The Middle Ages lasted roughly from 476-1453 A.D. This timeline offers a glimpse of some of the rough dates in this continuum. I created this timeline to accompany a presentation I recently gave on the Middle Ages.
LATE ROMAN EMPIRE
165 – AD Antonine plague brought back to Rome from Near east, spread to Gaul – small pox and measles.
249 – 262 AD Cyprian plague wide spread loss of life for more than a decade throughout the Roman Empire.
250 – Begins 300 years of extreme weather variances.
200’s – The Burgundians are believed to have emigrated from the east to the Baltic island of Bornholm “the island of the Burgundians” in Old Norse. Then within a few years moved to the continent near Poland, and then east of the Rhine. Continued strong ties with the east and independence of spiritual practice.
284–Roman emperor Diocletian (r. 284-305); divides Roman empire into Western and Eastern sections
300 – The Burgundians adopted a form of Arian Christianity.
312 – Constantine victory in battle by a vision in the sky of a cross and the sun
325 – Council of Nicaea, defined orthodox Christian belief, enforcement of doctrinal consensus, suppression of Arianism, establishment of conventional date for Resurrection celebration
330 – Constantine replaced Old Saint Peter’s Basilica
358 – Germanic Goths and Asian Huns invaded north of the Black Sea
386 – St. Jerome founded monasteries in Bethlehem
390 -Theodosius, Roman emperor made Christianity into the official religion of the Roman empire (391); instigated persecution of pagans throughout the empire and the destruction of the pagan temple of Serapis (the Serapeum), along with the remaining collections of the former Library of Alexandria
395 – Roman empire divided into Eastern and Western
– Visigoths sacked Argos, Eleusis, Sparta
400 – massive westward movement of Germanic populations, into Roman territories
410 – Visigoths sacked Rome – Romans abandon Britain to defend Rome
415 — Spain achieved independence from Rome
418 —Visigoths settled in Aquitaine
420 —death of Jerome (340-420), Christian theologian, author of the Vulgate, Latin translation of the Bible used during the Middle Ages
430 – death of Augustine of Hippo, author of Confessions and The City of God
443 — Burgundians settled near Lyon, France. Fought alongside Visigoths.
449 —Anglo-Saxon invaded Britain
453– St. Patrick commissioned as missionary to Ireland
462— Visigoths invaded Spain
476–Roman Empire is greatly weakened… Emperor Romulus Augustulus deposed by Germanic Scirii and Heruli allies of Rome
493 – Burgundians extended power over northern Italy, western Switzerland & France.
BEGINNING OF THE MIDDLE AGES
482-511 – Merovingian Dynasty began—Clovis I, king of the Franks, queen Clotilda (d. 548)
500–King Arthur, semi-legendary Celtic leader resisted Anglo-Saxon invasions of Britain [his existence not historically attested]
507 —Clovis defeated Visigoths, driving them to the Iberian peninsula.
520 —Boethius (d. 524), philosopher and author of the Consolation of Philosophy, executed by Theodoric, Ostrogoth ruler of Rome
526 – St. Benedict wrote his Rule
528 – Byzantine architecture – Brick, dome roofs, mosaics.
536 – Byzantine Empire conquers Italy
550 – Saint Benedict (d. 550), “father of Western monasticism,” author of the Rule of Saint Benedict died.
–Justinian, emperor of Byzantium (r. 527-565), compiled a systematization of Roman law
563- Columbanus founds monastery at Iona, Scotland
576 – Western Roman Empire falls
578–St. Brendan dies – Irish missionary famous for his sea voyages (perhaps going as far as Canada around 530) and encounters with sea monsters
597 – death of St. Columba, Irish missionary active among the Picts in Scotland; associated with first recorded sighting of the legendary Loch Ness monster
597 – Augustine arrived in England, first Archbishop of Canterbury -Christianized Anglo-Saxons
600 – King Aethelbert of Kent (r. 580-616) accepted Christianity
610 – Eastern sector of old Roman Empire became known as the Byzantine Empire
622 – Mohammed journey from Mecca to Medina, first year of Muslim calendar
635 – St. Aidan founded Lindesfarne
663 – Synod of Whitby – Celtic Christianity was absorbed into Roman Christianity.
