Medieval Time Period - Dark Ages Or Age of Wonder?
European history from about 500 to 1500 AD is generally classified as the medieval time period. The Middle Ages, the Dark Ages, the medieval time period is thought by many to be an era of religious zealotry, lack of reason and a period devoid of art, culture and advancements in humanity.
While the medieval time period did not see the advances of the Age of Reason, this period was really anything but dark. The medieval time period was tough, there's no mistake, but there were advancements in law, construction, medicine, music, weapons and more.
A few of the most profound things that shaped the medieval period and led to its "dark" reputation were the plague, religion and warfare. With no real system of medical treatment and a lack of understanding about sanitation, illness did in fact run rampant during the medieval time period. Europeans were famous for their ill personal hygiene, while those from other parts of the world - the so-called Barbaric Vikings included - did bathe and practice at least cursory hygienic practices.
The church in the medieval time period was as close to all powerful as one could get. As Christianity spread, so too did the power of the church. The rise of the crusades and the fervor to spread its message led to many a death on the field of battle and in the inquisitor's dungeon.
While the church pretty much ruled Europe - kings truly were at the pope's mercy - the medieval time period was also fraught with war. Attacks could come from neighbors, other countries and from not so friendly Scandinavians out "Viking."
Despite the obstacles, humanity and human creativeness did advance during the medieval time period. Housing for lords and their armies moved up from wooden fortresses to the well-known stone castles. Construction practices advanced as did architecture as evidenced in the great cathedrals and castles.
Medicine, law and armies all gained in their organization during the medieval time period. Physicians were supervised, although considered barbaric by today's standards. Law marched forward with great strides during the medieval time period. Legal codes were adopted, jury systems of a sort created and protection afforded to just about everyone through the spread of the Germanic codes during the medieval time period. Also, warfare gained in its organization with lines improving along with the rules of engagement. A good knight would not battle on a holy day during the medieval time period and a code of honor for the field of battle was adopted through the chivalric period of the medieval time period.
Entertainment, too, had its place during the medieval time period. Music, poetry and dance existed and were enjoyed by many during this time. Foods became more elaborate - when possible - thanks to trade routes opened up during the medieval time period.
Advancements in music, art, literature, warfare, medicine, law and even cooking belie the belief the medieval time period was "dark." Difficult, yes, but the human mind and its ability to think, dream and create was not shut off completely from 500 to 1500 AD.