In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or Medieval Period lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery. The catholic church had a huge influence on art in the Middle Ages. The church had much influence and power in this period. The Middle Ages is the middle period of the three traditional divisions of Western history: classical antiquity, the medieval period, and the modern period. The medieval period is itself subdivided into the Early, High, and Late Middle Ages.
Population decline, counterurbanisation, invasion, and movement of peoples, which had begun in Late Antiquity, continued in the Early Middle Ages. The large-scale movements of the Migration Period, including various Germanic peoples, formed new kingdoms in what remained of the Western Roman Empire. In the seventh century, North Africa and the Middle East—once part of the Byzantine Empire—came under the rule of the Umayyad Caliphate, an Islamic empire, after conquest by Muhammad's successors. Although there were substantial changes in society and political structures, the break with classical antiquity was not complete. The still-sizeable Byzantine Empire survived in the east and remained a major power. The empire's law code, the Corpus Juris Civilis or "Code of Justinian", was rediscovered in Northern Italy in 1070 and became widely admired later in the Middle Ages. In the West, most kingdoms incorporated the few extant Roman institutions. Monasteries were founded as campaigns to Christianise pagan Europe continued. The Franks, under the Carolingian dynasty, briefly established the Carolingian Empire during the later 8th and early 9th century. It covered much of Western Europe but later succumbed to the pressures of internal civil wars combined with external invasions—Vikings from the north, Hungarians from the east, and Saracens from the south.
During the High Middle Ages, which began after 1000, the population of Europe increased greatly as technological and agricultural innovations allowed trade to flourish and the Medieval Warm Period climate change allowed crop yields to increase. Manorialism, the organisation of peasants into villages that owed rent and labour services to the nobles, and feudalism, the political structure whereby knights and lower-status nobles owed military service to their overlords in return for the right to rent from lands and manors, were two of the ways society was organised in the High Middle Ages. The Crusades, first preached in 1095, were military attempts by Western European Christians to regain control of the Holy Land from Muslims. Kings became the heads of centralised nation states, reducing crime and violence but making the ideal of a unified Christendom more distant. Intellectual life was marked by scholasticism, a philosophy that emphasised joining faith to reason, and by the founding of universities. The theology of Thomas Aquinas, the paintings of Giotto, the poetry of Dante and Chaucer, the travels of Marco Polo, and the Gothic architecture of cathedrals such as Chartres are among the outstanding achievements toward the end of this period and into the Late Middle Ages.
The Late Middle Ages was marked by difficulties and calamities including famine, plague, and war, which significantly diminished the population of Europe; between 1347 and 1350, the Black Death killed about a third of Europeans. Controversy, heresy, and the Western Schism within the Catholic Church paralleled the interstate conflict, civil strife, and peasant revolts that occurred in the kingdoms. Cultural and technological developments transformed European society, concluding the Late Middle Ages and beginning the early modern period.
When Rome was in a Civil War, Maxentius vs. Constantine. The night before the battle of Melvin Bridge Constantine had a vision in which he saw a cross in the sky and a voice saying in this sign you will conquer. Constantine ordered his men to paint a cross on their shields, and after they won the battle, Constantine believed that it was because of God’s help that he had won. The next year, he issued the Edict of Milan which legalized Christianity throughout the entire Roman Empire.
In the 4th Century, India was subdivided into many different smaller countries. Chandragupta I, the prince of a kingdom near the Ganges River, conquered many of the other little kingdoms, growing his into an empire. When he died, Chandragupta II became king. It was during his reign that India truly began to thrive. This age is known as the Golden Age of India. Great agricultural, scientific, and arts discoveries and advances were made during this time. The final ruler of the Gupta Dynasty was Skandagupta. In the early parts of his reign the Huns attacked the Indian Empire. Although he eventually beat them back, his kingdom had become weak from all the fighting. After his death, the empire began to dissolve, and never again reached it’s former glory.
In AD 325 Emperor Constantine called Council of Nicaea together to settle the controversy about the doctrine of the Trinity. A theologian named Arius argued that Christ was not God, although he was like God. Many Christians adamantly opposed such thinking, and thus the Council of Nicaea was called. After much debate it was declared that the teaching of Arius was heresy, and Arius was exiled. The Nicene Creed was then composed stating the true doctrines and beliefs of the church.
Augustine was one of the most influential theologians in the history of the church. He stood up and argued against many of the controversies facing the church at the time. Two famous books by Augustine are the City of God, and Confessions.
In AD 382 Jerome began his translation of the Bible into latin. It took him 23 years to finish the translation, and in the year 405 the Latin Vulgate was complete. And ordinary people were now able to read and understand the bible for themselves.
Rome was attacked by the Visigoths who were led by King Alaric. At the time, Rome wasn't the capitol of the Empire. When Rome fell it was the first time it had been under enemy control in over 800 years.
The Council of Chalcedon met in AD 451 in Chalcedon, a city in Asia Minor. The council’s ruling was an important step in further clarifying the nature of Christ and the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity. That God was truly and fully God, and at the same time that God was fully and Truly man.
In 476 A.D. Romulus, the last of the Roman emperors in the west, was overthrown by the Germanic leader Odoacer, who became the first Barbarian to rule in Rome. The order that the Roman Empire had brought to western Europe for 1000 years was no more.