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Why is the period in Europe between 500 and 1500 A.D. called the Middle Ages?

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Quick Answer

The period in Europe between 500 and 1500 A.D. is called the Middle Ages because it lies between the Classical and Renaissance periods. The Classical period ended with the fall of Rome, and the Renaissance began about 1500 A.D.

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The Middle Ages was a term used by Italian humanists of the early Renaissance period to emphasize how they were resurrecting the classical ideals of ancient Greece and Rome after a long period of ignorant dormancy. During the Middle Ages, a decisive break from the cosmopolitan ideal of ancient Rome occurred, and the Renaissance was based in large part on a rediscovery of the art and philosophy of the ancient era. Many historians today use the more neutral term medieval to refer to the Middle Ages because it more accurately denotes a particular historical period, not merely an unimportant pause between two other periods.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Why was the Middle Ages also called the Dark Ages?

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    The term known as the Middle Ages is synonymous with the Dark Ages for several reasons as the period between 500-1500 A.D. included political turmoil, social unrest and the spread of disease. The Middle Ages brought great change to Europe in many respects, including social mobility, politics and the way of life. Some changes proved beneficial, but the time period experienced negative effects from the change too.

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  • Q:

    Why was the period between the Roman Empire and the Renaissance called the Middle Ages?

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    The Middle Ages were given their name in retrospect during the Renaissance in the 14th century. The Renaissance was a time of great cultural change and many looked to ancient Greece and Rome for inspiration. The Middle Ages, or Medieval Ages, refers to the period between the fall of Rome in 476 C.E. and the beginning of the Renaissance.

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  • Q:

    When was the medieval period?

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    The medieval period, or the Middle Ages, covers about 1,000 years from the fall of the Roman Empire to the start of the Renaissance. The Roman Empire fell in 476 and the Renaissance began in the 1400s after the Black Death wiped out a third of Europe's population.

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  • Q:

    What is the difference between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance?

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    The most significant difference between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance was the shift in focus from the Catholic Church and community to the secular world and the individual. This change in worldviews led to developments in art, science and law that proved revolutionary to the Western world.

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