Any historical period called “late” is headed for interpretive trouble, and one called “late medieval” is probably doomed. Periodization is an artifice, as we know, yet also an art. Historians have entirely reconceived “late antiquity” over the past generation, transforming Roman decadence into an imperial and Christian culture three centuries long embracing the whole Mediterranean world, creative in its culture and foundational for societies that followed. But what of “late medieval”? In most textbooks the term comes paired still with “decline.” Humanists and Reformers first created the artifice of a “middle time,” a dismissive gesture toward the thousand years that separated them from the golden ages of antiquity and/or the early church. Nineteenth-century scientific historians introduced art into this artifice by dividing that amorphous millennium into semi-coherent sub-periods: “early” (400–1000), “high” (1000–1300), and a rump called “late” (1300–1500). Church history entered importantly into the characterizations, with the “late” period traditionally told as a series of catastrophes beginning with destructive confrontations between Pope Boniface VIII (d. 1303) and King Philip the Fair. The storyline for the two centuries that followed, whether treated as deepening darkness (traditional) or as an overripe autumn (Huizinga), depended on what came before and after. Early in the twentieth century, church historians introduced ecumenical and even ironic reversals: Catholic scholars, looking to their own reforms, conceded late medieval deviance and the need sometimes for reform; Protestant scholars, looking to a reform born of strength rather than decline, found a late Middle Ages full of flourishing religiosity and even modernizing initiatives. Others, skeptical of the Reformation as marking any decisive turn toward modernity (vs. Hegel), delighted in finding all manner of cults, relics, prophecies, and zealots still among these new Protestants. Oberman and McGinn by contrast have reconceived the fields of theology and mysticism, Huizinga's autumnal evanescence becoming a golden harvest. All the same—and this only a bit overstated—many Reformation histories still essentially start the world anew in the 1520s, now speaking German, and too many medieval histories still close their story with fourteenth-century “decline,” an apocalyptic onslaught of plague, revolt, schism, and war.