Middle Ages time period – 1000 years of history


What is the middle ages time period ?

What are the commonly accepted time frames for defining the beginning and the end of the Middle Ages?

What phenomena have marked these 1000 years of history?

Middle ages time period 1000 years of history Cover image: 14th century miniature of a battle during the second crusade, William de Tyre, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Manuscripts Department 22495 fol. 154v.

Text by: Marina Barros Cabral.

Author of the online course The medieval city – walled cities in the Middle Ages.
Next we will look at the time frames of the Middle Ages, the 3 periods of the Middle Ages and their main historical events.
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“it was in the Middle Ages that modern society emerged, which created “the city, the nation, the state, the university, the mill, the machine, the hour and clock, the book, the fork, the garment, the person, the conscience, and finally, the revolution.”

LE GOFF, Jacques


Middle Ages time period – 1000 years of history

To facilitate the understanding of a period as plural and extensive as the Middle Ages, it is important to locate the main phenomena that defined the timeline of this chronology.

The term Middle Ages is charged with negativity. In the 16th century the Middle Ages were theorized by some thinkers as a period ofmedieval cities decadence, backwardness, and superstition.

The Middle Ages time period was seen as a time of religious repression and ignorance.

Middle Ages time period  | the Romantic vision

In the 17th century, Romanticism brought back sensitivity and idealization.

Along with these characteristics, the Romantics sought a national identity, a fact that brought them closer to the past and led them to revisit with different perceptions the society that had formed the Modern States.

Middle Ages time period | time of discovery

The 20th century then gave the Middle Ages time period the title of period of discoveries.

Not only was it not a time of darkness, but it was also the time to sow the seeds of what would sediment the Modern Age.

The formation of European West

Therefore, beyond its 1000-year duration, the medieval world is distinguished for initiating crucial changes in the formation of the European West, changes that were spread to other continents with the Maritime Expansion.

There is no greater misconception than to think of Dark Ages or to believe that it was a long time of backwardness and retrogression.

The end of the Middle Ages is first of all an evolution of what was conceived in it, very different from the most vulgar understanding of its rupture and the consequent Renaissance.

Let’s look next at what are considered the chronological milestones of the Middle Ages and the most striking aspects of its periods.

Chronology of the Middle Ages time period

The commonly accepted time frames of the Middle Ages time period are:

5th century – 476 – Fall of Rome TO 15th century – 1453 – Fall of Constantinople.

Early Middle Ages

5th to 10th century

Middle ages time period - feudalism


  • Byzantine Empire.
  • Islamic Expansion.
  • Carolingian Empire.
  • Feudalism.
  • Stamental society divided between Nobles > Clergy > Serfs.
  • Systemic Wars.

High Middle Ages

11th to 13th century

Middle ages time period - black death


Late Middle Ages

14th and 15th Century

Middle Ages time period - 100 years war


  • Hundred Years’ War.
  • Crusades.
  • Reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula.
  • Cultural Renaissance.
  • Centralization of power and formation of national monarchies.
  • Beginning of the Great Navigations.

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Marina Cabral

Bachelor’s degree of Dramatic arts specialization in costume design at Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, teaching certificate of Visual Arts at UNILAGOS. She acted as a bilingual artistic educator in elementary education and  a fashion buyer. urrently studying for a Master’s Degree in Art History, Heritage and Visual Culture at Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto. Fascinated by Visual Arts, History of Art, philosophy, culture, aesthetics, heritage, curatorship and restoration. Concentration area Medieval and Renaissance art. She collaborates with Citaliarestauro.com, in the areas of History of Art and Medieval Studies.

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