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The Middle Ages form the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three "ages": the classical civilization of Antiquity, the Middle Ages and Modern Times. The Middle Ages are commonly dated from the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century to the beginning of the Renaissance in the 15th century.
A period of great change in culture, politics, science, society, agriculture and economics, the Middle Ages witnessed the first sustained urbanization of northern and western Europe. Modern European states owe their origins to events unfolding in the Middle Ages; European political boundaries as of 2007 are, in many regards, the result of the military and dynastic achievements in this tumultuous period.