Timeline from the roman principate to the beginning of the reformation



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-Islam now has a huge empire. All are obliged to pay zakat, but it’s not enough. Further taxes begin to be imposed on non-Muslims.

- many subjects convert to Islam, either to pay less tax (only zakat), or because of the simplicity of the religion

-up to now, Islam and Arabian race have been identified. Now, there are numerous non-Arab Muslims, especially Persians, who in many ways seem superior to their Arab conquerors (more cultured, more educated, more experienced in governing, etc.)

-Classes begin to appear in the Islamic Empire:

1. The Arab Muslims

2. Non-Arab Muslims (mawalis)

3. Jews and Christians (People of the Book)

4. Zoroastrians (the ancient religion of Persia)

5. Slaves: Greeks, Turks, Armenians, Berbers, Black Africans

680 A.D. – Ali’s son Husayn is caught joining rebels in Karbala. He is killed there, and his head is sent to Damascus. This makes a section of Islam break off: the Shiat Ali, or “faction of Ali.” They declare that Ali alone and his family have been legitimate caliphs. This is the Sunni-Shi’ite split, which still is a cause of tension today. The Shi’ites celebrate the death of Husayn every year on the feast of Ashura.

711 A.D. – The Muslims enter Spain.

725 A.D.—The Muslims have conquered all of Spain, with their Spanish capital at Córdoba.

717 A.D. – The Muslim forces besiege Constantinople.

718 A.D.—The forces of Constantinople destroy the Muslim ships with the mysterious weapon called Greek Fire.

732 A.D. – The Battle of Tours: the forces of Islam are stopped by the Frankish leader, Charles Martel (“the Hammer”). He is not their king, but rather a mayor of the palace. He had succeeded in reuniting the Franks after the disunity that resulted from the death of Clovis, and now he leads them to victory, and stops the spread of Islam any further.

After the death of King Clovis (511 A.D.), the Frankish Kingdom eventually split into three kingdoms: Neustria, Austrasia, and Burgundy. Each one has a king, but eventually an official known as the major domus, or “mayor of the palace,” begins to become the more important administrators of these kingdoms. This is especially true for Charles Martel (“the Hammer”), who manages to unite the three kingdoms to face the threat of Muslim expansion.

732 A.D. – Charles Martel stops a force of Muslims at the Battle of Tours. This effectively stops the Muslim expansion into Europe from the West (the Muslims retain Spain).

741 A.D.—Charles Martel dies and is succeeded by his son Pepin the Short as mayor of the palace.

750 A.D. – In Damascus, Syria, Abu Al-Abbas, a distant cousin of Muhammed, makes use of Persian and Shi’ite discontent to overthrow the Umayyad dynasty in the entire Muslim world except for Spain. This is the beginning of the Abbassid dynasty of Islam. Shortly after they take power, the Abbassids convert back to Sunni Islam.

751 A.D. – Pepin the Short deposes the last of the Merovingian Kings and is himself crowned King of the united Franks. Thus begins the Carolingian Line.

762 A.D. – In the Middle East, the Abbassid dynasty builds a new capital city called Baghdad.

768 A.D.—Pepin dies and is succeeded by his son Charles, known to history as Charlemagne (Charles the Great). He is a tall, strong, intelligent, and very energetic ruler, as well as an excellent military leader. During his 46-year reign, he goes on 54 military campaigns.

773 A.D. – Charlemagne defeats the Lombards, who have been encroaching on Papal territory.

778 A.D. – The Spanish March: Charlemagne heads South with his men in order to try to retake Spain from the Muslims. The fighting is hard, but Charlemagne does manage to take a small piece of Northern Spain and add it to his own Empire. This campaign goes down into legend, particularly in the French epic, The Song of Roland.

781 A.D.—The Byzantine regent Irene (who calls herself Emperor) offers to engage her son, Constantine VI, to Charlemagne’s daughter Rotrud. Charlemagne accepts. But the marriage never happens: Irene falls out of favor when she attacks Benevento in Italy, tries to call an ecumenical council. The marriage never happens.

787 A.D. – Charlemagne attacks the Bavarians (modern-day South Germany). He defeats them the following year. This expands his domain to the East and puts him into the contact with the Slavs and Avars. In battling with them, he eventually makes the Slavic states into tributary nations (i.e., not part of his kingdom, but they pay Charlemagne), but also manages to completely wipe out the Avars.

794 A.D. – Charlemagne establishes his capital at Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle in French), in modern-day Northwestern Germany. Up to this point, Charlemagne has had no capital: his court just followed him on all of his travels.

797 A.D. – The Byzantine “Emperor” Irene blinds her own son, Constantine VI, after he attempts to lead a rebellion against her. The Pope begins to lose trust in the Byzantine Empire as the protector of Christendom.

