Have you ever been confused about the general order of when things happened in the Middle Ages? In this post, Medieval Collectibles hopes to give you a quick timeline of the span of European history known as the Middle Ages.
What were the Middle Ages?
The Middle Ages were a period of time that spanned from the Fall of the Roman Empire to the beginning of the Renaissance. The exact dates for this differ between historians, but the dates of 476 and 1492 make good start and stop dates. 476 was the Fall of Rome to Odoacer and the end of the last emperor in Rome itself. Meanwhile, 1492 was the start of Christopher Columbus’s voyage to the New World. This date does overlap with some historians’ timeframe for the Renaissance. Together, the two dates span over 1000 years of human history. This covers a lot and is why many historians break down the Middle Ages into different parts.
How are the Middle Ages divided?
A way of dividing the timeline of the Middle Ages is between the Early, High, and Late Middle Ages. The Early Middle Ages covers the timeframe from the Fall of Rome to the 10th century. This period covers multiple well-known names and empires. For example, much of the early Arthurian legends place King Arthur at the beginning of this age. In later centuries, there was Charlemagne and the Carolingian Empire alongside the Viking Age. This is also the beginning of the Holy Roman Empire. All of these people and empires began or occurred within the Early Middle Ages.
The 11th century starts the High Middle Ages. They last until the 14th century. At the very start of this period is the Norman Conquest of 1066, and it is filled with the Crusades. This is the era of Richard the Lionheart and, therefore, Robin Hood as well. As this period comes to a close, a volcanic eruption causes significant flooding and bad harvests.
With the Late Middle Ages starting in 1300, Europeans were faced with a lot of strife and death. This is the period that includes the Hundred Years War, the Black Death, and the Wars of the Roses amongst other issues. Famines and revolts were not unknown in this era. This is also the time of the Gutenberg press and the beginning of the Renaissance. Some of the major figures of this era include Joan of Arc, Henry VII, and Ferdinand and Isabella.
Since the Middle Ages covers 1000 years, a lot happened during this period. From the Vikings to Black Death and more, this period of time saw great changes and upheavals. We hope that you now have a better of idea of the timeline of the Middle Ages.
Vikings – This image depicts the invasion of sea-faring Norsemen from the Miscellany on the Life of St. Edmund. It is in the Public Domain.
King Arthur – This is King Arthur from the Christian Heroes Tapestry in the Cloisters, circa 1385. It is in the Public Domain.
Charlemagne – This is an image of the Bust of Charlemagne at Aachen Cathedral Treasury. The image is by Beckstet under the Creative Commons License.
Robin Hood – This is an image of a woodcut from a 17th century broadside featuring Robin Hood and Maid Marion. It is in the Public Domain.
Norman Conquest – This is a section of the Bayeux Tapestry featuring the Norman invasion in 1066. It is in the Public Domain.
Siege of Jerusalem – The Siege of Jerusalem occurred during the 1st Crusade. This miniature from the 14th century is in the Public Domain.
Black Death – This is a miniature by Pierart dou Tielt from 1353. It is in the Public Domain.
Wars of the Roses – This is the Battle of Tewkesbury as illustrated in the Ghent Manuscript. It is in the Public Domain.
Battle of Agincourt – This is an image from an illuminated manuscript featuring the battle from the Hundred Years War. It is in the Public Domain.