[[quoteright:270:[[Film/DieNibelungenSiegfried http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/The_Low_Middle_Ages.jpg]]]]

[[HollywoodHistory Hollywood Historians]] like to lump all of the Middle Ages into one indistinct era, but a study of real history will show that the period of the fall of Western Rome and the rise of Monasticism in Europe was more of a prelude to the true [[TheHighMiddleAges Middle Ages]]. It began with [[DarkAgeEurope an alleged dark age]], when people were supposedly too busy staying alive to write histories, had a few peaceful years in the middle, and ended with Vikings ravaging the coasts, and horsemen storming out of the east. In reality, there were substantial intellectual and cultural advancements during the alleged "Dark Ages," and modern historians universally reject classifying the Early Middle Ages as being an "age of darkness."

Most Hollywood monks are pious men with tonsures, clad in long black robes. They frequently spend all their days dipping feathered pens into inkwells and scribbling strange uncials into large books by candlelight. If they're being played by Creator/DerekJacobi, they may take time out of their busy schedule of scribbling, praying, singing, and rejecting all of their worldly goods to mill about the town and [[Series/{{Cadfael}} solve a murder mystery or two]]...

If not a monk, the Hollywood European of this time is generally either a [[AristocratsAreEvil cruel warlord]] pursuing his ''[[IHaveYouNowMyPretty droit-de-seigneur]]'' or an oppressed [[TheDungAges peasant]].

Or he is a barbarian invader. For this is also the time of the [[HornyVikings Vikings]], hearty sailors in horned helmets who loved burning down monasteries and carrying off struggling peasant women, while AlfredTheGreat burnt cakes.

Other vaguely remembered names from this period are Canute, trying to turn back the tide, and Charlemagne.

The arrival of the Normans in 1066 is as good a cut-off point as any, especially since they were the ones who really started building castles with a vengeance. After that, see TheHighMiddleAges.

WARNING: Do not confuse with the French "Bas Moyen Age", which is a phrase literally meaning the same thing as "Low Middle Ages" but actually refers to ''TheLateMiddleAges''.

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!!Tropes Associated with this era include

* AnAxeToGrind: probably the most frequent non-spear weapon, as an axe is fairly easy for a relatively unskilled smith to make, and peasants tended to have these around anyway for firewood.
** In a case of RealityIsUnrealistic, battleaxes were generally lighter than wood-working axes (especially felling axes) on the basis that it takes a lot less axe to bring down a man than a tree, and being able to swing it around very quickly is very important especially if you don't have a shield. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boioSxBIkfk Lindybeige explains]] on YouTube.
* AncestralWeapon: often TruthInTelevision, as the difficulties of making steel and pattern welding made high-quality blades expensive, and they tended to get passed down, some eventually receiving [[ICallItVera a name]] and a legendary BackStory.
* BarbarianHero
* BladeOnAStick: What most fighters actually had to settle for, when they weren't stuck with [[SinisterScythe farming implements]] or just [[SimpleStaff the stick]].
* DropTheHammer
* TheDungAges
* HereThereWereDragons
* HeroicFantasy
* HistoricalDomainCharacter: Though, except for KingArthur (and possibly AttilaTheHun , Charlemagne, and AlfredTheGreat), most people will never have heard of them. (Gunthaharius of Burgundy is not exactly a household name.)
* HornyVikings
* JustBeforeTheEnd, for Rome
* KingArthur
* KievanRus: its early period, including the pagan princes, Olga and Vladimir the Saint.
* KnightInShiningArmor: historically inaccurate though it is - "warlord in overpriced chainmail" was the ''best'' they had then. Knighthood as we picture it didn't exist yet.
* MedievalMorons
* NorseMythology
* SwissArmyWeapon: inverted - most Dark Agers carried one big knife that they used for everything from cutting food to carving wood to killing. Hopefully with a cleaning of some kind in between - you wouldn't want to get foodstains on your dead enemy, after all.
* TheTimeOfMyths

