A Brief History
This article presents a timeline of Ancient and Medieval World History for History 11050 at Kent State University at Stark. For each date below, please click on the date to be taken to an article covering that date’s event.
- On October 3, 2012, a National Geographic explorer announced the discovery of a new species of dinosaur, one with vampire-like fangs!
- On December 18, 1912, Charles Dawson announced the discovery of the prehistoric missing link between ape and man!
- On July 10, 1997, British scientists in London conducted DNA tests on a Neanderthal skeleton which showed the likelihood of a common ancestor for all men having originated in Africa, perhaps 200,000 years ago.
- On July 10, 1997, British scientists in London, England, reported that the DNA analysis of a Neanderthal skeleton gave credibility to the “Out of Africa” theory of human origins, including the likelihood of an “Eve” ancestress to all modern humans dated back to 100,000 to 200,000 years ago.
- On October 1, 2009, paleontologists formally announced the discovery of the relatively complete Ardipithecus ramidus fossil skeleton first unearthed in 1994.
II. The First Civilizations
- Ancient Egypt was a civilization of ancient Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt.
- On November 4, 1922, British archaeologist Howard Carter found the entrance to Pharaoh Tutankhamun’s tomb in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings.
- On February 16, 1923, King Tut’s burial chamber was entered for the first time in over 3,000 years!
- While cleaning King Tut’s famous mask, conservators at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo got a little carried away and accidentally broke off the beard!
- On July 15, 1799, French soldiers in Egypt discovered The Rosetta Stone, which is inscribed with three versions of a decree issued at Memphis, Egypt in 196 BC during the Ptolemaic dynasty on behalf of King Ptolemy V Epiphanes.
- On this date, September 28, 48 BC, Pompey the Great was assassinated on the orders of King Ptolemy of Egypt after landing in Egypt.
- In the 17th Century BC, Israelites settled in what is now modern Israel.
- On December 29, Catholics and Lutherans celebrate the feast day of David, a man from the Bible perhaps most famous for slaying the giant Goliath.
- People bartered before money came into play in 610-600 B.C. when the Lydians created the coin.
- In 550 BC, the first dynasty of the Persian Empire was created by the Achaemenids, established by Cyrus the Great with the conquest of the Median, Lydian and Babylonian empires.
- In December 530 BC, a few hundred years after the life and death of the historical inspiration for the legendary Asian Queen Semiramis, another amazing Ancient Asian queen reigned.
- On September 29, 522 B.C., following two years of bizarre and bloody political intrigue, King Darius I the Great of Persia killed a Magian (think of the magi or wise men of the Bible) usurper, thereby securing Darius’s hold as great king of the Persian Empire.
III. Ancient Slaves and Women
- Historian Linda Hall asks, “Were Ancient women powerful or powerless?”
- On January 16, 27 BC, Livia Drusilla (58 BC–AD 29) became in effect the first Roman empress when her husband received the honorary title of Augustus (“honorable” or “revered one”) from the Roman Senate.
IV. Early Greece
- This article presents a timeline of Ancient Greek history and mythology and provides links to more detailed articles about the below listed topics from this site!
- On an unknown date, about the mid 2nd Millennium BC, the ancient world was rocked by one of the largest volcanic eruptions and explosions in Human history.
- Whether you know this Greek Hero as Herakles, Heracles, or Hercules, and whether you picture him as played by Arnold Schwarzenneger or Kevin Sorbo, this man who has come to symbolize all that is strong and heroic did not always have it so good himself.
- On April 24, 1184 B.C., at least according to traditionalists, the city of Troy fell to Greek invaders, thus bringing about the end of the epic Trojan War that began some ten years earlier in 1194 B.C.
- Circa 700 BC, Hesiod (8th – 7th century BC) composed The Theogony, a poem describing the origins and genealogies of the Greek gods.
- Despite being known for their formidable military, Sparta has actually suffered as many if not more famous defeats as they have won victories in battle.
V. Classical and Hellenistic Greece
- On September 12, 490 BC, an epic battle was fought between the Greeks (primarily Athenians) and the Persian Empire at the plains of Marathon, Greece, about 26 miles from Athens, with the result being a great victory for the outnumbered Greeks and giving rise to the legend of Pheidippides running the long distance to bring news of the victory to Athens, giving the happy word with his dying breaths.
- On March 9, 2007, the American period action film titled 300 was released in both conventional and IMAX theaters in the United States of America.
- Between 415 and 413 BC, a battle for Syracuse on the Island of Sicily was fought between the forces of Athens and the forces of Sparta.
- On April 25, 404 B.C., during the Peloponnesian War (431-404 B.C.), Lysander’s Spartan armies defeated the Athenians and the war finally ended.
