Early middle ages- Historical Frame
In European history, the Middle Ages, or Medieval period, lasted from the 5th to the 15th century and it is subdivided into three periods. a) early middle ages, around 5th century -10th b) High middle ages, 1001-1300 c) late Middle Ages until the late 15th century. (conquest of Constantinople on 1453 and discovery of the America on1492 signal the beginning of Renaissance). Some historians suggest that the end of middle ages came during the 16th century, so the Italian Renaissance is included in middle ages.
early middle ages-from first 1st to 8th century
-1st century AD. Christianity began to spread by Apostles. This new religion separated from Judaism quite early. There were many persecutions against Christians by Romans. Saint Peter( died c 64 AD) and Saint Paul (c 5- c 67 AD) were tortured in Rome. According to many researchers, the huge popularity of the new religion is due to S. Paul.
- 2nd century (150 AD). Church Fathers began to produce theological writings trying to defend their faith. Their work was called "Patrology".
- 3rd century. The persecution of Christians continued. Decius (249-251) and Diocletian (284-305) were fanatical persecutors .
-4th century. Armenia became the first branch of Christianity to become a state religion in 301. In Europe, persecution stopped by Constantine the Great in 313. There were civil wars (Constantine and Licinius against Maximinus) and a series of invasions against the Roman empire by Alemanes, Visigoths, Sarmatians, Vandals. During 313 Constantine transferred the main capital from Rome to Byzantium, which was named Constantinople in his honor (Constantinople= City of Constantine. Today, Constantinople it is known as "Istanbul" and it belongs to Turkey.) This is the beginning of the Byzantine Empire. Constantine legalized Christianity through the Edict of Milan, so freedom of religion was established throughout the empire. Later in the fourth century, Theodosius the Great (347-395 AD) was the last emperor of the single Roman Empire (later distinguished in Eastern Empire and Western Empire). He imposed the Christian religion and a fierce persecution of the idolaters took place.
-In the 5th century the fall of the Roman Empire came and the political role of the pope was highlighted, as Pope Leo I (the Great) negotiated with Huns and Vandals, who had come to occupy Rome. Pope Leo asked from them not to destroy the ancient city of Rome and not to kill the inhabitants. Missions started and Catholicism spread to Germanic tribes. Celts Hungarians and Baltic tribes embraced the Catholic doctrine.
-In the 6th century, the Order of Saint Benedict was founded and the rules of western monasticism were laid down. Pope Gregory the Great sent missionaries to England and Germany to teach the rules of the order. Many historians suggest that this is how Gregorian chant was spread.
-In the 7th century the Muslims conquered Syria, North Africa and Spain. In the 8th century the papacy had obtained more power. Charles the Great (Charlemagne) laid the foundations of the later Holy Roman Empire. The rise and flourishing of feudalism is observed between the 9th and 15th century.