End of the Middle Ages Day comes up on May 29 every year. It was on this day in 1453 that Constantinople fell to Ottoman invaders led by Sultan Mehmed II attacked the city and overthrew Emperor Constantine XI Palaiologos. Many intellectuals fled the capital city for asylum in Italy and started a revival of learning based on classical Greek sources. The Middle Ages, divided into early, high and late Middle Ages, are traditionally seen as a time when cultural and scientific progress was at a minimum. In contrast, the Renaissance surpassed the ideas of classical antiquity.
History of End of the Middle Ages Day
The Middle Ages — sometimes called the medieval period or Dark Ages — started in Europe with the fall of Rome in 476 A.D. Many historians referred to this period as the Dark Ages because they saw it as an era lacking in notable accomplishments in science, art, and politics — a period of darkness, poverty, and untapped potential.
Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, fell to the hands of the invading Ottoman Empire on May 29, 1453. This day, many believe, marks the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the 15th-century Renaissance. Constantinople had been besieged for about two months by Ottoman emperor Sultan Mehmed II Fatih’s army. As of the twelfth century, the city was home to about 400,000 inhabitants, but military invasions had reduced its population to around 50,000 denizens by the 1450s. For fear of their lives, Byzantine scholars fled the fallen Constantinople and sought outside the old empire shelter. The study of Greek and Roman culture, languages, philosophies, and art was revived in Italy where the scholars settled, and this initiated the Renaissance.
While the Middle Ages was an era of monarchs and royal leaders, it was the Catholic Church that wielded the greatest influence by then. The Church expanded greatly, building massive monasteries and cathedrals in Romanesque and Gothic styles. Islamic empires were also thriving — especially in cities like Baghdad, Cairo, and Damascus where books and ancient texts were translated into Arabic. The Middle Ages was also the era of the Black Death, the bubonic plague which claimed the lives of about 20 million victims between 1347 and 1350. About 30% of the population of Europe was wiped out, with cities recording a larger death rate as the plague was easily transmitted between city-dwellers.
End of the Middle Ages Day timeline
Roman Emperor Romulus Augustus is deposed on September 4.
The bubonic plague — a pandemic claiming the lives of about 20 million victims — begins.
Ottoman leader Sultan Mehmed II Fatih makes peace treaties with Hungary and Venice.
The Ottoman army captures Constantinople, the headquarters of the Byzantine Empire.
End of the Middle Ages Day FAQs
What led to the end of the Middle Ages?
Many factors caused the culmination of the Middle Ages. Some notable ones included the failure of the feudal system and the loss of the Church’s influence over the nation-states. Some see the voyages of Columbus as the end of the Middle Ages, while others tout the overthrow of Constantinople as such.
When did the Middle Ages end and start?
The Middle Ages is the period of European history beginning from about 473 and 1400 to 1500 A.D. This period spanned between the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the collapse of the Byzantine Empire.
What was life like in the Middle Ages?
Life in the Middle Ages was quite monotonous, harsh, and uncomfortable — compared to what we have today. Women were subordinate to men, children’s mortality rate was high, and the average lifespan was about 32 years.
How to Observe End of the Middle Ages Day
Read about the Middle Ages
You’ll find many texts and books about the history of the Middle Ages, the culture, art, and military conquests. The story of how Byzantium fell to the Ottoman Empire will definitely interest you.
The medieval city is now located in the modern-day Fatih district in the city of Istanbul, Turkey. Some interesting places to visit include the Hagia Sophia Museum and the Gate of St. Romanus.
Try medieval dishes
If you’re feeling adventurous, you may also cook delicacies dating back to the Middle Ages. It might sound complicated, but a lot but garlic bread, beef, roasted chicken, or barley, oats, rye, and wheat will do!
5 Mind-blowing Facts About The Middle Ages
Eels used as currency
A record shows someone rented a piece of land for 26,275 eels.
Long-toed shoes were in vogue
People wore long-toed Cracow shoes — named after Kraków in Poland.
Animals convicted for crimes
In 1457, a sow in Savigny, France was charged with murder, found guilty, and hanged.
Football was banned in England
King Edward II issued a proclamation in 1314 banning football in London because of noise pollution.
Slaughtering of animals in London was prohibited
King Edward III once banned the slaughtering of animals in London because of the stench of the blood and animal guts in the entire city.
Why End of the Middle Ages Day is Important
A notable time in history
The Middle Ages is also called the Dark Ages because of the era’s lack of innovations and notable achievements. However, the period is also popular for the powerful empires and grand Gothic-style edifices built.
The era of military conquests
Military conquests were one of the greatest features of the medieval period. The era is associated with war equipment — full-body armor, the development of firearms, gunpowder, and cannons — are some innovations.
Transition to the Renaissance
The end of the medieval age commences the Renaissance which was a time of revival in the arts, philosophy, science, and politics. Events and trends of the Middle Ages influenced the works of Renaissance scholars, artists, and thinkers.
End of the Middle Ages Day dates