- At an unknown date in 331 BC, a Macedonian army of Alexander the Great, led by his regent, Antipater, defeated the forces of Sparta, led by King Agis III.
- On October 1, 331 B.C., one of history’s most significant battles occurred: The Battle of Gaugamela in which Alexander the Great dealt a decisive defeat to the then largest empire the world had ever seen (at 3.08 million square miles the Persian Empire even surpassed the Roman Empire’s 2.51 million square miles!).
- In 326 BC, Alexander III of Macedon, known more familiarly as Alexander the Great, having conquered the Achaemenid Empire of Persia, the largest empire within the ken of the Greeks of the time, turned his attention to the next great conquest, that of the fabled but little known land of India.
- On June 11, 323 BC, one of History’s greatest conquerors and generals died at the age of 32, not on the battlefield where he had spent so much time putting his life in danger, but in bed in the Palace of Nebuchadnezzar II in Babylon.
- On January 5, 1956, producers and editors of the major Hollywood motion picture, Alexander the Great, starring Richard Burton in the title role, were hard at work preparing the movie for its March 22, 1956 release, cutting its running time from over 3 hours to 135 minutes.
- On January 14, 2005, the big budget Hollywood film, Alexander, starring Colin Farrell in the title role made its debut in Italy, after having opened previously in November of 2004 in the US.
- As it is said, “Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it” (George Santayana, but you will see this quotation in many different forms), today we will go way back into History and find some things that may be worth repeating after all, the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
VI. The Fall of Macedon and the Rise of Rome
- On December 17, 497 BC, the Romans celebrated their Pagan holiday, Saturnalia, a celebration honoring their god of agriculture (and a bunch of other things) with partying and sacrifice.
- On July 12, 100 B.C., Julius Caesar was born by what many believe to have been the first Caesarian section.
- Sometime in the year 62 B.C., the famous Roman General Julius Caesar decided to divorce his second wife Pompeia.
- On January 10, 49 B.C., Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon River as he marched toward the city of Rome with his legions.
- On August 9, 48 BC, Gaius Julius Caesar, known more familiarly to us as Julius Caesar or simply Caesar, won the Battle of Pharsalus in Central Greece against his arch enemy and former friend, Pompey, decisively winning the pivotal battle of the conflict known as “Caesar’s Civil War.”
- On September 26, 46 BC, Roman Dictator Julius Caesar dedicated a temple to Venus Genetrix, a temple he promised the goddess while fighting the Battle of Pharsalus.
- On March 15, 44 BC, the Dictator of the Roman Republic (contrary to popular belief, he was not the Emperor, as that post did not exist at this time), Gaius Julius Caesar, was assassinated by Roman senators and political rivals (as many as 60 of them!), brutally stabbed to death.
- On April 27, 33 BC, Roman politician Lucius Marcius Philippus, a step-brother to the future emperor Augustus (r. 27 BC–AD 14), celebrated a triumph for his victories while serving as governor in one of the provinces of Hispania.
VII. The Pax Romana
- On January 16, 27 BC, the Roman Senate conferred upon Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus the title “Augustus,” effectively making Augustus Caesar the first Roman Emperor, marking the beginning of the Roman Empire.
- On September 9, 9 A.D., Germanic tribes under the leadership of Arminius dealt an army of 3 Roman Legions and their auxiliaries a crushing and total defeat at Teutoburg Forest in what is now Germany.
- On January 24, 41 A.D., the Roman emperor known as Caligula was assassinated by his own Praetorian Guard!
- On October 13, 54 A.D., Roman Emperor Claudius was poisoned to death, possibly by his wife, via tainted mushrooms!
- On February 6, 60 AD, in the Roman city of Pompeii, an unknown graffiti artist noted that the day was “dies Solis” (Sunday), the first known instance of being able to attach a date to a day of the week.
- On July 18, 64 AD, the center of Western Civilization, city of Rome, capital of the Roman Empire, suffered an enormous fire that devastated the city and burned for 6 days.
- On July 19, 64 AD, the Roman night was interrupted by the beginning of what became known as The Great Fire of Rome.
- On December 22, 69 AD, the reigning Emperor of Rome, Vitellius, was captured and murdered on the Gemonian Stairs in Rome, proving once again how dangerous it was to be a Roman Emperor.
- On August 4, 70 A.D., the Romans punished the rebellious Jews by destroying the Second Temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
- This weekend, two epic films set during Greco-Roman history vie for box office dominance: 300: Rise of an Empire (total worldwide gross as of March 10, 2014: $132,850,000) set during the Greco-Persian Wars and Pompeii (total worldwide gross as of March 10, 2014: $78,168,000) set during the height of the Roman Empire, but how accurate are they historically speaking?
- On January 27, 98 AD, Trajan became Emperor of Rome, succeeding his (adoptive) father Nerva as Emperor.
