As I said--"A thousand years without a bath," until Erasmus laid the egg that Luther hatched.
I'm a Medieval historian BTW and I have to disagree (otherwise where is the discussion!). The extent of the Dark Ages is over estimated. Remember by the end of the Empire in the West things were fairly crap anyway: Constantine had to recycle old sculpture for his arch because there were no sculptors of sufficient skill to carve new ones and the Empire limped on another 150yrs after him.
Yes the invaders did destroy much of the infrastructure but recent (ish) research shows a much greater survival than had been thought (cf Wendy Davis and Peter Heather). The idea that the invaders came along and "switched off the lights" for the next thousand years misses the fact that the Empire itself had been busy switching them off for at least 150 if not 200 yrs before.
It was politically prudent for Charlemagne to edit written history when he became Emperor in 800 this involved collecting all manuscripts that he could find and having the ones he wanted to keep copied into his new script and binning all the rest. Consequently we only know of many texts from references in those that survived the purges.
I should also mention the monastic scriptoria, the universities (even the Cathedral School of Aachen) which taught the Classical trivium
in addition to medicine (esp at Bologna) as well as Canon and Civil Law, International Banking (admittedly not til 11th century), experimental science (Friar Bacon, Albertus Magnus), philosophy (Aquinas, Albertus Magnus(again), Marsillus of Padua, John of Paris etc), Poetry, Abbot Suger and the Gothic Cathedrals in addition to the Law Codes of the Visgoths and various English Codices that all contain elements of Roman Law.
Shall we just agree to differ as greater minds than ours have argued this for many years?