Europe in the Middle Ages
The term ‘Middle Ages’ is a cumbersome one, bracketing the thousand-year expanse between the end of classical Antiquity and the Renaissance. It embraces the ‘Dark Ages’, the rise of feudalism, the Crusades, the Black Death and the introduction of gunpowder. It sees castles and monasteries rise and fall, trade and manufacture re-blossom, and closes with the meeting of the Old and New Worlds. However, despite extensive survivals of military and ecclesiastical architecture and culture, medieval Europe is generally viewed as a grubby successor to classical Rome both socially and physically, marked by a slow recovery of lost culture, restored (at least in the eyes and minds of Renaissance scholars) only from the late fifteenth century.