Medieval History

Between classical antiquity and modern times lies the Middle Ages. The dawn and dusk of this Medieval era span several hundred years, with exact dates shifting between different areas. The medieval world spanned several continents and stretched from about the 3rd to 17th centuries. Use these resources to learn more about medieval history and the people who wrote it.

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Smithsonian Magazine

Where were the Middle Ages?

Many have equated the Middle Ages to European culture and an era beyond the reach of science and art. This false equivalency minimizes, if not erases, the culture and scholarship that flourished worldwide during this time. Medieval history exists in and across many countries, including China, India, Iran, Sudan, and Ethiopia. In this article, a classical archaeologist details evidence of medieval life around the world.

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Historians used to cite the collapse of the Roman Empire in 476 CE as the beginning of the Medieval Era, but scholars have come to see that date as inherently Eurocentric. The more accurate answer is: it depends. The Middle Ages in the Middle East, India, and China are believed to have started in 622, 543, and 220 CE, respectively. The end of the Middle Ages also differs by location, with the era’s sunset ranging from the mid-1400s to the mid-1600s.

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Vikings were seafaring Scandinavians between 800 and 1200 CE who flourished in what is now Denmark, Norway, and Iceland. Skilled craftsman and artisans, the groups were known for their brutal raids on coastal villages in Western Europe, which played a large role in spreading their cultural influence from the British Isles to Northern Africa. Explore the rise and fall of the Viking empire with this interactive timeline and map.

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