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The Low Middle Ages

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 Middle Ages. It began with 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 Derek Jacobi, 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 solve a murder mystery or two...

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

Or he is a barbarian invader. For this is also the time of the Vikings, hearty sailors in horned helmets who loved burning down monasteries and carrying off struggling peasant women, while Alfred The Great 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 The High Middle Ages.

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 The Late Middle Ages.


Tropes Associated with this era include


Works set in this period include

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  • The Old Gods, the pagan expansion DLC for Crusader Kings II, pushes the start date of the game back to 867, allowing the player to take control of the Great Heathen Army that invaded England right after their conquest of York.
  • The Brytenwalda mod for Mount & Blade: Warband is set in the 7th century British Isles.

The Middle AgesEurope IndexThe High Middle Ages
The Dung AgesHollywood HistoryDark Age Europe
Celtic MythologyDark Age EuropeNorse Mythology
Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple TuesdayImageSource/Live-Action FilmsGentleman Detective

alternative title(s): The Early Middle Ages
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