- On June 24, 109 AD, Roman Emperor Trajan opens the aqueduct known as Aqua Traiana, bringing water to Rome from Lake Bracciano 25 miles away.
- On June 11, 173, during the Marcomannic Wars (166–180), the Roman army in Moravia was encircled by the Quadi, who had broken the peace treaty of 171.
- On December 31, 192 AD, Roman Emperor Commodus was assassinated by his own inner circle, setting the stage for The Year of the Five Emperors in 193.
- On Friday, August 6, 2021, the popular YouTube channel UsefulCharts published a video counting down the top ten greatest ancient dynasties of all time.
VIII. The Transformation of the Roman Empire
- On September 28, 551 BC, Chinese philosopher Confucius was born, a life started that would have a major influence on billions of people for centuries to come.
- On December 2, 2019, if you have not already waited in line for an hour or more, or more likely was smart and ordered yours online long ago, you may not be enjoying your wine, beer, cheese, candy, or even Hot Wheel Car from your commercially purchased Advent Calendar!
- On December 25, 0000, Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem, in what is now Israel.
- It is January 6th, Merry Christmas! Or wait, is it just Christmas Eve?
- On January 7, 0000, Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem in what is now Israel, or perhaps more precisely, on the West Bank of the Jordan River in Palestine.
- On January 14, medieval Christians celebrated Feast of the Ass Day, although perhaps not the type of “ass” you may be thinking of!
- On Good Friday, somewhere around 33 AD, Jesus of Nazareth, prophet to Islam and Judaism, the Christ and Savior to Christians, was crucified by the Romans in Jerusalem.
- On December 20, 217 AD, reigning Pope Saint Zephyrinus died, replaced by Callixtus I as his successor.
- On May 16, 218, Elagabalus was proclaimed the true emperor of Rome by his mother and grandmother.
- On September 28, 235 A.D., Pope Pontian became the first pope to resign his office, only to live out his days exiled to the mines of Sardinia!
- On this day, September 25th, Catholics remember the death of Spanish Saint Fermin, the first bishop of Pamplona, in 303 A.D…and the miracles that followed!
- On May 1, 305, the Co-Emperors of the Roman Empire, Diocletian and Maximian, teamed up to become the first Roman Emperors to ever resign voluntarily.
- According to Orthodox Christian tradition, on October 27, 312 A.D., the night before the Battle of Milvian Bridge against the Roman Emperor Maxentius, the Emperor Constantine the Great adopted as his motto the Greek phrase “ἐν τούτῳ νίκα” after having a vision of a Christogram in the sky.
- On March 7, 321, Roman Emperor Constantine I decreed that dies Solis Invicti (‘sun-day,’ or Day of Sol Invictus, Roman God of the Sun) would be the Roman day of rest throughout the Roman Empire.
- On September 14, 326 A.D., Helena of Constantinople made one of the greatest discoveries in Christian history when she found the Holy Sepulchre (the crypt where Jesus was entombed) and the True Cross in Jerusalem.
- On December 25, 336, the first documented celebration of December 25th as “Christmas” celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ occurred in Rome.
- On August 24, 410, the city of Rome fell to foreign invaders for the first time in 800 years.
- On May 31, 455, Western Roman Emperor Petronius Maximus was stoned to death by an angry mob, an ignoble end to a world leader.
- On August 28, 489, the king of the Ostrogoths, Theodoric, defeated the forces under Odoacer, King of Italy, at the Battle of Isonzo, thus opening the route into the heart of Italy.
- On March 15, 493, Ravenna, Italy, was a scene right out of the HBO cable television series Game of Thrones when King Theodoric the Great of the Ostrogoths invited his defeated enemy, King Odoacer of Italy to a great banquet marking the “end” of hostilities.
- On January 11, 532, the seeds of a riot broke out in the capital of the Byzantine Empire (spawn of the Eastern Roman Empire), Constantinople (modern day Istanbul) over competing support of chariot racing teams.
- On January 2, 533, Mercurius, son of Projectus, a Roman priest was elected Pope by the Catholic Church.
- On November 14th, the Orthodox Church celebrates Saint Theodora who once spanked a man after he talked trash about his own wife!
- On October 4, 610 A.D., Heraclius arrived by ship from Africa at Constantinople, overthrew Byzantine Emperor Phocas in one of the most badass coups in history, and became Emperor.
- On January 22, 613, in the capital city of Constantinople, Emperor Heraclius of the Byzantine Empire declared his 8 month old son, Constantine, Co-Emperor, or in the vernacular of the day, “Caesar.”
- On March 21, 630, Emperor Heraclius of the Byzantine Empire returned what he believed to be the “True Cross” (the cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified) to Jerusalem to its current place in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre.