800 A.D. – Charlemagne once again saves the Papal States from Lombard rebellion.

Dec. 25th, 800 A.D. – In a visit to Rome, after the Christmas Mass, Pope Leo III (apparently) surprises Charlemagne by crowning him “Emperor of the Romans.” This is the beginning of the Holy Roman Empire (though it is not yet called that), will last until 1809.

804 A.D. – After hard battle, Charlemagne defeats the Saxons in Northern Germany. The conditions of their treaty stipulate that they all convert to Christianity. They do.

During his reign, Charlemagne vigorously promotes learning and culture:

he calls in monks to spread schools

The most famous of these monks, head of the Palatine School (at Charlemagne’s palace in Aachen) is Alcuin of York.

the monks set up many monastic schools all over the Empire

These schools teach Cassiodorus’ liberal arts: grammar, logic, rhetoric, arithmetic, geometry, music, astronomy.

in addition to teaching, they copy manuscripts: they invent a new handwriting called Carolingian Script, they write on vellum (papyrus is no longer available since Egypt is in Muslim hands); from this period we have 8000 manuscripts, and 90% of our access to classical Roman texts is due to this period’s preservation.

Charlemagne himself shows a great love of learning; e.g., he masters Latin and astronomy, but he never quite gets Greek.

Early 800’s A.D. – The Swedish Vikings invade and settle in modern-day Russia and Ukraine. They are known as the Varangians by others, but they call themselves the Ruotsi, which is where we get the word “Russian.”

814 A.D.—Charlemagne dies and is succeeded by his son, Louis the Pious.

827 A.D. – The Muslims conquer the island of Sicily, coming out of Tunisia in North Africa.

840 A.D.—Louis the Pious dies, and is succeeded by his son Lothar. The problem is that Lothar has three brothers.

843 A.D.—The Treaty of Verdun: Lothar and two of his brothers agree to split Charlemagne’s Empire into three pieces: Charles the Bald rules the Western Frankish Kingdom, Lothar retains the central Empire, and Louis the German rules the Eastern Frankish Kingdom. This is an important event, because it basically determines the cultural and territorial divide between what will become France (the Western Frankish Kingdom) and Germany (the Eastern Frankish Kingdom). For instance, in the Western Frankish Kingdom, they begin to speak a corrupt form of Latin that will eventually become French, whereas in the Eastern Frankish Kingdom, they continue to speak their Germanic native language.

843 A.D. – The Muslims of North Africa threaten the city of Rome itself, but do not manage to make good on their threat.

850 A.D. – The Norwegian Vikings begin attacking Ireland.

855 A.D. – Lothar dies.

860 A.D. – In Byzantium, the Viking Russians besiege Constantinople, but then suddenly leave when Patriarch Photius marches around the city with the mantle of the Blessed Virgin. The Vikings go off and bother the Arab Muslims now.

867 A.D. – Basil I becomes the Byzantine Emperor. He is a political genius, and his reign begins the Macedonian Dynasty of Byzantium: a period of intense prosperity, culture, intrigue, and splendor.

871 A.D. – King Alfred the Great becomes King of the English Kingdom of Wessex (England at this time is composed of seven small kingdoms).

874 A.D. – The Vikings sail to Iceland.

876 A.D. – Louis the German dies.

877 A.D. – Charles the Bald dies.

The middle Empire eventually fades away for a brief time. In the Western and Eastern Frankish Kingdom, the kings eventually become weak, and the nobles take on more power.

878 A.D. – The Danish Vikings conquer Northeastern England.

879 A.D. – King Alfred defeats the Danish Vikings, and grants them a large piece of land in Northeastern England. This area becomes known as the Danelaw. The Vikings and the Anglo-Saxons begin to mix cultures. A lot of Viking words enter English vocabulary (“ill,” “anger,” “happy”, “die”)

899 A.D. – King Alfred dies.

911 A.D. – The Vikings have been ravaging France and Germany (they have ships that can go down rivers). After they try to attack Paris, King Charles the Simple grants them the land at the mouth of the Seine River, in Northern France. This is granted as a fief to the Viking chieftain, Rollo, who is now known as the Duke of Normandy (Northman-land). The Normans, as they are now called, are used by King Charles as a defense against other Vikings. They quichly assimilate French ways and become the most organized feudal system in Europe: they marry Frankish wives, learn to speak French, learn how to fight on horseback, and develop a strong relationship between the Duke of Normandy and his vassals, in which the Duke of Normandy has firm and certain power.

911 A.D. – In the Eastern Frankish Kingdom, the last Carolinginan king dies. The Dukes get together to elect Conrad of Franconia as King.

936 – Conrad’s son Henry Fowler dies, and is succeded by Otto I.

