Periodization - important aspect of historical science. Proceeding from the historical period, it is possible to learn more about a concrete event or the phenomenon. Therefore during the work with medieval documents the historian has to understand well in what specifics of this period and what is studied by Middle Ages history.
At first sight, the answer to a question is obvious - history of the Middle Ages studies the Middle Ages. But many years historians on can already develop a uniform view of a problem of when the Middle Ages begin and come to an end.
Most of authors agree that history of the European Middle Ages begins with disintegration of the Roman Empire in the 5th century AD. However and it is impossible to consider this view of problems universal. Political and economic changes in the Roman Empire began to happen long before its disintegration. Actually economic history of the Middle Ages began before political. Besides, there is debatable a question of the beginning of the period of the Middle Ages out of Europe, for example, in China.
A number of researchers consider the Middle Ages only the European phenomenon, excluding from it the countries of Asia.
It is even more difficult to designate the end of the Middle Ages. In a Marxist historiography the opinion was accepted that the beginning of Modern times can be considered the revolution in England of 1640 which was followed by overthrow of the king and coming to power of Cromwell. At the same time, scientists of Europe and the USA offer other dates - the beginning of Great geographical discoveries or the beginning of the religious wars in Europe connected with emergence of Protestantism. As a result all three points of view coexist in works of various authors.
Experts in the history of mentality emphasize that it is impossible to draw a clear boundary of the end of the Middle Ages as prestavleniye of this time were strong even in people of the 18th century.
Main sections of history of the Middle Ages
In the 19th century, at the time of formation of modern historical science, researchers were interested first of all political history of the Middle Ages - emergence and disappearance of the states, their conflicts among themselves, the most noticeable political figures. Later the range of interests of researchers extended. At a turn of the 19-20th centuries more and more works on religious history of this period which was closely connected with political - for example began to appear, dad in the Middle Ages was one of the largest land owners and governed the state. Historians Marxists began to pay the main attention to economic history of the Middle Ages, considering that with evolution of production there were changes in the public relations. At that time, in the twenties the 20th century there were historians, for example, Marc Bloch who began to study mentality of the medieval person in a complex. Modern historical science, keeping earlier plots of studying medieval history, presents it and in a new foreshortening - as the history of daily occurrence.