A Chronology of the Middle Ages (500-1500)
466-511 - Clovis. Clovis was the first king of the Franks to unite that entire barbarian (according to the Romans) nation. He succeeded his father Childeric I in 481 as King of the Salian Franks, one of several Frankish tribes, who were then occupying the area west of the lower Rhine, with their centre around Tournai and Cambrai along the modern frontier between France and Belgium, in an area known as Toxandria. He conquered the neighbouring Frankish tribes and established himself as sole king before his death. He converted to Catholicism, as opposed to the Arianism common among Germanic peoples, at the instigation of his wife. This act was of immense importance in the subsequent history of France and Western Europe in general for Clovis expanded his dominion over almost all of the old Roman province of Gaul (roughly modern France) which stands at the centre of European affairs. He is considered the founder both of France (which his state closely resembled geographically at his death) and the Merovingian dynasty which ruled the Franks for the next two centuries. Clovis died on November 27, 511.
590-604 - Pope Gregory the Great. Pope Gregory held the papacy from September 3, 590 to his death on March 12, 604. Originally a Benedictine, he creates a religious policy for western Europe by fusing the Roman papacy with Benedictine monasticism. He creates the Latin church, which serves to counteract the subordination of the Roman popes to Eastern emperors. As the fourth great "church father," St. Gregory the Great draws his theology from Ambrose of Milan, Jerome and Augustine of Hippo. His concepts of purgatory and penance widen the gulf between the Eastern and Western Churches. He reigns until his death in 604.
610-641 - Heraclius I. Heraclius, Byzantine Emperor from October 5, 610 to February 11, 641, becomes Emperor in Constantinople as the Persian Empire is attempting the takeover of Byzantine civilization. For the sake of convenience, the rule of Heraclius generally marks the beginning of Byzantine history, though it can be argued that Byzantine civilization begins with Diocletian, Constantine or Justinian.
622 - The Hijra of Muhammad. By 622, life in the small Muslim community of Mecca was becoming not only difficult, but dangerous. Muslim traditions say that there were several attempts to assassinate Muhammad. Muhammad then resolved to emigrate to Medina, then known as Yathrib, a large agricultural oasis where there were a number of Muslim converts. By breaking the link with his own tribe, Muhammad demonstrated that tribal and family loyalties were insignificant compared to the bonds of Islam, a revolutionary idea in the tribal society of Arabia. This Hijra or emigration (traditionally translated into English as "flight") marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar. The Muslim calendar counts dates from the Hijra, which is why Muslim dates have the suffix AH (After Hijra).
624 - Muslims Defeat Meccans. On March 15, 624 near a place called Badr, the Meccans and the Muslims clashed. Though outnumbered more than three times (one thousand to three hundred) in the battle, the Muslims met with success, killing at least forty-five Meccans and taking seventy prisoners for ransom; only fourteen Muslims died. This marked the real beginning of Muslim military achievement.
627 - Battle of Nineveh. At the Battle of Nineveh in 627, the Roman forces (without the Khazars who left Heraclius) defeated the Persians under Rhahzadh. When Chosroes still refused to make peace, Heraclius continued his campaign; as he approached the Persian capital of Ctesiphon, the Persian aristocracy deposed Chosroes. His successor Kavadh II made peace with Heraclius by restoring all the empire's former territories. The Persian Sassanid dynasty never recovered from this war; it took years for a strong king to emerge from a series of coups, and soon the Arab Caliphate overwhelmed the sinking state. The Jerusalem cross is retrieved from the Persians, who stole the relic in 614.
630 - Muhammad Conquers Mecca. In 630, Muhammad marched on Mecca with an enormous force, said to number more than ten thousand men. Most Meccans converted to Islam, and Muhammad subsequently destroyed all of the statues of Arabian gods in and around the Kaaba. Henceforth the pilgrimage would be a Muslim pilgrimage and the shrine was converted to a Muslim shrine.
632 - Death of Muhammad. One day, upon returning from a visit to a cemetery, Muhammad became very ill. He suffered for several days with head pain and weakness. Muhammad finally succumbed to his malady around noon on Monday, June 8, 632, in the city of Medina, at the age of sixty-three. He is buried in the Mosque of the Prophet in Medina.
636 - Battle of Yarmuk. The Battle of Yarmouk (also spelled Yarmuk, Yarmuq or Hieromyax) took place between the Muslims and the Byzantine Empire in 636. It is considered by some historians to have been one of the most significant battles in the history of the world, since it marked the first great wave of Muslim conquests outside Arabia, and heralded the rapid advance of Islam into Christian Palestine, Syria and Mesopotamia. The battle took place only four years after the prophet Muhammad died in 632. He was succeeded by the first Caliph, Abu Bakr, who sought to bring all the Arabic-speaking peoples under Muslim control. In 633 Muslim armies invaded Syria, and after raids and skirmishing quickly captured Damascus in 635. The Byzantine emperor Heraclius organized a force of about 140,000-160,000 troops on learning of the loss of Damascus and Emesa. The advance of this large Byzantine army caused the Muslims under Khalid ibn Walid to abandon the cities and retreat southward towards the River Yarmouk, a tributary of the River Jordan. Part of the Byzantine force under Theodore the Sacellarius was defeated outside Emesa. The Muslims under Khalid ibn Walid met the other Byzantine commander, Baänes, in the valley of the Yarmouk River in late July. Baänes had only infantry forces to fight against Arab light cavalry, as Theodore had taken most of the cavalry with him. After a month of skirmishes, with no decisive action, the two armies finally confronted each other on August 20. Khalid was at first pushed back, but although his army was smaller than the Byzantine force, it was more unified than the multinational Imperial Army which contained Armenians, Slavs and Ghassanids as well as regular Byzantine troops. The Christian advance on the right flank, towards one of the camps containing the Arab women and families, was finally repulsed with the aid of some of the Arab women. Eventually renewed Muslim counter-attacks broke through the Byzantine lines, and a rout ensued. Most of Baänes men were either encircled and massacred, or driven to their deaths over a steep ravine. As a result of this, all of Syria lay open to the Muslim. Damascus was captured by the Muslims within a month, and Jerusalem fell shortly after. When news of the disaster reached Heraclius at Antioch, it is said that he bade a last farewell to Syria, saying, "Farewell Syria, my fair province. Thou art an enemy's now"; and left Antioch for Constantinople. Heraclius began to concentrate his remaining forces on a defense of Egypt instead.
650 - Arab forces conquer most of the Byzantine territories, formerly occupied by the Persians.
674-678 - First Siege of Constantinople. The First Arab Siege of Constantinople in 674 was a major conflict of the Byzantine-Arab Wars, and only the second time Constantinople's defences were tested. It was fought between the Byzantine Empire and the Arab Umayyad Caliphate. Muawiyah I, who had emerged as the ruling dynasty of the Arab empire following the civil war, beseiged Constantinople under Constantine IV. In this battle, the Umayyads unable to breach the Theodosian Walls blockaded the city along the River Bosporus. The approach of winter however forced the besiegers to withraw to an island 80 miles away. However, prior to the siege a Syrian Christian refugee named Kallinikos (Callinicus) of Heliopolis had recently invented for the Byzantine Empire a devastating new weapon that came to be known as "Greek fire". At the Battle of Syllaeum in 677, the Byzantine navy used this to decisely defeat the Umayyad navy in the Sea of Marmara and lift the siege in 678. This victory halted the Umayyad expansion towards Europe for almost thirty years, although the Arabs would not be decisively defeated until the Second Arab siege of Constantinople.
687 - Pepin of Heristal. Pepin of Heristal, a Merovingian ruler, unites the Frankish territories and builds the center of his kingdom in Belgium and other Rhine regions. He is succeeded by his son, Charles Martel, who forms an alliance with the Church which helps the Merovingian Dynasty (and Christianity) to expand into Germany. Pepin the Short succeeds his father, Charles Martel, and strengthens the alliance between Benedictine missionaries and Frankish expansion.
700 - Benedictine missionaries complete the conversion of England begun by St. Gregory the Great.
717 - Charles Martin Becomes Mayor of Palace. Charles Martel becomes Mayor of the Palace.
717 - Second Siege of Constantinople. The Arabs attempt to conquer Constantinople for the second time. Byzantine Emperor Leo the Isaurian, who reigns until 741, counters the Arab attempt with "Greek Fire" (a liquid mixture of sulfur, naphtha and quicklime which is released from bronze tubes, situated on ships and on the walls of Constantinople) and great military strength. Leo defeats the Arab forces and reconquers most of Asia Minor. The territory of Asia Minor, together with Greece, becomes the seat of Byzantine civilization for several centuries.
732 - Battle of Tours. Charles Martel defeats the Muslims at Tours.
735 - Venerable Bede, an Anglo-Saxon Benedictine scholar, writes the History of the English Church and People in Latin, perhaps the best historical writing of medieval history.
740 - The Iconoclastic Movement. The Iconoclastic movement is initiated by Byzantine Emperor Leo the Isaurian, but the movement flourishes under the reign of his son Constantine V who rules until 775. The Iconoclasts advocate doing away with paganistic icon worship (images of Christ or saints). For them, Christ cannot be manifested or conceived of through human art. The Iconoclast controversy ends in the ninth century when a new Byzantine spirituality recognizes that the contemplation of icons may help someone assend from the material to the immaterial.
750 - Beowulf. The first great English epic poem, Beowulf, is written in Old English. The work is anonymous and untitled until 1805. It is a Christian poem that exemplifies early medieval society in England and shows roots in Old Testament Law.
750 - Irish monks establish early-medieval art. The greatest surviving product of these monks is the Book of Kells, a Gospel book of decorative art.
