Many scholars are tempted to speak not of an emergence, but a rebirth or reawakening of thought in the Middle Ages, as if the ideas of antiquity had simply been put on hold for a while and then resumed. The image is, however, not just clichéd, but also misleading. We awake refreshed, perhaps, but not fundamentally changed or reinvented. After two and a half centuries, from ca. 525 to ca. 775, when there seems to have been no philosophizing, Latin Europe did not simply reassume, a little bleary eyed, its former philosophical existence. Indeed, it is even uncertain what that former existence would have been. Late ancient philosophy as practiced in the great Platonic schools of Athens and Alexandria? No; its links with medieval Latin thought, as opposed to Byzantine and Islamic thought, were partial and indirect. Ancient Latin philosophy? But that was hardly a tradition, just a handful of books and authors. Instead of envisaging a reawakening, then, it is more profitable to picture the emergence of a set of cultural circumstances utterly different from those of the ancient world, even once it had been christianized, and then to see in what way people began philosophizing within them. This is the aim of the first two parts of this chapter: the first outlines the places, institutional and intellectual, where philosophy took place from the late eighth to the twelfth century; the second looks at the ways in which thinkers thought philosophically within them – both externally, through written forms, and internally, through forms of argument. In the much briefer third part, I try to justify some of my choices – the way I have identified philosophy, and my marking out ca. 780 – ca. 1200 (for short: ‘the early Middle Ages’) as a discrete period in Latin philosophy.