Medieval Europe 400-1400: Catacombs, cathedrals, Giotto, and more. Community Questions A beginner's guide to medieval Europe The Middle Ages lasted 1000 years. Learn how manuscripts were made, how medieval calendars worked, and how Christ's life was represented. Books and the dissemination of knowledge in medieval Europe Before the invention of print, books were written by hand and made at the request of a reader. Because each book was unique, they can tell us about how people consumed knowledge and interacted with it. Early Christian Persecutions of Christians ended in Rome with Emperor Constantine. 4th century churches, tombs and catacombs decorated with Christian imagery can still be visited. Byzantine (late Roman Empire) Constantinople (now Istanbul) was the capital of the late Roman empire, but its ethereal mosaics, ivories, and metalwork depart from classical naturalism. Latin (Western) Europe Learn about the Anglo-Saxons, Charlemagne, the crusades, dazzling stained glass in soaring Gothic cathedrals, the Black Death and the early brilliance of Florence and Siena.