665 – Moorish invasions began
700 – 1000 – Beowulf story setting – 975 – 1010 date of manuscript
711 – Arab conquest of Iberia (Spain) (Gibraltar “Tariq”) establishment of Al-Andalus
732 –Charles Martel, leader of the Franks; victory over Arabs at Battle of Tours-Poitiers
750 –Carolingian dynasty begins Pepin the Short, king of the Franks
723 –Saint Boniface cut down Thor’s Oak, sacred oak tree of the Germanic tribes.
778 — Battle of Roncesvaux Pass , where Basques defeated Roland (hero of Chanson de Roland, c. 1150) of Charlemagne’s armies
793 – Vikings sacked Lindisfarne & invaded England
800 – Charlemagne crowned king of the Franks and Holy Roman Emperor
–Harun al-Rashid, caliph of Baghdad wrote One Thousand & One Arabian Nights
–Louis I the Pious, king of the Franks crowned Holy Roman Emperor (r. 814-840)
–London sacked by Vikings (842)
800 – Romanesque architecture appears with rounded arches & thick walls.
850 – Alfred the Great, king of Wessex England (r. 871-899), resists Viking expansion in England (There is a great series on Netflix called The Last Kingdom about this guy!)
900 – Vikings invade Russia -trades with Byzantine Empire into 12th c.
-Otto I, Saxon king of Germany and Holy Roman Emperor
909 -William I of Aquitaine founded Cluny.
911 – Normans (Scandinavian “North-men”) settle in northern France
987 – Hugh Capet crowned king of France began Capetian dynasty
HIGH MIDDLE AGES
1000 – Aethelred, the Unready, Anglo-Saxon king of England, besieged by Vikings
1016 —Danish kings of England (1016-1042), Canute, Harold Harefoot, Hardecanute
1042 – Reign of Edward the Confessor began
1050 – East-West Schism (1054), separation of Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church; mutual excommunication of Pope Leo IX and Patriarch Michael Cerularius
1061 – 1091 – Norman conquest of Sicily
1066 – death of Edward the Confessor, one of the last Anglo-Saxon kings
– Battle of Hastings (October 14, 1066);Norman invasion of England by William/Conqueror
– William I, king of England (r. 1066-1087)
1073 – Norman castles building campaign in England started, including the Tower of London
1075 – Pope Gregory VII (Hildebrand) declared the supremacy of the Church, terminated the right of secular rulers to appoint ecclesiastical officials,
1077 – Normans conquered Amalfi coast.
1084 – Bruno founded the Carthusians
1085 – The Domesday book completed – England’s earliest surviving public record
1090 – Bernard of Clairvaux was born in northern France.
1095 – First Crusade (1095-1099) launched by Pope Urban II
– death of El Cid (Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar), Spanish hero of the Reconquista campaigns against the Arabs in Spain
1098 – Robert Molêsme founded Cistercian order
– Hildegard von Bingen born in Germany
1099 – First Crusade captures Jerusalem, establishes Kingdom of Jerusalem, lasts until 1187.
1100 – 1450 Gothic Architecture appeared, taller, innovations, flying buttresses, ribbed vaulting.
1100 – peak of Medieval Warm Period (800-1300 AD), favorable weather spurs food production, economic prosperity and expansionism in Europe
–Mabinogion, collection of eleven Welsh stories including Kulhwch and Olwen (c. 1100) one of the earliest literary treatments of Arthurian legends
1103 – Duke William of Aquitaine (Eleanor’s grandfather) returned from Crusade singing Songs of Solomon – love songs
1112 – Knights of Malta formed by Friar Gerard de Montigues
1115 – Bernard founds Clairvaux & began preaching about the virgin Mary
1118 – Order of the Knights Templar – military religious order founded to support the Crusades and the presence of Europeans in the Holy Land; Templars became very wealthy and influential; eventually the Order was officially suppressed (1312) and many Templars executed or imprisoned, their property confiscated (1307-1314)
–Omar Khayyam (d. 1123), Arabic poet author of the Rubaiyat
–William of Poitiers (d. 1126), first of the troubadours
1126 – Abbot Suger began gothic renovations of Sant Denis
1128 – Knights Templar adopted the Cistercian rule
1136 – Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britanniae – History of the Kings of Britain, source of many Arthurian legends
1140 – El Cantar de Mio Cid (Song of El Cid), Spanish epic poem celebrating the exploits of Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar, El Cid (1040-1099)
-death of Peter Abelard (1079-1142), intellectual, philosopher, teacher, theologian and advocate of the use of logic and reason in the study of theology; bitterly denounced by Bernard de Clairvaux for his affair with Elouise.
