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The Middle Ages

History

The Middle Ages, meaning when?

Today, we associate the Middle Ages with feudal serfdom, knights, castles, backwardness and the domination of the Church. However, we should bear in mind that the legacy of this period of our history, which lasted over 1000 years in total, is richer than it might seem at first glance. If we want to follow the development of medieval science and technology, we must first "move back" to those times and try to understand them.

The name "Middle Ages" itself was only coined at the end of the 16th century when it was believed to be no more than a transition period between two great epochs - the Antiquity and the Renaissance. It was generally perceived as a period of intellectual idleness, stagnation and backwardness.

Chronological division of the Middle Ages in Europe:

In theory, the "Dark Ages" - as the Middle Ages were also called - lasted for 1000 years. That is a long time and full of events, too. Let us have a quick look at the traditional division of this period.

Early Middle Ages (5th - 10th century)

At the turn of the Antiquity and the Middle Ages, Europe was marked by the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the migrations of barbarian tribes. These events lay the foundations of the future great medieval monarchies. Christianity - either Roman or Byzantine - was introduced all over Europe. The art of that time combined the Roman traditions with those of Germanic tribes and the East - Byzantium. Latin writing was predominant. The Early Middle Ages produced the ideas, topics and motifs that were followed throughout the entire epoch. In architecture, the Romanesque style - with its thick walls and narrow windows - was developed. The first fortified dwellings made of stone appeared. They are considered to be the first castles.

High Middle Ages (11th - 13th century)

The population of Europe grew fast. The castles and towns expanded more and more and began to play the leading role in the culture and economy of individual states. Europe was gradually covered by a network of impressive cathedrals and universities. In the 12th century, the Romanesque style, which had prevailed in art before, slowly gave way to the soaring Gothic style. Apart from Latin, national languages were more and more used in literature (this phenomenon lasted until the 15th century). The High Middle Ages were also the times of the knights - armoured cavalrymen - dominating the battlefields. The crusades of that time led to a confrontation with the culture of the East at an unprecedented scale.

Late Middle Ages (14th - 15th century)

The Gothic art was widely spread. New humanistic tendencies became more and more popular, heralding the birth of a new epoch in the history of culture - the Renaissance. Science broadened its horizons. More attention was paid to man, nature and examining its laws. The application of science in daily life facilitated further untrammelled growth of all areas of economy. By entering the Medieval Technological Park, you move back to this very period: the autumn of the Middle Ages - the period of turmoil, wars, black death, but also crowded towns, colourful merchant stalls and - above all - the incredible technological progress.

Various events are considered to mark the end of the Middle Ages. Some of them are major political developments, other ones refer to the technological progress of that time. These are only a few of them: the invention of movable type printing by Gutenberg (approximately 1450), the inventions of Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519), the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus (1492), the edition of the epoch-making work of Georgius Agricola on medieval mining (1556) or - finally - Copernicus' thesis of the central position of the Sun in relation to other planets (1543) - heliocentrism.

 

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