The Middle Ages is the name given to the period in European history between the fall of the Roman Empire and the Renaissance.
Also known as the “Medieval” period, it is commonly broken up into three periods- The Early, High, and Late Middle Ages.
Altogether, these “Middle Ages” lasted from approximately 500 A.D. and 1500 A.D.
The decline and fall of the Western Roman Empire was the catalyst for an era in history that was chaotic. The early Middle Ages are frequently referred to as the Dark Ages, and to a lesser extent, the term applies to the entire Middle Ages.
The Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantines, continued to flourish after their Western counterpart fell.
In South America, the Nazca people of what is today Peru were flourishing. They left behind what is known today as the “Nazca lines”- a complex series of geoglyphs only visible by the surrounding hills and the sky.
In Europe, Monasteries grew to become the center of Religious life and education
Written accounts of the Early Middle Ages are sporadic. One of the major figures of the time was a King named Clovis, who after inheriting much of Northern Gaul (now France), went on to conquer his neighbors and united the Franks.
Beowulf was written by an anonymous poet in eighth century.
One of the most influential leaders of the Middle Ages was Charles the Great, who became known as Charlemagne. He had many successful military campaigns during the Medieval era, and became the first Holy Roman Emperor.
The Holy Roman Empire lasted for over a thousand years, but was at its peak in terms of territory in the beginning under Charlemagne.
There was a renaissance before the Renaissance. During the 12th century, there was significant population growth and a time of relative stability. Agricultural developments likely played a large role in this.
The Late Middle Ages brought with it increased turmoil across the continent, as well as stronger outbreaks of disease.
For those interested in Medieval history, one of the most highly regarded digital history websites focuses solely on the subject: http://www.medievalists.net/