260 Chapter 13 is the first of four chapters dealing with the Western Christian tradition during the Middle Ages, meaning the roughly 1,000 years between the fall of the Roman Empire in the West (476) and the Renaissance and the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century. They are deemed “middle” according to a common division of history into three phases: ancient, medieval (from the Latin word for “middle age”), and modern, in which “modernity” was understood to begin with the Renaissance and the Reformation. As the Introduction to Part IV will explain, this conventional threefold division of time is an unsatisfactory solution to the problem of giving shape to historical time. Not only does it simplify a millennium of complex developments, but it fosters false notions of a clean and sharp break between periods, and uncritical notions of “progress.”