Humanities: Middle Ages

The Middle Ages: A quick Historical Background

The Middle Ages is a vast period in Human History that lasted for roughly a millennium, particularly geo-centered around the territories of the former Western Roman Empire. It starts from the Fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century to the beginning of the early Modern Period in the 16th century, a period history refers to as that of the 'High Renaissance' marked by wide development and revolutionary thinking in the arts, humanities and burgeoning scientific practices. Some historians refer to the Middle ages as the Dark Ages because it is in this period where the feudal system and increased warfare between territories and pseudo 'warlords' were frequent. This was expected however because of the power vacuum left by the fall of the Western Roman Empire. The feudal system allowed for a semblance of order: the peasants worked the land and in return they are provided protection by their feudal Lord who maintains strength of arms. This is how Monarchies came to strength in Europe with nobles as vassal lords controlling vast tracks of land for agricultural and administrative purposes. One are of power however remained - that of the seat of the Christian Church and its leadership. Much of the former Western Roman Empire, if not all was Christian and the church exerted great power in influencing people and the nobility. The Church and the feudal lords and nobles became great patrons of the arts and humanities and it is through their donations and patronage that great art happened.

The early Middle or Medieval Ages occurred from about 500 AD to 1000 AD. It is referred to as a period to be the 'Dark Ages' as it the period that occurred right after the Fall of the Western Roman Empire. While monarchies and alliances started to be rebuilt around the ruins of the empire and new leaders and kings emerged, the conquest of Europe by the Huns, the Mongols, the Germanic peoples, the Arabs (Islam reached its peak at...