The Middle Ages formed the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into two 'ages': the classical civilization of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and modern times. The Middle Ages of Western Europe are commonly dated from the end of the Western Roman Empire (5th century) until the rise of national monarchies, the start of European overseas exploration, the humanist revival, and the Protestant Reformation starting in 1517. These various changes all mark the beginning of the Early Modern period that preceded the Industrial Revolution. (See also Category:Maps of the history of Europe.)
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- .........The High Middle Ages were preceded by the Early Middle Ages and followed by the Late Middle Ages, which by convention ends around 1500, or more generally after printing and the beginning of the Protestant Reformation circa 1520 AD.
- Early Middle Ages —From the fall of Rome in 476 AD. To avoid undue emphasis on exact years, the date is usually rounded off and the period stated as 500-1000 or from the 5th to the 10th centuries. The Early Middle Ages includes the Migration period (also referred to as the "Dark Ages"), the Ostrogoths and Visigoths, the Merovingians, Anglo-Saxon England, the Frankish Empire and the Viking Age.
- The High Middle Ages was the period of European history in the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries (1000–1300 AD) while recognizable nations were forming.
- The Late Middle Ages—Generally describes the period of the 14th and 15th centuries (c. 1300–1500) leading up to the Early Modern period or era; see also Early Modern Europe.
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