Middle Ages

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The time from 500 to 1400, in Western Europe has historians debating a proper label. Appropriate labels would be; The Dark Ages, representing the lack of knowledge and chaos that occurred; The Age of Feudalism, for the social structure; and The Age of Faith, expressing the amount of power the Pope and the Church had.

The Dark Ages included a lot of battles and chaos. Many people blame it on the lack of knowledge that led to the invasions and the chaos. The Dark Ages were caused by the fall of the Roman Empire and all the Barbarian invasions. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle describes Viking invasions in England as a great slaughter and describes the Northmen’s boats “filled with immense booty, including both men and goods, returned to their own country.” (Document 3) During the Dark Ages, the invasions got out of hand and violent. Historian Frantz Funck-Brentano described Europe as terrible due to the fact that there was no trade happening, the society no longer had a government, and the people were afraid. (Document 1) The title The Dark Ages clearly represents how dark this time period was.

The Age of Feudalism was when people started to become wiser. A social structure established which kept the peasants protected. A relationship between lords and vassals developed where the kings and lords were on top, vassals below them, knights below them, and serfs on the bottom. They all relied on each other because they all provided for each other. The kings gave the vassals land and vassals gave the knights land and the knights provided protection for everyone. The serfs paid taxes and provided food and services for everyone else. (Document 4) The vassals pledge to the lords that they will provide knights and aid. (Document 2) This social structure worked for everybody because they all had what they needed. The Age of Feudalism ended the dark ages of European history by introducing order to the common person's life.

The Age of Faith was when the Pope and the Church...
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