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!!Works set in this period include

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]

* ''VinlandSaga'', set right towards the end of the dark ages.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Film ]]

* ''[[Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus Monty Python and the Holy Grail]]''
** Note that in the DVD commentary, the Pythons admit that AnachronismStew is at work: It is said to be set in Dark Ages Britain, but the costumes are based on fashions from the 1300s, not to mention the castles.
** For that matter, nearly ''all'' the many movie and literary versions of ''KingArthur''. The [[Film/KingArthur 2004 movie]] is a notable exception.
* ''Film/TheVikings'' (1958)
* ''Film/TheWarLord'' (1965)
* ''The13thWarrior''

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Literature ]]

* The ''Literature/{{Nibelungenlied}}'' and its derivatives, such as Creator/RichardWagner's ''Theatre/TheRingOfTheNibelung'' and Creator/FritzLang's ''Die Nibelungen'' : ''Siegfried'' and ''Kriemhilds Rache''
* ''Literature/{{Beowulf}}'' and its derivatives, such as ''Beowulf and Grendel'' (2005) and ''Film/{{Beowulf}}'' (2007)
* The KingArthur romances
* ''Literature/TheSongOfRoland'', ''Orlando Innamorato'' and ''Literature/OrlandoFurioso''
* Creator/GKChesterton's ''Literature/TheBalladOfTheWhiteHorse''
* ''Literature/BrotherCadfael'' (Technically TheHighMiddleAges, since it's set during the reign of King Stephen, almost a century after 1066 - but since King Stephen's "reign" was one long civil war, Cadfael ''feels'' like the "Dark Ages" rather than the age of chivalry and courtly love.)
* ''Literature/{{Enchantment}}'' by OrsonScottCard
* Creator/JRRTolkien's ''Literature/FarmerGilesOfHam''
* ''Literature/TheSeaOfTrolls'' and the sequel, ''Land of the Silver Apples'', by Nancy Farmer.
* Many of Literature/TheIcelandicSagas, specifically the ''Sagas of Icelanders'' (semi-historical, halfway realistic stories set c. 900-1030 AD) and the ''Legendary Sagas'' (heroic legends set in a mythic DarkAgeEurope, faintly echoing real-life history from c. 400-900 AD). For example:
** ''Literature/RagnarLodbrokAndHisSons'', set in a fictionalized 9th century.
** ''Literature/{{Heimskringla}}'', a medieval history of Norway spanning from the TimeOfMyths to the HighMiddleAges.
** ''Literature/SagaOfTheJomsvikings'', semi-historical adventure set in the 10th century.
** ''Literature/TheSagaOfHrolfKraki'', about a legendary Danish king.
** ''Literature/TheSagaOfTheVolsungs''

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live-Action TV ]]

* ''Series/{{Roar}}''
* ''Series/{{Cadfael}}''
* ''Series/{{Vikings}}

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[[folder: Newspaper Comics ]]

* ''HagarTheHorrible''
* Hal Foster's ''[[PrinceValiant Prince Valiant in the Days of King Arthur]]'' (and the derivative movie and cartoon), which features both the good and the bad kind of HornyVikings)

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[[folder: Theatre ]]

* Creator/RichardWagner's ''Theatre/TheRingOfTheNibelung'', as well as ''Parsifal'' and ''Lohengrin'', although the latter two are more often staged as if they took place in TheHighMiddleAges.
* Technically, ''Theatre/{{Hamlet}}'' is set in this era.

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[[folder: Video Games ]]

* ''The Old Gods'', the pagan expansion DLC for ''VideoGame/CrusaderKings II'', pushes the start date of the game back to 867, allowing the player to take control of the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Heathen_Army Great Heathen Army]] that invaded England right after their conquest of York.
* The ''[[http://forums.taleworlds.com/index.php/board,189.0.html Brytenwalda]]'' mod for ''VideoGame/MountAndBlade: Warband'' is set in the 7th century British Isles.
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