955 A.D. – The Battle of Lechfeld – King Otto of the East Franks defeats the Magyars, a new threat from beyond the Danube River. After this battle, the Magyars stay put in modern-day Hungary. After this, King Otto also undertakes the Christianization of the Slavs and Scandinavians.

959 A.D.—Edgar becomes King of Wessex. He manages to unite all of England into one kingdom.

962 A.D. – Otto I is crowned Holy Roman Emperor by the Pope (it’s officially called that now). This means that theoretically, Northern Italy comes under his domain, too, but he never really is able to rule it.

973 A.D. – Otto I dies.

973 A.D. – In North Africa, an Egyptian family that claims descent from Fatima (Muhammed’s daughter, Ali’s wife) overthrows the Abbassid rule in all of North Africa. This is the beginning of the Fatimid dynasty, which is strongly Shi’ite, and strongly opposed to the Abbassid dynasty. The Abbassids and the Fatimids make use of mercenaries against each other to protect their borders and their trade routes. In particular, the Abbassids make use of a vigorous Central Asian tribe called the Seljuk Turks, who are converted to Sunni Islam, and become very zealous.

975 A.D. – King Edgar of England dies. After his death, the rule of England switches back and forth between Vikings and Anglo-Saxons for a while (especially between the Saxon King Aethelred the Unready and the Danish King Sweyn Forkbeard).

985 A.D. – Erik the Red is banished from Norway by his local Thing (governing assembly) for being an outlaw. He settles in Greenland (he names it “Greenland” in an attempt to trick other people to settling there with him). The son of one of his sailors comes looking for his father, but misses Greenland, and catches sight of a new land in the West that really is green. When this person eventually finds Erik in Greenland, he tells him about it.

987 A.D. – In the East Frankish Kingdom, the last Carolingian King dies. The nobles and prelates choose Hugh Capet, count of Orleans, as king. He has only a small piece of land around Paris. The rest of France is ruled by nobles, who have a lot of power, especially the Duke of Normandy. Hugh Capet does manage to get his son to be named as his successor during his own lifetime, and this unofficially starts the Capetian line of French Kings.

1001 A.D.– Erik the Red’s son, Leif Erikson, settles in Newfoundland, Canada. They only stay there for three years, because of fights with the local peoples, either Eskimos or Algonquins.

1016 A.D.—King Canute of Denmark, the son of Sweyn Forkbeard, becomes King of England.

1016 A.D. – In Italy, a group of forty Normans stops by the shrine of Monte Sant’Angelo in Gargano, Italy, on their way back from a pilgrimage in the Holy Land. The Lombards take an interest in them and hire them as mercenaries in their wars against the Byzantine Empire and the Muslim forces for control of South Italy.

1024 A.D. – In the Holy Roman Empire (Germany), Conrad II of Franconia is elected king by the nobles (they process is that they elect the king, the Pope crowns him as Emperor). He is the beginning of the Salian dynasty.

1030 A.D. – In South Italy, the Norman mercenary knight Rainulf is granted a fief for his excellent fighting. This gives the Normans a piece of land in South Italy. Soon the Normans start pouring in from Normandy. Especially important are the three sons of one Norman Knight named Tancred of Hauteville: his three sons William Iron-Arm, Robert Guiscard (the “Cunning”) and Roger will end up conquering all of South Italy.

1035 A.D. – In England, Canute dies, and is succeded by his son, Harthacnut. Hathacnut’s mother is the Norman Queen Emma, who was also married to Aethlred the Unready. Thus Harthacnut has an Anglo-Saxon half-brother named Edward (son of Aethelred and Emma) who was raised in Normandy for protection during the reign of Canute. Harthacnut calls his half-brother back to England for a joint rulership of England, with the agreement that whoever outlives the other becomes full king of England. Hathacnut makes a similar deal with King Magnus of Norway and Denmark: they both will be joint rulers, and whoever outlives the other will be king of all three realms.

1039 A.D.—H.R.E. Conrad dies and is succeeded by Henry III H.R.E. He is begins the process of trying to gain control of North Italy, since the H.R.E. has very little power in Germany, due to the power of the (elector) nobles.

1042 A.D. – Harthacnut dies. Edward becomes king of England. Magnus remains king of Norway and Denmark, but does not worry about England.

St. Edward the Confessor has a very prosperous and wise reign. He marries Edith, the daughter of Godwin, Earl of Wessex. They have no sons.

1042 A.D. – In South Italy, William Iron-Arm conquers Apulia (the heel of Italy) and his brother Robert Guiscard conquers Calabria (the toe of Italy). The Pope in the Papal States is getting worried: he would rather have Lombards or Byzantines rather than these new “pagans” (he is wrong: they are quite devout Christians, but he doesn’t know that).

