The Dark Ages is a period of time in history when a cultural and economic deterioration occurred in Western Europe mainly caused by the decline of the Roman Empire. The Visigoths, a Germanic group of warriors, seized ancient Rome. When the Visigoths threatened Rome, they closed all of the entryways into the city so that the Germanic warriors could not enter the city. The Visigoths surrounded Rome and blocked all shipments of food into the walls of Rome, torturing the people inside because they did not have food. After 2 years, Rome was starving, and finally opened the gates of the city of Rome allowing the Visigoths to enter. The Visigoths seized Rome, taking all of their treasure. Since Rome had no food, the Visigoths then moved onto greener pastures in search for resources and food. Rome’s population was declining rapidly, and the glory of Rome was gone forever; the Dark Ages had begun.
The world was a violent place full of disease and death in the next 7 Centuries spanning from the fall of Rome to the First Crusade. Sewage systems stopped working and aqueducts broke down, which meant there was no running water. Roman houses were deteriorating, causing the Romans to take down magnificent buildings for material to build shacks to live in. During this time, Christianity was very attractive to people. A new form of unity was gradually emerging, a work of monks and missionaries. To the people living in the Dark Ages, their new emperor was Jesus Christ. The greatest general of the Franks converted from Paganism to Christianity on Christmas day, attracting a numerous amount of Pagans to convert as well. Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity in 313 AD because he saw a Christian sign during battle.
In 533 AD, the Roman Empire strikes back. They wanted to recapture all of the territory lost in the Dark Ages. Barbarians ruled Italy, France and North Africa. The Roman Empire had split into two halves, each having their own empire. The East was greatly of Greek culture, while the West was Latin culture. The Latin West was in a grave disadvantage because the East had much more resources than the West. IN 527, Justinian became emperor. The Roman citizens revolted against him during a chariot race, but failed. Emperor Justinian married Empress Theodora shortly after the revolt. Empress Theodora was a performer who utilized sex to gain power. Emperor Justinian fell in love with her because she was so beautiful, and married her. After the revolt, Justinian tried to leave Rome, but Empress Theodora forced him to stay and saved him from losing the entire Roman Empire.
By 542 AD, Emperor Justinian owned more territory than any emperor over the past 2 centuries. Then, a devastating disease wiped out half of the population of the continent: the Plague. The symptoms of the disease were feverish chills, excruciating pain, and tumors that formed all over their bodies, killing them. Within 4 months the disease had affected more than half of the city. When the disease affected Emperor Justinian also, the city of Constantinople went into lock down. Up to half of the empire, 100 million people were struck down by the Plague. In 548 AD Empress Theodora died of cancer, and Justinian died 17 years later.
The Dark Ages is the period of time in Western Europe that was considered the darkest time in ancient history. It was a time of violence and disease, war, and the wiping out of almost an entire continent. Spanning almost 7 centuries, the Dark Ages is a period of intellectual darkness between extinguishing the “light of Rome” before the rise of the Italian Renaissance in the 14th Century.