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It has been asked if it is fair to consider the Middle Ages as the Dark Ages or was it only a continuation of trends that were long underway by the time the Renaissance occurred Can we say there was no true political expansion Would we be accurate in saying there were no new thoughts or ideas Did our ancestors truly halt all thought and spiritual growth to wait for the Renaissance I should think not Although there may have been only one great empire with no great shift of political and religious thought the Middle Ages were far from being devoid of activity and upheaval This was an incredible age of transition This period is integral in the growth of western civilization as it goes towards the light Dark Ages they were not For several hundred years from about the first to around the fifth century AD Rome was the greatest power in Europe ruling Britain and the countries around the Mediterranean Sea However in northern Europe there were fierce tribes that were only held at bay by the Romans Around 400 AD the Roman Empire began to weaken and the northern tribes moved across the continent of Europe and plundered the city of Rome The Roman Empire collapsed and was gradually replaced by many small kingdoms ruled by a strong King Prince or Noble These kingdoms and principalities often were heavily influenced by the Holy Roman Empire and would rarely go against its wishes The Roman Catholic Church was the single largest unifying structure in medieval Europe It touched everyones life no matter what their rank or class or where they lived With the exception of a small number of Jews and Muslims in Spain everyone in Europe was a Christian during the Middle Ages from the richest king down to the lowest serf It was the important stabilizing and unifying force that Europe needed to
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