The Dark Ages are the period of time following the collapse of the EVE Gate and the reemergence of the empires onto the galactic stage.
These times are shrouded in mystery. It is known that the EVE Gate wormhole closure led to a collapse of civilization. During these cold and deadly times, settlements floundered and died off, and those few who managed to survive did so in starving desperation.
There does exist some evidence that new societies arose and even that they achieved levels of technology that are breathtaking even to present time citizens of New Eden. How these ancient races lived, progressed and died, however, is unknown. We encounter their relics from time to time, and look at them in mystification.
Eventually they, too, disappeared, as all things do; and New Eden lay quiet.