Sinonimi: dark ages
The period of history between classical antiquity and the Italian Renaissance; SYN. dark ages.
Period of European history between the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century and the Renaissance in the 15th. Among the period's distinctive features were the unity of W Europe within the Roman Catholic Church, the feudal organization of political, social, and economic relations, and the use of art for largely religious purposes.
It can be divided into three subperiods:
The early Middle Ages, 5th–11th centuries, when Europe was settled by pagan Germanic tribes who adopted the vestiges of Roman institutions and traditions, were converted to Christianity by the church (which had preserved Latin culture after the fall of Rome), and who then founded feudal kingdoms; The high Middle Ages, 12th–13th centuries, which saw the consolidation of feudal states, the expansion of European influence during the Crusades, the flowering of scholasticism and monasteries, and the growth of population and trade; The later Middle Ages, 14th–15th centuries, when Europe was devastated by the Black Death and incessant warfare, feudalism was transformed under the influence of incipient nation-states and new modes of social and economic organization, and the first voyages of discovery were made.