The Middle Ages don’t have a very good reputation. From rampant beheading and ignorance to disease and war, Hollywood has helped propagate some ideas that aren’t true, or at least not entirely. These are 25 myths about the Middle Ages you probably thought were true.
People were ignorant
Not really. Although Hollywood has definitely propagated this belief, many of history’s most influential universities (Cambridge, Oxford) and thinkers (Machiavelli, Dante) were all products of the Middle Ages.
After the fall of Rome there was vast cultural and economic deterioration in Europe up until the Italian Renaissance. This is why the Middle Ages are also called the Dark Ages.
Originally, because there had in fact been a shortage of written material concerning some parts of Europe, historians had actually used the term “dark ages” to refer to the obscurity of the time period. While this belief is still prevalent in popular culture, recent understanding and discoveries have changed the scholarly perspective of the Middle Ages. Therefore, the term “dark ages” is not used in scholarly literature as often anymore.
The term Dark Ages was created by modern man to describe the darkness of the Middle Ages
Didn’t you get what we just said? No, no it wasn’t. The first person to use the term “dark ages” was actually Petrarch in the 1330s. He used the term as a sweeping criticism of Late Latin literature. And yes, he lived during what we would today call the “dark ages”.
Everyone believed the Earth was flat
Actually they didn’t. Although science and education was largely a church funded venture, there was scarcely a scientist who didn’t believe the Earth was round. In fact, they had already estimated its circumference. So no, we can’t say everyone believed it.
Well, then they definitely believe the Earth was the center of the universe
Nope, they didn’t believe that either (at least not everybody). Copernicus killed that notion well before Galileo got punished by the church for his theories.