Home — Essay Samples — History — Middle Ages — The Middle Ages: Politics, Religion, People

test_template

The Middle Ages: Politics, Religion, People

  • Categories: Catholic Church Middle Ages

About this sample

close

Words: 1494 |

Published: Dec 18, 2018

Words: 1494 | Pages: 3 | 8 min read

Image of Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Let us write you an essay from scratch

  • 450+ experts on 30 subjects ready to help
  • Custom essay delivered in as few as 3 hours

Get high-quality help

author

Dr. Heisenberg

Verified writer

  • Expert in: Religion History

writer

+ 120 experts online

By clicking “Check Writers’ Offers”, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy . We’ll occasionally send you promo and account related email

No need to pay just yet!

Related Essays

3 pages / 1184 words

2 pages / 1063 words

2 pages / 894 words

2 pages / 1049 words

Remember! This is just a sample.

You can get your custom paper by one of our expert writers.

121 writers online

Still can’t find what you need?

Browse our vast selection of original essay samples, each expertly formatted and styled

Related Essays on Middle Ages

The term "Dark Ages" has long been used to describe the period in European history that followed the fall of the Western Roman Empire, spanning roughly from the 5th to the 15th century. This era has often been characterized as a [...]

During the Middle Ages, tailors played a crucial role in society, providing essential services to the aristocracy and the common people alike. Tailoring was a highly respected profession that required skill, creativity, and [...]

The emergence and spread of Christianity can be dated back to the 31st to 33rd A.D when Jesus Christ embarked on his mission to spread the Good news to the Jewish population which was gradually spread globally by the apostles [...]

Joan of Arc’s indisputable willingness to aid her country during the war, guided her to become a motivation and inspiration to her people, serving as a noteworthy figure in the Medieval World. She helped lead the French to many [...]

Throughout the medieval time period intellectual life suffered greatly, and it is visible in how the people lived. During what was once “The dark ages” (now medieval times) there was much despair and poverty, and money was [...]

The medieval manor in the twelfth century was the domain of the lord and his occupants. The cultivable land suitable for farming was divided into a demesne, where the yields went to the lord, and a larger portion which went to [...]

Related Topics

By clicking “Send”, you agree to our Terms of service and Privacy statement . We will occasionally send you account related emails.

Where do you want us to send this sample?

By clicking “Continue”, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy.

Be careful. This essay is not unique

This essay was donated by a student and is likely to have been used and submitted before

Download this Sample

Free samples may contain mistakes and not unique parts

Sorry, we could not paraphrase this essay. Our professional writers can rewrite it and get you a unique paper.

Please check your inbox.

We can write you a custom essay that will follow your exact instructions and meet the deadlines. Let's fix your grades together!

Get Your Personalized Essay in 3 Hours or Less!

We use cookies to personalyze your web-site experience. By continuing we’ll assume you board with our cookie policy .

  • Instructions Followed To The Letter
  • Deadlines Met At Every Stage
  • Unique And Plagiarism Free

middle ages essay free

Smarthistory Logo

Introduction to the Middle Ages

The Lindisfarne Gospels, left: Saint Matthew, portrait page (25v); right: Saint Matthew, cross-carpet page (26v), c. 700 (Northumbria), 340 x 250 mm (British Library, Cotton MS Nero D IV)

The Lindisfarne Gospels , left: Saint Matthew, portrait page (25v); right: Saint Matthew, cross-carpet page (26v), c. 700 (Northumbria), 340 x 250 mm ( British Library , Cotton MS Nero D IV)

The dark ages?

So much of what the average person knows, or thinks they know, about the Middle Ages comes from film and tv. When I polled a group of well-educated friends on Facebook, they told me that the word “medieval” called to mind Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Blackadder, The Sword in the Stone, lusty wenches, feasting, courtly love, the plague, jousting and chain mail.

Perhaps someone who had seen (or better yet read) The Name of the Rose or Pillars of the Earth would add cathedrals, manuscripts, monasteries, feudalism, monks and friars.

Petrarch, an Italian poet and scholar of the fourteenth century, famously referred to the period of time between the fall of the Roman Empire (c. 476) and his own day (c. 1330s) as the Dark Ages. Petrarch believed that the Dark Ages was a period of intellectual darkness due to the loss of the classical learning, which he saw as light. Later historians picked up on this idea and ultimately the term Dark Ages was transformed into Middle Ages. Broadly speaking, the Middle Ages is the period of time in Europe between the end of antiquity in the fifth century and the Renaissance , or rebirth of classical learning, in the fifteenth century and sixteenth centuries.

North Transept Rose Window, c. 1235, Chartres Cathedral, France (photo: Dr. Steven Zucker, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

North Transept Rose Window, c. 1235, Chartres Cathedral , France (photo: Dr. Steven Zucker , CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Not so dark after all

Characterizing the Middle Ages as a period of darkness falling between two greater, more intellectually significant periods in history is misleading. The Middle Ages was not a time of ignorance and backwardness, but rather a period during which Christianity flourished in Europe. Christianity, and specifically Catholicism in the Latin West, brought with it new views of life and the world that rejected the traditions and learning of the ancient world.

During this time, the Roman Empire slowly fragmented into many smaller political entities. The geographical boundaries for European countries today were established during the Middle Ages. This was a period that heralded the formation and rise of universities, the establishment of the rule of law, numerous periods of ecclesiastical reform and the birth of the tourism industry. Many works of medieval literature, such as the Canterbury Tales, the Divine Comedy, and The Song of Roland, are widely read and studied today.