- On December 8, 2022, we take the opportunity to review a new book by Stephen Dando-Collins, an author we have become familiar with through previous reviews. This latest work, Rebels Against Rome, sub-titled 400 Years of Rebellions against the Rule of Rome, is another winner in our estimation, excellently written in a manner easy and pleasing for academics and casual readers of history alike.
IX. Unity and Diversity in Three Heirs of the Roman Empire
- On December 11, 629, the Prophet of Allah and founder of the Muslim religion, Muhammad, led an army of 10,000 converts to Islam into Mecca and conquered the city with minimal casualties.
- On March 6, 632, founder of the Islamic religion and Prophet, Muhammad, made his Farewell Sermon from Mount Arafat in what is now Saudi Arabia during his final Hajj.
- On August 28, 632, Fatimah bint Muhammad, the youngest and possibly the only daughter of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, beloved by Muhammad and by Muslims throughout the world, died under disputed circumstances.
- On July 5, 2009, in an English field near the village of Hammerwich, a man looking for curios with a metal detector in a freshly plowed field found gold and silver objects dating back to the 7th Century.
- On May 30, 727, we mourn the passing of one of the great characters in history, one of our favorite Saints, Saint Hubert, also known as Hubertus, the first bishop of Liège in what is now Belgium.
- October 19 marks the feast of Saint Frithuswith, also spelled Frideswide, who passed away on that date in 727 A.D., and for whom a king had died as he tried to force her into marriage!
- On September 24, 787, church leaders of the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church met at the Church of Hagia Sophia in Iznik, province of Nicaea ( province of Bursa in modern Turkey) in a conference known as the Second Council of Nicaea.
- On April 25, 799, Pope Leo III was leading a procession honoring St. Mark in Rome, chanting prayers and responses with the crowd, a practice called the Greater Litanies.
- On November 29, 800, the Frankish King Charlemagne (aka, Charles I) traveled to Rome and The Vatican to investigate charges of adultery and perjury against Pope Leo III, another soap opera in the long saga of the papacy.
- On March 28, 845 A.D., a Viking raiding party led by Ragnar Lodbrok (a.k.a. Lothbrok) sacked Paris, the future capital of France, proving that it was not just coastal towns that were susceptible to such raids.
- On September 14, 919, a united coalition of native Irish fought an epic battle against the Dublin based Vikings that had colonized Ireland, a battle known as Battle of Islandbridge.
- On November 7, 921, the Treaty of Bonn was signed by 2 Frankish kings, Charles the Simple and Henry the Fowler.
- On October 27, 939, King Æthelstan of England died, the throne then going to his half-brother, Edmund I.
- On August 10th or 11th, 991, a Viking invasion of England resulted in The Battle of Maldon, fought in Essex near the River Blackwater.
- On December 23, 962, Christian forces under Byzantine commander Nikephoros II Phokas stormed into the city of Aleppo in the Levant, earning the future Byzantine Emperor the title “Pale Death of the Saracens.”
- On November 13, 1002, English king Æthelred II the Unready ordered the killing of all Danes in England, known today as the St. Brice’s Day massacre.
X. Renewal and Reform
- On August 29, 798 (AD), Japan minted copper coins for the first time in their history. As you may guess from the date, these were certainly not the first coins minted and not by a long stretch the first coins ever minted.
- On January 23, 971, with deadly fire from their crossbows, troops of the Chinese Song Dynasty managed to defeat the War Elephant Corps of the Southern Han Kingdom.
- On April 11, 1079, Bishop Stanislaus of Kraków, Poland, later Saint Stanislaus, was executed either by the order of or perhaps by the direct hand of King Bolesław II of Poland.
- On November 27, 1095, Pope Urban II announced at the Council of Clermont (in Clermont, France) before a mixed council of clergy and lay people (landholding nobles) a call to arms that would become known as the First Crusade, a Catholic invasion of the Moslem world with the goal of “liberating” Jerusalem and the Holy Sites and putting them back in Christian hands.
- On May 18, 1096, Christians in Europe heeded the call of Pope Urban II and joined up with the throngs following local noblemen in a Crusade to regain the Holy Land of Jerusalem from the Muslims that occupied what is now Israel and the Levant, but on this day the Crusading zeal went in a horribly different direction.
- On October 21, 1096, a Seljuk Turk army led by Sultan Kilij Arslan I massacred a Christian army from Europe, known as the People’s Army, ending the first of the religious wars known as the Crusades.
- On this date, December 12, 1098, in what is now Syria, Crusaders massacred 20,000 Muslims and ate some of them!
- On February 15, 1113, the reigning Pope of the Catholic Church, Pope Paschal II, issued a Papal Bull titled “Pie Postulatio Voluntatis,” recognizing the Order of Hospitallers, a military order of Catholic knights that had existed in the Holy Land since about 1099.