1053 A.D. – Pope Leo IX sends a force to do battle with the Normans to the South. The brothers William Iron-Arm and Robert Guiscard easily beat them, but then immediately approach the Pope personally and beg forgiveness, saying that they are faithful sons of the Church, but that the land is theirs. This changes the attitude of the Pope.

1054 A.D. – A theological dispute about the word “Filioque” (“and from the son”) being added to the Creed climaxes in mutual excommunications between Rome and Constantinople: Pope Leo IX excommunicates Patriarch Michael Cerularius, and Michael Cerularius excommunicates Pope Leo. This is the definitve rupture, or “schism” of the Eastern Orthodox Church from the Roman Catholic Church, one that has never been healed (although under the pontificate of Pope Paul VI, the Pope and the Patriarch of that time lifted each other’s mutual excommunications).

1055 A.D. – In the Middle East, the Seljuk Turks capture Baghdad. They have been infiltrating for a while, and with this act, they effectively dispossess the Abbassids of any power. They set up their own political leader, whom they do not presume to call the caliph, but rather, the “sultan”, or “holder of power.” From Baghdad, the Seljuk Turks quickly expand into Turkey.

1056 A.D. – H.R.E. Henry III dies, and is succeeded by H.R.E. Henry IV. He was very young at the time, and was probably elected by the German nobles for that very reason: the German nobles like to elect kings who they think will be weak, so that they can remain strong. Henry IV knows this, and he pretty much gives up on the unity of Germany. Instead, he continues the tradition of the Holy Roman Emperors of naming Bishops to fiefs, since Bishops do not have the problem of succession, as they have no children (usually). But this will soon be a problem with a new Pope.

1056 A.D. – In Byzantium, the Empress Theodora (a different Theodora) dies, thus ending the Macedonian Dynasty. Byzantium begins its downward decline.

1059 A.D. – In Italy, Pope Nicholas II validates the presence of the Normans in South Italy.

1066 A.D. – St. Edward the Confessor dies. Three contenders appear for the English throne:

Harold II Godwinson. He is the most powerful noble in England (Earl of Wessex, East Anglia, and Hereford); his sister was Edith, Edward’s wife; and he says that Edward left the kingdom in his care on his deathbed.

Harald Hardrada, King of Norway. He says that Engalnd rightly belongs to the King of Norway, due to Harthacnut’s deal with King Magnus, his predecessor.

William II, Duke of Normandy, the sixth duke after Rollo. Emma, the wife of Aethelred and Canute, is his great aunt. Also, he says that St. Edward promised him the kingdom while he was in Normandy, AND he says that Harold Godwinson made an oath over holy relics, swearing that England would belong to William after the death of Edward.

In 1066: Harold Godwinson is crowned king. But immediately, Harald Hardrada attacks in Northern England. Harold II Godwinson brings an army up there, and defeats Harald Hardrada at the Battle of Stamford Bridge. The Saxons (Harold’s side) win after a day-long battle.

But then, only three weeks later, William, Duke of Normandy, lands at Pevensey, in South England. Harold marches his army all the way down to South England.

October 14th, 1066—the Battle of Hastings. The Saxons, led by Harold, fight the Normans, led by William. The Battle lasts all day. But the Normans are the superior knights. Plus, they brought their horses (with stirrups). The Saxons don’t use horses. Harold himself is shot in the eye with an arrow.

Dec. 25th, 1066 – William II, Duke of Normandy, is crowned William I, King of England. Thus begins the Norman rule of England. William begins organizing England with a strong monarchy. He replaces many Saxon officials with Normans. French becomes the language of politics in England.

1070 A.D. – In the Middle East, the Seljuk Turks capture Jerusalem. It is reported that they stop letting the Christians make pilgrimages to the Holy Sites.

1071 A.D. – The Byzantine Empire gathers and army to face the Seljuk Turks. The Battle of Manzikert: the Turks wipe out the Byzantine army.

1073 A.D. – In Rome, Archdeacon Hildebrand becomes Pope Gregory VII. He is one of history’s greatest Popes, and he has one agenda on the table: REFORM. This reform mainly has three prongs: monks, priests, and bishops. For monks and priests, he enlists the help of new monasteries and religious orders, such as the Benedictine Abbey of Cluny (and many others are also founded after his death, following his spirit). But as for the bishops, the main problem is Lay Investiture, i.e., the abuse of Kings and Emperors naming Bishops for their own political reasons.

1075 A.D. -- The Archbishop of Milan dies, and Pope Gregory VII names on candidate, but H.R.E. Henry IV names another. Henry IV will not back down. This ignites what is known as the Investiture Struggle. Eventuall, Pope Gregory VII excommunicates H.R.E. Henry IV. This is very bad for Henry, since it basically absolves all his subjects from allegiance. The German nobles especially get excited and consider electing a new king, with approval from the Pope.

