1. Post #1
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    Dennab
    July 2010
    22,111 Posts
    I possess a fascination for history, often that being of the middle ages. However there exists a difficultly in defining when the hell it actually began and when it actually ended.

    Whilst it happened slowly over a period of time, you can apply some dates where life before was completely different to what it was like after. For example a battle can define whenever an empire ends or not.

    I will provide some dates with an explanation.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_middle_ages and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Late_Antiquity
    There are several dates for when it began.

    305 with the death of Diocletian, who reformed the Roman Empire in such a way it was never the same as before.
    378 with the battle of Adrianople and death of Valens. The battle also showing the superiority of cavalry to infantry and contemporaries marking it as the end of the empire.
    395 with the death of Theodosius, who was the last emperor to rule the empire in its entirety and made Christianity popular.
    410 with the withdrawal of Roman troops from its borders towards Rome, which was also sacked for the first time in 800 years.
    476 with the removal of Romulus Augustus, the last emperor of the western Latin empire.
    565 with the death of Justinian 1st, who was the last to speak Latin as a first language, tried to rebuild the empire, and after his death the empire entered slow decline.
    632 with the death of Mohammed, who introduced Islam and around this time the Roman way of life had almost vanished.

    Also some dates for when it ended and begin the slow transition from feudalism to capitalism.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Late_Middle_Ages and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renaissance

    1299 with the establishment of the Ottoman Empire, which would eventually have a major part to play in Europe for the next 5 centuries.
    1315-17 with the great famine of Europe, reducing the population of Europe by a tenth and setting in motion the social and economic turmoil of the century as the faithful lost faith in the church, the end to the population growth in the preceding centuries, the start to increased social violence with more violent wars, massive revolts and the such.
    1337 with the start of the hundred years war. (Lasting 116 years)
    1347 with the black death, causing so much death that the social and economic changes it brought about changed medieval views of religion and allowed labourers to apply a monetary value to their labour, starting off capitalism.
    1378 with the schism of the church, causing it to weaken and massive heretical uprisings to occur.
    1381 with the translation of the bible into English and the peasants revolt in England, both showing and later causing lasting social effect.
    1415 with Agincourt marking the inferiority of cavalry to infantry, early use of gunpowder and the capture of Cueta in Africa by Portugal.
    1453, with the introduction of the printing press, end of the hundred years war, capture of Constantinople and Henry 6ths losing his mental state. All with lasting consequences.
    1492 with the conquest of Granada and opening up of the new world to Europe.
    1517 with the 95 these of Luther and the decline of the churches influence in Europe along with the first official diplomatic envoy from Europe to China.

    I personally think that the Middle ages began with Theodosius dying in 395, as it marked the east and west splitting and the widespread adoption of Christianity, with the power of the emperors in the west practically vanishing after this time to exist as puppets put in place by barbarians or generals until they got tired and just got rid of the title altogether.

    I think that they ended in 1347, as after this the social and economic makeup of Europe was vastly different from before. The wane of fuedalism and introduction of capitalism being one and also the pessimism after, as the confused people of Europe became disillusioned with Christianity and began to question how god could let such a calamity befall them, along with becoming more interested with money over land gradually over time.

    I ask if you can provide your viewpoints on what dates you think they began/ended, and if possible provide ones other than the dates I provided.

    Perhaps the most amusing quote I remember about it ending was when a English lord in the early 15 century complained that "Nobody looks at books anymore, instead they read them.", by which he referred to how people did not appreciate the artwork in the book and merely read it to extract information or find out a story.

  2. Post #2
    Antdawg's Avatar
    July 2010
    5,000 Posts
    I think it'd be a very blurry line as to when the Middle Ages started and ended. I reckon it would have started during the collapse of the Roman Empire, because Roman influence would have downscaled along with the collapse, and it would pretty much be a new era for certain portions of the world, one after the other over many years. It would of ended at the renaissance of course, but it would be arguable as to when the renaissance started. So as said, it would be pretty blurry because the move to the renaissance was a transition over much time.

  3. Post #3
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    RearAdmiral's Avatar
    May 2010
    5,903 Posts
    My brother studies Archeology and Medieval History at University, and I recall him saying that things like Anglo-Saxon period are considered to be the "Early Medieval" period, so around the 5th Century. I'm guessing the Medieval Period would have ended towards the time of the Renaissance, which would have been around the 14th to the 16th Century. That's about a thousand years in total.

