It's clear that middle ages is a term from the Renaissance. My question is:

What names did scholars use during the middle ages for their period?

Well, of course middle ages is a single name for a very heterogeneous period that covers aprox. 1000 years, so different periods of the middle-ages might have different names and of course, in the same period many names could have been used by different people. So every name is welcome and wanted.

edit: I know this is a broad question, but I don't think it's too broad. I don't want a comprehensive list, I'm just curious about any names you could remember :)

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    I think they called it "the present". Why would they have a name for the period in which they live? – Mark C. Wallace Feb 29 '16 at 15:33
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    @MarkC.Wallace Well, I agree it's a "modern" phenomenon to have a name for "the present", but we do have various names for our time period -- modern, post-war, post cold war and so on. It's not unreasonable to expect that people in the middle ages might have had some name for current time period, imo, although that name would vary from region to region, and throughout the ~1000 years. – taninamdar Feb 29 '16 at 16:13
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    I mostly agree with tninamdar that the question is way too broad, not only because of different people having different categories, but to different granularity of several "ages". You could try to categorize events related to who was the King or Pope at the moment, or through dinasties, or even in a broader form en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_Ages_of_the_World – SJuan76 Feb 29 '16 at 16:27
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    I have a strong feeling that the average peasant in rural Gorizia would have called his time of life what the contemporaneous term for hell on earth was. In the middle 1300's was famine, the Black Death, changed weather patterns, and to top it all off, the Hundred Years war. Not a very good time to eak out an existence. People were doing their level best to survive, and not worrying about what to call the times. – CGCampbell Mar 4 '16 at 13:41
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    I've got to be honest, from the title I completely misinterpreted this question. – Nathan Cooper Mar 10 '16 at 21:00

Joachim Of Fiore (1135 – 30 March 1202) divided history into 3 ages according to the Holy Trinity:

  1. The age of marriage (God)
  2. The age of holiness (Christ, the son of God)
  3. The age of the second coming, ie the impending future (the Holy Ghost)

Erasmus in his work Ratio verae theologie (1519) divided the history of the world into five ages:

  1. The age of the old testament
  2. The age of John the Baptist
  3. The age of Christ
  4. The age of the Christian Empires
  5. The age of Tyranny

Where the time since the vikings (850 AD) is the current age, being a time of secular kings who have "degenerated" away from Christianity in the view of Erasmus.

Note that both schemes vaguely imagine an unnamed pre-Bible age where marriage was unknown, a sort of "pre-god" period in which the earth was populated by heathens.

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    In the first scheme, was the "present" 2 or 3? Clearly Christ was over thousand years ago, and the impending future is... well future. – taninamdar Mar 7 '16 at 1:10
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    In that system they were in the Age of Christ, but the second coming was believed to be coming shortly, ie in the immediate future. – Tyler Durden Mar 7 '16 at 2:38

Short answer: "The Present". Shorter answer: "Now".

Longer answer: "The date in the dating system used in their time and place. Or so many thousands of years since the biblical creation of the world. For example the Medieval Jewish calendar dated the creation to 3761 BC, and the medieval Byzantine calendar dated the creation to 5509 BC. Thus a Byzantine Christian and Jew could disagree about the age of the universe by 1,748 years.

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