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6th Century

501 - The Moldboard Plow

"I am a soldier of Christ. I must not fight." St Martin.

The iron-tipped moldboard plow is invented, helping to make agriculture more efficient.


505 - Hun Invasions

Hun invasion through Caucasus allies Byzantium and Sassanians to fight common threat.


506 - King Alaric the Second

Issue of ‘Breviarium’ (Roman law code) by Visigothic King Alaric the Second.


507 - Clovis, King of the Franks

Frankish conquest of the Visigothic kingdom in south-west Gaul under King Clovis.


511 - Frankish Kingdom Divided

Frankish kingdom divided into four on the death of King Clovis.


522 - Axumite

Axumite occupation of Yemen.


524 - Boethius

Composition of Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius while awaiting execution.


525 - Monte Cassino

Foundation of Monte Cassino monastery by St Benedict and composition of his rule.Priscian writes his grammar.


526 to 565 - Slavs

Gradual penetration of Balkans by Slav tribes.

Death of Theodoric.

Death of Anthimus, Theodoric’s Greek doctor.


527 - Monastery of St Catherine

In a hollow at the foot of Mount Sinai Byzantine emperor Justinian builds a fortified monastery over the site of the legendary burning bush. The monastery was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and later rededicated to Saint Catherine. The siege castle was built over an earlier church and for security the main gate was walled up making the basket lift the only way in or out for goods and people.

Emperor Justinian temporarily recovers Italy, North Africa and parts of Spain.


529 - Academy of Athens

Emperor Justinian orders the closing of the Academy of Athens which was founded in 387 B.C.E.

Promulgation by Justinian of first edition of the new Roman law code (Codex Iustinianus).


531 - Ethiopia

Byzantine Emperor Justinian sends Christian missionaries to Axum (Ethiopia)


532 - Nika Riot

Serious uprising against Justinian in Constantinople.


532 to 537 - Hagia Sophia

The church of Hagia Sophia (Sacred Wisdom) is built in Constantinople under the direction of Emperor Justinian. It has the world’s largest dome.


533 - Emperor Justinian

Emperor Justinian sends a large army to destroy the Vandals. Byzantine reconquest of Vandal Africa by general Belisarius. The last King of the Vandals, Gelimer, is brought back to Constantinople to be executed.


534 - King Cedric

Death of King Cedric. First king of West Saxons. Founder of British Monarchy.

Byzantines control North Africa after their defeat of Vandal kingdom.

Byzantine occupation of Sicily.

The Franks conquer the Burgundian Kingdom in eastern Gaul.


534 to 560 - King Cynric

English monarch.


535 - Italy

Byzantine invasion of Italian mainland.


537 - Alfred the Great

Alfred, king of the Britons, is killed in the Battle of Camlan.


539 - Byzantine / Sassanian War

Second Byzantine-Sassanian War under Emperor Justinian.


540 - Antioch

Silkworms are secretly brought back to Byzantium hidden in hollow canes by emissaries to China.

Silk production starts in Byzantium.


540 - Silk Worms

Foundation of English Settlements in Britain.


541 - Buddhism

Buddhism reaches Japan.


542 to 594 - Justinian Plague

Named after the Byzantine Emperor the Justinian Plague starting in Constantinople kills a quarter of the population of Europe by 544 and half by 594.


547 - St Benedict


550 - Turk Chief Bumin

Nomadic Turks, led by Bumin, invade Central Asia from the east founding Turkestan. The displaced Avars push west to the Danube Valley. The Avars push the Slavs south of the Danube over the Balkan mountains and those who straggle toward the Adriatic Sea are captured by the very able Venetian sailors who ply their slave trade with Egypt. In a historical footnote Slav would give us the word slave.

After being fought back by native Britons, Germanic tribes once again begin to invade England, driving Britons west into Cornwall and the Welsh marches.


551 - Cartagena

Occupation of Cartagena and south-eastern Spain by Byzantines.


554 - Ostrogoths

End of Ostrogothic resistance in Italy.


560 to 591 - King Ceawlin

English monarch.


563 - St Columba

Celtic Christianity

St Columba founds the monastery at Iona after being sentenced to perpetual exile from his native Ireland. Iona becomes the mother church of Celtic Christians. His missionaries were responsible for converting the pagan Picts on the mainland of Scotland and even into northern England.


568 - The Lombards

Pushed westwards by invading Avars the Germanic Lombards (Long-Beards) cross south of the Alps and found a kingdom around the river Po.

The Lombards overrun northern Italy making it their own.


570 August 20 - The Prophet

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is born in Mecca.

Axumites (Ethiopians) invade Hijaz but fail to take Mecca.


572 to 591 - Byzantine / Persian War

Renewed war between Byzantium and Persia.


573 - King Alboin

From northwestern Germany, Lombard King Alboin, who had murdered his wife’s father and used his skull as a drinking mug, attacks the peoples of Venice but the skilled horsemen were not able to navigate the isolated islands of Venice.

The Catholic bishop of Altino made his way to the Venetian island of Torcello to escape the barbarians bringing with him a large part of the cities population.


574 - Yemen

Sassanian Persian occupation of Yemen.


575 - Cassiodorus

Death of Cassiodorus.


576 - The Orphan

Mohammad (pbuh) is orphaned by age six and is taken under the protection of his uncle, the chief of the clan.


581 - Monte Cassino

Monte Cassino destroyed.


582 - Sirmium

Fall of Sirmium, leading to invasion of Balkans by Avars and their Slav allies.


585 - King Leovigild

Sueve kingdom in north-west Spain taken over by Visigothic King Leovigild.


587 - King Reccared

Conversion of Visigothic King Reccared to Catholicism.


590 to 604 - Pope Gregory the Great

Shortly after Gregory became a monk he saw some boys being sold as slaves in the marketplace of Rome. Struck by their white skins and blond hair they were being sold as Angles (English) to which he replied “Non Angli, sed angeli.” (Not Angles, but angels.) Learning they were from Deira in northeast England he remarked with conviction “From the wrath (de ira) of God they must be delivered. He set out for England only to return three days later by popular demand.

Made Pope in 590 against his will but no task was too small and set about standardizing the music for services. The haunting melodies becoming Gregorian chants.

Gregory begins the secular power of the papacy in Rome and alienates the Roman Church from Byzantine influence.

Pope Gregory formally identified Mary Magdalene with the prostitute of Luke 7:37-50.


590 - St Columbanus

Arrival of Columbanus and companions in Gaul.


591 to 597 - King Ceolric

English monarch.


595 - Mohammad Marries

Mohammad (pbuh) marries Hedija.


597 - Saint Augustine the Second

Gregory, the prior of a monastery in Rome, assigned Augustine the task of converting the English.

Augustine’s mission to England was fraught with trepidation. The reputation of pagan savages filled his company of forty monks with fear. His mission begins the conversion of the population of Kent.

Augustine establishes the first archbishopric at the cathedral of Canterbury becoming England’s first Archbishop of Canterbury and the primate of England’s Mother Church.


597 - 611 - King Coelwulf

English monarch.


600 - Slave Trade

Beginning of extensive slave trade from sub-Saharan Africa to the Mediterranean.

Improvements in yokes and collars allow animals to pull heavier plows and loads. New methods of crop rotation increases production and population.