    Really it's not something where you can pinpoint an exact time when it began and ended, but if it were up to me, I'd classify it as beginning at the sacking of Rome in 410 and ending with the discovery of the Americas and Columbus' expedition in 1492. Roughly.

    All in all, a relatively short period of human history where we got a hell of a lot done.

  4. Post #4
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    Lone_Star94's Avatar
    April 2007
    902 Posts
    It began with the fall of Constaninople.

  5. Post #5
    wlzshroom's Avatar
    July 2010
    4,096 Posts
    when the last of Roman land fell is where it begins in my book (and also my social studies book )

  6. Post #6
    Gold Member
    wraithcat's Avatar
    December 2007
    12,760 Posts
    It's kinda hard to pin down when the last roman land fell since the majority of roman land under barbarian kings was still under roman law as well as roman masters. Via the leges romane barbarorum and similar.

    Though I do admit I've most often heard the dissolution of west rome in 493? marking the beginning of the mediaval ages and the dissolution of east rome in 1453 to mark the end. Gives a nice writeup that it was a time of turmoil with the multiple crusades into central europe which all failed as well as other stuff.

    Of course one could claim that the start of the age was the beginning of the feudal system which more or less emerged in the western roman empire long before it's complete fall and probably led to it's dissolution. But the beginning and end of that is fuzzy at best. one would probably have to start looking at when Colons started appearing.

  7. Post #7
    Canuhearmenow's Avatar
    June 2011
    1,470 Posts
    Personally I see it as beginning with the end of Charlemagne's empire and ending with the discovery of the new world/advent of practical gunpowder weapons, since the period between the collapse of the WRE and Charlemagne's empire was fairly chaotic. Although if I was quizzed on it I'd probably say it started with the ousting of Romulus Augustulus.

    Then you get into the issue of what constitutes the middle ages; do you simply mean the length of time between Antiquity and Reformation, or the things we've come to associate with the age?

  8. Post #8
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    No Party Hats's Avatar
    October 2010
    12,755 Posts
    I found the middle ages to end just before the renaissance began

  9. Post #9
    I make awesome maps that never see the light of day
    oskutin's Avatar
    January 2007
    7,260 Posts
    There's no absolute start and end of medieval era.

    Edited:

    Medieval era started from fall of Rome and ended to cultural and scientific revolution of renaissance.

  10. Post #10
    RobL's Avatar
    May 2011
    1,095 Posts
    It began with the fall of Constaninople.
    That happened in the 15th century, and it's certain the medieval era began way before then

    I'd say 1066.

  11. Post #11
    RobL's Avatar
    May 2011
    1,095 Posts
    *Whoops I just realised that you probably meant it ended with the fall of Constantinople

    *whoops automerge fail

  12. Post #12
    Hidole555's Avatar
    July 2009
    4,512 Posts
    I say when it truly breathed its last gasp is when Russia abolished serfdom in 1861.

    When it began, I'd have to go with the 395 date. With the death of the last man who ruled the entire Western empire, the "rules of the jungle" of the Medieval era started to begin and spread as Roman, military influence fell sharply.

  13. Post #13
    gnisasas's Avatar
    February 2011
    1,959 Posts
    I'm quite not sure right now about when did the Roman empire 'fell', I think I was taught it was the year 395, and that's what I consider the end of the classical era and the beginning of the medieval one. But the medieval era ends with the conquest of constantinoble by the turks.

    Atleast that's what I've been taught, but what does FP think should decide wether an era has begun or ended? This is quite an interesting thread as I also love history and I've really never thought of this question. Sadly I'm in a hurry and I can't write much more.

  14. Post #14
    Krinkels's Avatar
    March 2011
    3,394 Posts
    1453-1492

  15. Post #15
    Gold Member
    Charlievrw's Avatar
    June 2010
    833 Posts
    1453-1492
    That's a bit far fetched

  16. Post #16
    Krinkels's Avatar
    March 2011
    3,394 Posts
    Constantinople besieged and conquered 1453, Spanish expedition to India 1492.

    I would have it beginning in 1918, when Caesar Nicholas II Romanov and his heirs were killed and the Third Rome and all other self-proclaimed successors were wiped from the face of the Earth, but it gets confusing when you look at it like that.

