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The Dark Ages

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The Medieval Period in history was between the 5th and 15th centuries. Also called the Middle Ages, or Dark Ages, it was a time of change in Europe. The Middle Ages began with the fall of the Roman Empire to several invading German tribes, and ended when Renaissance came to Europe. The Dark Ages were not "Dark". The people of the Middle Ages had a different lifestyle than the Greeks and Romans.

The Middle Ages were faced with several problems. People had to constantly worry about possible foreign invasion. There was also a lack of a common currency. Food shortages were constant. Another significant problem in the Middle Ages was illiteracy.

There was however, no lack of government. The Middle Ages are honored for their great system of government, Feudalism. Feudalism was the form of government during the Middle Ages. William I introduced Feudalism.

Similar to many empires before the Middle Ages, there was a social class during the Medieval Times. Kings were the leaders. The lord and his lady were the most powerful besides him. Knights were the next in power. The majority of the people were the lower class serfs.

During the Middle Ages David Ross specifies, "The social structure was organized around the system of Feudalism. Feudalism in practice meant that the country was not governed by the king but by individual lords, or barons, who administered their own estates, dispensed their own justice, minted their own money, levied taxes and tolls, and demanded military service from vassals. Usually the lords could field greater armies than the king. In theory the king was the chief feudal lord, but in reality the individual lords were supreme in their own territory. Many kings were little more than figurehead rulers." (Ross).

The kings in power during the Middle Ages were the rulers over all of the Feudal States in their realm, which were governed by Lords.

Certain Kings from Medieval Times are more famous than Egyptian Pharaohs. William I was the first king of the Middle Ages. He arrived in England in 1066 C.E. with 12,000 troops planning to invade and conquer England. He succeeded and was crowned King of England. He ruled from 1066 until 1087 C.E. "On September 9, 1087 William I tragically fell from his horse while besieging the French city of Nantes." (Hull).

Much later, an even more famous king ruled. His name was Henry VIII. In 1509 Henry VIII's rule began, until "he died at Whitehall on January 28, 1547 at the age of 55." (Hull). There were many invasion scares during his rule. However, Henry VIII handled them well. The scares lasted from approximately 1538 C.E. until around 1543 C.E. He oversaw the construction of several coastal forts to guard against the invasions.

The lord and his lady were the rulers of their often small Feudal State. They were given a direct alliance to the Monarch of the Realm. They lived in a castle, usually protected by high, stonewalls all the way around them, or a moat would surround their castle. Occasionally there would be both; King's castles almost always had both high walls and deep moats. Lords had complete control over how their Feudal State was run.

When many hear of Medieval Times the first thing that comes to mind are knights. Knights were the core members of the Feudal Army. They were expected to display chivalry, elegance, and



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