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Dark Ages History

Most historians prefer the term "Early Middle Ages", but the Dark Ages were very real - at least in Europe. Can you guess these notable facts from the history of the years 476–1000 AD?
Want to quibble with the term "Dark Ages". Read this first.
Some dates are approximate
Quiz by Quizmaster
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Last updated: January 31, 2017
First submittedApril 1, 2014
Times taken27,378
Average score61.1%
Rating4.35
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Year
Description
Answer
476
The Dark Ages are said to begin with the fall of this empire
Western Roman
Empire
509
This ruler becomes the first king of all Franks
Clovis
522
Byzantines go to China to steal the secret of making this expensive material
Silk
532
Construction begins on this grand basilica in Constantinople
Hagia Sophia
525–565
This "great" Byzantine emperor conquers much of Italy
Justinian
570
This prophet is born in Mecca
Muhammad
c. 600
This canal is built to connect the Yellow and Yangtze rivers.
It is still the longest canal in the world today.
Grand Canal
632
Abu Bakr becomes the first person to hold this Islamic
leadership position (at least according to Sunnis)
Caliph
642
The great library of this African city is once again destroyed
Alexandria
678
Byzantines use this napalm-like substance to defeat a Muslim invasion fleet
Greek Fire
711
This Muslim group conquers most of modern-day Spain and Portugal
The Moors
793–1066
These Pagans raid and terrorize much of Christendom
Vikings
800
This "great" Frankish king is crowned Emperor by the Pope
Charlemagne
800s
This number is "invented" in what is today India
Zero
800s
This Indian board game reaches Europe
Chess
800s
This Central American society collapses
Maya
808
This saltpeter-based substance is invented in China
Gunpowder
962
Otto becomes ruler of this Germanic empire which would last until
the time of Napoleon
Holy Roman Empire
+1
Level 43
Jun 23, 2014
Awesome beard
+2
Level 59
Oct 26, 2014
I typed Chlodovech, the Frankish name; Louis, the French name; Ludwig, the German name, but none of these worked. Even so, thank you for reminding us of how things evolved during the Early Middle Ages!
+1
Level 84
Oct 26, 2014
The french name is actually Clovis. He is not considered as Louis I (Louis I was the son of Charlemagne).
+2
Level 59
Sep 26, 2017
I just read the Wikipedia article on him which says the Franks would've called him Hlodowig. Considering all the different names he might be referred to as in all the languages, simply going with Clovis makes sense.
+2
Level 65
Sep 27, 2017
Yep, and the German name is Chlodwig.
+1
Level 61
Oct 27, 2014
Early predecessors to chess began in India, Persia, and China, but modern chess was developed in Southern Europe.
+2
Level 44
Apr 12, 2015
Won't accept St Sophia?
+3
Level 71
Dec 17, 2020
Because Hagia Sophia doesn't translate as St. Sophia but as Holy Sophia, or Holy Wisdom.
+5
Level 73
Sep 26, 2017
I really need to start reading questions more carefully. I read "Byzantines go to China to steal the secret of making this EXPLOSIVE material" and managed to get gunpowder for another answer...
+2
Level 88
Sep 26, 2017
Guilty of the offense as well.
+1
Level 62
Sep 26, 2017
Me too haha
+1
Level 73
Sep 30, 2017
same here
+2
Level 49
Sep 26, 2017
I thought the zero was first invented by the Mayans, and the Indians followed suit about 300 years later.
+2
Level 58
Dec 9, 2020
The mayans had the concept of zero first, and should be counted. I think they have India because it spread from India to other regions, while 0 died off with the maya
+9
Level 65
Sep 26, 2017
I wrote HRE because that's how I did it in my notes in high school so when that didn't take I went, "welp, can't be the Holy Roman Empire then." haha
+5
Level 58
Oct 11, 2020
Same. HRE should be accepted for Holy Roman Empire.
+1
Level 66
Mar 23, 2022
HRE thankfully works now
+3
Level 65
Sep 27, 2017
How about some more type-ins for caliph? Now, I haven't tested all of these, but according to the online dictionary leo.org other acceptable spellings of the word are calif, kalif, kaliph, and khalif.
+11
Level 84
Aug 21, 2018
Really disappointing that the answer to the second question wasn't "Frank."
+10
Level 71
Nov 19, 2018
Please accept HRE
+2
Level 87
Jan 12, 2020
It's just plain funny that people have to substitute offense for people dead for 1,000 to 1,500 years. The Middle Ages have always been a term describing the ascent between the Dark Ages and the Renaissance of culture, learning and exploration that was prevalent in Europe before the Dark Ages.
+5
Level 53
Apr 22, 2020
Not offended at all. I just believe that it’s an outdated term for a diverse and heterogeneous period of history spanning hundreds of years. “The Middle Ages have always been a term describing the ascent between the Dark Ages and the Renaissance of culture” simply isn’t true. The Middle Ages is accepted to begin from the fall of the Western Roman Empire, which includes the Dark Ages (more commonly called the Early Middle Ages).
+1
Level 53
Dec 20, 2020
I'm not sure about "more commonly"... only in academia in my experience!

The "dark" refers only to the fact that we know generally less about this period than about the preceding or following ones. As in "in a glass darkly". I don't see that that can be offensive to anyone.

+3
Level ∞
Jan 21, 2021
It's pedantry of the highest order. The Dark Ages were very real and very dark.

From the article:

The period from about 500 to about 1000 in Christian Western Europe was marked by profound economic and intellectual decline and stagnation relative to the periods that came before and after it. This is incompatible with the “no such thing as the Dark Ages” claim except by a bunch of tortured logic, isolated demands for rigor, and historical ignorance.

+1
Level 84
Nov 21, 2022
Are you really going to impugn the academic and journalistic rigor of Cracked? What's your next target? WatchMojo? Oh, the hubris...
+1
Level 65
Nov 21, 2022
If you're making the point I think you're making, I agree.
+1
Level 48
Nov 21, 2022
That's the most passionate Quizmaster comment I've seen so far, and on the early middle ages at that. Huh.
+1
Level 74
Jan 21, 2021
Let me be the first in 2021 to say: please accept HRE for Holy Roman Empire
+2
Level ∞
Jan 21, 2021
Okay
+6
Level 58
Feb 9, 2021
I like that they accept 'moops'
+2
Level 58
Mar 4, 2021
China achieved many great inventions during this period, like gunpowder and canal locks.

Edit: Nevermind, gunpowder is on here.

+1
Level 48
Nov 22, 2022
So is the Grand Canal
+3
Level 70
Apr 2, 2021
I think it's very funny that "moops" is an accepted spelling of "moors" in this quiz :)
+1
Level 50
May 2, 2021
Can you make Khalif an acceptable answer for Caliph?
+1
Level 15
Nov 21, 2022
Didn't know how to spell "Caliph"
+1
Level 84
Nov 24, 2022
accept naphtha for greek fire