Middle Ages The barbarism of this period may be said to have begun about A.D. 510, when the barbarians had made an eruption into the West very prejudicial to the interests of literature. Learning was preserved in the bishops' schools and monasteries: the works of ancient authors were kept in the libraries of the monasteries, but the libraries of monks and churchmen were composed chiefly of ecclesiastical and ascetic works. Greek literature was generally neglected, Latin but poorly cultivated; rhetoric was turned into bombast, the liberal arts comprised within a few rules, and the study of philosophy abandoned and decried. This barbarism almost extinguished the light (hence the name "Dark Ages") and life of Christianity, as the influence of the Church in the course of its previous corruption had already suppressed ancient literature. See Riddle's Eccl. Chronicles; Eden, Theol. Dict.; Farrar, Eccles. Dict.