The Middle Ages began after the fall of the Roman empire and are the beginning of the Renaissance. During this period of darkness, the Roman Catholic Church provided spiritual direction as well as many non religious functions for the people of the times. Many literary, artistic, and architectural advances were initiated. It was a time of achievements, suffering, feudalism, and power of the church. The labels that can be used to describe the medieval period are : the Dark Ages, the Age of Feudalism, and the Age of Faith.
The Middle Ages can be called the Dark ages because of the the years of suffering and death that were inflicted from invasion. Cities and town were destroyed and abandoned. There was a loss of control. As stated in Document one, they sacked town and village, and laid waste fields. They burned down the churches and then departed with a crowd of captives… there is no longer any trade, only unceasing terror; The conditions in Europe during the 800’s were corrupted. As shown in Document three, 842 – in this year there was a great slaughter in London and Quentavic and in Rochester. The dark ages have a negative connotation to it. Progress diminished and actually decreased. It was a break in the cultural development in Europe.
In addition, the Middle Ages can be referred as the Age of Feudalism because there was no central government and the land was held captive by Lords and Nobles. The way of life in the middle ages was based on the feudal system in which vassals, in exchange for protection, gave Lords their loyalty, military service, and ransom if needed. In document 4, the relationship between vassals and lords is explained. They exchange serviced between one another. In order to protect their kingdom, local kingdoms granted land to those willing to send knights for protection. In document 2, John of Toul is a vassal to the count and countess of Charlemagne and takes the Homage Oath in which he states his loyalty and service. Without the loyalty and service of vassals, the feudal system would be defenseless.
Lastly, the Middle Ages can be also be called the Age of Faith because it was an age where religious faith was really important to most people. The lives of people were solemnly based on the church calendar. In document 5, it is said that on every sunday, friday, and saturday, and on the fast days of the four seasons… no one may commit murder, arson, robbery, or assault. The church promoted peace, and warfare was limited. Monasteries were important places to the community; they had hospitals where they tended the sick and old. Schools began to be established, which educated the children. People began to give up their daily lives and follow God in a monastic order. This is shown in document 8: an excerpt from the vows of an ordinary person willing to give up life to follow God. The Age of Faith was a uniting influence across all Europe.
In resume, the Dark Ages, the Age of Feudalism, and the Age of Faith, are the best labels that describe the Middle Ages. Besides The middle ages, although represented as “dark”, backwards, and idle, were in fact a bridge linking into classical and modern world. Medieval society may not have been in a sense the best era to live in, but the time period of itself was a prime foundation of the modern world’s newfound stability. It was a revival of the law and teachings, a reinvestment and reform in the church, and a precursor to the forerunner to golden age art.