- On May 22, 1176, The Hashshashin (Assassins) made an attempt on the life of Saladin, the First Sultan of Egypt and Syria.
- On September 20, 1187, the Islamic forces of the famous Kurdish Muslim leader Saladin laid siege to the capital of the Christian Kingdom of Jerusalem, the holiest city in the Christian world and likewise in the Jewish world, and the third holiest city in Islam.
- On October 2, 1187, one of history’s most significant sieges ended: The Siege of Jerusalem in which Saladin captured Jerusalem after 88 years of Crusader rule.
- On July 27, 1189, Friedrich Barbarossa (also known as Frederick), the Holy Roman Emperor, arrived at the capital of the Serbian King Stefan Nemanja, a city called Nis.
- On June 10, 1190, during the Third Crusade, Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa (r. 1155-1190) drowned in the river Saleph while leading an army to Jerusalem.
- On April 28, 1192, the Christian King of Jerusalem, Conrad of Montferrat (aka Conrad I) was murdered by an Islamic organization called the Order of Assassins, or the Hashshashins.
- On April 28, 1192, the Hashshashin (Assassins) assassinated Conrad of Montferrat (Conrad I), King of Jerusalem, in Tyre, just two days after his title to the throne was confirmed by election.
- On March 24, 1199, while fighting in France at Limousin, an administrative region in the South-Central part of France that is now Nouvelle-Aquitaine, the King of England known as Richard I, the Lionheart, was struck in the shoulder by a bolt launched by a crossbow, leading to the King’s death on April 6, 1199.
- On November 10, 1202, despite letters from Pope Innocent III (a much more popular pope than Guilty III) forbidding it and threatening excommunication, Catholic crusaders on the Fourth Crusade began a siege of the Catholic city of Zara (now Zadar, Croatia).
- On August 23, 1244, the main central citadel of the city of Jerusalem, the Tower of David, fell to the invaders from the remnants of the Khwarezmian Empire, a vast polyglot land that included parts of what is now Iran and Afghanistan along with other areas in Central Asia.
- On September 24, 1272, Prince Edward of England, leader of the Ninth Crusade, left Acre (Syria) for Sicily to recover from wounds.
- On July 18, 1290, King Edward I of England, also known as “Edward Longshanks” or alternatively “The Hammer of the Scots,” issued the Edict of Expulsion, a royal decree ordering all Jews out of England.
XI. An Age of Confidence
- On November 6, 963, Holy Roman Emperor Otto I called a council in Rome to depose the current Pope, John XII, on charges of leading an armed rebellion against Otto, as well as conducting his secular affairs in a corrupt and immoral manner.
- On April 23, 1016, Edmund Ironside was crowned King of England, replacing his father Aethelred the Unready.
- On September 28, 1066, a warrior leader known as “William the Bastard” invaded England from Normandy in what is now France.
- On November 30 1016, Edmund Ironside, also known as Edmund II or even Ēadmund Isernside (in Old English), was murdered on his “throne,” stabbed to death multiple times as he attended to “business.”
- On October 14, 1066, the Normans under William the Conqueror defeated the English at the Battle of Hastings.
- On October 17, 1091, a tornado with a strength thought to be about T8/F4, which means a severely devastating tornado with winds over 200 miles per hour, struck the heart of London, England.
- On November 25, 1120, a ship sailing from Normandy, France, to England, hit a rock and capsized, quickly sinking and taking everyone aboard, save one, to their deaths.
- On October 12, 1216, King John of England lost his crown jewels!
- St. Albertus Magnus died on November 15, 1280, after having reportedly built an android and discovered the philosopher’s stone, but according to the faithful his body did not deteriorate and according to Mary Shelley, his writings influenced mad scientist Victor Frankenstein!
- On October 3, 1283, Dafydd ap Gruffydd, prince of Gwynedd in Wales, became the first nobleman executed by being hanged, drawn and quartered.
- On August 15, 1281, the army and navy forces of the Mongol/Chinese Emperor Kublai Khan were destroyed at the Battle of Kōan, an attempt to invade and conquer Japan.
- On March 30, 1296, King Edward I of England, often better known as Edward Longshanks, sacked the Scottish town of Berwick-upon-Tweed, part of the ongoing war of England trying to maintain suzerainty over Scotland.
- On April 15, 2019, we have the sad duty to inform our readers that one of the great historical cathedrals in the world, Notre Dame in Paris, France, has been burning for the past few hours and is virtually destroyed.
- On December 24, 1294, Pope Boniface VIII (born Benedetto Caetani) was elected Pope of the Roman Catholic Church to replace the previous Pope, St. Celestine V, who had resigned to return to his humble, monastic pre-papal life.
- On July 20, 1304, the forces of King Edward I of England successfully took Stirling Castle during the First War of Scottish Independence.
