Middle Ages: Dark or Not? Essay

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In the year 476 A.D., Rome officially fell as the greatest and most thriving empire at the time. The time period following this downfall was called the Middle Ages, more infamously recalled as the Dark Ages; but were these years truly as dark as historians say? These medieval times lasted for approximately one thousand years, could such a long time period have been all that dreadful? The answer will soon become clear. The Middle Ages deserved to have the alias of the Dark Ages because there were several severe illnesses, the monarchs were cruel, and the crusades brought the death of many.
The Middle Ages are known for its abundant amount of deaths from plagues and wars. Let’s first look at what happened particularly in Europe during these
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The immense sickness wasn’t the only thing dark about Europe’s Middle Ages. The monarchs were cruel and unruly to their subjects while enforcing brutality upon their land and citizens. The laws enforced by these kings and queens were nothing short of diabolical, for there was no set list of limitations and rules meaning that the monarchs could punish anyone for anything, even if that meant simply disturbing the king. The executions of the ‘accused’ were public to the citizens, and were “a pitiless affair” (McGlynn). The kings ruled with an iron fist as their methods of justice were murderous as executions “sent out a message of warning and deterrence” and “offered the ultimate guarantee against repeat offenders”. The message monarchs tried to send while carelessly shedding blood was that they desired to make a statement, and scare citizens into not committing crimes, for they would know the gruesome consequences. If not death, the “standard, mandatory sentence” of all accused peoples was mutilation of “eyes, noses, ears, hands, feet and testicles”. To sum it all up, punishment in the Middle Ages was much more unforgiving than in this modern day of age; being burned at the stake or beheaded by the guillotine are still some of the most spine-tingling punishments to this day. In all of the depressing fog of the Middle Ages, could there truly have been a beneficial factor? Believe it or not, just around when the Dark Ages began,

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