In the Middle Ages, people were less intelligent

history How was the "Middle Ages" called in the Middle Ages?

The time between antiquity and modern times

We can speak of the Middle Ages today because we live in the "modern age". But of course no one said around AD 1000, “I live in the Middle Ages.” - The term only makes sense from the perspective of a later time that defined itself as “modern times”.

For us, the “modern era” begins with the Renaissance and a return to the legacy of antiquity. This results in the established three-way division. There is antiquity - the “good old antiquity”, that is, the time up to the end of the Roman Empire; there is the "modern age" - the time from the renaissance onwards. One can also say: The time since the European expansion into America, Asia and Africa. And the time between antiquity and modern times was simply called the Middle Ages.

Augustine: six ages from the beginning to the end of the world

In the Middle Ages, logically, one did not speak of the Middle Ages, but neither did one see oneself as modern. At least in the world of the church one had a completely different calendar, namely that of the six or seven world ages. The idea goes back to Saint Augustine, who lived in the fifth century. Augustine theorized that there are six ages from the beginning to the end of the world, each for 1,000 years. And according to this theory, people lived in the time we call the Middle Ages today, in the sixth and thus last world age - that is, they were heading towards the end of the world and thus towards the Last Judgment.

How did Augustine come up with this?

The basis for his theory was a passage from the 2nd letter of Peter, where it says that “with the Lord a day is like 1,000 years and 1,000 years is like a day”. So: 1000 years can be compared to one day.

Now the Bible says that God created the world in six days. The conclusion by analogy was: If you equate a day with 1,000 years, and think in this six-day logic, you get 6,000 years. Again, that number matched the times in the Bible quite well. It says exactly who is descended from whom and who lived for how long. When the early Christians did the math back to Adam, they found that it was roughly 5,000 years from the beginning of the world. And so the theory came up: 5,000 years correspond to five ages of 1,000 years each. This calculation is in contrast to the one on which the Jewish calendar is based and the creation in 3761 BC. Begins.

According to Augustine, the last age begins with the birth of Christ

The first age lasted from Adam to the Flood. The second from the Flood to Abraham - and so it went on. According to Augustine, the fifth age finally ended with the coming of Jesus Christ. And so the sixth and final age began with it. The Christian age - Aetas Christiana. And when that is over, then - so the assumption - Judgment Day will come. And that's it then.

Renaissance: Middle Ages are defined as the Middle Ages

But Judgment Day did not come after all, the world kept turning and so this type of time calculation disappeared into oblivion - until the Middle Ages were defined as "Middle Ages" in the Renaissance.