Q:

When did the Dark Ages begin and end?

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Quick Answer

The Dark Ages in Western Europe began when the Western Roman Empire fell and lasted all the way until the beginning of the Renaissance. The last emperor in Rome left his throne in A.D. 476, although the empire had been on a downward slope for a long time beforehand. Setting a precise date for the start of the Renaissance is challenging, although it was well underway by 1300.

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Full Answer

The term "Dark Ages" was not applied to this point in history until the 1800s, when historians such as Edward Gibbon looked back fondly at the level of civilization at work in the Roman Empire and deplored the brutality and dearth of intellectual enterprise at work in the centuries after the collapse. Because of a lack of civilization to provide light, Europe instead fell into a morass of dominance by the Church and the system of feudalism.

However, several historical discoveries are making the term "Dark Ages" less and less relevant. Such discoveries as the intellectual treasures that were stored in monasteries and innovations in technology and art that were taking place as early as the 900s meant that this time period may not have been as hopeless as many historians have thought.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    When were the Middle Ages?

    A:

    The Middle Ages began with the fall of Rome in 476 A.D. and ended with the beginning of the Renaissance during the 14th century. This period was filled with enormous social and political change.

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  • Q:

    What years were the Middle Ages?

    A:

    The Middle Ages began in the year 476 A.D. and ended around 1300 with the beginning of the Renaissance. The Middle Ages, also called the Medieval Period, began just after the fall of Rome and it dominated the European continent through the early 14th century. The Middle Ages filled a time period between the ending of a great reign and the beginning of a new era characterized by revitalization and cultural growth.

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  • Q:

    What was Charlemagne's lasting legacy?

    A:

    Charlemagne's lasting legacies were reviving education during the Dark Ages and making Western Europe safe from attacks by barbarians from the north and Asians from the east. He united anarchic Western Europe under the Holy Roman Empire, which he founded.

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    How did Charlemagne's rise to power affect Europe?

    A:

    Charlemagne, a Frankish king who ruled between 768 and 814 A.D., united most of western Europe under his throne, and created a mini-renaissance that ended Europe's Dark Ages. For this reason, Charlemagne is sometimes referred to as the "Father of Europe."

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