1147 -Second Crusade (1147-1149), launched by Pope Eugenius III (d. 1153) and preached by St. Bernard de Clairvaux (1090-1153); led by Louis VII of France and Conrad III of Germany; ended in failure.
1150 – Chanson de Roland (Song of Roland), French epic poem telling of the deeds and death of the hero Roland at the Battle of Roncesvaux Pass (fictionalized as an encounter between Christians and Arabs). The Minnesänger tradition ~ texts appear along the Danube, developing separately from Provençal or Northern French ~ From around 1170, German lyric poets came under the influence of the Provençal troubadours and the Northern French trouvères. Then around 1190, they break free from French and create their own.
1153 – Bernard de Clairvaux died
1154 -reign of Henry II of England (House of Plantagenet, Angevine Empire) (r. 1154-1189), son of Matilda and grandson of Henry I; married in 1152 to Eleanor of Aquitaine (1122-1204) (Eleanor was divorced from Louis VII of France); Eleanor and Henry were the parents of Richard the Lion-Heart and John Lackland; Eleanor was patroness of French/Provençal courtly poets/troubadours.
1156 – Kremlin built in Moscow
1160 – Marie de France (second half of 12th c.) (perhaps a half sister of Henry II), wrote the Lais, Celtic/Breton verse narratives in octosyllabic couplets in Anglo-Norman language
1165 – Marie de Champagne (1145-1198), daughter of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Louis VII of France; patroness of the arts and of authors Chrétien de Troyes and Andreas Capellanus (The Art of Courtly Love, 1184-1186).
–Chrétien de Troyes (fl. 1165-1180), author of romances in French octosyllabic couplets, Erec et Enide, Cliges, Lancelot, Yvain, Perceval, major influence on subsequent Arthurian literature
1170 -Thomas a Becket is murdered in Canterbury Cathedral
-Frederick I Barbarossa, Holy Roman Emperor (r. 1155-1190), Hohenstaufen dynasty
1181 – Cretien de Troyes wrote Perceval poem,
1182 – St Frances of Assisi born
1184 – The first of many Inquisitions begins
1187 – Fall of the Kingdom of Jerusalem.
1190 – Third Crusade (1189-1192), ended in failure; Frederick Barbarossa drowns on the way to the Holy Land
– King Richard the Lion-Heart, of England (r. 1189-1199), son of Henry II & Eleanor of Aquitaine; Third Crusade to reclaim Jerusalem.
1200 – Fourth Crusade (1202-1204),against Christian Byzantine Empire; sack of Constantinople 1204 -John Lackland, king of England loses Normandy; leading to Magna Carta (1215)
1202 Wolfram v. Eschenbach writes Perzival
1209 –St Francis of Assisi visits Pope Innocent III
–Albigensian Crusade (1209-1229), directed against Albigensian/Cathar heretics in southern France,
1212 –Children’s Crusade
1214 -1215 – Barons revolt
1214 – 1294 – Roger Bacon the Franciscan friar who wrote mysterious deciphered manuscript. http://www.voynich.nu/… Born in England, studied and taught in Paris & Oxford, then became a Franciscan friar 1260. Imprisoned 1277 unorthodox, yet early scientist
1215 – Magna Carta signed – imposed by English barons
1220 -Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor (r. 1220-1250), Hohenstaufen dynasty; enlightened ruler, intellectual, and patron of the arts and sciences;
1227 – death of Genghis Khan leader of the Mongols
1220-1230 -Grail Vulgate – popular( Lancelot Grail Cycle) including illuminated miniatures.