751 - Pepin Elevated to King. Pepin the Short becomes King of the Franks. St. Boniface anoints Pepin a divinely sanctioned king, and the Frankish monarchy is fused into the papal order. The western European empire, based on the alliance between the Frankish monarchy and the Latin Church, provides the image of Western cultural unity for Europeans, though it does not last long.
768-814 - Charlemagne King of the Franks. Pepin's son, Carolus Magnus (Charlemagne), succeeds his father and is one of the most important rulers of medieval history. In time, his empire, known as the Carolingian dynasty, includes the greater section of central Europe, northern Italy and central Italy in addition to realms already conquered by Frankish rule. Charlemagne's system of government divides the vast realm into different regions, ruled by local "counts" who are overseen by representatives of Charlemagne's own court. In addition, to aid expansion and administration of the kingdom, Charlemagne promotes, what is called later, the "Carolingian Renaissance." Prior to this revival of learning, practically the entire realm (with the exception of Benedictine England) is illiterate due to the decay of the Roman Empire. The director of the "renaissance" is Anglo-Saxon Benedictine Alcuin, who receives his learning from a student of Bede. Alcuin sets up schools, sees to the copying of classical Latin texts and develops a new handwriting.
774 - Charlemagne defeats the Lombards.
800 - Charlemagne Crowned Emperor of the Romans. On Christmas Day, Charlemagne is crowned emperor by by Pope Leo III in Rome. This event indicates an autonomous Western culture based on Western Christianity and Latin linguistics. Charlemagne establishes schools in all bishoprics and monasteries under his control.
814 - Death of Charlemagne. Charlemagne dies without leaving competent successors to continue the glory of the Carolingian dynasty. His sole surviving son, Louis the Pious, divides his inheritance between his own three sons, who engage in civil war. Charlemagne's united realm is invaded by Scandinavian Vikings, Hungarians and Muslims during these civil wars. The Carolingian Empire falls apart.
840 - Death of Louis the Pious. Louis the Pious dies and the empire is divided among his sons as the height of the Vikings attacks starts.
843 - Treaty of Verdun. Division of Charlemagne's Empire between his grandsons with the Treaty of Verdun. Sets the stage for the founding of the Holy Roman Empire and France.
871-899 - King Alfred of England. King Alfred the Great of England restricts the Vikings to Danelaw, strengthens Wessex defenses and constructs a system of government and education which allows for the unification of smaller Anglo-Saxon states in the ninth and tenth centuries. Alfred is responsible for the codification of English law, public interest in local government and the reorganization of the army. He founds schools and promotes Anglo-Saxon literacy and the establishment of a national culture. Alfred dies in 899. His innovations are continued by his successors.
890 - Magyars invade central Europe.
910 - Monastery of Cluny. The Benedictine monastery of Cluny in Burgundy becomes a place of monastic reform. The two major innovations here are the direct subjection of monasteries to the popeavoiding secular, local and ecclesiastical powersand the building of "daughter monasteries" subordinate to the Cluniac "family," which grows to sixty-seven monasteries by 1049.
911 - Rollo Becomes Duke of Normandy. In the Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte (911) with King Charles, Rollo pledged feudal allegiance to the king, changed his name to the Frankish version, and converted to Christianity, probably with the baptismal name Robert. In return, and in admission of defeat, King Charles granted Rollo the lower Seine area (today's upper Normandy) and the titular rulership of Normandy, centred around the city of Rouen. There exists some argument among historians as to whether Rollo was a "duke" (dux) or whether his position was equivalent to that of a "count" under Charlemagne.
936 - Otto the Great. Otto the Great is crowned king in Germany and is responsible for Germany's strength through the latter part of the eleventh century. Otto establishes a pattern of resistance to political fragmentation and a close alliance with the Church.
955 - Magyars Defeated at Battle of Lechfeld. Otto the Great's defeat of the Magyars is the defining event that prevents them from entering Central Europe.
955 - Pope John XII. John XII becomes pope at the age of eighteen and rules for nine years. His title as pope exemplifies the decline in value of the Church in the early-medieval period. Local lords establish control over churches and monasteries, and Church officials are often unqualified. The majority of priests are illiterate and live with concubines. The majority of popes, mostly sons of powerful Roman families, are corrupt or incompetent.
962 - Otto the Great named Emperor. Otto the Great is named emperor in Rome after defeating the Hungarians. This provides Germany with the power to resist invasion. Following Otto are several competent and enthusiastic successors, who continue to shape a stable German government.
976-1025 - Emperor Basil II. Basil fends off attacks to throne, sees to conversion of Russians, helps peasant status, defeats Bulgar army and destroys Bulgar state.
987 - Hugh Capet King of France. Hugh Capet replaces the last of the Carolingian monarchs in France. The Capetian dynasty rules until 1328. The Capetian dynasty is too weak in the beginning to have any influence on the unification of France.
1016 - Normans Appear in South Italy. Norman involvement with Sicily and southern Italy began in 1016, when a party of forty Norman pilgrims, visiting the shrine to the archangel Michael at Monte San'Angelo, on the Gargano Peninsula in southern Italy, were enlisted as mercenaries by a certain Melus, a dispossesed Lombard nobleman. Melus had been exiled from Bari by the Byzantine government of southern Italy, and was seeking mercenaries to help him regain his power. Melus and his Norman-Lombard forces were defeated at Cannae by the Byzantine general Basil Boioannes in 1018, but the Norman leader, Rainulf, escaped into the hills to become a mercenary. Many Normans began enlisting in the Byzantine army, and Norman involvement in southern Italian affairs had begun. A steady trickle of soldiers of fortune began arriving from Normandy. These freebooters included three brothers, the offspring of a Norman lord named Tancred de Hauteville. When the brothers started carving out petty fiefdoms in their own name, they sent representatives back to Normandy to recruit more adventurers to help them. Many younger sons of the less wealthy Norman noble families enlisted. These adventurers included two other Hauteville relatives, Robert and Roger.
1025 - The Byzantine aristocracy gains control over the government and begins to limit the freedom of the peasantry, thereby beginning the destruction of the economic base of Byzantine civilization.
1032 - Duchy of Burgundy becomes part of German Empire.
1037 - The Seljuk Turks begin dramatic expansion in the East.
1038-1040 - Maniakes Campaigns in Sciliy.Maniakes and Haardraade, with Scandinavian and Italian mercenaries and with the support of the Byzantine fleets, stormed Messina and defeated the Sicilian Saracens, first at Rametta (1038), then at Dragina (1040). He was assisted by the Varangian Guard, which was at that time led by Harald Hardrada, who later became king of Norway and whose experiences were recorded in King Harald's Saga. There were also Norman mercenaries with him (vassals of Gaimar V of Salerno), under William de Hauteville, who won his nickname Iron Arm by defeating the emir of Syracuse in single combat. However, he soon ostracised his admiral, Stephen, whose wife was the sister of John the Eunuch, the highest ranking man at court, and, by publicly humiliating the leader of the Lombard contingent, Arduin, he caused them to desert him, with the Normans and Norsemen. In response, he was recalled by the emperor Michael IV, also brother-in-law of Stephen. Although the Arabs soon took the island back, Maniakes' successes there later inspired the Normans to invade Sicily themselves.
1042 - Maniakes Campaigns in South Italy. Maniakes, who had suffered humiliation for the loss of Sicily, returned to Italy in 1042 to face the Normans who were rapidly mopping up the whole of the south. With the aid of a regiment of Varangians and Harald Hadrada, he unleashed a pitiless war on the towns, leaving a trail of smoking ruins in his wake. George Maniakes was largely successful in destroying the old Lombard kingdom, leaving a vacuum into which the Normans were destined to step. William de Hauteville emerged from this campaign with official recognition, having been made Count of Apulia. But palace intrigue was to stall Byzantine progress, when Constantine IX recalled him. In a terrible rage he had his troops proclaim him emperor and led them back across the Adriatic with every intention of attacking Constantinople. Fortunately for the feckless Constantine, Maniakes was mortally wounded in a battle with forces sent against him and died at Ostrovo in Bulgaria.
1046 - Emperor Henry III in Italy. German Emperor Henry III arrives in Italy and names a German monastic reformer as pope. The series of reforming popes that follow enacts decrees against simony and clerical marriage.
1048 - Seljuks sack Armenia.
1049 - Pope Leo IX. Pope Leo IX ascends to the papal throne, beginning a period of church reform.
1049 - The Cluniac monastic reform sparks interest in the reform of the clerical hierarchy.
1050 - The period from 1050 to 1300 is generally considered the High Middle Ages. Western Europe rises as a great power with only China equaling it in political, economic and cultural flourishing. It also witnesses profound religious and intellectual change, including the organization of the papal monarchy.
1050 - The astrolabe, an ancient tool of navigation, is first used in Europe.
1050-1200 - The first agricultural revolution of Medieval Europe begins in 1050 with a shift to the northern lands for cultivation, a period of improved climate from 700 to 1200 in western Europe, and the widespread use and perfection of new farming devices, some previously discovered by the Carolingians and the Romans. Technological innovations include the use of the heavy plow, the three-field system of crop rotation, the use of mills for processing cloth, brewing beer, crushing pulp for paper manufacture and many other advantages that before were not available, and the widespread use of iron and horses. With an increase in agricultural advancements, Western towns and trade grow exponentially and Western Europe returns to a money economy.
1053 - Pope Campaigns Against Normans in South Italy. By 1053 the Normans had become a threat to peace in Southern Italy, hated by the local population and seen by Pope Leo IX and the Emperor as a menace that must be removed. A Papal army, led by Leo himself in a 'holy war', marched against them but was defeated at Civitate. The pope was taken prisoner and held captive by the Hautevilles in his palace at Benevento for several months until he finally recognised their titles and lands. By 1057, Robert was the biggest landowner south of the Papal states, and was soon to cross the Adriatic and menace the eastern Roman Empire.
