Dark Ages

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See also: dark ages


Alternative forms[edit]


“Period of European history” from Latin saeculum obscūrum (dark age; dark century), first used by Italian scholar Petrarch (1304-1374).

Proper noun[edit]

Dark Ages

  1. (proscribed) The period of European history encompassing (roughly) 476–1000 CE.
    Synonym: Early Middle Ages
  2. (Ancient Greece) Greek Dark Ages (c. 1100 BC - 750 BCE)
  3. Dark ages of Cambodia (c. 1450 - 1863)
  4. Dark ages of Laos (c. 1707 - 1893)
  5. (astronomy) Dark Ages, 380 thousand to about 1 billion years after the Big Bang.
  6. (figuratively) Any relatively primitive period of time.
    • 2000 Mar 6, Network World, Vol. 17, No. 10, page 49:
      Yes, DSL is a better, faster and less expensive way to access the Internet. Unfortunately, it's saddled with back-office systems that belong in the Dark Ages and politics that may require regulatory oversight.
    • 2001, Lawrence Lessig, The future of ideas: the fate of the commons in a connected world[1], →ISBN, page 104:
      Put yourself back in the dark ages, the time before the Internet took off–say, the 1970s–and ask: What was the environment for creativity then?

Usage notes[edit]

The usage of Dark Ages to refer to the period from roughly 476-1000 is now mostly proscribed by historians as a misnomer, as the term was created during the Enlightenment referring to lack of historical records at the time, and technological/scholarly progress did not drop as is commonly thought by laymen. A more correct term in contemporary usage is the Early Middle Ages.


Further reading[edit]