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‘Dark Ages’

‘Dark Ages’. A term employed in the 17th and 18th cents. to indicate the intellectual darkness which was believed to have descended on Europe with the ending of the Roman empire until new light was provided by the Renaissance. Since the achievements of the Middle Ages have come to be properly recognized the term has been in retreat, but it still has a stronghold in what should be more appropriately described as the early Middle Ages (c.400–c.1000). In the field of British history it is sometimes applied just to the 5th and 6th cents., which many historians would prefer to designate as sub- or post-Roman.

Barbara Yorke

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Dark Ages

Dark Ag·es the period in western Europe between the fall of the Roman Empire and the high Middle Ages, c.ad 500–1100, during which Germanic tribes swept through Europe and North Africa, often attacking and destroying towns and settlements. ∎  a period of supposed unenlightenment. ∎  (the dark ages) humorous or derog. an obscure or little-regarded period in the past, esp. as characterizing an outdated attitude or practice: the judge is living in the dark ages.

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Dark Ages

Dark Ages Period of European history from the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century to the 9th or 10th century. The term appears to imply cultural and economic backwardness after the classical civilization of Greece and Rome, but indicates more an ignorance of the period due to the paucity of historical evidence.

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Dark Ages

Dark Ages: see Middle Ages.

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