1054 - Schism of 1054. The East-West Schism which divided the church into Western Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy.
1059 - Pope Nicholas II Recognizes Norman States in South Italy. In 1059 Pope Nicholas II recognised the Norman knight Richard dŐAversa as the Lord of Capua, and Robert Guiscard de Hauteville as the Duke of Apulia. A dispute over the Papacy (between Nicholas II and Benedict X) led Cardinal Hildebrand (the future Gregory VII) to seek Norman assistance. Led by Richard of Capua, the Normans captured and deposed Benedict X, thus gaining alliance with Pope Nicholas. Subsequently, the Pope made Robert Duke of Calabria, Apulia and Sicily. This was the climax of a decade of expansion by the Normans, who gained control of large segments of southern Italy by conquest, annexation and treaty with the popes.
1059 - The reforming popes, following from the acts of Henry III, issue a decree on papal elections which gives the cardinals sole right of appointing new popes. This decree allows papal elections to escape the whims of political leaders.
1060 - Guiscard Conquers Southern Italy. Robert Guiscard completes the Norman conquest of Southern Italy.
1061-1091 - Normans Conquer Sicily. In about 1060 Roger, the younger brother of Robert de Hauteville, succeeded where George Maniakes had failed, by invading Sicily and capturing Messina in 1061. He proclaimed himself Count of Sicily (r. 1061-1101), and slowly pushed the Saracens back to the south and west. Roger's first attempt took place in 1061. He was surprised when the inhabitants of Messina resisted 'liberation'. Roger received an opportunity to return in 1061, when an Arab ruler named Ibn al- timnah called upon Roger for help to defeat his rival, Ibn -al-Hawas. Roger was offered the domination of the island in return for his assistance, and this was obviously a proposition which he could not refuse. Unfortunately, the expedition was not a success. Roger made a mess of the invasion, but was not deterred and soon began to plan a fresh attempt. Around the middle of May, Roger and his army sailed forth from the harbour of S.Maria del Faro in thirteen ships. The crossing took a moderate amount of time, but they managed to arrive close to Messina without meeting any opposition. The Saracens in Sicily were expecting the Normans to take a more direct route, and so had the the coastline between Messina and Cape Faro well guarded. This meant that Roger and his soldiers could travel without any hindrances back to Calabria to accumulate more troops. While travelling back to Messina, Roger and his troops almost immediately came across a Saracen boat, but this proved to be no trouble and the Saracens were slaughtered and their booty taken. The next and last leg of the attack was basically just as easy. The Saracens were not well prepared for Roger's invasion, and so fell easily. In their over cautious attempts to guard the strait between Sicily and the mainland, they had left the southern approaches to Messina and the city itself unguarded. Thus Messina was secured. After Messina, Roger was given another proposition which, if carried out properly, would give him total domination of Sicily. The proposition came again from Ibn al-Timnah, the Arab emir whom Roger had unsuccessfully tried to help before, who sought their help against his old rival Ibn al-Hawas. This time, the effort proved successful. After ensuing battles along the way, Roger, Robert and Ibn al-Timnah arrived at al-Hawas' fortress near Enna. However, the war was far from over. Ibn al-Hawas managed to make it to the safety of his citadel, along with much of his army, and so a siege was ordered. This proved to be a slow and tiresome affair. Two months passed, and Enna showed no sign of weakening. Roger, growing tired of this inactivity, left Enna with three hundred men and spent some time pillaging the countryside. He returned to find the siege still in progress. Eventually the two brothers ordered their men to turn around and leave the fortress. Although the siege was unsuccessful, the same cannot be said for the entire expedition. Much territory was gained and a considerable amount of booty was added to the Normans' growing riches. Palermo fell in 1072 and provided an administrative capital for the new Norman Kingdom of Sicily. The Norman conquest of the island was completed by 1091, and Roger set about reorganising his domains, which technically formed part of the lands of the Duke of Apulia.
1066 - William the Conquers Invades England. William the Conqueror invades England and asserts his right to the English throne at the Battle of Hastings. The Norman Conquest fuses French and English cultures because William is both the King of England and the Duke of Normandy. The language of England evolves into Middle English with an English syntax and grammar and a heavily French vocabulary. French art and literature prevail over previous English art and literature, and the French language eventually becomes the language of the political realm. William achieves political stability in England with the introduction of the feudal system. The system progresses over the next two centuries into a national monarchy.
1071 - Battle of Manzikert. The Seljuk Turks of Islam under Alp Arslan defeat Byzantine forces under Romanus IV Diogenes at Manzikert in Asia Minor and reconquer most of the eastern Byzantine provinces. The Seljuk turks had been threatening the eastern borders of the Byzantine empire for some years, without posing any significant threat, but in 1071 their leader, Alp Arslan, gathered a huge force, perhaps even as large as 100,000 men, and invaded the eastern empire. The Byzantine Emperor, Romanus Diogenes, had gained the throne through marriage, and ruled as joint emperor with his step-son. He had only been on the throne since 1068, and was not yet firmly established. The Turks had crossed the border, and taken the fortresses of Akhlat and Manzikert (now in modern Turkey). Romanus Diogenes gathered a huge army, although he was still outnumbered by the Turks, and advanced to the border, where he recaptured Akhlat and was besieging Manzikert when the Turks arrived. The Byzantine army formed up, and advanced towards the Turks, who refused to stand and fight, instead using the mobility of their horse-archers to harry the advancing Byzantines. Eventually, after several hours, Romanus Diogenes ordered the withdrawal, intending to return to his camp for the night. The withdrawal was not as smooth as the advance, and some gaps opened in the line. The Turks harried the retreating columns, until the Emperor gave the order to turn and fight. At this point treachery played a part in the disaster. The rearguard, commanded by Andronicus Ducas, an enemy of Romanus Diogenes, simply continued back to the camp, ignoring the order to turn, and leaving the main army to its fate. Once the rearguard was gone, the Turks were able to outflank the Byzantines, and eventually surround them. To make things worse, one flank of the Byzantine army was sufficiently detached from the main force for it to be forced to fight separately. The Byzantines held out until dark, but eventually they were overwhelmed. The Emperor himself was captured, and the bulk of the army destroyed. The main result of the battle was to leave Asia Minor totally at the mercy of the Turks. Their bands were able to devastate what is now modern Turkey almost at will, while what was left of the Byzantine army was involved in the civil wars that followed the defeat. What had been flourishing, fertile, long settled areas in the heart of the Byzantine empire became virtual desert. Within ten years of the battle of Manzikert, the Turks had reached Nicea, within sight of the capital of the Empire.
1071 - Robert de Hauteville Captures Bari and Brindisi. The Apulian ports of Bari and Brindisi, the last Byzantine strongholds in Italy, fall to Robert de Hauteville.
1073 - Pope Gregory VII. Pope Gregory VII elevated to the papal throne. Gregory VII initiates a new conception of Church. According to Gregory, the Church is obligated to create "right order in the world," rather than withdraw from it. Gregory seeks to create a papal monarchy with power over the secular state and to establish ecclesiastical authority. Henry IV, the German king, resists this authority thereby inaugurating the "investiture controversy." Gregory excommunicates Henry IV in 1077. The Gregorian reform encourages the practice of Christian warfare in the pursuit of providing "right order in the world" and establishes religious enthusiasm in all of Christendom.
1074-1984 - Investiture Controversy. Gregory VII as Pope begins the Investiture Controversy between the Papacy and German Emperor Henry IV. Gregory's Dictatus Papae. The controversy continues ten years, to 1084.
1076 - Normas Take Salerno. Norman conquest of Salerno; becomes capital of Norman Sicily.
1076 - Turks Capture Damascus and Jerusalem. The Seljuk Turks capture Damascus and Jerusalem from the Fatimids.
1077 - Henry IV at Canossa. Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV walks to Canossa where he stands barefoot in the snow to beg forgiveness of the Pope for his offences, and admitting defeat in the Investiture Controversy. This helps establish Papal rule over European heads of state for another 450 years.
1078 - The Construction of the Tower of London begins. The tower of London was the ultimate keep of the British Empire.
1079 - Scholasticism emerges as an attempt to reconcile classical philosophy (primarily Aristotelean) with Christianity. Peter Abelard contributes to this movement with his great theological work, Sic et Non. He dies in 1142.
1084 - Seljuks capture Antioch.
1084 - Robert Guiscard Sacks Rome. The Sack of Rome of May 1084 was a Norman sack, the result of the pope's call for aid from the duke of Apulia, Robert Guiscard. Pope Gregory VII was besieged in the Castel Sant'Angelo by the Emperor Henry IV in June 1083. He held out and called for aid from the Guiscard, who was then fighting the Byzantine Emperor Alexius I Comnenus in the Balkans. He returned, however, to Italy and marched north with 36,000 men. He entered Rome and forced Henry to retire, but a riot of the citizens led to a three days' sack, after which Guiscard escorted the pope to the Lateran. The Normans had mainly pillaged the old city, which was then one of the richest cities in Italy. After days of unending violence, the Romans rose up causing the Normans to set fire to the city. Many of the buildings of Rome were gutted on the Capitol and Palatine hills along with the area between the Colosseum and the Lateran. In the end the ravaged Roman populuce succumbed to the Normans.
1086 - The Doomsday Book. The compilation of the Doomsday Book. The Doomsday Book is a great land and property survey commissioned by William the Conqueror to assess his new possessions. It is the first such undertaking since Roman times.
