The earlier part of the period (circa 500-circa 1100) or early Middle Ages is sometimes distinguished as the Dark Ages, while the later part (circa 1100–1453) or high or late Middle Ages is often thought of as the Middle Ages proper. The whole period is characterized by the emergence of separate kingdoms, the growth of trade and urban life, and the growth in power of monarchies and the Church. The growth of interest in classical models within art and scholarship in the 15th century is seen as marking the transition to the Renaissance period and the end of the Middle Ages.
- At one time it was thought that the immense majority of European peasants of the Middle Ages were legally unfree.
- It was founded high on a series of hills by prosperous Saxon merchants in the Middle Ages.
- Alfred is still considered quintessential as a ruler of the Middle Ages.
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Syllabification: Mid·dle Ag·es
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