- On August 5, 1305, William Wallace, the Scottish hero known as “Braveheart” in the 1995 movie, was captured by the English and then executed for treason in the gory way “traitors” were put to death at that time.
- On August 23, 1305, William Wallace, a military leader of the Scots against English rule was executed in the English style of execution for traitors, being drawn and quartered!
- On November 18, 1307, Swiss archer William Tell split an apple into two pieces on his son’s head with a well-aimed arrow.
- On November 24, 1326, Hugh Despenser, 1st Lord Despenser, became a victim of Isabella the She-wolf n in one of history’s all-time most brutal executions, because as they say, well, sort of, “Hell hath no fury like a she-wolf scorned!”
- On May 26, 1328, William of Ockham, a Franciscan Friar, snuck out of Avignon fearing his execution would be ordered by the Pope.
- On February 25, 1336, the 4,000 defenders of the medieval Lithuanian fortress of Pilénai thought they had no other choice but to make the horrible decision to kill themselves and their families after torching and destroying everything they had of value to deny their Teutonic besiegers the spoils of victory and the opportunity to kill or enslave them.
- On September 23, 1338, the English ship, Christofer (variously spelled Christopher, or Christophe) went into battle at Arnemuiden armed with 3 cannon and 1 hand gun.
- On August 2, 1343, Olivier Clisson, a French nobleman from Brittany, was convicted of treason in Paris and beheaded.
- On April 23, 1348, King Edward III of England proclaimed The Order of the Garter on the feast day of St. George, the Patron Saint of England.
- Today, as the United States and the rest of the world continues to be ravaged by the Covid-19 pandemic, we look back to a previous pandemic of enormously greater proportions, the infamous Black Death of Bubonic Plague that ravaged much of the world in the 14th Century.
- On February 14, 1349, the city of Strasbourg, France was the scene of a St. Valentine’s Day massacre 150 times worse than the more famous Chicago incident!
- On August 24, 1349, the Black Death broke out in the Prussian town of Elbing in Northern Germany.
- On August 24, 1349, 6,000 Jews were massacred in Mainz, Germany by being burned alive.
- On August 29, 1350, the English naval fleet under King Edward III defeated the Castilian fleet at the Battle of Winchelsea in the English Channel after the Castilian fleet had previously attacked and captured English trade ships.
- On February 10, 1355, Oxford, England, the site of the ultra-prestigious University of Oxford, was the scene of a considerable riot that cost the lives of 63 student/scholars and at least 30 townsfolk.
- On October 18, 1356, Basel, Switzerland was destroyed by what may have been the most significant historic earthquake ever to occur north of the Alps.
- On February 17, 1370, the Teutonic Knights fought a great battle against the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, a battle known as the Battle of Rudau.
- On June 24, 1374, the German city of Aachen experienced a sudden outbreak of St. John’s Dance, a bizarre condition where masses of people experience hallucinations, jump and twitch (dance) until they fell from exhaustion!
- On October 16, 1384, Jadwiga, a woman, was crowned KING of Poland.
- On April 9, 1388, at the Battle of Näfels, a military force of the Old Swiss Confederation fought a much larger force representing the Austrian royal family, the Habsburgs.
- On October 29, 1390, Paris, France got its first taste of professional witch hunting when the first of two witchcraft trials began in the French capital.
- On February 14, 1400, England’s King Richard II (aka Richard of Bordeaux) died in captivity, most likely starved to death.
- On an unknown date in 1405, an Albanian of renown was born, a man known to us as Skanderbeg, a feudal lord and military commander par excellence, fittingly named after Alexander the Great.
- On June 26, 1409, the Roman Catholic Church reached a low point of unity when a third pope was crowned by the Council of Pisa.
- On October 25, 1415, the Battle of Agincourt was fought between the English personally led by King Henry V and the French, led by representatives of King Charles VI, resulting in a history changing victory by the English over the greater numbers of the French.
- On July 30, 1419, The First Defenestration of Prague took place, which of course, means there was a second Defenestration!
- On May 30, 1431, Joan of Arc (Jeanne d’Arc) was put to death by being burned alive at the stake for the alleged crime of heresy.
- On July 16, 1439, the Parliament of King Henry VI of England issued a proclamation banning kissing.
- On August 26, 1444, the Battle of St. Jakob an der Birs was fought between an army of mercenaries representing France against a much smaller force of pikemen from the Old Swiss Confederacy.
- On June 17, 1462, Vlad Tepes, also known as Vlad III The Impaler, or simply Dracula, conducted a night raid against his Turkish enemy, Mehmed II who had invaded Vlad’s land of Wallachia (Romania).
- Okay, so we know Abraham Lincoln created the Thanksgiving holiday on this date in 1863, but what do Wallachians have to be thankful for?
