3: The Middle Ages: Dark Ages, Age of Faith, Age of Feudalism, or a

    The Middle Ages in Europe, a period of time from approximately A.D. 500 to 1400, have been referred to by a variety of terms-the Age of Faith, the Dark Ages, the Age of Feudalism, and even a Golden Age. ... + Part B-Essay Which labels for the Middle Ages best describe the era between 500 and 1400 in Europe: T1te Dark Ages, the Age of Feudali.sm ...

  7. Middle Ages Essay

    712 Words. 3 Pages. Open Document. Middle Ages. The history of the modern world derives from thousands of years of human history. Embedded in its history are the many eras of man which have constructed our modern learning, art, beliefs, and order. The middle ages, although represented as "dark", backwards, and idle, were in fact a bridge ...

  8. Middle Ages

    Updated: June 6, 2023 | Original: April 22, 2010. People use the phrase "Middle Ages" to describe Europe between the fall of Rome in 476 CE and the beginning of the Renaissance in the 14th ...

  9. Introduction to the middle ages

    Broadly speaking, the Middle Ages is the period of time in Europe between the end of antiquity in the fifth century and the Renaissance, or rebirth of classical learning, in the fifteenth century and sixteenth centuries. North Transept Rose Window, c. 1235, Chartres Cathedral, France (photo: Dr. Steven Zucker, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

  10. Feudalism

    homage and fealty. feudalism, historiographic construct designating the social, economic, and political conditions in western Europe during the early Middle Ages, the long stretch of time between the 5th and 12th centuries. Feudalism and the related term feudal system are labels invented long after the period to which they were applied.

  11. Middle Ages summary

    For the full article, see Middle Ages . Middle Ages, Period in European history traditionally dated from the fall of the Roman Empire to the dawn of the Renaissance. In the 5th century the Western Roman Empire endured declines in population, economic vitality, and the size and prominence of cities. It also was greatly affected by a dramatic ...

  12. Middle Ages Essay Topics

    Middle Ages Essay Topics. Heather has a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in special education. She was a public school teacher and administrator for 11 years. The ...

  13. The Age Of The Middle Ages

    Middle Ages The middle ages are described as 1,000-year period. The 1,000 years are marked from the moment Costantine, the Roman Emperor, made Christianity an official religion of the empire. People saw the middle ages as an "in between" period in time. The phrase "Middle Ages" to describe Europe between the fall of Rome in 476 CE and ...

  14. The Middle Ages: Unveiling the Complex Tapestry of an Era Free Essay

    The epoch following the collapse of the Roman Empire is commonly known as the Middle Ages, spanning from 500 to 1400 AD in Europe. This period, marked by minimal cultural and scientific achievements, societal hardships, the prevalence of feudalism, and the dominance of the Catholic Church, is multifaceted and aptly characterized by three distinctive labels: the Dark Ages, the Age of Feudalism ...

  15. Western Civilization in the Late Middle Ages: Mastery Test

    Jack is writing an essay about Europe during the Middle Ages. Read the paragraph about the rise of cities, and choose the correct phrases to complete the sentences. After the Black Death ended, people started to move to the cities. Florence was one of the first cities to get the plague, and it was the first to recover.

  16. Individualism In The Middle Ages

    Middle Ages Dbq Essay 357 Words | 2 Pages. The Middle Ages was a period that lasted from about 500 to 1500(OI). There were kings and queens, nobles, knights, and peasants (Doc. 1). ... The Labels of the Middle Ages From 500 AD to 1400, the Middle Ages in Europe have had three different ages. These ages are; the Age of Faith, the Dark Ages, and ...

  17. Which label(s) for the Middle Ages best describe(s) the era between 500

    The label for the Middle Ages that best describe the era between 500 and 1400 in Europe is: "The Age of Feudalism".The correct option is B. "The Age of Feudalism" embodies the decentralized political landscape that characterized the Middle Ages for the most part.The feudal system established societal connections by granting local lords sovereignty over their areas.

  18. The Best Titles and Descriptions for the Middle Ages Essay

    The Best Titles and Descriptions for the Middle Ages Essay. The years between 500 A.D. and 1400 A.D. were most commonly known as the Middle Ages. The Middle Ages was a time period where several events had occurred, each supporting a different label for this era. The Middle Ages deserve the titles of the Age of Feudalism and the Dark Ages ...

  19. Power and Identity in the Middle Ages: Essays in Memory of Rees Davies

    This volume celebrates the work of the late Rees Davies. Reflecting Davies' interest in identities, political culture, and the workings of power in medieval Britain, the chapters range across ten centuries, looking at a variety of key topics. Issues explored range from the historical representations of peoples and the changing patterns of power ...

  20. Best Label for the Middle Ages

    The Middle-Ages occurred after the fall of the Roman Empire around 500 C.E. and lasted until around 1350 C.E. The Middle-Ages are commonly referred to as the "Dark Ages" due to lack of education, the heavy control and domination of the Catholic Church, and the "Black Death" that killed off a third of the population in Europe.

  21. ⇉Best Label for the Middle Ages Essay Example

    This essay could be plagiarized. Get your custom essay "Dirty Pretty Things" Acts of Desperation: The State of Being Desperate. 128 writers ... it is not the best way to describe the Middle Ages. A label that is just but not the most just is the Age of Feudalism. During the middle ages, there was a great lack of centralized government, and ...

  22. Middle Ages Essay

    The Decline Of The Middle Ages. The Middle Ages is a medieval time period in Western Europe that lasted from 500 to 1500 C.E. The Middle Ages began as a result from the collapse of the Roman Empire which began in 31 BCE, and fell in 476 C.E. In around 300 C.E. the emperor of the Rome divided the land for easier control.

  23. cfp

    Call for Papers. a service provided by www.english.upenn.edu. FAQ changelog: 2024/06/28. flag as inappropriate. ICMS 2025: Exploring Complaint in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Period - Traditions and Transformations of Complaint. deadline for submissions: September 15, 2024.

  24. cfp

    Call for Papers: Mindfulness, Movement, and Cultural Revitalization: Indigenous Contemplative Theories and Practices. ICMS 2025: Exploring Complaint in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Period - Traditions and Transformations of Complaint. updated: Wednesday, July 3, 2024 - 11:02am.

  25. dbq middle ages

    dbq middle ages. Decent Essays. 1128 Words. 5 Pages. Open Document. The Middle Ages come into being around A.D. 500, which was after the western half of the Roman Empire collapsed. They lasted to about A.D.1400 and are referenced to as a period of time that experienced violence by Barbaric invasion, feudalism, disease, and strong feelings for ...