1077 A.D. – H.R.E. Henry IV meets the Pope at Cannossa, and begs for forgiveness in sackcloth and bare feet outside the Pope’s residence. The Pope waits for three days, and then absolves him.

1081 A.D. – In Byzantium, Alexius I Comnenus becomes Byzantine Emperor. He asks Pope Gregory VII for help against the Seljuk Turks, and Pope Gregory considers it, but in the end, he’s to busy with reforming the Church in Europe.

1085 A.D. – Pope Gregory VII dies.

1086 A.D.—In England, King William commission the Domesday Book: a definitive, legal record of who own what for every piece of land in England.

1086 A.D. – The Oath of Salisbury plain: all the nobles meet the king and take the oath of fealty to him. Not only the nobles, but also all of their vassals owe their first allegiance to the king of England. This is the main reason that English becomes a strong monarchy. The King owns 20% of the land of England directly; the rest only belongs to nobles as fiefs from the King. There is only one problem: while William I, King of England, is the most powerful monarch in Europe, he is still also William II, Duke of Normandy, and thus a vassal to the King of France.

1087 A.D. – William dies. His son Robert becomes Duke of Normandy. His son William becomes king of England.

1091 A.D. – In South Italy, Roger, the brother of William Iron-Arm and Robert Guiscard, has inherited his brother’s lands, and also manages to conquer Muslim Sicily. This forms the Norman Kingdom of Sicily, which includes all of South Italy and the island itself. The capital is in Palermo, Sicily, and becomes known as the Great Court.

1094 A.D. – Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar, also known as “El Cid”, conquers Valencia in Spain (for himself). This is part of the Reconquista movement, i.e., the movement of the Christian Kingdoms of Spain (Leon, Castile, Navarre, Aragon, Catalonia, and Portugal) to reconquer the Muslim parts of Spain.

1095 A.D. – Byzantine Emperor asks again for help against the Turks. Pope Urban II makes a speech at the Council of Clermont (Northern France) in the same year. In the speech, he appeals to the kingdoms of Europe to help their Eastern brethren, to help open the ways of pilgrimage again, to take back the Holy Land, and to stop fighting amongst themselves in Europe. At the end of the speech, the people shout, “God wills it!”

1095 A.D.- 1096 A.D. – The People’s Crusade (Crusade of the Poor, Peasants’ Crusade): at the preaching of St. Peter the Hermit, a rag-tag army of peasants makes it all the way to Constantinople. Emperor Alexius Comnenus offers them hospitality, and eventually helps them cross the Bosporus strait into Turkey. They immediately advance into Turkish territory, and are slaughtered (literally to pieces) by the Turks.

1096 – 1099 A.D. – The (official) First Crusade: led by Count Raymond IV of Toulouse, along with many other nobles (including Count Bohemond of Sicily, Roger’s son), the Crusaders arrive in four waves in Constantinople, and then move into Turkey on their way to Jerusalem. First they capture Antioch, where Bohemond becomes Prince. From their, they eventually conquer Jerusalem in 1099. They massacre almost all of the inhabitants, men, women, and children. Christian chroniclers say the streets were full of blood.

The main result of the First Crusade was the establishment of Four Crusader (Latin) States on the Levant. They are:

The Principality of Antioch

The County of Edessa

The County of Tripoli

The Kingdom of Jerusalem

Also important is the city of Acre, a very strong fortress on the coast between Tripoli and Jerusalem, which will become the focal point for many battles during the Crusades.

1100 A.D. – William II, King of England is a very unpopular tyrant, and is murdered while out hunting. He is succeeded by his son, Henry I. Henry I reign is marked by a keen sense of justice and peace. He tries to further centralize the administration of England into the hands of the King.

1101 A.D.—In the Kingdom of Sicily, Roger dies. His son Bohemond is already King of Antioch, due to the First Crusade.

1106 A.D.—H.R.E. Henry IV dies.

1120 A.D. – In England, King Henry only son William dies along with many other English nobles in what is known as the “White Ship Tragedy” (a ship called the White Ship hit a rock in the English Channel, and everyone died except one butcher). Henry names his daughter Matilda as heiress of the throne.

1135 A.D.—In England, King Henry I dies. But before Matilda is granted the throne, it is usurped (taken by force) by Henry’s cousin, Stephen. A long, violent civil war begins between Stephen and Matilda’s family. The eventual winner is Henry Plantagenet, count of Anjou, son of Matilda, husband of Eleanore of Aquitaine (who was formerly married to the King of France).

1144 A.D. – The Turks capture Edessa. The county of Edessa falls. Pope Paschal II calls the Second Crusade. St. Bernard of Clairvaux (the Mellifluous Doctor) preaches for it.