- On August 14, 1480, during the protracted Battle of Otranto in Southern Italy, a siege of the city between the Ottoman Turks and the Italian defenders of their homeland, the Ottomans, who of course were of the Islamic faith, took 800 Christian Italians hostage and gave them a choice, convert to Islam or be executed.
- On April 10, 2018, adherents of the Anglican Church celebrate the Feast Day of St. William of Ockham, the Franciscan theologian and philosopher that gave us the logical tool known as Occam’s Razor, an idea oversimplified as ‘the briefest, most likely explanation is the best.’
- On April 26, 1336, famed Italian scholar and poet Francesco Petrarca (better known as Petrarch) ascended Mont Ventoux, a mountain in the Provence region of southern France.
- On October 28, 1453, the Bohemian city of Prague witnessed the crowing of Ladislaus the Posthumous as King.
- On October 8, 1480, Ivan III, Grand Prince of Moscow, stood up to the Tatars led by Akhmat Khan of the Great Horde, the successor to the “Golden Horde,” in an epic stand known as the “Great Stand on the Ugra River,” one of the high points of Russian military history.
- On April 29, 1483, the Kingdom of Castile captured the main island of the Canary Islands, Gran Canaria, leading to Spanish ownership of the islands to this day.
- On June 26, 1483, Richard Plantagenet, Duke of Gloucester, proclaimed himself King Richard III of England!
- On August 22, 1485, King Richard III of England died from wounds received in the Battle of Bosworth Field, the last English King to die in battle.
- On February 7, 1497, the followers of Dominican priest Girolamo Savonarola of Florence, Italy, gathered and burned a large quantity of objects they referred to as “vanities,” objects such as cosmetics, books, artwork, mirrors, fancy clothes, playing cards, and musical instruments, any objects these religious zealots thought could lead people to sin.
- On August 17, 1498, Cesare Borgia, the son of reigning Pope Alexander VI, resigned his office as Cardinal of the Catholic Church, becoming the first cardinal to do so.
- On October 30, 1501, the long history of sordid affairs involving popes and goings on in the Vatican reached a bizarre new level when Cesare Borgia, a cardinal in the Catholic Church and son of Pope Alexander VI, hosted “The Ballet of Chestnuts” at his father’s residence, the Papal Palace.
- On December 28, 1503, the exiled Gran Maestro of Florence, Piero di Lorenzo de Medici, known as Piero the Unfortunate, drowned in the Garigliano River while trying to escape the advancing French and Spanish armies that had just defeated the Italians in a battle over the control of Naples.
- On April 23, 1516, the region of Bavaria, a region world famous for their wonderful beer, signed on to the Reinheitsgebot, the laws in German and former Holy Roman Empire districts that regulate the ingredients and purity of beer.
- On November 8, 1520, the Stockholm Bloodbath began in which a successful invasion of Sweden by Danish forces resulted in the execution of around 100 people.
- On January 16, 1547, Ivan Vasilyevich IV was crowned Czar of All The Russias.
- In the early 20th century, the term “Renaissance man” was first recorded in written English.
- On June 16, 2012, Forgotten Books published The English Madrigal Composers.
XIV. The Spanish Golden Age
- On October 12, 1492, Christopher Columbus, the Italian adventurer sailing into the unknown in the name of the Spanish Crown, landed in the Bahamas, the landing that became known as the “discovery” of America (or, “The New World” if you prefer).
- On March 15, 1493, Christopher Columbus made his triumphant return from his first voyage to the New World, a momentous occasion in human history and especially noteworthy for the Spanish Crown that he sailed for.
- On March 5, 1496, in the wake of the tremendous news about the voyage of Christopher Columbus to the New World, King Henry VII of England granted “letters patent” to John Cabot, an Italian sailor and adventurer, along with his sons, to explore the world on behalf of the English Crown.
- On April 28, 1503, the armies of Spain and France fought in Southern Italy at a place called Cerignola (near Bari), a battle decided by the small arms fire of muskets and arquebuses, one of the first European battles where small arms fire from firearms decided the battle.
- On February 3, 1509, the Arabian Sea portion of the Indian Ocean witnessed a naval battle that had centuries of effects on the global balance of power when a Portuguese fleet defeated a combined fleet of Asian warships at the Battle of Diu, India.
- On December 27, 1512, the King and Queen of Spain issued the Laws of Burgos, a set of rules for how Spaniards were to treat Native Americans in the Caribbean islands colonized by Spain.
- On April 30, 1517, oddly enough the day before May Day, riots in London, England broke out known as Evil May Day (alternately, Ill May Day).
- On January 3, 1521, Roman Catholic (Augustinian) priest and reformer Martin Luther was ex-communicated from the church by Pope Leo X.
- Religious reformer Martin Luther refused to recant during his trial for heresy on April 18, 1521, but what might you not know about him?
