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Click on the boxes in the map key at upper right to see the expansion of Christianity and Islam and the separation between Western and Eastern Christianity in 1054.Dark Ages, Late Antiquity, or the Early Middle Ages.In practice, the two institutions were constantly sparring, disagreeing, or openly warring with each other.The emperors often tried to regulate church activities by claiming the right to appoint church officials and to intervene in doctrinal matters.They did not speak of Augustine’s Six Ages of the World or believe in the chronology of Joachimite prophecy, but they nevertheless inherited a philosophy of history that began with the Garden of Eden and would end with the Second Coming of Christ.In such a scheme, the thousand years from the 5th to the 15th century might well be regarded as a distinct respectable period of history, which would stand out clearly in the providential pattern.Although the Germanic tribes that forcibly migrated into southern and western Europe in the 5th century were ultimately converted to Christianity, they retained many of their customs and ways of life.
This tension would reach a breaking point in the late 11th and early 12th centuries during the clash between Emperor Henry IV and Pope Gregory VII over the question of lay investiture. The balance of economic power slowly began to shift from the region of the eastern Mediterranean to western Europe.
”In a sense, the humanists invented the Middle Ages in order to distinguish themselves from it.
They were making a gesture of their sense of freedom, and yet, at the same time, they were implicitly accepting the medieval conception of history as a series of well-defined ages within a limited framework of time.
Copyright © 2016, 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Goth -ic, English from the 17th century, ad Latin gothicus.