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How Dark was the Dark Ages?

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Were the Dark Ages really figuratively dark, or was it because the influence of Rome on Europe was waning and scholars at that time were biased towards and influenced by Rome. What were some of the advances between the 5th and 15th Centuries that we enjoy? Were the sciences and the arts as primitive as we might think? Were those times as barbaric as popular entertainment often depicts? Let's delve briefly into the Dark Ages and see if maybe they should be thought of as the Bright Ages.