- On May 20, 1521, the man that would become Saint Ignatius of Loyola was seriously wounded at Pamplona in a battle between the Spanish and the French supported Navarrese during the Spanish Conquest of Navarre, the region of land on the Iberian Peninsula between France and Spain.
- In 1529, an ecclesiastical, legatine court, presided over by a representative of the Pope, had been created to try the validity of the marriage between Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon.
- On November 5, 1530, The St. Felix’s Flood destroyed the city of Reimerswaal in the Netherlands and killed over 100,000 people, making it the fifth deadliest flood in human history.
- On September 7, 1533, in what had to ironically have been one of the most disappointing births in history, the future Queen Elizabeth I of England made her grand entrance onto the world and political stage.
- On June 9, 1534, French explorer Jacques Cartier became the first European (White) man to discover the mighty St. Lawrence River, the gateway into North America for European explorers.
- On January 21, 1535, in the aftermath of “The Affair of the Placards,” French Protestants were burned at the stake in front of the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris.
- On January 16, 1537, an armed insurrection took place in England, specifically in Cumberland and Westmorland, pitting unhappy Roman Catholics against the blasphemous King Henry VIII.
- On October 24th, 1537, in a cruel twist of fate, Queen Jane Seymour died of complications following childbirth after having just 12 days earlier provided Henry VIII with his much longed-for son and heir.
- On July 9, 1540, the marriage between Henry VIII and his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, was annulled.
- On January 28, 1547, the 9-year-old son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, Edward VI, became King of England.
- On July 7, 1550, chocolate is thought to have been introduced to Europe from the Americas.
- On February 4, 1555, English clergyman John Rogers became the first martyr burned at the stake under the rule of Queen Mary I of England, known better as Bloody Mary.
- On January 23, 1556, China was rocked by a devastating earthquake that resulted in more human death than any other earthquake in recorded history.
- On June 20, 1559, King Henry II of France engaged in a jousting tournament when his opponent’s lance pierced the face guard of Henry’s helmet, sending splinters into his face, eye, and brain.
- On July 29, 1565, Mary, Queen of Scots, married her first cousin Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley.
- On January 23, 1570, history of the infamous type was made when James Stewart, the Earl of Moray, was murdered by an assassin using a firearm.
- On October 10, 1580, after a three-day siege, an English army beheaded over 600 Papal soldiers and civilians in Ireland.
- Due to the implementation of the Gregorian calendar, October 7th was skipped in Italy, Poland, Portugal, and Spain in 1582.
- On January 25, 1585, Walter Raleigh, an English explorer and adventurer, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth I of England, perhaps because he named a region of North America “Virginia” in honor of the Virgin Queen.
- On August 18, 1587, Virginia Dare was born in the Roanoke Colony in what is now North Carolina.
- On July 19, 1588, during the Anglo-Spanish War’s Battle of Gravelines, the ultimately doomed Spanish Armada was sighted in the English Channel.
- On July 25, 1593, Henry IV, King of France, converted from Calvanist Protestant back to the Catholicism of his birth.
- On July 25, 1609, the excellently named British ship, Sea Venture, encountered serious storms while crossing the Atlantic Ocean en route to Virginia, and was purposely run ashore to prevent loss of the ship and passengers.
- On June 23, 1611, the ship appropriately named Discovery, captained by explorer Henry Hudson, was in what is now called Hudson Bay and was the scene of a mutiny.
- On December 21, 2012, people across the globe waited for the end of the world!
XV. Conclusion: The Experiences of Life in Early modern Europe and North America
- On August 18, 1612, the trials of the “Pendle Witches” began in England.
- On August 19, 1612, three women from Samlesbury in Lancashire, England were put on trial for witchcraft.
- On June 2, 1692, the trial of Bridget Bishop began, starting a reign of terror in Salem, Massachusetts known as The Salem Witch Trials.
- On September 19, 1692, Giles Corey, age 81, became a footnote in the history of America by becoming the first and only man to be “pressed” to death during legal proceedings.
- On September 22, 1692, 8 people convicted of witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials were executed by hanging.
Questions for students: What was the most interesting event in Ancient and Medieval World History and why? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Markham, J. David and Matthew Zarzeczny. Simply Napoleon. Simply Charly, 2017.
Zarzeczny, Matthew D. Meteors That Enlighten the Earth: Napoleon and the Cult of Great Men. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013.
The featured image in this timeline, a photograph by Wolfgang Staudt originally posted to Flickr as Pont Du Gard of a Roman Aqueduct in Pont Du Gard, France, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. This image, which was originally posted to Flickr, was uploaded to Wikimedia Commons using Flickr upload bot on by Pauk. On that date, it was confirmed to be licensed under the terms of the license indicated.