1086 - Battle of Sagrajas. The Almoravids, coming from North Africa to Spain, defeat Alfonso VI of Leon and Castile.
1091 - Normans complete conquest of Sicily.
1094 - El Cid captures Valencia from Moors.
1095 - The First Crusade. The First Crusade is initiated when Byzantine Emperor Alexius Comnenus requests help in reconquering the lost territory of Asia Minor. Western Europe sends enormous support to rescue Jerusalem from the control of Islam. Pope Urban II calls the crusade to strengthen the Gregorian papacy by bringing the Greek Orthodox Church under papal authority and by humiliating the German emperor Henry IV who had forced Urban to flee Italy.
1096 - First Crusade sets off for Holy Land.
1097 - Crusaders defeat Seljuks at Nicaca and Dorylaeum.
1098 - Crusaders Capture Antioch. The crusaders of the First Crusade capture Antioch and most of Syria, killing the Turkish inhabitants.
c. 1098 - Song of Roland. The oldest epic poem in French, The Song of Roland, is written by an unknown author. The Song of Roland was, one might say, an open source poem, and the different manuscripts differ dramatically. Hence, when we ask for a date of composition, we are asking for the date of the poem's 'core'. This is virtually impossible, since any single line that is datable could be a later alteration: the addition of fresh references to a previously well-developed poem. Since such additions were commonplace for such poems, we are left with the general estimate that the poem was written, more or less, between 1040 and 1115, and most of the alterations were performed by about 1098. The poem is set in northern Spain during the reign of Charlemagne and is based on the Roncesvalles massacre of Charlemagne's rearguard. It serves to establish the differing characteristics between Christianity and paganism. The death scene of Roland, devoted patriot of Charlemagne, is commonly considered one of the greatest scenes in all of world literature.
1098 - Cistercian Order Founded. The Cistercian Order is founded. In 1098 a band of 21 Clunaic monks left their abbey of Molesme in Burgundy and followed their Abbot, Robert of Molesme (1027-1111), to establish a new monastery. The group was looking to cultivate a monastic community in which monks could carry out their lives in stricter observance of The Rules of Saint Benedict. On March 21, 1098, the small faction acquired a plot of marsh land just south of Dijon called Cîteaux (Latin: "Cistercium"), given to them expressly for the purpose of founding their Novum Monasterium. During the first year the monks set about constructing lodging areas and farmed the lands. In the interim, there was a small chapel nearby which they used for mass. Soon the monks in Molesme began petitioning Pope Urban II to return their Abbot to them. The case was passed down to Archbishop Hugues who passed the issue on down to the local bishops. Robert was then instructed to return to his position as Abbot in Molesme, where he remained for the rest of his days. A good number of the monks who helped found Cîteaux returned with him to Molesme, leaving just a few in their stead. The remaining monks elected Prior Alberic as their Abbot, under whose leadership the abbey would find its grounding. Robert had been the idealist of the order, and Alberic was their builder. In 1113, Bernard of Clairvaux arrived at Cîteaux with 30 others to join the monastery. By the end of the 12th century the Cistercian houses numbered 500; in the 13th a hundred more were added; and in the 15th, when the order attained its greatest extension, there were close on 750 houses: the larger figures sometimes given are now recognized as apocryphal.
1099 - Crusaders Capture Jerusalem. The crusaders of the First Crusade capture Jerusalem, killing its Muslim inhabitants. The Crusaders divide their new territories into four principalities.
1100-1135 - Henry I of England. Henry I, the son of Willaim the Conqueror, institutes a system of representatives dedicated to travelling the country and administering justice. He dies in 1135.
1103-1154 - Normans Consolidate Power in South Italy. Roger de Hauteville was succeeded by his son, who became Roger II, Count of Sicily (r. 1103-54). When RobertŐs grandson died in 1127, Roger II seized control of the Duchy of Apulia, and three years later in 1130 Pope Innocent II granted him the title of King of Sicily. The kingdom grew to include the other small Norman states in southern Italy, and by 1154 it extended as far north as the border of the Papal State, providing the papacy with a loyal semi-independent vassal to the south of Rome, and a Christian bulwark against Arab or Byzantine invasion.
1108 - Louis VI, the first important Capetian king of France, banishes the "robber barons" from the Ile-de-France, which allows agriculture, trade and intellectual activity to flourish.
1109 - Crusaders capture Tripoli and found fourth state.
1118 - Knights Templar Founded. The Knights Templar founded to protect Jerusalem and European pilgrims on their journey to the city.
1122 - Concordat of Worms. A compromise is drawn between Pope Calixtus and emperor over the issue of investiture. At the Concordat of Worms, religious symbols, originally invested for prelates, are replaced with symbols of temporal rule. Prelates accept the emperor as their temporal overlord and are invested with the symbol that recognizes their right to rule. Following the issue of investiture, the successors of Gregory VII develop the canon law of the Church which provides the papacy with jurisdiction over the clergy, the rights of inheritance and the rights of widows and orphans. Because the papacy begins acting as a court of appeals, it is necessary that popes are trained as legal experts, rather than as monks.
1123 - First Lateran Council. First Lateran Council. Followed and confirmed the Concordat of Worms.
1125 - German princes abolish the hereditary claim to the throne and establish the right to elect new rulers.
1129 - Roger of Sicily takes over Southern Italy.
1139 - Second Lateran Council. Declared clerical marriages invalid, regulated clerical dress, and punished attacks on clerics by excommunication.
1140 - Civil war in England between the Empress Matilda and Stephen of Blois.
1144 - Geoffrey Plantagenet ("The Fair") of Anjou captures Normandy.
1144 - Cathedral of St. Denis. The Romanesque abbey church of St. Denis, a burial shrine for French saints and kings, is torn down and replaced with Gothic architecture. Gothic architecture is highlighted by pointed arches, rather than Roman arches, ribbed vaulting, flying buttresses and intricately wrought stained-glass depictions of stories from the Bible and everyday life.
1144 - Muslims Capture Edessa. The County of Edessa is captured by Zengi of Mosul, marking the beginning of Muslim counter-offensive in East.
1147 - The Second Crusade. The Second Crusade was in retaliation to the fall of Edessa, one of the first Crusader States founded in the First Crusade. This was the first Crusade to have been led by European Kings. It was an overall failure.
1152 - Henry Plantagenet marries Eleanor of Aquitaine.
1152-1180 - Frederick I Barbarossa. Frederick I is crowned Emperor by Pope during one of six expeditions into Italy to tame Italian towns. He bases his rule on feudal relations in Germany and is not able to assert claims totally on Italians.
1153-1189 - Henry II of England. Henry Plantagenet becomes King of England and the richest and biggest landowner in Europe. He ruled as Count of Anjou, Duke of Normandy, and as King of England (1154-1189) and, at various times, controlled parts of Wales, Scotland, eastern Ireland, and western France.
1155 - Peter Lombard's Libri quatuor sententiarum. A student of Peter Abelard, Peter Lombard (c. 1100 -1160), writes the Book of Sentences which answers fundamental questions of theology with passages from the Bible and various Christian thinkers. This served as the standard textbook of theology at the medieval universities, from the 1220s until the 16th century. There is no work of Christian literature, except for the Bible itself, that has been commented upon more frequently. All the major medieval thinkers, from Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas to William of Ockham and Gabriel Biel, were influenced by it. Even the young Martin Luther still wrote glosses on the "Sentences."
1158-1162 - Frederick I in Italy. Emperor Frederick I (Barbarossa) restores Imperial rule to Northern Italy. In June 1158, Frederick set out upon his second Italian expedition, accompanied by Henry the Lion and his fearsome Saxons, which resulted in the establishment of imperial officers in the cities of northern Italy, the revolt and capture of Milan, and the beginning of the long struggle with Pope Alexander III, which resulted in the excommunication of the emperor in 1160. In response, Frederick declared his support for Antipope Victor IV. Returning to Germany towards the close of 1162, Frederick prevented the escalation of conflicts between Henry the Lion of Saxony and a number of his neighbouring princes who were growing weary of Henry's power, influence and territorial gains. He also severely punished the citizens of Mainz for their rebellion against Archbishop Arnold. The next visit to Italy in 1163 saw his plans for the conquest of Sicily ruined by the formation of a powerful league against him, brought together mainly by the taxes collected by the imperial officers.
1158 - Hanseatic League Founded. The Hanseatic League is founded, marking a new period of trade and economic development for North and Western Europe. The Hanseatic League comprised an alliance of trading guilds that established and maintained a trade monopoly over the Baltic Sea and most of Northern Europe for a time in the later Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, between the 13th and 17th centuries. Historians generally trace the origins of the League to the foundation of the Northern German town of Lübeck, established in 1158/1159 after the capture of the area from the Count of Schauenburg and Holstein by Henry the Lion, the Duke of Saxony.
1160-1162 - Henry the Lion, Duke of Saxony and Bavaria conquers Wends of the lower Elbe.
1163 - Notre Dame Begun. The first cornerstone is laid for construction of Notre Dame de Paris.
1164 - Henry II and Thomas Beckett. Henry II constructs the Constitutions of Clarendon in an attempt to regain power for the civil courts, which have been loosing authority to ecclesiastical ones. The archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket, strongly resists the decision of Henry and a quarrel breaks out. Becket is murdered in Canterbury Cathedral. He is quickly made a martyr by the English public and is revered as the greatest saint of English history. The political result is the abandonment of Henry's court program. Aside from this event, Henry II is considered one of England's greatest kings due to his judicial reforms and legal innovations. His reforms establish a stable government which requires little, if any, attention of the king.