1144-1155 – The Second Crusade, led by the Holy Roman Emperor Conrad III and King Louis VII of France. The focal point of battle is Damascus. Basically ends in failure. However, this Crusade is the one that sees the rise of the military religious orders. The main ones are:

The Knights Templar

The Teutonic Knights (still exists, but they just run hospitals and donate money now)

The Knights Hospitallers (still exists, but they just run hospitals and donate money now)]

1153 A.D. – In the Holy Roman Empire, Frederick Hohenstaufen of Swabia becomes H.R.E. He is known as Frederick I Barbarossa. He realizes that he cannot control the German nobles or the Church, so he focuses his attempts on Northern Italy, which is ruled right now by a lot of independent Lombard states.

1154 A.D. – In England, Stephen dies. Henry Plantagenet becomes King Henry II. His reign is marked by a successful increase in the power of the King. Especially important is the genesis of common law: one law that applies to everybody in the realm (this is the kind of law that the United States has). Henry does not do it alone: he has a very efficient chancellor named Thomas à Becket, a personal friend of the king, whom the king raised from lowly status because of Thomas’ support of his side during the civil war.

1161 A.D. – Archbishop Theobald of Canterbury dies (the primatial see of England). Henry II nominates Thomas à Becket as new Archbishop. Thomas does not lie the idea, but the Pope approves.

1162 A.D. – Thomas a Becket becomes Archbishop of Canterbury. He changes: from now on, he opposes the King when he tries to infringe on the rights of the Church. The main spark is when a priest, Canon Philip de Brois, is accused of murder, and is brought to trial in a civil court and sentenced to death. Thomas intervenes, saying that the law of England since the time of Edward mandates that priests be tried in a Church court. The King feels thwarted, and controversy gets strong. The King tries to impose numerous restrictions on the Church, including the requirement to ask permission to visit or send messages to the Pope, etc. Thomas is eventually exiled to France for almost 6 years (1164-1170).

1162 -1227 A.D. – In Asia, the life of Temujin. He unites the Mongol tribes, and rules with an iron fist. The Mongols proclaim him Genghis Khan, “Universal Ruler.” He eventually conquers huge tracts in Asia. The Mongols have three secrets: they are excellent horsemen, lightning fast; they rule by terror: they take no prisoners, they kill everyone; and they wear little armor: silk protects them from the dangers of arrow removal.

1170 A.D.—In England, the conflict between bishop and king finally comes to head when the King gets the Archbishop of York to crown his own son as future king. St. Thomas responds by excommunicating the Archbishop of York, and this excommunication can only be lifted by the Pope. But the king thinks Thomas is being stubborn. He shouts, “Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest!” Four knights overhear, and march over to Canterbury cathedral and murder the archbishop during Vespers. The news spreads throughout Europe, and Canterbury becomes one of the top four Christian pilgrimage sites.

1173 A.D. – The sons of Henry II (Henry, Richard, Geoffrey, and John) revolt against their father, supported by their rich and powerful mother. Most of the battles take place in France. Richard especially distinguishes himself for his bravery, but Henry II eventually wins, and makes peace with his sons, but also splits up his French realms among them to rule. Henry also sends his wife, Eleanore, to prison for her support of the rebellion. Henry Jr. dies after contracting dysentery in a later battle against his brother Richard over territory in France.

1176 A.D. -- In Italy, an alliance of the Pope’s forces form the Papal States and a coalition of Lombards joins up to fight Frederick Barbarossa at the Battle of Legnano. The papal and Lombard forces win, ending the Hohenstaufen attempts for now. However, Frederick gets one last laugh: he marries off his son to a princess from the Norman Kingdom of Sicily. This effectively puts all of Southern Italy into the hands of the Holy Roman Emperor, which means that the Papal States and the Lombard states are sandwiched.

1179 A.D. – The Kingdom of Portugal is established.

1180 A.D. – In France, the Philip II Augustus becomes King. He is part of the Capetian line of French kings. He realizes that he will not have a united French kingdom until he kics the English out of France. He engages in some battle against Richard the Lionhearted, Richard is too strong. He decides to wait for a weaker king to take the throne.

1187 A.D. – Saladin, a new Kurdish Sultan from Egypt, captures Jerusalem from the Christians.

1187-1192 A.D.—The Third Crusade: This one has got the best cast of characters: From England, King Richard the Lionhearted; from France, King Philip II Augustus; from the Holy Roman Empire Frederick Barbarossa (who dies in 1190). There is a long and hard initial double siege at Acre, which the Christians finally win. At the end of it, Richard the Lionhearted kills all of his Muslim prisoners (which is rare for this time). Saladin responds by killing all of his Christian prisoners. Despite this however, the two men admire each other for their chivalry and strength. Once Saladin even sent his own doctors to Richard when he heard was sick, and once he sent him two horses as a gift. Richard even offered to marry off his sister to Saladin’s brother. In the end, Richard knew that the Christians could not beat Saladin. So they made a truce: Jerusalem would belong to the Muslims, but Saladin would allow free passage for Christian pilgrims.

