Early Middle Ages

The Early Middle Ages is a period in European history from the 5th to the 10th century between the decline of the Roman Empire and the High Middle Ages. The Early Middle Ages followed the decline of the Roman Empire and preceded the High Middle Ages period. The period is known historically as the “Dark Ages”.

Hippodrome of Constantinople - One of the architectural glories of Constantinople
Hippodrome of Constantinople – One of the architectural glories of Constantinople

During this period, Roman Empire became weaker and weaker and taxes were not collected by the government. Many cities suffered from a decline in population due to constant waves of wars. The rich culture, learning, and civilizations almost disappeared entirely in many locations.

As the Roman Empire declines, Theodosius recruited Germanic people to become Roman soldiers. Eventually, these soldiers migrated moved in, and became Romans.

Several smaller kingdoms form inside the Roman Empire itself. The Visigoths settled in Spain, the Ostrogoths in Italy, the Vandals in the Northern part of Africa, and the Saxons in Germany. Even the huge armies of King Arthur moved in too. In 451 AD, these invaders fought with the Roman soldiers to push back the Huns.

Justinian I

In the early 530s AD, the Roman emperor, Justinian, began reclaiming all western Roman territories that were lost throughout the years. From the ruins of Constantinople, Justinian rebuilt a new church that became the center of a new religion. Justinian reasserted his power and rebuilt the capital in the name of god and himself.

Justinian I
Justinian I

Justinian armies reclaimed the Northern part of Africa from the Vandals, some parts of Spain from the Visigoths, and Italy from the Ostrogoths. These wars weakened the Roman empire even more.

In 542 AD, bubonic plague spread throughout the Empire. It was one of the most feared diseases during medieval times which killed millions of people from the Empire.

Due to the bubonic plague, the Lombards took advantage of this event and conquered northern Italy from the Romans.

By the 600s, Islamic parties reunited Syria and Jerusalem, Spain, and North Africa. By the 780s Charlemagne duplicated the idea and declared France and Germany, as the Holy Roman Kingdom. The eastern part was rebuilt by the Slavs and Vikings too.

Notable Names during the Early Middle Ages

  • Theodosius
  • Alaric I
  • Honorius
  • Acradius
  • Flavius Stilicho
  • Honorius
  • Attalus
  • King Arthur
  • Justinian

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