Ancient History/Rome/Coming of the Dark Ages
This period should be called The Middle Ages or the neo-Keltic Ages.
Originally the term "The Dark Ages" referred to the relative lack of information about the period at the start of the 19th century, when the term was coined. Later it became synonymous with "underdeveloped period". In the second half of the 20th Century more and more information has been recovered and interpreted, and it is becoming clearer and clearer that the period between ca. 500 AD and ca. 1500 AD is neither unknown nor underdeveloped. In fact, the return to natural law in combination with ancient (Roman) laws and habits supported the start of a new empire in Europe: The Frankish Empire. Out of the Frankish Empire developed the different peoples, states and countries (in Europe and later throughout the world through colonialism) that we know today. There is a direct line from the new empire of Clovis (Merovingian), Charlemagne (Franks), William the Conqueror (Norman-English) to the Hapsburg Kingdom (Hispano-Austrian) of the 16th Century.
All eras have been ruled by a stringent rule of law supported by force. No force - no law, but force could not be applied without legal stature or the consequences could be dire. Law developed from the rules of Charlemagne. Many additions and changes in interpretations were introduced as the ruling powers tried to enhance their strength, always afraid of losing their position at the first sign of weakness. However, it is now clear that European (and later Western) society did not start in the modern era with Renaissance Italy, but rather developed from the growing powers of the Middle Ages, starting directly after the destruction of the Western Roman Empire.