The idea that the Middle Ages were “dark ages” has been exaggerated a lot. In fact the Middle ages are split into three distinct time periods, which were all quite different from each other. There are the Early, High, and Late Middle Ages. Despite the reputation for being a time when there were no moves forward in Europe, there were actually many important achievements.
The Middle Ages lasted from about 500-1500, the time between the end of the Roman Empire and the Renaissance. The Early Middle Ages were probably the time that most fits the term Dark Ages, even though even they weren t all bad.