Timeline of the Middle Ages

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. 


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.


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


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, YvainPerceval, 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.


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







AND a compilation of dates from 20 years of  my other research notes.