As an epithet for an historical period extending over roughly a millennium, Middle Age(s) (and the derivative Latinate adjective medieval) was coined by those scholars of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries who would later be categorised as humanists. They saw themselves, and are still seen, as central to the cultural movement known as the Renaissance. They affected to believe that they lived in a new age of their making, distinct from and superior to the postclassical barbarism – the medium aevum – which had immediately preceded it. But their resurrection of antiquity and disparagement of its intervening aftermath did not mean that that aftermath should remain forever consigned to the obscurity in which its degenerate ignorance had shrouded it.