1165 - Frenchman Chretien de Troyes is the first writer to condense the legendary Arthurian history, based on the Celtic hero King Arthur and his knights of chivalry, into what is known as the Arthurian Romances. Chretien is the first writer to put forth the idea of romantic love within marriage. The innovation of longer narrative poems is the earliest ancestor to the modern novel. The idea of chivalry, the literal meaning being "horsemanship," emerges about the time of the romances. Chivalry includes the defense of honor, combat in tournaments, and the virtues of generosity and reverence. The noble code of chivalry is accompanied with the improvement of noble life and the status of noblewomen.
1168 - English scientist Robert Grosseteste translates Aristotle's Ethics and makes technological advances in optics, mathematics and astronomy. He dies in 1253.
1169 - Saladin Vizier in Egypt. Saladin was born into a Kurdish family in Tikrit and was sent to Damascus to finish his education. His father, Najm ad-Din Ayyub, was governor of Baalbek. For ten years Saladin lived in Damascus, at the court of Nur ad-Din (Nureddin). After an initial military education under the command of his uncle, Nur ad-Din's lieutenant Shirkuh, who was representing Nur ad-Din on campaigns against a faction of the Fatimid caliphate of Egypt in the 1160s, Saladin eventually succeeded the defeated faction and his uncle as vizier in 1169. There, he inherited a difficult role defending Egypt against the incursions of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, under Amalric I. His position was tenuous at first; no one expected him to last long in Egypt where there had been many changes of government in previous years due to a long line of child caliphs fought over by competing viziers. As the leader of a foreign army from Syria, he also had no control over the Shi'ite Egyptian army, which was led in the name of the now otherwise powerless caliph Al-Adid.
1170 - The first European windmill is developed.
1174 - Saladin Declares Sultan. When the powerless caliph Al-Adid died, in September 1171, Saladin had the imams pronounce the name of Al-Mustadi, the Abbassid caliph in Baghdad, at sermon before Friday prayers, and the weight of authority simply deposed the old line. Now Saladin ruled Egypt, but officially as the representative of Nur ad-Din, who himself conventionally recognised the Abbassid caliph. Saladin revitalised the economy of Egypt, reorganised the military forces and, following his father's advice, stayed away from any conflicts with Nur ad-Din, his formal lord, after he had become the real ruler of Egypt. He waited until Nur ad-Din's death before starting serious military actions: at first against smaller Muslim states, then directing them against the Crusaders. With Nur ad-Din's death (1174), he assumed the title of sultan in Egypt. There he declared independence from the Seljuks, and he proved to be the founder of the Ayyubid dynasty and restored Sunnism in Egypt. He extended his territory westwards in the maghreb, and when his uncle was sent up the Nile to pacify some resistance of the former Fatimid supporters, he continued on down the Red Sea to conquer Yemen. He is also regarded as a Waliullah which means the friend of God to the Orthodox Sunni Muslims.
1176 - Battle of Legnano. Frederick Barbarossa defeated by the Lombard league of North Italian cities at the Battle of Legnano. The Battle of Legnano was fought on May 29, 1176 between the German forces of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa and the forces of the Lombard League of north Italian cities. It was the first of the wars of the Guelphs and Ghibellines which dominated north Italian politics for the next century. It was a decisive defeat for imperial pretensions in Italy and a turning point in the history of the Italian city-states, which were thenceforth independent entities. In the year 1167 several towns in northern Italy formed the Lombard League in opposition to the emperor, Frederick I Barbarossa, who had demanded to have the so-called regalia reinstated, royal rights, such as the right of coinage or collecting duties, which were often very lucrative. In the Oath of Pontida the communes, which until that time had followed conflicting political interests, swore to stand together against Barbarossa. In the Battle of Legnano they finally defeated the imperial forces in 1176. The Milanese Guelphs created a Carroccio decorated with the cross of St. Ambrose. The Heart piece of the Lombard League was the "Company of Death" which was lead by the Guelph knight Alberto da Giussano. Frederick failed to receive expected German reinforcements, and his largely cavalry forces were eventually repulsed by the Lombard League, comprising Milan and other states loyal to the Pope. The Imperial troops kept the upper hand at the start, and routed the first lines of the Lombard infantry. Till the "Company of Death" and the rest of the Lombard infantry developed an iron fighting spirit, and started to turn the table. The table was completely turned, when new infantry along with the Milanese and Brescian cavalry arrived and attacked the flank of the emperor. It was the Brescian cavalry that managed the break through and attacked the emperor, killing the guards and capturing the Imperial Insignia. Frederick I Barbarossa was wounded and fell to the ground, but managed to escape the Battlefield. Frederick's forces were demoralized when he was wounded and erroneously thought to have been killed. The Imperial troops started to flee as well and were largely chased down by the Lombard cavalry. Although Frederick subsequently negotiated a favorable peace, Legnano marked the Empire's last effort to control the lands south of the Alps during his reign. This battle is the first major victory of infantry over feudal cavalry in the Middle Ages.
1176 - Battle of Myriocephalum. Manuel Comnenus (1143-1180) is defeated by Seljuks of Rum under Kilij Arslan on September 17, 1176. Full scale Byzantine military decline sets in while reliance on the West increases. Manuel himself compared the defeat to Manzikert, and like Manzikert, it seems to have become a legendary disaster; in reality, although a defeat, it did not significantly ruin the Byzantine army, which was fighting in Asia Minor the next year. The army was quickly repaired, and a new campaign recaptured some territory in 1177. Manuel continued to meet the Seljuks in smaller battles with some success, until he died in 1180.
1179 - Third Lateran Council. The Third Council of the Lateran met in March 1179 as the 11th ecumenical council. Pope Alexander III presided and 302 bishops attended. Besides removing the remains of the recent antipope schism the council condemned the Waldensian and Cathar heresies and pushed for the restoration of ecclesiastical discipline. Three sessions were held, on 5, 14, and 19 March, in which 27 canons were promulgated. The most important of these were: Canon 1 stated that to prevent schisms in future, only cardinals should have the right to elect the pope, and two-thirds of their votes should be required for the validity of an election. If any candidate, after securing insufficient votes, should declare himself pope, both he and his supporters should be excommunicated. Canon 2 annulled the ordinations performed by the heresiarchs Octavian (Antipope Victor IV), Guy of Crema (Antipope Paschal III), and John de Struma (Antipope Callixtus III). Canon 3 forbade the promotion of anyone to the episcopate before the age of 30. Canon 5 forbade the ordination of clerics not provided with any means of proper support. Canon 7 forbade the exaction of money for burial of the dead, benediction, and the administration of the sacraments. Canon 9 recalled the military orders of the Knights Templar and the Hospitallers to the observation of canonical regulations. Canon 11 forbade clerics to receive women in their houses, or to frequent the monasteries of nuns. Canon 19 set the penalty of excommunication for those who levied contributions on churches and churchmen without the consent of the clergy. Canon 24 was a prohibition against furnishing the Saracens with material for the construction of their galleys. Canon 27 enjoined on princes the repression of heresy.
1180-1223 - Philip II Augustus of France. Philip II Augustus (Philippe II Auguste, August 21, 1165-July 14, 1223), was King of France from 1180 to 1223. A member of the Capetian dynasty, Philip Augustus was born on August 21, 1165 at Gonesse, Val-d'Oise, France, the son of Louis VII of France and his third wife, Adèle of Champagne. He was originally nicknamed Dieudonné: God-given. Philip II was a younger half-brother of Marie, countess palatine of Champagne, Alix, countess of Blois, Marguerite, queen of Hungary and Alys, Countess of the Vexin. He was an older full brother of Agnes of France, Empress of Constantinople. In declining health, his father had him crowned at Reims in 1179. He was married on April 28, 1180 to Isabelle of Hainaut, who brought the County of Artois as her dowry. His father and co-ruler died on September 18, 1180. Philip's eldest son Louis (later King Louis VIII), was born on September 5, 1187 and became Count of Artois in 1190, when Isabelle, his mother, died. As King, Philip II would become one of the most successful in consolidating northern France into one royal domain, but he never had more than limited influence in southern France. He seized the territories of Maine, Touraine, Anjou, Brittany and all of Normandy from King John of England (1199-1216). His decisive victory at the Battle of Bouvines over King John and a coalition of forces that included Otto IV of Germany ended the immediate threat of challenges to this expansion (1214) and left Philip II Augustus as the most powerful monarch in all of Europe. He reorganized the government, bringing financial stability to the country and thus making possible a sharp increase in prosperity. His reign was popular with ordinary people because he checked the power of the nobles and passed some of it on to the growing middle class that his reign had created. Louis VI's grandson, assumes the title of monarch in France. He recaptures most of the western French territory, previously taken by William the Conqueror, from the English king, John. Philip installs royal officials in the conquered regions in order to win allegience to the king. He works to end Angevin Empire, and defeats John of England at Bouvines. Philip is one of the strongest founders of the modern French state.
1180 - Henry the Lion dispossessed by Frederick, Saxony divided, Bavaria given to Otto of Winelsbach.
1181-1226 - St. Francis of Assisi and Franciscan orders emergence.
1184 - Medieval Inquisitions Begin. The Medieval Inquisition is a term historians use to describe the various inquisitions that started around 1184, including the Episcopal inquisition (1184-1230s) and later the Papal inquisition (1230s) by the Roman Catholic Church. It was in response to large popular movements throughout Europe considered apostate or heretical to Christianity, in particular Catharism and Waldensians in southern France and northern Italy. These were the first inquisition movements of many that would follow.
