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The Middle Ages
The Middle Ages: What is it?
Name given to the time period after the gradual decline of the Roman Empire.
b. Lasts roughly 1000 years, 500-1500
c. Sometimes called The Dark Ages or medieval period.
d. Often seen as a very bleak and dangerous period
e. Had roots in:
i. The classical heritage of Rome
ii. The beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church
iii. The customs of various Germanic tribes
Causes of the Middle Ages
a. Fall of Rome
b. Invasions
i. Disruption of Trade: Merchant trade collapsed and Europe’s
economic centers were destroyed. Money also became scarce.
ii. Downfall of cities: Cities were abandoned as centers of
b. Invasions
iii. Population shifts: Roman cities left without strong leadership.
Europe became mostly rural.
iv. Decline of learning: Germanic invaders could not read or write.
Learning became less important as people moved to rural areas.
v. Loss of a common language: Latin changed as Germanic people
mixed with Roman population.
c. Early Plague
Plague of Justinian
1. 541-542 AD
2. Affects Byzantium including Constantinople
3. Justinian has it but does not die of it
Effects of the Middle Ages
a. New Germanic Kingdoms Emerge (Holy Roman Empire)
b. Rise of feudalism in Europe
Effects of the Middle Ages
c. The power of the Church grows rapidly
d. Europe became rural
e. No major emphasis on learning
Effects of the Middle Ages
New languages replace Latin
Early signs of modern European countries start to appear (England & France)