1231—Inquisition established to persecute of heretics after the end of the Albigensian Crusade
1240 – Water-powered sawmills come into use across Europe
1242 – merchant ships begin using convoy system for protection from Pirates.
1241 – Hanseatic League formed by Baltic German Cities to suppress piracy
– Mongols of the Golden Horde reach Hungary, destroying the land & culture
1249 – Roger Bacon recorded the existence of explosives… GUN POWDER
1250 – Moses de Leon was born in Leon, Spain, near Castille. Affiliated with Gnostics & Kabbalists, & Hermeticism, – wrote the Sepher ha-Zohar, the Book of Splendor.
1252 – Inquisition begins to use instruments of torture
1253 – England begins manufacturing linen
– Genoa and Florence introduce gold coinage
1254 – Marco Polo was born
1260 – Meister Eckhart was born. (d.1327)
1264 – Thomas Aquinas wrote Summa Contra Gentiles
– Bacon writes De Computo Naturali then in 1266 Opus Maius
1265 – Dante Aligieri was born in Florence
1272 – Edward I, Longshanks, in England (r. 1272-1307), son of Henry III, invaded Scotland,
1273 – Sufi Poet Rumi died in Persia – Moorish Mystic
1274 – death of St. Thomas Aquinas (b.1225), theologian & author of the Summa Theologica.
– Marco Polo in service of Kublai Khan
1277 Roger Bacon imprisoned for heresy
1278 – 278 Jews hanged in London for clipping coins
1280 – Albertus Magnus, Bishop of Regensburg (Alchemist)near Cologne died
1290 – Dante wrote “ La Vita Nuova”
1291 – Fall of Acre
1292 – Tarifa (Strait of Gibraltar) recaptured by Castillians from the Moors.
1294 – Roger Bacon died. War breaks out between England & France.
1295 – Marco Polo returns to Venice, imprisoned in Genoa, published his tales of China
1296 – Scottish War of Independence begin against King Edward of England, lasts until 1314 with Battle of Bannockburn
1297 – Genoa defeated Venice at Curzola
1298 – King Edward of England defeated William Wallace in Scotland.
LATE MIDDLE AGES
1300 —end of the Medieval Warm Period and beginning of the Little Ice Age – lasted till 1500
1302 –Dante’s Divine Comedy (-321)
– Pope Boniface VIII (r. 1294-1303); conflicts with Philip IV of France, the Fair (le Bel) (r. 1285-1314); mentioned by Dante in the Inferno as one of the simoniac popes1300
– League of Cinque Ports formed to protect the English Channel from pirates.
– Apathacaries become popular in Germany.
– The use of eyeglasses became common.
– The first mechanical clocks appeared in Europe.
– Spinning wheel in use in Europe.
– Stone of Destiny is taken from Scotland.
1301 – King Andrew III of Hungary heirless; end to four centuries of Rule of Árpád dynasty
1302 – Crusaders are expelled from Holy Land.
– Dante was exiled from Florence, his property seized by papal backed Black Guelphs.
1307 – (7 Jul) Edward of England dies of dysentery in Cumbria
– Edward II succeeds to the Crown of England.
– (24 June ) Jaques de Molay met with Philip the Fair in Paris to discuss accusations raised against the Order. Reassured by this meeting, de Molay returned to Poitiers, but asked the Pope to launch an investigation intended to rid the Templars once and for all of suspicion.
– (12 Oct) King Phillip had named de Molay Godfather to his son. Molay served as poll bearer to Princess Catherine, the King’s daughter-in-law.
(13 Oct) The Knights Templar (including Jacques de Molay) arrested all across France under order of King Philip the Fair and Pope Clement at the Temple palace in Paris and subjected to tortured. Knights were coerced to confess to heinous crimes against nature, religion and morality.
1308 – Hungary, Charles Robert of Anjou becomes the first Angevin king of Hungary
1309 – The Grand Master of the Teutonic Order transfers his headquarters from Venice to Marienburg, in Prussia. The Knights Hospitaller occupy Rhodes.
1310 – Bishop of Mainz excommunicates the sisterhood of the Beguines, textile workers.