1187 - Muslims Capture Jerusalem. The Siege of Jerusalem took place from September 20 to October 2, 1187. It resulted in the recapture of Jerusalem by Saladin and the near total collapse of the crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, and was the catalyst for the Third Crusade. The Kingdom of Jerusalem, weakened by internal disputes, was completely defeated at the Battle of Hattin on July 4, 1187. Most of the nobility of the kingdom was taken prisoner, including King Guy, and throughout the summer Saladin quickly overran the kingdom. By mid-September, Saladin had taken Acre, Nablus, Jaffa, Toron, Sidon, Beirut and Ascalon. The survivors of the battle and other refugees fled to Tyre, the only city able to hold out against Saladin, due to the fortuitous arrival of Conrad of Montferrat. Balian handed over the keys to the Tower of David, the citadel, on October 2. It was announced that every inhabitant had about a month to pay their ransom, if they could (the length of time was perhaps 30 to 50 days, depending on the source). Saladin was generous and freed some of those who were forced into slavery; his brother Saphadin did the same, and both Balian and Heraclius, not wishing to be seen less generous than their enemies, freed many others with their own money. They offered themselves as hostages for the remaining citizens (at least several thousand) whose ransoms had not been paid, but Saladin refused. Saladin allowed for an orderly march away from Jerusalem and prevented the sort of massacre that had occurred when the crusaders captured the city in 1099. The ransomed inhabitants marched away in three columns; the Templars and Hospitallers led the first two, with Balian and the Patriarch leading the third. Balian was permitted to join his wife and family in Tripoli. Heraclius was allowed to evacuate a number of church treasures and reliquaries, which scandalised the Muslim chronicler Imad ad-Din al-Isfahani - although he had already contributed to the ransoms.
1189-1199 - Richard the Lionheart of England. The third legitimate son of King Henry II of England, Richard was never expected to ascend the throne. He is often depicted as having been the favourite son of his mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine. Richard was a younger maternal half-brother of Marie de Champagne and Alix of France. He was a younger brother of William, Count of Poitiers, Henry the Young King and Matilda of England. He was also an older brother of Geoffrey II, Duke of Brittany, Leonora of England, Joan Plantagenet and John, Count of Mortain (who succeeded him as king). He rules for ten years and is only present in the country a total of six months. His rule exemplifes the strength of the governmental foundations set up by Henry II. During Richard's absence, ministers take care of administration and help to raise taxes for the support of the crusades. Richard had already taken the cross as Count of Poitou in 1187. His father Henry II of England and Philip II of France had done so at Gisors on 21 January 1188, after receiving news of the fall of Jerusalem to Saladin. Having become king, Richard and Philip agreed to go on the Third Crusade together, since each feared that, during his absence, the other might usurp his territories. Richard swore an oath to renounce his past wickedness in order to show himself worthy to take the cross. He started to raise and equip a new crusader army. He spent most of his father's treasury (filled with money raised by the Saladin tithe), raised taxes, and even agreed to free King William I of Scotland from his oath of subservience to Richard in exchange for 10,000 marks. To raise even more money he sold official positions, rights, and lands to those interested in them. Even those already appointed were forced to pay huge sums to retain their posts. Even William Longchamp, Bishop of Ely and the King's Chancellor, made a show of bidding £3,000 to remain as Chancellor. He was apparently outbid by a certain Reginald the Italian, but his bid was refused. Richard made some final arrangements on the continent. He reconfirmed his father's appointment of William Fitz Ralph to the important post of seneschal of Normandy. In Anjou, Stephen of Tours was replaced as seneschal and temporarily imprisioned for fiscal mismanagement. Payn de Rochefort, an Angevin knight was elevated to the post of seneschal of Anjou. In Poitou, the ex-provost of Benon, Peter Bertin was made seneschal, and finally in Gascony, the household official Helie de La Celle was picked for the seneschalship there. After repositioning the part of his army he left behind to guard his French possessions, Richard finally set out on crusade in summer 1190. (His delay was criticised by troubadours such as Bertran de Born). He appointed as regents Hugh, Bishop of Durham, and William de Mandeville, 3rd Earl of Essex, who soon died and was replaced by Richard's chancellor William Longchamp. Richard's brother John was not satisfied by this decision and started scheming against William. Some writers have criticised Richard for spending only six months of his reign in England and siphoning the kingdom's resources to support his Crusade and campaigns in what is now France. He claimed England was "cold and always raining," and when he was raising funds for his Crusade, was said to declare, "If I could have found a buyer I would have sold London itself." However, England was a minor part of his territories, only important in that it gave him a royal title with which to approach other kings as an equal. Like most of the Plantagenet kings before the 14th century, he had no need to learn the English language. Leaving the country in the hands of various officials he designated (including his mother, at times), Richard was far more concerned with his more extensive French lands.
1189-1192 - The Third Crusade. The Third Crusade was an attempt by European leaders to reconquer the Holy Land from Saladin. It is sometimes referred to as the Kings' Crusade. It is led by German Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, French King Philip Augustus and English King Richard the Lionhearted. It is not successful. Barbarossa of Germany dies, Richard the Lionheart gets restricted access to Holy Sites.
1190 - Death of Frederick Barbarossa. The elderly Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa responded to the call of Gregory VIII immediately. He took up the Cross at Mainz Cathedral on March 27, 1188 and was the first to set out for the Holy Land in May of 1189. Frederick had raised an army so massive that it could not be transported across the Mediterranean Sea, but instead had to cross Asia Minor on foot. The Byzantine Emperor Isaac II Angelus made a secret alliance with Saladin to impede Frederick's progress in exchange for his empire's safety. On May 18, 1190, the German army captured Konya, the capital of the Sultanate of Rum. However, on June 10, 1190, Frederick was thrown from his horse in the crossing of the Saleph River and drowned. His son Frederick VI led the army to Antioch where his body was interred in the Church of St. Peter. In Antioch, some of what remained of the German army died of plague.
1191 - Crusaders Capture Acre. Richard arrived at Acre on June 8, 1191 and immediately began supervising the construction of siege weapons to assault the city. The city was captured on July 12. Richard, Philip, and Leopold V (commanding the remnants of Barbarossa's army) quarrelled over the spoils of their victory. Richard cast down the German standard from the city, slighting Leopold. Also, in the struggle for the kingship of Jerusalem, Richard supported Guy, while Philip and Leopold supported Conrad, who was related to them both. It was decided that Guy would continue to rule, but that Conrad would receive the crown upon his death. Frustrated with Richard (and in Philip's case, in poor health), Philip and Leopold took their armies and left the Holy Land in August. When it became apparent that Saladin was not willing to pay the terms of the treaty at Acre, Richard had more than 3,000 Muslim prisoners executed on August 20 outside of Acre in full view of Saladin's camp.
1192 - On September 2, 1192, Richard and Saladin finalized a treaty by which Jerusalem would remain under Muslim control, but which also allowed unarmed Christian pilgrims to visit the city. Richard departed the Holy Land on October 9. Richard was captured and held for ransom in Germany.
1198-1216 - Innocent III. Innocent III, the founder of the Papal State, is thirty-seven when he is elected pope. He is trained in canon law and theology. His primary concern of administration is the unification of all Christendom under the papal monarchy, including the right to interfere with the rule of kings. He is the organizer of the Fourth Crusade, ordered to recapture Jerusalem from Islam.
1200 - The growth of lay education and the intellectual renaissance begin. Students start entering schools with no intention of becoming priests, and education is offered in European languages other than Latin. The rise in lay education causes a loss in Church control over education, the growth of literacy in the West and the transformation of cathedral schools into advanced liberal arts universities. Bologna and Paris are the distinguishing schools of the High Middle Ages.
1202-1204 - The Fourth Crusade. Diverted by Venice to sack Constantinople, the Crusaders establish Latin states in Byzantine territory.
1204 - King John of England loses Normandy and the surrounding area to the French king, Philip Augustus.
1206 - St. Francis of Assisi, at the age of twently-five begins his twenty year allegiance to Christ Jesus until his death in 1226. He is the founder of the Franciscan order which seeks to imitate the life of Jesus by embracing poverty. St. Francis wins the support of Pope Innocent III.
1206 - Rise of Genghis Khan.
1208 - Innocent III calls for the Albigensian Crusade in order to destroy the heretical threat of the Albigensians.
1209 - The University of Oxford is founded.
1209 - The University of Cambridge is founded.
1212 - Children's Crusade.
1212 - Battle of Las Navas de Tolsa. The Almohads are defeated by Alfonso VII of Castile and Pedro II of Aragon at Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa. By 1248, only the small southern kingdom of Granada remained under Muslim control.
1214 - Battle of Bouvines. Philip Augustus defeats John of England, the Flanders Count, and Otto IV of Germany. Plantagenet possessions in France reduced to Anjou only. Great victory for the French crown.
1214 - A student of Grosseteste, Roger Bacon predicts the technological advancement of automobiles and airplanes and extends Grosseteste's observations in optics. Both thinkers advocate concrete sensory observation for the advancement of scientific thought, rather than abstract reasoning.
1215 - Innocent III organizes the Fourth Lateran Council in Rome in order to discuss and define central dogmas of Christianity. Dealt with transubstantiation, papal primacy and conduct of clergy. Proclaimed that Jews and Muslims should wear identification marks to distinguish them from Christians. It recognizes the necessity of the Eucharist and penance as sacraments for salvation. The Council exemplifies the power of the papacy over kings and Church. The Council also calls for the Fifth Crusade to be warred under papal guidance by sea. It is a failure.
1215-1250 - Frederick II of Germany and Sicily. Protected at first by Innocent III, Frederick II becomes king of Sicily based on mother's inheritance. He rules Germany feudally, Italy centrally, though towns and later the Pope oppose him. He goes on Crusade in 1229, but is excommunicated for negotiating access to Jerusalem and not conquering it.
