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Encyclopedia > Medieval (term)

Medieval is most commonly known in relation to the Middle Ages of Europen history. It can also refer more generally to things that are old, "byzantine", crude, heavy, harsh, or dark in nature. The Middle Ages formed the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three ages: the classical civilization of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and modern times, beginning with the Renaissance. ... The Byzantine Empire is the term conventionally used to describe the Roman Empire during the Middle Ages, centered at its capital in Constantinople. ...

The term is contracted from the Latin phrase medium aevum for "middle age" (more precisely "middle epoch"), a term first coined by Italian humanist Flavio Biondo around 1483, based on an earlier conception by Leonardo Bruni of a three-tier view of history, ultimately deriving from Petrarchs pejorative idea of a "Dark Age". The term medieval became widely used with Enlightenment thinkers as a pejorative description of the Middle Ages. Flavio Biondo (Latin Flavius Blondus) (1392 – June 4, 1463) was an Italian Renaissance humanist historian. ... Leonardo Bruni Leonardo Bruni (1374 - 1444) was a leading humanist, historian and a chancellor of Florence. ... From the c. ... The Dark Ages (or Dark Age) is a metaphor with multiple meanings and connotations. ... Enlightenment may refer to: Enlightenment (concept), a concept in mysticism, philosophy and psychology For the Hindu religious concept of enlightenment, see moksha For the Buddhist religious concept, see Bodhi, Satori For the Yoga concept of enlightenment, see Yogic Enlightenment The Age of Enlightenment, a period in European history For the...

The spelling of "medieval" may depend on context, and may itself connote meaning or character.

  • medieval is the modern English spelling, used in normal discourse.
  • mediaeval is a more pretentious spelling, referring to the word's Latin roots somewhat, and perhaps illating British memes. The ae diphthong may be rendered as a ligature, æ, giving the spelling mediæval.

References in Literature & the Media

Pulp Fiction

What now? Let me tell you what now: I'm gonna call a couple o' hard, pipe-hittin' niggers, who'll go to work on the homes here with a pair of pliers and a blow torch. You hear me talkin', hillbilly boy? I ain't through with you by a damn sight. I'm gonna get medieval on yo' ass. -- Ving Rhames, as Marsellus Ving Rhames, seen here as the character of Marsellus Wallace from the film Pulp Fiction. ...



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