The Roman Empire, rotten to the core by the fifth century, lay open to barbarian warriors. Europe was beset by famine, plague, persecutions, and a state of war that was so persistent it was only rarely interrupted by peace. These centuries are remembered today as the Dark Ages. Beneath this cloak of darkness were people like Charlemagne, St. Benedict and the Empress Theodora who helped to bridge the gap of civilization between Rome and the Renaissance. Ultimately, these points of light would illuminate the darkness, and Western Europe would rise from the Dark Ages to a level of cultural and political power unseen for a thousand years.moreless
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