The Early Middle Ages, the period from 476 when the Roman Empire collapsed, to the year 1000, has traditionally been referred to as the "Dark Ages." Early historians saw it as a violent period full of invasions and war, characterized by backwardness in which progress slowed, and the emphasis on learning and art disappeared. It was viewed as an inferior time, sandwiched between the Golden Age of the Roman Empire and the Renaissance. The modern view, however, is that those years were far from dark, but rather created a civilization that was instrumental in shaping modern western culture. Part of the "World History" series from Thomson Gale, this title is an extensive study of the events and peoples of the Early Middle Ages, including the Barbarians, the Christian Church, the Franks, the Byzantines, the Vikings, feudalism, and Islam. The text is written at an interest and readability level that is best suited for the middle and high school reader. Full color photos of period artworks, the extensive use of scholarly quotations, sidebars, timelines, and an annotated bibliography provide students with a wealth of information that can be easily integrated into the world history classroom curriculum. 2006, Thompson Gale, Ages 12 to 16.