Welcome to Beyond the Dark Ages, a website dedicated to the history of early medieval Europe. Here you’ll find various updates on my research into the relationships between women, religion, politics and power in the eighth to tenth centuries, as well as more general aspects of studying early medieval history.
So why ‘beyond the dark ages’? Before I began studying the medieval world, I knew very little about what happened after the fall of the Roman Empire in Europe. The only image I had of the following centuries was that they were dark and grim, filled with endless warfare, plague and brutality. However, when I started looking at this period more closely, I realised this stereotype was obscuring a fascinating part of history. This was the time when Europe began to form into kingdoms which would later turn into the countries that we recognise today – an era of change and experimentation, filled with feuding kings, shrewd queens, political bishops and powerful abbesses. Far from being dark, these centuries tell us the story of how Europe transformed itself from the fractured Roman Empire into the kingdoms of the High Middle Ages. This blog is my way of sharing some of these stories with you – I hope you enjoy reading it!
I’m Sarah Greer, a Research Fellow at the University of St Andrews studying for my PhD in Mediaeval History. I’m also a Marie Curie Early Career Researcher in the EU-funded Power and Institutions in Medieval Islam and Christendom research project, which involves a number of PhD students and academic partners across Europe.