What Years Were the Middle Ages?

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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.

Some historians refer to the Middle Ages as the Dark Ages. During the Middle Ages, warfare dominated the landscape of the European continent, as did illness and disease. Little economic and social progress occurred during this time. Scientific advancements failed to transpire, no great works of art emerged and no memorable leaders lived during the Middle Ages. Instead of culture and the arts, the period of the Middle Ages revolved around religion. Churches and religious groups gained traction and fought each other to establish a widespread presence.

After Rome fell, no single government or group had control over Europe. The Catholic Church filled the void of power by transforming into the most powerful religious institution. The Church played a central role in granting powers to political and figurative leaders such as kings, queens and other nobility.