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Ch 10: AP World History: The Dark Ages

About This Chapter

Watch video lessons and learn about the end of classical civilization and the Dark Ages. These lessons are just a portion of our AP World History course.

The Dark Ages - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

This chapter will help you understand how the period known as the Dark Ages earned its name. In particular, you'll find out about the perceived cultural, economic and intellectual deterioration that took place in Western Europe between the fall of the Roman Empire and the beginning of the Italian Renaissance. In spite of the period's bleak label, you'll also learn about the major artistic and architectural accomplishments that occurred during the Dark Ages, especially those associated with the Byzantine Empire and Islamic contributions to art and science.

A key part of this chapter discusses the conflicting views expressed in the Christian church, including those that challenged the use of religious images and the divinity of Christ. The prophet, Mohammed, and the growth of Islam will also be covered. When you've completed this chapter, you should be able to discuss:

  • The decline and institutional preservation of classical civilization and culture
  • How the art of Britain, the Byzantine Empire and Ireland flourished during the Dark Ages
  • The development and growth of Islamic culture and faith
  • Differences and similarities of the three major faiths, including Christianity, Judaism and Islam
  • The post-empire Roman economy
  • Frankish kings and tribes of the Dark Ages

VideoObjective
The Dark Ages: Loss of Classical CultureUnderstand what elements of classical culture were lost or retained during the Dark Ages.
Germanic Tribes: Invasion in RomeDescribe the influx of peoples into the former Roman Empire.
Insular Art: Ireland's Golden AgeDiscuss the art of Ireland and Britain in the Dark Ages.
Heirs of Rome: The Church and the ByzantinesExplain how the Byzantine Empire and the Christian church preserved aspects of Roman culture.
Early Church Conflicts: Arianism and IconoclasmCompare and contrast the conflicting views of Arianism and iconoclasm in the church.
Roman Economy in the Dark AgesDescribe the breakdown of trade during the Dark Ages.
Mohammed and the Birth of IslamDiscuss the prophet Muhammad, including his life and the state of the Near East before his wave of conquest.
Five Pillars of the Islamic Faith: Overview, the Quran and Sharia LawExplain the basis of Islamic faith including the Five Pillars, the Quran and Sharia Law.
People of the Book: Comparing Judaism, Christianity and IslamCompare Judaism, Christianity and Islam in terms of beliefs and receptiveness to outside ideas.
The Spread of Islam and the Progress of the CaliphatesExamine the progress of Mohammed's successors across the known world during the Dark Ages.
Muslim Learning: Scientific, Artistic, Medical and Literary AccomplishmentsIdentify Islamic contributions to the arts, literature, medicine and science.
Byzantine Art: Mosaics, History and CharacteristicsDescribe the development and unique characteristics of Byzantine art and mosaics.
Byzantine Architecture: History, Characteristics and ExamplesDiscuss the history and distinctive features of Byzantine architecture, and provide examples.
Frankish History: Clovis and the MerovingiansSummarize Frankish history beginning and ending with the kings Clovis and Charlemagne.

12 Lessons in Chapter 10: AP World History: The Dark Ages
The Dark Ages: Definition, History & Timeline

1. The Dark Ages: Definition, History & Timeline

In this lesson, we will examine the period of time commonly referred to as the Dark Ages. We will learn why this period is called the Dark Ages and discuss why some historians are now shying away from this term.

The Dark Ages: Loss of Classical Culture

2. The Dark Ages: Loss of Classical Culture

This lesson explores the loss of classical culture during the Dark Ages. We compare the life of a medieval peasant to that of a Roman pleb. We then examine the causes of this decline, as well as its repercussions.

Germanic Tribes: Invasion in Rome

3. Germanic Tribes: Invasion in Rome

As the Roman Empire became bigger and bigger, tribes from Germany began to invade various areas. Eventually the continuous attacks led to the break-up of the Empire. This lesson explores a few of the more dominant tribes.

Heirs of Rome: The Church and the Byzantines

4. Heirs of Rome: The Church and the Byzantines

The Roman Empire covered a vast area, and when it fell, its people were in danger of losing their civilization. This lesson explores some of the things that remained as the Empire fell, as well as how they affected Roman citizens.

Early Church Conflicts: Arianism and Iconoclasm

5. Early Church Conflicts: Arianism and Iconoclasm

This lesson explores two conflicts that occurred in the early church: Arian Christianity, which taught a taboo belief regarding the Holy Trinity, and iconoclasm, which was the destruction of religious images.

Roman Economy in the Dark Ages

6. Roman Economy in the Dark Ages

This lesson explores the Roman Empire's economy from its beginnings as a farming culture to its expansion into trade and finally its deterioration after invasion from surrounding tribes.

Five Pillars of the Islamic Faith: Overview, the Quran & Sharia Law

7. Five Pillars of the Islamic Faith: Overview, the Quran & Sharia Law

The Five Pillars of Islam are the foundation of the world's second largest faith. They are characterized by a simplicity that encourages peaceful cooperation between people, which is one reason for the religion's widespread devotion. This lesson will detail each of the five and show how they relate to the daily lives of practicing Muslims.

People of the Book: Comparing Judaism, Christianity and Islam

8. People of the Book: Comparing Judaism, Christianity and Islam

The religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are often seen as competing doctrines and faiths by observers and adherents. Yet, a summary investigation of their doctrines illustrates they have much in common. This lesson will examine these similarities in greater detail.

The Spread of Islam and the Progress of the Caliphates

9. The Spread of Islam and the Progress of the Caliphates

After the death of Mohammed, Islam continued to spread through Arabia, the Middle East and Africa. This lesson is an overview of Islam's progress from the faith of Mecca to a faith for all the world.

Muslim Learning: Scientific, Artistic, Medical & Literary Accomplishments

10. Muslim Learning: Scientific, Artistic, Medical & Literary Accomplishments

The Abbasid caliphate (750-1258 CE) oversaw the Golden Age of Islam. Learn about the accomplishments of Muslim scholars in art, literature, science, medicine and mathematics during this time.

Byzantine Architecture: History, Characteristics & Examples

11. Byzantine Architecture: History, Characteristics & Examples

In this lesson, we look at the development of Byzantine architecture. We examine its relationship to the Byzantine Emperor Justinian. We then compare Byzantine architecture to early Christian architecture and enumerate the distinctly Byzantine elements of their art and architecture: central-plan, domes and pendentives. Finally, we touch briefly on how these architectural masterpieces were decorated.

Frankish History: Clovis and the Merovingians

12. Frankish History: Clovis and the Merovingians

This lesson will focus on Clovis and the rise and fall of the Merovingian Dynasty. It will highlight his unification of the Franks, his conversion to Catholicism, and the cultural advancements of the dynasty's rule.

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