  17. Post #17
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    Dennab
    July 2010
    22,111 Posts
    Constantinople besieged and conquered 1453, Spanish expedition to India 1492.

    I would have it beginning in 1918, when Caesar Nicholas II Romanov and his heirs were killed and the Third Rome and all other self-proclaimed successors were wiped from the face of the Earth, but it gets confusing when you look at it like that.
    You have the medieval era beginning in the same year Europe exited the First World War?

  18. Post #18
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    Géza!'s Avatar
    January 2008
    5,943 Posts
    We were taught its beginning is 476, the fall of the Western Latin Empire. End date is logical to be 1492, I believe, because America's discovery brought drastic changes to Europe. (And began its economic transformation into what has become capitalism later on.)

  19. Post #19
    MagicChocolate7's Avatar
    July 2009
    88 Posts
    In my mind I've always thought of the classical era ending around 100-150 AD, or perhaps whenever the "limes" system was introduced in the Roman Empire, and the time from that to the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 as a kind of transition period between the Classical and Early Medieval eras. As for the end of the Medieval era I would probably go with 1492.

  20. Post #20
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    Dennab
    July 2010
    22,111 Posts
    We were taught its beginning is 476, the fall of the Western Latin Empire. End date is logical to be 1492, I believe, because America's discovery brought drastic changes to Europe. (And began its economic transformation into what has become capitalism later on.)
    You could argue that capitalism had its roots a century earlier, with the black plague. About a third of all people in Europe died. With this the serfs and peasants could begin to negotiate deals with the bourgeoisie and aristocracy in order to earn a wage for their labour.

    Kings tried to stop this with new laws.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statute_of_Labourers

    Despite laws put in place trying to reverse the higher wages many simply ignored this, including the wealthy who competed for labourers and offered competitive wages. With this the peasants could begin to work in a trade or labour, and thus earn a wage that allowed them to purchase consumer goods as they slowly migrated towards cities.

    Already by the time of Columbus, banking systems were in place along with toll roads and labour that had a monetary value applied to it. Power was also being transferred from the landed aristocracy to the rising rich plutocracy who were the real killers of the medieval knight and the feudal system.

  21. Post #21
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    Kung Fu Jew's Avatar
    November 2006
    5,681 Posts
    We are still living in a feudalistic society, just global this time around.

    It hasn't ended yet, it probably never will, and it started the moment man decided there would be greater men and lesser men.

  22. Post #22
    Gold Member

    June 2005
    4,438 Posts
    When the church took over and put a halt to scientific progress.

  23. Post #23
    Krinkels's Avatar
    March 2011
    3,394 Posts
    The church never put a halt to scientific progress.

  24. Post #24
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    Dennab
    July 2010
    22,111 Posts
    When the church took over and put a halt to scientific progress.
    Unfortunately this is a rather simple-minded view.

    Here is a list of Catholic men who contributed to scientific progess.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...0%93scientists

    There were also two revivals in this period of time, the first being in the 9th century and the latter in the 12/13th centuries. Interactions with the east also brought many new developments to Europe.

    People back then weren't brute ignorant savages ruled over by a despotic church. They lived and died in farms whilst the church contributed to stability and charitable work, with it slowly becoming more bureaucratic and corrupt only in the late middle ages.

  25. Post #25
    Gold Member

    June 2005
    4,438 Posts
    Unfortunately this is a rather simple-minded view.

    Here is a list of Catholic men who contributed to scientific progess.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...0%93scientists
    Pretty much none of those people were alive during the middle-ages, and those who were, mostly just "stole" all scientific advances from the east where the science was booming at that time.

  26. Post #26
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    Dennab
    July 2010
    22,111 Posts
    Pretty much none of those people were alive during the middle-ages, and those who were, mostly just "stole" all scientific advances from the east where the science was booming at that time.
    By that logic the east mostly just "stole" their work from the Byzantine empire, which had collected a great deal of knowledge by the time Muhammed was born.

    For example, the Greeks and Romans invented crossbows, waterwheels, steam engines, efficient road building and maintaining, etc.

    The middle ages brought us gunpowder weapons, blast furnaces, steel, large wooden ships, glasses, clocks, printing press, musical notation, universities, schools, light refraction and reflection work, etc.

  27. Post #27
    Krinkels's Avatar
    March 2011
    3,394 Posts
    He needs a good ol' dose of Bede.