When Were the Middle Ages?

The fall of Constantinople in 1453, now present day Istanbul, Turkey, was a critical point of the Late Middle Ages.
The fall of Constantinople in 1453, now present day Istanbul, Turkey, was a critical point of the Late Middle Ages.

The Middle Ages was the era marked by the start of the Early Middle Ages and ended with the end of the Late Middle Ages. Historians believe that the Early Middle Ages began in the 6th century CE and ended in the 10th century CE. The Early Middle Ages were preceded by the decline of the Western Roman Empire and the collapse of Rome between the 2nd and 4th century CE. The population in the Roman Empire declined dramatically in the 4th century CE, partially due to famines, as well as constant invasions from neighboring tribes.

Early Middle Ages

The Early Middle Ages saw the rise of the Byzantine Empire in the 4th century CE, which was marked by the ascension of Emperor Constantine I in 330 CE, which established the city of Constantinople as the seat of power. Another notable event in the Early Middle Ages was the rise of Islam and the establishment of Caliphates in the Middle East during the 7th century. These Caliphates were engaged in sporadic wars with the Byzantine Empire, which included an unsuccessful siege of Constantinople in 717 CE. The period also saw the rise of the Vikings, who conducted widespread raiding expeditions all over Europe. The Early Middle Ages are sometimes referred to as the Dark Ages, as illiteracy was widespread, and hence there were few written records from the era.

High Middle Ages

The High Middle Ages was the period in Europe’s history which succeeded the Early Middle Ages and began in the 11th century and ended in the 13th century. The period saw the growth of the Byzantine Empire with its capital, Constantinople, continuing its reign as Europe’s largest city. The High Middle Ages were characterized by an increased rural-urban migration, which led to the growth of cities all over Europe. The High Middle Ages saw the spread of Christianity all over the continent, from Britain to Scandinavia, as well as the split of the Catholic Church in 1054 into the Western Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. The Islam-Christian conflict escalated in the High Middle Ages, with the Christian kingdoms engaging in military campaigns in the “Holy Land” known as the Crusades, whose intention was to drive Islamic Caliphates from Palestine. The Renaissance of the 12th century took place during the High Middle Ages, when significant social, economic, and political transformations took place.

Late Middle Ages

The Late Middle Ages marked the end of the Middle Ages and ushered in the modern era in Europe. The Late Middle Ages took place between the 14th century and the early 15th century. The notable event of the Late Middle Ages was the decline of the Byzantine Empire and the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, which led to the rise of the Ottoman Empire. The Late Middle Ages also saw the growth of the Serbian Empire, as well as the invention of printing. However, Europe, in general, experienced a period of decline in the Late Middle Ages, as the continent was entangled in civil strife.

Decline During the Middle Ages

Europe experienced a decline in development in the 15th century, which marked the end of the Middle Ages. The decline was attributed to the Great Famine of the early 14th century and was compounded by the Black Death, where millions of people died and decimated entire generations.


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