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Difference Between Middle Ages and Dark Ages

Middle Ages vs. Dark Ages

    The Middle Ages and the Dark Ages may seem to represent entirely different time periods in history.  However, the Dark Ages is actually a reference to an era within the Middle Ages where there was a cultural decline.  The Middle Ages itself is the time period in Europe from around the 5th century through to the 14th century.  The Middle Ages is roughly classified as commencing with the fall of the Roman Empire, and ending around the time of the Renaissance era.  It is considered the middle of history, after the early years and preceding modern times. The Middle Ages is typically centered around the creation of new works of literature, developments in technology, or developments in architecture.  It is called the Dark Ages due to the fact that historically there were fewer contributions to these three important areas of historic contribution.   
    Throughout the Middle Ages there were many works of literature which today are revered as some of the most important contributions to literature.  Pieces like Chaucer’s Caterbury Tales, Dante’s Divine Comedy, and Boccaccio’s Decameron, were produced during the Middle Ages.  Since there are less works of literature produced in the Early Middle Ages, in comparison with just these few books, it is evident that the period would be considered the Dark Ages.  While not to downplay the Dark Ages entirely, works such as Beowulf and Alexiad, were both created in the time period many consider to be in the dark still.  Literary expression is only one of the few differences between the Dark Ages and the Middle Ages.  

There is additionally a decrease in attention to building expansion and architectural developments in Europe in the Dark Ages as well.  During the Roman Empire the attention to architecture was one of the great contributions of Ancient Rome, however during the Dark Ages there is less attention towards the furtherance of architecture.  It is not until after the 8th century that a renewed interest formed in Romanesque architecture.  

Technologically, the Dark Ages did not wield very many developments.  Europe was focusing on recovering from the downfall of Ancient Rome.  However, after the Dark Ages, scientists helped in the creation of tools such as the compass and gunpowder.  Because technology development was greater in the later part of the Middle Ages, it helped to coin the term Dark Ages for the early Middle Ages.

    While these are only some of the few differences between the Middle Ages and the Dark Ages, there were many between the two.  However, it is impossible to take the Dark Ages out of the Middle Ages history entirely.
   
Summary:

  1. The Dark Ages refers to a period of cultural decline within Europe during the Middle Ages.  The Middle Ages began when the Roman Empire fell and ended with the Reformation.
  2. The Dark Ages seemed to have a decreased number of literature created than the remainder of the Middle Ages.
  3. Attention to architecture in the Dark Ages was at a low point.  After the 8th century architecture flourished in the Middle Ages.
  4. Technology development was rare in the Dark Ages, yet the rest of the Middle Ages gave many scientific advancements.


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