In popular opinion the European Middle Ages continue to represent the so-called “dark ages”, a mythical concept first coined by the Renaissance thinkers who wanted to distance themselves from an allegedly barbaric age prior to their own. But no serious historian would still embrace such a term, or at least would push it as far back as possible, perhaps to the time beginning shortly after the fall of the Roman Empire until the rise of the early Frankish kingdoms. “Dark” in this context somehow implies the lack of education, literature, and the arts, the absence of urban centers, primitive legal systems, a world determined by constant warfare, a meager existence due to very limited agriculture, with famines constantly hovering …
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Classen, Albrecht. "Early Middle Ages". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 23 April 2010
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=7222, accessed 24 August 2017.]