A term of no definite period, but varying a little with almost every nation. In France it was from Clovis to Louis XI. (481 to 1461). In England, from the Heptarchy to the accession of Henry VII. (409 to 1485). In universal history it was from the overthrow of the Roman Empire to the revival of letters (the fifth to the fifteenth century).
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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