1189 A.D.—Henry II dies. Eleanore is released from prison. Richard I the Lionhearted becomes King of England. Of his ten-year reign, he only spends six months of it in England, being preoccupied with the Third Crusade, then being held as a prisoner by first the Duke of Austria, then by the Holy Roman Emperor (who was paid by Richard’s brother, John, to keep him there as long as possible). Eventually, due to high taxes and Eleanore of Aquitaine’s pawning of the crown jewels, the ransom was paid.

1190 A.D. – The 67-year old H.R.E. Frederick I Barbarossa dies during the Third Crusade, while trying to swim across the river Goksu. His son becomes H.R.E. Henry VI.

1197 A.D. – H.R.E. Henry VI dies prematurely. He leaves his two-year old son, Frederick, who will be Frederick II.

1198 A.D. – Due to the valiant efforts of his Norman mother, Frederick becomes King of Sicily (even though he’s still so young).

1199 A.D.—Richard I Lionhearted dies. He is succeeded by his brother, John, also known as John Lackland (since he lost French land). He is a much weaker king than his brother Richard.

1202-1204 A.D.—The Fourth Crusade: very bad. It was called by Pope Innocent III. The Christians have to hire a lot of Venetian ships, but then only about 1/3 of their promised number of soldiers show up. Thus, they have a huge debt to pay to the Venetians. In order to pay it, they decide to sack the glorious Constantinople instead of going to Jerusalem. What no one had ever done, Christians did to their own fellow Christians. Constantinople was plundered for three days. They have really never forgiven us for this. Pope Innocent III was very angry.

1204 A.D.—King John loses most of the English holdings in France to King Philip II Augustus of France, with the Battle of Chateau Gaillard (which was built by Richard, though not really of butter). The English only retain a piece of territory in Southwestern France called Gascony.

1209 – 1229 A.D. – The Albigensian Crusade: the Albigensians were a heretical sect, mostly in Southern France, that believed that matter was evil. They had two main classes: the Cathars, who tried to live a purely spiritual life; and everybody else, who admitted that the body was evil, but then just gave themselves up to loose living, since the body wasn’t important anyway. The Crusade against them had two aspects: preaching, and for this, there were the Dominicans, founded in 1216 specifically to try to convert the Albigensians. Then the secular arm also got involved, and then executed lots of Albigensians. Eventually, the heresy was eliminated.

1212 A.D. – In Spain the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosas: with a force of 60,000 men, King Alfonso VIII (1155-1214) crushes a Muslim force. This is a huge surge forward in the Reconquista. By this point, all of Spain has been reconquered by the Christians except for a sall portion in the South called Al-Andalus.

1212 A.D. – In Germany, the German nobles elect Frederick II, as King (he is already King of Sicily/South Italy, too, which is where he usually stays).

1212 A.D. – The Children’s Crusade: a band of children, led either by a French boy (Stephen of Cloyes) or by a German boy (Nicholas of Cologne), decide to go to the Holy Land and peacefully preach to the Muslims so that they convert. They go to Genoa, and expect God to part the waters for them, but this doesn’t happen. Eventually, they are given free passage, either to Marseilles, or to Tunisia, and many of them are sold into slavery.

1215 A.D. – In England, the nobles force King John to sign the Magna Carta at Runnymede. In response to oppressive taxes and other abuses, the nobles write this document, which ensures their rights before the king.

1216 A.D. – King John dies. He is succeeded by his son Henry III.

1217 – 1221 A.D.—The Fifth Crusade: the last one to be called by a Pope. This and all the remaining Crusades focus on Egypt. It is led by Duke Leopold of Austria. Frederick II Hohenstaufen promised to go, but never did, and so the Pope excommunicated him. The Crusade ended in failure.

1220 A.D. – In Italy, Pope Gregory IX reluctantly agrees to crown Frederick II Hohenstaufen as Holy Roman Emperor. The next decades of Frederick’s reign is marked by a lot of tension between the Pope and the Emperor. Frederick has a policy of leaving Germany alone, in the hands of the nobles, because he has basically given up on it. But the battle for North Italy rages on. The Italians basically divide into to camps: the Guelphs, who are mostly composed of the trading and business classes, and who, for the most part, support the Pope. The other side is known as the Ghibellines, mostly composed of old, landed noble families, and who are mostly for the Emperor. The strife is great, and Frederick II is excommunicated a couple of times, but he doesn’t care (he was known during his life as an Epicurean, a non-believer, and even the “Hammer of Christianity”, and the “atonishment of the world”). In the long run, Frederick II did not succeed, and Northern Italy remained independent, forming numerous city-states, the most important of which are Florence, Milan, and the ever-growing Venice.

