The Middle Ages extend from around 500 to 1500 AD. It is the middle phase of a three-period division in history. These divisions are the Classic, Medieval, and Modern. This period was named the “Middle Age” because it was in between the Roman Empire, which eventually fell around 500 AD, and the Renaissance which occurred around 1500 AD. The Middle Age was in between two periods characterized by more or less advancement in social organization and intellectual progress. It is a historical period after the Iron Age. It started by the 5th century and ended in the 15th century preceding the early Modern Era.
In Europe, this period was marked by large-scale migration and the falling of the Roman Empire. In South Asia, the middle period on the Indian subcontinent lasted for some 1,500 years, and it ends in the 13th century. Several Islamic empires were established during the late Middle Ages in the Indian subcontinent. In Early Middle Ages, which started around 300, the tends set up in ancient history continued to be seen.
During the Middle Ages in Europe, Christian-oriented art and architecture flourished. Architecture during this period saw much innovation from the Romanesque to gothic style of architecture. Romanesque architecture refers to the style of architecture which was used in very early Middle Ages. Much of the developments were pioneered by Normans and their creative castle building. This period was succeeded by the Gothic style of architecture of the Middle Ages.
The Romanesque Architecture was marked by some features. The stones used during this period were cut with precision. The stones were supported by arch constructions. Buttresses were introduced to support the design and the vault was also developed for the construction of stone roofs.
Gothic style architecture is the term used to describe the building style used between 1200-1500AD. Its defining features include: construction of light and airy structures, wider window openings, flying buttresses, and an increase in the number of towers, decorative designs and sculptures.
The Middle Ages castles moved from early wooden Motte and the Bailey castles. They were hurriedly built by the Normans during their conquest of England to their reinforcement with stones. The architecture and design of the fortresses in the far East influenced the kings, knights and warlords to get on siege warfare. The famous Middle Age castles include the Warwick Castle, the Tower of London, Leads castle, Chateau Galliard, Caernarvon Castle, Windsor Castle and the Leeds Castle.
During the Middle Age the extent to which one could enjoy a variety of food depended on one’s wealth. The availability of food depended on the season. During summer, more food was available. These foods include seafood, meat, vegetables, and livestock. In winter, the supplies of food were scarce. The meat was dried for storage. In order to save the supplies, game was hunted in the winter. This ensured a steady supply of meat. Vegetables were also eaten after cooking. Raw vegetables were considered unhealthy.
The Middle Age women were totally dominated by the male members in society. The women had to obey both their fathers and their brothers including other males in the family. Those who failed to obey them were beaten because disobedience was considered to be a crime against religion. Women were expected to help their husbands with some of their chores as well as attend to provisions and cook food for the family. They were also expected to do all the duties which are customarily undertaken by women. Some of the duties of women included; preparing food, look after small animals such as geese and chickens, weaving, and tending vegetable plots.
Most people in the middle age were wearing woolen clothing, which had an undergarment made of linen. Having a longer jacket length, brighter in color, and having a better material were signs of greater wealth. The clothing changed according to the dictates of fashion. Women usually wore flowing gowns and headwear. Men wore tunics down to their knees. Women wore differently depending on who they were. All of them wore at least one tunic down to their ankles. On their legs, they wore socks or woven tight. Much of the Middle Age clothing can not be found today.
During the Middle age, the commoners had a very hard time. They represented the lowest class of people in society. They were subjected to high tax rates and hard to work most of the times. They had to withstand the hardships because they had nowhere else to go. They had a small land where they grew crops. In case the season was bad they had to starve. They belonged to neither the church nor the nobility. They were divided into many groups including the craftsmen, the bailiff, the peasants and the servants. The bailiffs collected taxes, the craftsmen made candles and shoes for the high-class people, the servants prepared beds and other things while the peasants farmed on the small land they had.
During the Middle Age the English culture including the music they played changed. The Middle Age music consisted of the secular music of the church. The societies changed due to the influence of other foreign cultures. The interaction of different cultures led to a new and unprecedented interest in elegant manners, beautiful objects, poetry and music. The Middle Age music in Europe can be said to have been influenced by Arab love songs. The idea of courtly music also erupted during the Middle Age.
During the Middle Age, people did a lot of activities for entertainment. There were various types of entertainment during this time which included; banquets, feasts, tournaments and jousts, games and sports, mystery plays, hunting, hawking, and animal entertainment using dogs, bears and monkeys. The entertainers during this period included Jesters, Minstrels, Troubadours, and Mummers. Games were played by both the upper and the lower classes and by adults and children. The games included chess, the Philosophers Game, Shovelboard and Hazard. The entertainment for rich people came along with feasts and festivals. Musicians would entertain people at the feast.
The Middle Age period was extremely violent. This is because of the quest for wealth and power among the European countries. Therefore, there was the need for a variety of weapons to suit the Foot soldiers and the Knights, the two types of armed men during this era.
In conclusion, the Middle Age has evolved over the centuries, once a Dark Age then a Romantic era and later an age of faith. It had its own defining characteristic. The Middle Era was very crucial to the human race since most of the modern things we see today are just an improvement of the things innovated during this period. Indeed, the Middle Age peoples deserve to be appreciated for the role they played in shaping the modern world.