1215 - The Magna Charta. English barons write "The Magna Carta" (Great Charter) in order to cease John's demands of money from the English without the consent of the barons and to require that all men be judged by a jury of peers in public courts, rather than privately by the crown. The Magna Carta serves as a symbol of a limited government and a crown that is bound by the same laws as the public.
1216 - The Dominican order is founded by St. Dominic of Spain and is authorized by Innocent III. Its purpose is to convert Muslims and Jews and to put an end to heresy. The Dominicans eventually become the main administrators of inquisitorial trials.
1218-1221 - Fifth Crusade captures Damietta in Egypt.
1223 - Louis VIII, Philip Augustus' son, rules for three years and conquers most of southern France.
1223 - Founding of the Franciscan Order.
1225 - Thomas Aquinas, the most influential Scholastic theologian, is teaching at the University of Paris. Aquinas believes in the contemplation of God through the natural order, though ultimate truths are revealed only by studying the revelations of the Bible. His two greatest works are the Summa contra Gentiles and the Summa Theologica, both of which attempt to found the Christian faith on rational principles. His philosophy emphasizes human reasoning, life in the material order and the individual's participation in personal salvation.
1226-1270 - Louis IX (St. Louis). Louis IX, son of Louis VIII, is one of the most loved monarchs of French history. He is canonized by the Church for his piety and reigns over a period of internal peace in France.
1228 - Frederick II, leader of the Sixth Crusade, begins a diplomatic negotiation with Islam for control of Jerusalem. It is a success. However, because Frederick was excommunicated by the pope, he crowns himself king of Jerusalem.
1229 - Albigensian Crusade ends; heresy is destroyed, southern France economically shattered.
1236 - Ferdinand III of Castile captures Cordoba.
1237 - The Mongols, under the leadership of Batu, cross the Urals from Asia into Russia. Prior to the thirteenth century, Russia is ruled by westerners who found the Kievan state. During the thirteenth century Russia retreats from the West, partly due to the distance between Moscow and the rest of Europe.
1240 - Mongols enter the state of Kiev and create a new state on the Volga River, from where they rule Russia for two centuries. Over these two centuries, the Grand Duchy of Moscow emerges and eventually defeats the Mongol Khans.
1242 - St. Bonaventura enters the Franciscan order. He becomes the seventh general of that order within fifteen years. He is a professor of theology at the University of Paris, Bishop of Albano, made cardinal by Gregory X and is canonized by Sixtus IV. St. Bonaventura's major works are the Reductio Artium in Theologiam, the Biblia Pauperum and the Breviloquium. His thought is heavily influenced by an ancient Greek philosopher, Plotinus.
1242 - Alexander Nevsky defeats Teutonic Knights.
1244 - Jerusalem is lost by the West and is not recaptured again until 1917.
1249 - Louis IX captures Damietta on Seventh Crusade.
1250 - The successors of Innocent III are involved in a political struggle with Frederick II, who attempts to take control in central Italy. They order a crusade against him, the first time a crusade is called for political reasons. The outcome is the death of Frederick.
1252 - The papacy approves the use of torture for religious disobedience, following Innocent III's brutal "inquisitions" against heresy (namely the Waldensian and Albigensian heretics).
1257 - Founding of the University of Paris.
1260 - Several texts are translated from their original languages into Latin, including the texts of Aristotle.
1261 - The Byzantine Empire returns to Constantinople.
1261 - Mamluk defeat of Mongols.
1265 - Dante Alighieri is born. Later, he will write the Divine Comedyperhaps the greatest literary expression of the Middle Agesin Italian verse. Born in Florence, Dante is extensively educated in literature, philosophy and Scholastic theology. His "Comedy" is saturated with the belief of earthly immortality through worthy deeds and the preparation of life everlasting.
1267 - Florentine Giotto, the most important painter of the later Middle Ages, begins the modern tradition in painting. He is a naturalist whose paintings include depictions of Christ's entrance into Jerusalem and the death of St. Francis.
1268 - The military champion of the papacy's crusade against the heirs of Frederick II is Charles of Anjou, who is from the French royal house. Charles defeats the last of Frederick's heirs and wins Sicily.
1268 - Mamluks capture Antioch.
1270 - Louis IX dies during Eighth Crusade.
1272 - Edward I of England, Henry III's son, establishes Parliament, originally a feudal court for the king and not yet a system of representative government.
1273 - Rudolph I of Germany is elected Holy Roman Emperor, beginning the Habsburg de facto domination of the crown that lasted until is dissolution in 1806.
1274 - Thomas Aquinas' work, Summa Theologiae is published.
1277-1283 - Edward I's conquest of Wales.
1280 - Eyeglasses are invented and later improved in the late medieval period.
1282 - Charles of Anjou's efforts to tax Sicily provokes the "Sicilian Vespers" revolt. The rebels install the king of Aragon as their own king, thereby reinstating rule to the house of Frederick II.
1285 - France becomes the strongest power in Europe due to the administration of St. Louis' grandson, Philip IV. He attempts to gain full control over the French Church from Rome and begins the process of governmental centralization.
1291 - The Mamluks overrun Acre and the last remnant of the crusader kingdom is lost.
1294 - Boniface VIII disputes with the kings of England and France over the taxation of the clergy for support of war. Later, Boniface will run into political problems with Philip IV of France.
1295 - Marco Polo publishes his tales of China.
1297 - William Wallace emerges as the leader of the Scottish resistance to England.
1300 - The Late Middle Ages begins here and ends around 1500. The beginning of the Late Middle Ages witnesses the invention of the magnetic compass, greatly aiding overseas expansion and enhancing trade between places such as Italy and the North. Boniface VIII calls the first papal "jubilee," thereby recognizing pilgrimages to Rome instead of Jerusalem, which is no longer accessible to the West.
1303 - Boniface VIII is captured in Anagni by local citizens and is abused beyond his capabilities to sustain the mistreatment. He dies in his seventies a month after his release. After his death, the Church witnesses many institutional crises.
1307 - The Knights Templar are rounded up and murdered by Philip the Fair of France, with the backing of the Pope.
1309-1377 - The papacy is moved from Rome to Avignon, beginning the Church's "Babylonian Captivity." For most of the fourteenth century, the papacy is subordinate to French authority with the majority of cardinals and popes being French.
1311 - Dante publishes his Divine Comedy.
1314 - Robert Bruce defeats Edward If at Bannockburn, confirming independence of Scotland.
1315 - Leopold of Austria defeated by Swiss Confederation at Battle of Morgarten.
1315 - Bad weather and crop failure result in famine across northwestern Europe. Unsanitary conditions and malnutrition increase the death rate. Even after the revival of agricultural conditions, weather disasters reappear. A mixture of war, famine and plague in the Late Middle Ages reduces the population by one-half.
1323-1328 - The peasants revolt in Flanders.
1327 - Born in 1260, German Dominican Master Eckhart defines the individual soul as a "spark" of the divine at its most basic element. By renouncing all knowledge of the self, one is able to retreat into that "spark" and reach God. Most of his teachings are condemned by the papacy. Two bands of mysticism arise from Eckhart's theories: heterodox, the belief in the unification of God and man on earth without the aid of priests as intermediaries, and orthodox, the belief in the possibility of joining the soul with God and the awareness of divine presence in everyday life.
1328 - The last heir of the Capetian dynasty dies and is replaced by the first ruler of the Valois dynasty. Because the English kings are also descended from the Capetian line, England attempts to claim the French crown.
1330 - Oxford theologian John Wyclif is born. He later becomes the leader of a heretical movement: finding the Church extravagant, he condemns most Church officials and begins a reform movement. He receives aristocratic support by advocating the replacement of officials with men willing to lead apostolic lives modeled on the New Testament. He dies in 1384, before the death penalty for heresy emerges in England. The use of heavy cannons in warfare begins.
1337-1453 - The Hundred Years' War. The French retaliate against the English and initiate the Hundred Years' War, a series of battles lasting until 1453. The three greatest battles of the war are fought at Crecy (1346), Poitiers (1356) and Agincourt (1415). Due to the military superiority of the English, the French are defeated in most of the battles.
1340 - English naval victory over French at Sluys.
1340 - Geoffrey Chaucer is born. He later begins the literary tradition with his Canterbury Tales.
1342 - The reign of Avignonese Pope Clement VI exemplifies the French takeover of the Church. Clement offers spiritual benefits for money, appoints Church leaders for economic gains and commits sexual acts on "doctors' orders." The French Church based in Avignon rises in power, centralizes the Church government and establishes a system of papal finance.
1346 - English victory at Crecy.
1347 - Edward III captures Calais.
1347 - The Black Death. The Black Death appears during a time of economic depression in Western Europe and reoccurs frequently until the fifteenth century. The Black Death is a combination of bubonic and pneumonic plagues and has a major impact on social and economic conditions. Religious flagellation appears among lay groups in order to appease the divine wrath. An estimated 20% - 40% of the population is thought to have perished within the first year.
1347 - English Franciscan William of Ockham dies. He teaches that God is free to do good and bad on earth as He wishes and developes the philosophical position known as "nominalism." His quest for certainty in human knowledge is one of the foundations of the scientific method.
1347 - The University of Prague is founded.
1348 - Italian Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375) begins writing the Decameron, a collection of stories about love, sex, adventure and trickery told by seven ladies and three men on a journey into the country to escape the Black Death. Boccaccio's work is the first literature written in narrative prose. His prose is realistic of the men and women in the stories, rather than blatantly moral or immoral as in the earlier romances.
1351-1353 - Swiss confederation joined by Zurich, Glarus Zug and Berne.
1356 - A war begins between the English and the French directly following an occurrence of the Black Death in France. French peasants suffer the most economically, as is usual in medieval times during war, and physicallytheir homes are pillaged and burned. The English defeat the French king, John II, at the Battle of Poitiers, and the peasants again are asked to bear the weight of the upper class.
