Concept

Dark Ages (historiography)

Summary
The Dark Ages is a term for the Early Middle Ages or occasionally the entire Middle Ages, in Western Europe after the fall of the Western Roman Empire that characterises it as marked by economic, intellectual and cultural decline. The concept of a "Dark Age" as a historiographical periodization originated in the 1330s with the Italian scholar Petrarch, who regarded the post-Roman centuries as "dark" compared to the "light" of classical antiquity. The term employs traditional light-versus-darkness imagery to contrast the era's "darkness" (ignorance and error) with earlier and later periods of 'light' (knowledge and understanding). The phrase Dark Age(s) itself derives from the Latin saeculum obscurum, originally applied by Caesar Baronius in 1602 when he referred to a tumultuous period in the 10th and 11th centuries. The concept thus came to characterize the entire Middle Ages as a time of intellectual darkness in Europe between the fall of Rome and the Ren
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