1312 – Council at Vienne, abolishes the Order of the Temple, condemns Beguine heresy.
1314 – Battle of Bannockburn & – Knights Templars are disbanded
1315 – Torrential rains, great famine, cold wet weather, glaciers advance; crop failures.
1316 – 10% of European population died from typhoid, dysentery, diphtheria. small pox.
1317 – Pope John XXII bans alchemy
1318 – Order of Christ succeeded Knights Templar in Portugal
1320 – The Declaration of Arbroath. Robert the Bruce and Scottish lords fight for Scots independence.
– Shepherd’s Crusade- attacks on Jews in Spain,
1327 – Edward III, king of England (r. 1327-1377), claim to French throne led to Hundred Years’ War (1337-1453) lost all English continental holdings.
1329 – King Robert the Bruce died. His son, David, succeeded him.
1335 – Carinthia and Carniola became part of the Hungarian Empire.
1338 – Hospitallers acquire Templar holdings in Scotland
1345 – Construction of the present Doge’s Palace begins in Venice.
1350–Black Death, epidemic of bubonic plague in Europe (1348-1351)
–Boccaccio’s Decameron (1353) Francesco Petrarca, Italian scholar, early founder of Humanism
1354 – The Shroud of Turin is mentioned for the first time.
1358 – Lubeck became headquarters of the Hanseatic League.
1365 – University of Orange founded in Arles, France. University of Wien founded in Austria.
1377 – Reign of Richard II in England began (son of Edward the Black Prince)
1381 – Peasants’ Revolt in England suppressed by Richard II
1382 – John Wycliffe translated the Bible into English.
1385 – Melrose Abbey was burned by King Richard II.
1387 – Abrahamlin was penned by a mystic German Jew Kabbalist
1394 – Jews were expelled from France again.
1398 – Christian Rosencruez founded the Rosicrucian Order.
1400 – Death of Geoffrey Chaucer (1343-1400), author of the Canterbury Tales (1386-1400)
1412 – Joan of Arc was born.
1414 – Medicis of Florence became papal bankers.
1413-1422: The reign of King Henry V (son of Henry IV)
1415 – Battle of Agincourt
1422-1461: The reign of King Henry VI (son of Henry V)
1429 – Joan of Arc – the siege of Orleans the Dauphin of France was crowned at Reims
1430 – Capture, trial, and execution of Joan of Arc
1434 – The Medici family rose to prominence in Florence
1452- Leonardo da Vinci was born
1450 – The invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg
1453 – Ottoman Turks capture Constantinople; Greek Byzantine culture retreats into Europe
-End of the Hundred Years’ War between France and England
1455 – Johann Gutenberg prints the first of his Bibles on his new printing press
– War of the Roses in England (1455-1485); York (white rose) vs. Lancaster (red rose),
1461-1483 -The reign of King Edward IV ( youngest son of Edward III)
– William Caxton sets up a printing press in Westminster
1483-1485 – The reign of King Richard III (uncle of Edward V)
1485 – The Wars of the Roses ends and the Tudor dynasty begins
END OF THE MIDDLE AGES ~ BEGINNING OF THE RENAISSANCE
AND a compilation of dates from 20 years of my other research notes.
This is incredible!!!! What a huge undertaking. Are you going to use it in one of your publications?
In college my favorite textbook was Norman F. Cantor, Medieval History: The Life and Death of a Civilization. (1963)
I still have it, and I took extensive notes in it.
I even kept track of words I did not yet know and made a glossary in the back of the book. One of the words was “celibacy .“ 🙂Others were “hegemony, exegesis, febrile, sinecure. ….and more. “ It’s amazing what a medieval history text can teach a 19 year old.
I’m heading to Denton this weekend for 2 Ph d defenses. I’m still on committees.
Love you. Miss you. Liz
Sent from my iPhone
Hello Liz! Thanks for your comments! I created this timeline as a handout to accompany a study club presentation. It is due to publish on this blog today. What you say about seldom used words is so true! It’s one of the many delicious facets of medieval studies! I am looking forward to seeing you after your summer in France! Linda