The visual arts prospered during Middles Ages, which created its own aesthetic values. The wealthiest and most influential members of society commissioned cathedrals, churches, sculpture, painting, textiles, manuscripts, jewelry and ritual items from artists. Many of these commissions were religious in nature but medieval artists also produced secular art. Few names of artists survive and fewer documents record their business dealings, but they left behind an impressive legacy of art and culture.

When I polled the same group of friends about the word “Byzantine,” many struggled to come up with answers. Among the better ones were the song “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)” sung by They Might Be Giants, crusades, things that are too complex (like the tax code or medical billing), Hagia Sophia, the poet Yeats, mosaics, monks, and icons. Unlike Western Europe in the Middle Ages, the Byzantine Empire is not romanticized in television and film.

middle ages essay free

Approximate boundaries of the Byzantine Empire, mid-6th century (underlying map © Google)

In the medieval West, the Roman Empire fragmented, but in the Byzantine East, it remained a strong, centrally-focused political entity. Byzantine emperors ruled from Constantinople, which they thought of as the New Rome. Constantinople housed Hagia Sophia , one of the world’s largest churches, and was a major center of artistic production.

Isidore of Miletus & Anthemius of Tralles for Emperor Justinian, Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, 532–37 (photo: Steven Zucker, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Isidore of Miletus & Anthemius of Tralles for Emperor Justinian, Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, 532–37 (photo: Steven Zucker , CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The Byzantine Empire experienced two periods of Iconoclasm (730–787 and 814–842), when images and image-making were problematic. Iconoclasm left a visible legacy on Byzantine art because it created limits on what artists could represent and how those subjects could be represented. Byzantine Art is broken into three periods. Early Byzantine or Early Christian art begins with the earliest extant Christian works of art c. 250 and ends with the end of Iconoclasm in 842. Middle Byzantine art picks up at the end of Iconoclasm and extends to the sack of Constantinople by Latin Crusaders in 1204. Late Byzantine art was made between the sack of Constantinople and the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in 1453.

In the European West, Medieval art is often broken into smaller periods. These date ranges vary by location.

Additional resources:

Smarthistory’s free Guide to Byzantine Art e-book

Art and Death in the Middle Ages on The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History)

Byzantium from The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History

Icons and Iconoclasm on The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History

Classical Antiquity in the Middle Ages, The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History

Hagia Sophia on The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History

Smarthistory images for teaching and learning:

[flickr_tags user_id=”82032880@N00″ tags=”MedievalIntro,”]

More Smarthistory images…

Cite this page

Your donations help make art history free and accessible to everyone!

We've begun to update our look on video and essay pages!

middle ages essay free

Smarthistory's video and essay pages look a little different but still work the same way. We're in the process of updating our look in small ways to make Smarthistory's content easy to read and accessible on all devices. You can now also collapse the sidebar for focused watching and reading, then open it back up to navigate. We'll be making more improvements to the site over the next few months!

Essays on Middle Ages

Faq about middle ages.

IMAGES

  1. Middle Ages Essay Overview by Dylan Jaskolski

    middle ages essay free

  2. Heroes after the Middle Ages

    middle ages essay free

  3. Feudalism in Middle Ages: [Essay Example], 1148 words GradesFixer

    middle ages essay free

  4. ⇉Literature in the Middle Ages Essay Example

    middle ages essay free

  5. ⇉Chivalry In The Middle Ages Essay Example

    middle ages essay free

  6. Middle Ages Essay Overview by Dylan Jaskolski

    middle ages essay free

VIDEO

  1. European Middle Ages

  2. The Middle Ages #history #middleages #educational

  3. How a 97 on a essay in middle school changed my thought process on writing

  4. Medieval Village

  5. One MYTH about the Middle Ages DEBUNKED

  6. Fascinating facts about Middle Ages #history #middleages #shorts

COMMENTS

  1. The Middle Ages: Politics, Religion, People

    The lives of the Medieval people of the Middle Ages were dominated by the church. From birth to death, whether a peasant, a serf, a noble a lord or a King - life was dominated by the church and Medieval religion. Various religious institutions, such as monasteries and convents, became both important, rich and powerful.

  2. Essays About Middle Ages ️ Free Examples & Essay Topic Ideas

    Free essays on the Middle Ages offer a comprehensive analysis of the period between the 5th and 15th centuries in Europe. These essays explore the political, social, economic, and cultural aspects of medieval life, from the feudal system to the rise of the Catholic Church. They examine the intellectual achievements of the era, including the ...

  3. Introduction to the middle ages

    Broadly speaking, the Middle Ages is the period of time in Europe between the end of antiquity in the fifth century and the Renaissance, or rebirth of classical learning, in the fifteenth century and sixteenth centuries. North Transept Rose Window, c. 1235, Chartres Cathedral, France (photo: Dr. Steven Zucker, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

  4. Middle Ages Essay

    The Decline Of The Middle Ages. The Middle Ages is a medieval time period in Western Europe that lasted from 500 to 1500 C.E. The Middle Ages began as a result from the collapse of the Roman Empire which began in 31 BCE, and fell in 476 C.E. In around 300 C.E. the emperor of the Rome divided the land for easier control.