1358 - Economic hardship in France results in an uprising of the lower-class, called the "Jacquerie" (taken from the French peasant "Jacques Bonhomme"). The peasants burn castles, murder and rape their lords and lords' wives and take advantage of the political confusion in France by attempting to reform the governmental system. The revolt occurs during the king's captivity in England. Also, during this time, an aristocratic group plans the takeover of power. A brief revolt is put to an end when this group restores order by the massacre of the rebels.
1360 - Treaty of Bretigny makes a brief respite in Hundred Years War.
1360 - With the introduction of oil painting into western Europe, the earliest naturalistic painting is created. Its subject is the French king, John the Good. After this, naturalistic portraitures become prominent in European art.
1362 - Philip the Bold becomes Duke of Burgundy.
1365 - Siege of Alexandria led by Peter of Cyprus.
1366 - Throne of Castile in dispute; France supports Henry of Trastamara, England Peter the Cruel Edward the Black Prince defeats Henry and captures Bertrand du Guesclin at Najera Hundred Years War starts up again.
1367 - Urban V is successful in returning the pope to Rome. However, Pope Gregory XI dies in 1368. Because the papacy is now in Rome, an Italian pope, Urban VI, is elected and begins quarreling with the French cardinals. The French cardinals cancel the previous election and elect a French pope, Clement VII.
1378 - The Western Schism. Three claimant popes were elected simultaneously. The Avignon Papacy ends. The second phase of the Church's institutional crisis is the Great Schism. The French papacy leaves Rome due to the uprising of Urban VI and his group of newly founded cardinals. The split of the two groups causes confusion in Europe. French territories recognize Clement VII as pope, and the rest of Europe recognizes Urban VI as pope. The schism survives the death of both popes. The Florentine Ciompi, wool-combers, witnessing a depressed industry, rise against the governmental system and gain power for six weeks, in which time they institute tax relief, provide a proletarian representation in government and expand employment. All reforms are revoked with the new oligarchic power.
1380 - Prince Dmitry Donskoy of Moscow led a united Russian army to an important victory over the Mongols in the Battle of Kulikovo.
1380 - Chaucer begins to write The Canterbury Tales.
1381 - Peasants' Revolt in England. The presence of the Black Death in England works to the advantage of English peasants, causing a shortage of labor, a freeing of serfs, a rise in salary and a decrease in rent. The aristocratic class, however, passes legislation that lowers wages to the amount before the plague and that requires lower wages for laborers without land. The peasants rise against this oppression in what is called the English Peasants' Revolt when a national tax is levied for every individual in England. The peasants march into London, murder the lord chancellor and treasurer and are met by Richard II. Richard promises the abolition of serfdom and a lower of rent. After the peasants leave, Richard has the peasant groups followed and murdered.
1382 - The Bible is translated into English by John Wycliffe.
1385 - Portuguese defeat Castile at Aljubarotta; Viscono rules Milan and Northern Italy.
1385 - The first German university is opened in Heidelberg.
1386 - The queen of Poland, Jadwiga, marries grand duke of Lithuania, Jagiello. The marriage creates a state double the size of Poland's previous size.
1396 - Battle of Nicopolis; Christian beaten by Beyazit,.
1399 - In England, the death penalty becomes the punishment for heresy, and many Lollards, Wyclif's lay followers, convert.
1400 - Czech students of John Wyclif bring Wyclifism to the Bohemian capital of Prague. Preacher John Hus (1373-1415) adopts Wyclif's theories to support his own claims against ecclesiastical extravagance. The Northern provinces of Italy devise their own systems of government. The government of Venice becomes a merchant oligarchy; Milan is ruled by dynastic despotism; and Florence becomes a republic, ruled by the rich. The three cities expand and conquer most of Northern Italy.
1409 - A council of prelates from both sides of the Great Schism meet at Pisa and decide to rename a new pope in place of the two. However, both popes enjoy great political power and refuse the deposition, causing three rivals to the papacy instead of two.
1410 - Polish-Lithuanian forces defeat the German Teutonic Knights and extend rule eastward, almost into Russia. Eastern Orthodox Moscow begins a campaign of resistance to Roman Catholic Poland-Lithuania.
1411-1414 - Civil War in France between Orleanists and Burgundians; Sigismund of Hungary becomes Emperor of Germany.
1414 - A Lollard uprising in England fails. Some Lollards retreat underground and aid the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century.
1415 - Battle of Agincourt. Henry V and his army defeat a numerically superior French army, partially because of the newly-introduced English longbow.
1415 - John Hus travels to the Council of Constance to propose his reforms for the Church. Upon his arrival at the Council, Hus is tried for heresy and burned. His death encourages futher revolt by his followers.
1417 - The Council of Constance. The Council of Constance, the largest Church meeting in medieval history, ends the Great Schism. The council gains secular support and elects Martin V as pope. It replaces papal monarchy with a conciliar government, which recognizes a council of prelates as the pope's authority, and mandates the frequent meeting of the council. This new period is known as the Italian territorial papacy, which lasts until 1517.
1419 - The province of Burgundy breaks from France and allies with the English during the Hundred Years' War.
1420 - Hus' supporters defeat German "crusaders." The lower-class Hussites are led by general John Zizka.
1420 - Henry V of England recognized by Charles VI as heir to the throne of France.
1422 - Henry V dies; war begins to go badly for the English.
1425 - Florence and Venice form alliance against Visconti of Milan.
1427 - Thomas a Kempis writes The Imitation of Christ, a manual directing the individual through Orthodox mysticism. Originally in Latin, it is translated into European languages for the lay audience. Its major themes concern the path of Christian piety for those active in everyday life, communion with Christ, biblical meditation and a moral life. The only sacrament suggested to its reader is the Eucharist.
1429 - Joan of Arc. Joan of Arc, a peasant girl in France, seeks out the French leader and relates her divinely-inspired mission to drive the English out of France. She takes control of the French troops and liberates most of central France. She lifts the siege of Orleans for the Dauphin of France, enabling him to eventually be crowned at Reims. The battle at Orleans is the first of many which ultimately drive the English from continental Europe.
1429 - Charles VII crowned at Orleans.
1430 - Joan of Arc is captured and taken to England. The English accuse her of being a witch and condemn her for heresy. Joan is publicly burned in the city of Rouen.
1434 - Aristocratic Hussites end the revolt of Hus' supporters and their attempts of social and religious reform. Bohemia does not return to Catholic Orthodoxy until the Catholic Reformation of the seventeenth century.
1434 - Cosimo de Medici becomes ruler of Florence. The Medici banking family dominates the government of Florence.
1436 - Emperor Sigismund recognized a King of Bohemia after long struggle against nationalist Hussites.
1439 - Strassburg Cathedral is completed, making it the highest building in the world.
1452 - Leonardo da Vinci is born. Leonardo developed many plans and paintings, including the helicopter and the famous, Mona Lisa.
1453 - End of Hundred Years' War. English have lost all French possessions except Calais. The French king Charles VII captures Bordeaux in the southwest and ends the Hundred Years' War, during the reign of English King Henry VI and after the withdrawal of Burgandy from English alliance. The French monarchy reestablishes rule and returns to collecting national taxes and maintaining a standing army in times of peace. The monarchy becomes even stronger during the reigns of Louis XI (1461-1483) and Louis XII (1498-1515).
1453 - Ottoman Turks take Constantinople and end Byzantine civilization.
1454 - Milan, Venice, Florence and Naples make peace. Italy is divided into five major regions: Venice, Milan, Florence, the Papal States and the southern kingdom of Naples.
1455 - War of the Roses. Henry VI of England (1422-1461) wages the Wars of the Roses. The two sides of the war are the red rose (Henry's family at Lancaster) and the white rose (the house of York). Yorkist Richard III gains the kingship for a short time.
1455 - Pope Callixtus III, born Alfonse Borgia, ascends to the papal throne, beginning a period of papal scandal and debauchery on an unprecedented scale.
1455 - Johann Gutenberg prints the first of his Bibles on his new printing press. This innovation will help ignite the Protestant Reformation in Europe.
1462 - Ivan III of Moscow annexes all Russian principalities between Moscow and Poland-Lithuania over a period of twenty-three years.
1469 - Ferdinand of Aragon marries Isabella of Castile, and the two Spanish kingdoms end their conflicts but remain separate powers.
1470 - War between Switzerland and Austria.
1477 - Charles the Bold of Burgundy is captured by the Swiss, and Louis XI recaptures the lost territory.
1479 - Aragon and Castile united under Ferdinand and Isabella.
1480 - Ottoman Turks attack Rhodes.
1482 - Ivan III of Moscow (1462-1505) renounces the Mongol Khanate rule over Russia. The Mongols do not resist in the light of the rise of the Moscow state.
1485 - With the end of the Wars of the Roses in England, the Tudor dynasty replaces Richard III. Henry VII, the first Tudor king, marries Elizabeth of York and rules for twenty-four years, reviving the English throne. He reestablishes royal power over the aristocracy, ends funding of foreign wars and reforms finances. Parliament also becomes a stable part of the governmental system.
1492 - Ferdinand and Isabella annex Granada, expel all Jews from Spain and seek overseas expansion (for example, as patrons of Christopher Columbus). The flow of American gold and silver through Spain, the conquest of Mexico and Peru and superiority on the battlefield make Spain the most powerful state in Europe.
1505 - Ivan the Great of Moscow extends the Russian border into the Byelorussian and the Ukrainian territories, before his death. Muscovian Russia is recognized as a major Eastern-oriented power in Europe.
1509 - Henry VIII succeeds his father, Henry VII, for the English crown.