1The period in western Europe between the fall of the Roman Empire and the high Middle Ages, c.500–1100 AD, during which Germanic tribes swept through Europe and North Africa, often attacking and destroying towns and settlements. It was judged to have been a time of relative unenlightenment, though scholarship was kept alive in the monasteries and learning was encouraged at the courts of Charlemagne and Alfred the Great.
- 1.1A period of supposed unenlightenment.‘a throwback to the dark ages of computing’
- ‘The fifteenth and sixteenth centuries are the dark ages of Armenia.’
- ‘The Venetian-Norman alliance, in the new dark ages of the 14th Century, created the opening in which the 15th Century Renaissance occurred.’
- ‘That would take us back to the dark ages, to the period prior to the Magna Carta.’
- ‘Australian Felix Noblis takes his audience back to the dark ages for his translation of the 8th century heroic poem which charts the battles of Beowulf, a Norse warrior.’
- ‘Europe's dark ages started about AD 450 and continued for three centuries.’
- 1.2the dark ageshumorous, derogatory An obscure or little-regarded period in the past, especially as characterizing an outdated attitude or practice.
- ‘the judge is living in the dark ages’
- ‘It's depressing in the extreme that this dark ages attitude is still alive and well in 2001.’
- ‘When will we wake up one day and say to ourselves that thank God we have gone past the dark ages?’
- ‘Offering business ‘service training’ for their customer contact personal so that they can offer service rather than the take or leave it attitude that is a hangover from the dark ages.’
- ‘He brought Italy out of the dark ages when TV advertising had to be camouflaged in coy little sketches to be shown to children before bedtime.’
- ‘Surely we have progressed as a society enough to have this prehistoric form of punishment banished to the dark ages.’
- 1.1A period of supposed unenlightenment.
A period in Greece and the Aegean from the end of the Bronze Age until the beginning of the historical period. There was no building of palaces and fortresses, and the art of writing was apparently lost.