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Actually, the Latin equivalent of Middle Ages, which became "medieval" in English, was first used in the Late Middle Ages, which regarded itself as the modern age. The period of 500 to 1000 was seen as a middle period between ancient and more modern ages of reason, art, and enlightenment.

The reason the year 500 or a somewhat earlier date was chosen (410 AD, 476 AD, etc.) is that the West Roman Empire fell apart at the time, and was taken over by a number of Germanic kingdoms. This supposedly began an era of darkness and illiteracy, though that period was already underway and was more a cause than an effect.

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13y ago
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Q: Why was the word medieval first used in 500 ad?
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