Why Are The Middle Ages Also Know As The Dark Ages

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Middle Ages “Medieval” is a term first used by late fifteenth century Italian scholars to describe the previous one thousand years of Western civilization. It is used to identify something as old fashioned, outdated, or unenlightened. “Medieval” is also synonymous with the period of time beginning after the fall of the Roman Empire in the fifth century, and extending into the fifteenth century known as the Middle Ages. The word itself finds its origin in the New Latin phrase medium aevum, whose English translation is “the middle ages.” Perhaps the central reason for the period known as the Middle Ages being described as old-fashioned, outdated, and unenlightened is the extensive control the church had over day-to-day life of the people of this era. The governing system of the era was a theological monarchy based on the ideals and machinations of the church. Citizens who did not adhere to church driven, governmental policies could not only face charges of treason, but also charges of heresy. Church dogma influenced scientific theories of the Middle Ages to the extent of censorship. Any theories, research, or discoveries that were counter to the teachings of the church were systematically suppressed, and their authors disciplined and/or forced to recant under further penalty. Knowledge was not freely disseminated among the masses during the Middle Ages. The church and the wealthy aristocracy were essentially the only literate social classes, and books were a tedious and time-consuming matter to create before the advent of movable type in the fifteenth century. Thus, knowledge and information were passed almost solely by word of mouth among the middle and lower classes. As the saying goes, “knowledge is power,” and with the church and aristocracy holding the “keys” to literacy and enlightenment, the lower classes found themselves “power”-less. The church is the

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