Middle Ages


Middle Ages
   Historical term used in all Western languages to des-ignate the thousand-year period from the disintegration of the ancient Roman political and social system in the fourth and fifth centuries to the beginning of the Renaissance. The term was totally unknown to medieval people themselves, who conceived themselves as still liv-ing at the latter end of the ancient Roman world. It was coined in the 14th and 15th centuries by the humanists of the Renaissance, begin-ning with the most famous early humanist, Petrarch, to characterize an age of decay, barbarism, and inferior civilization lying between two happy ages of high civilization, the ancient classical world and the new world of cultural rebirth (the "Renaissance") which they thought they were bringing into being in their own time. Although the pejorative implication of the term (implying an inferior age lying be-tween two good ones) is totally unjust to the creative and dynamic so-ciety of the actual Middle Ages, the term itself has endured, now used mainly as a neutral label for the whole period of history but still oc-casionally used with pejorative implications in popular discourse.

Historical Dictionary of Renaissance. . 2004.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Middle Ages — • A term commonly used to designate that period of European history between the Fall of the Roman Empire and about the middle of the fifteenth century Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Middle Ages     Middle Ages …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Middle Ages — Middle Mid dle (m[i^]d d l), a. [OE. middel, AS. middel; akin to D. middel, OHG. muttil, G. mittel. [root]271. See {Mid}, a.] [1913 Webster] 1. Equally distant from the extreme either of a number of things or of one thing; mean; medial; as, the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Middle Ages — n the Middle Ages the period in European history between about 1100 and 1500 AD …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Middle Ages — period between ancient and modern times (formerly roughly 500 1500 C.E., now more usually 1000 1500), attested from 1610s, translating L. medium aevum (Cf. Ger. mittelalter, Fr. moyen áge) …   Etymology dictionary

  • Middle Ages — ► PLURAL NOUN ▪ the period of European history from the fall of the Roman Empire in the West (5th century) to the fall of Constantinople (1453), or, more narrowly, from c.1000 to 1453 …   English terms dictionary

  • Middle Ages — n. the period of European history between ancient and modern times, A.D. 476 c. 1450 …   English World dictionary

  • Middle Ages — For other uses, see Middle Ages (disambiguation). Medieval and Mediaeval redirect here. For other uses, see Medieval (disambiguation) …   Wikipedia

  • Middle Ages — the time in European history between classical antiquity and the Italian Renaissance (from about 500 A.D. to about 1350): sometimes restricted to the later part of this period (after 1100) and sometimes extended to 1450 or 1500. [1715 25; pl. of… …   Universalium

  • Middle Ages — noun the period of history between classical antiquity and the Italian Renaissance (Freq. 5) • Syn: ↑Dark Ages • Members of this Topic: ↑bloodletting, ↑cannon, ↑chain mail, ↑ring mail, ↑mail, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • Middle Ages — noun /ˌmɪd.l̩ ˈeɪ.dʒɪz/ The period of time in Europe between the decline of the Roman Empire and the revival of letters (the Renaissance) or, according to , the period beginning with the sixth and ending with the fifteenth century. She could see… …   Wiktionary


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.