In the modern popular imagination, the middle ages have generally had a bad press, compared unfavourably with the classical civilizations which preceded it, the Renaissance flowering which followed it – or even the Islamic and Byzantine centres of scholarship and learning alongside medieval Europe. However, the thousand or so years between the fall of Rome and the high Renaissance cover a wide range of conditions. In the midst of this period, at the start of the second millenium, lies a period which deserves greater attention from anyone interested in the history of the church, or of homosexuality, or (most particularly) of the intersection of the two. This was a period of the most visible, most public "gay" sub-culture in Europe before the late twentieth century. It was also a great age of church reform – and despite strong pressure from vocal opponents, the church reformers generally ignored it.