1223 A.D. – King Philip II Augustus of France dies.

1226 A.D. – In France, King St. Louis IX becomes king. He is known throughout Europe for his wisdom and piety. He relies much on the advice of his mother, Blanche of Castile.

1226- ca. 1230 A.D. – The Baltic Crusade: the military order of the Teutonic Knights asks for somewhere else to fight, since the Crusades in the East are failing. The Pope gives them Pomerania, in the Northeastern edge of the H.R.E. They begin attacking and converting Slavic and Russian peoples to Christianity.

1228-1229 A.D. – The Sixth Crusade: Frederick II Hohenstaufen decides to go on Crusade by himself. The Pope excommunicates him again. He intimidated/negotiated with the sultan, Malik Al-Kamil to let him become King of Jerusalem. The sultan, who is preoccupied with problems in Syria, agrees. Since Frederick is excommunicated, the Patriarch of Jerusalem refuses to crown him, so Frederick crowns himself. For about 15 years, Jerusalem belonged to the Christians again

1230’s A.D. – The Mongols attack Russia, Poland, and Hungary. Hungary loses 20%-40% of its population. Then the Mongols suddenly leave because their Great Khan died.

1233 A.D. – The Mongols conquer Persia.

1241 A.D. – The Mongols eliminate a coalition of Poles and Teutonic Knights.

1243 A.D. – The Mongols defeat and dissolve the power of the Seljuk Turks in Syria. End of Sejuk Turkish rule.

1244 A.D. – The Muslims take back Jerusalem.

1245 A.D.—The Pope sends messengers/missionaries to establish relations with the Mongols.

1248-1254 A.D.—The Seventh Crusade: led by King St. Louis IX, fought in Egypt, it ended in failure.

1250 A.D. – Frederick II Hohenstaufen dies.

1258 A.D.—The Mongols conquer Baghdad. End of the Abbassid dynasty.

1259 A.D. – King Henry III of England relinquishes all claims to French territory except for Gascony at the Treaty of Paris.

1260 A.D. – The Battle of Ayn Jalut (in Syria): the Mamluks defeat a remnant force of the Mongols (the main Mongol contingent has left to go elect a new Great Khan). This establishes the Mamluks and the Mongols as the two main powers in the East, and it shows the world that the Mongols are not invincible.

1261 A.D.—Michael VIII Paleologus re-establishes the Byzantine Empire at Constantinople. End of Latin Kingdom of Constantinople.

1270 A.D. –The Eighth Crusade: King St. Louis IX of France leads the Eighth Crusade, but dies in Tunisia from dysentery.

1271-1272 – The Ninth Crusade: led by Prince Edward of England (who will become king soon). It ends in failure.

1272 A.D. – Henry III dies. He is succeeded by his son Edward I Longshanks, “Hammer of the Scots”. He spends his reign trying to conquer Wales and Scotland. With Wales he succeeds, with Scotland he doesn’t, due to the revolts of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce.

1273 A.D. – In Germany, the nobles elect Rudolf Habsburg as the next king/H.R.E. This family will become the most extensive royal family in Europe for the next 600-ish years.

1279 A.D. – In Asia, Kubilai Khan, the grandson of Genghis Khan, conquers all of China, and sets up his capital at Khanbaliq (modern day Beijing). The Mongol Empire is the largest land empire the world has ever seen.

1285 A.D. – Philip IV the Fair becomes King of France.

1291 A.D.—In the Levant, Acre, the last Christian stronghold in the Middle East, falls. End of the Christian Crusader presence.

1295 A.D. – In a need to raise a new tax, King Edward calls together not only the Great Council, composed of barons and bishops, but also calls for two knights from every county, two burgesses from every borough, and two citizens from every city. This is the first Parliament.

1302 A.D. – Pope Boniface VIII issues the Bull Unam Sanctam, which is mostly directed at King Philip IV the Fair of France, because he had imposed taxes on the clergy. Pope Boniface VIII contends that a king is subject to the power of the Pope, and he must ask the Pope’s permission to tax the clergy.

1302 A.D.—King Philip IV the Fair calls together representatives from his entire kingdom to counsel him concerning the dispute with Pope Boniface VIII. This meeting is the first Estates General of France.

1303 A.D. -- Representatives of King Philip IV come to the Pope Boniface VIII’s retreat at Anagni (near Rome). They tell the Pope to resign. The Pope says he would rather die. One of the nobles, and Italian, slaps the Pope in response. Then they beat and torture the Pope, and release him after three days. The Pope soon dies, however. He apparently went insane from the humiliation.


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