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Important Terms, People, and Events


Master of Soldiers -   · Chief of Staff of all Roman forces; there was one in East and West, or a supreme one when the empire was united.
foederati -   · Agreement between Roman government and tribes on other side of border to work as auxiliaries in army, in return for payments. From 390s, began applying to tribes, Goths, etc., migrating to the Roman side of border, and living in internal territories.
hospitalitas -   · Originally Roman legal measure allowing Roman troops to be quartered on civilian countryside farms during the winter. From the 420s, was applied to Barbarian federates allowing them to access a certain proportion--1/3 to 2/3--of the agricultural produce of Romans. Allows creeping annexation and basis for Barbarian kingdoms.
Arianism -   · Christian heresy from 320s, holding that instead of a human-divine nature in Christ, the divine, being more powerful, pushed out and superceded the human in Christ. Blasted as heresy in the West and later in the East, it was the form of Christianity first adopted by Goths, Vandals, Alans.
Monophysitism -   · Heresy in Church, dating from 430s. Held that the human and divine in Christ were inseparable and totally intermingled. The idea was One Nature in One Person. Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria, first articulated the belief in opposition to Nestorianism; more extreme followers were branded heretical.
Corpus Juris Civilis -   · A codification of Roman law going back to second century, accomplished under Justinian in mid 500s. Consisted of a digest, a handbook, and a case law section, was relevant and of guidance to lawyers for the next millennium.
Exarchates -   · Military outposts set up by Maurice in 580s in Italy and Carthage to protect remains of Justinian's conquests.
Themes -   · Regions demarcated first in Anatolia, then in Thrace, to provide for military defense. Governors were generals with wide civil-military powers, and their armies were made up of land-granted small-holding peasants, often Balkan Slav transplants.
strategos -   · Military commander of a Theme and the themes army.
Monotheletism -   · Compromise theology in response to Monophysitism, proposed by Heraclius through Patriarch Sergius: Christ was of two natures, and did not have a single energy, but possessed a single will. All Eastern Patriarchs agreed, but Western Pope John IV condemned it in 641.
Youngerfill -   · Rains eroded the terrace system of agricultural cultivation in Italy, Balkans and Thrace in the 550-650 period, as peasants had fled and did not maintain them. Alluvial deposits were washed into these areas: youngerfill.


Odovacar -   · First babarian king of Italy. A German warrior, he entered Italy around 470 with his tribe and joined the Roman army; when Julius Nepos was overthrown by the Roman general Orestes, Odovacar led his tribesmen in a revolt. His troops proclaimed him king in 476 (generally considered to be the end of the Western Roman Empire). Although the Eastern emperor Zeno thought of Julius Nepos as Westerm emperor, Odovacar refused to recognize this man's authority, as did the Senate at Rome.
Zeno -   · Emperor in Constantinople, 474-491. Isaurian war chief from Cappadocia and Taurus mountain areas, cultivated by Leo I, he faced continual palace intrigue from Leo's offspring and was forced to fall back on Isaurian support. After Ostrogoths and other Barbarians raided Balkans and Thrace, he sent Theodoric the Ostrogoth to unseat Odovacar in West.
Ostrogoths -   · One of the two main branches of Goths (westerners are Visigoths); subjugated by Huns around 370s, broke free in 460s, raided in Eastern Roman Danube areas from 470s. Under Theodoric, sent West by Zeno, where they unseated Odovacar and set up a Gothic-Roman administration and state in Italy. Pressured by Franks in north from 510s, defeated by Byzantine forces 535-552 and dispersed.
Visigoths -   · The western Goths, they settled north of Thrace and east of the Adriatic Balkans. Coming into Roman lands initially with imperial agreement in 375, th$ soon rebelled against the Roman's negligent treatment and defeated Valens $ 378, then moved westward from 395. When no Roman authority would consent to their integration into Roman forces in exchange for food, their leader Alaric led an invasion of Italy resulting in the plundering of Rome. Afte$ failing to get to North Africa, the Visigoths, under Athaulf and Wallia, moved north from Italy into Gaul, where they fought for Rome against claimants$ In late 418, they were made foederati, settled in western Gaul, and allowed hospitalitas. They moved from their assigned lands to Iberia after the 430s, yet assisted Aetius to defeat Huns in 451. Kingdom in Spain lasted to c.a. 700.
Theodoric -   · By the late 470s, gained prominence as an Ostrogothic leader. Alternately supporting Pope Leo II against rebels and revolting in search of food and better office in the Roman system, spent the greater part of the 480s marching up and down the Balkans raiding. In 488, Zeno offered Theodoric the position of Master of Soldiers in Italy, in return for unseating Odovacar. Passing through Pannonia, he acquired Rugian and Gepid troops through 489, then moved into Northern Italy, attracting Burgundians and Visigoths to the fight. He quickly reduced Odovacar; then, beginning 493, h eestablished the first post- Roman kingdom in the West. By the 510s his lands included all of Italy, stretching past Milan in the north to the Alpine regions, where the kingdom abutted the Franks as well as the Burgundians in the northwest. Provence was also included in southeastern France, after Frankish defeats of the Visigoths in the region. Pannonian and Dalmatian lands along the Adriatic were incorporated into Ostrogothic dominions. Legally, he presented himself to Italian Latins as the Emperor Zeno's Master of Soldiers for the region. and to the Germanics as a king. He instituted Roman law, practice, religion (Catholicism), taxes, and language for the indigenous Italians, while providing Germanic kingship, tribal Ostrogothic (as well as Rugian) law, Arianism, and military duties for the German newcomers.
Merovingian  -   · Dynasty of kings that ruled the Franks, a Germanic tribe, from 481 to 751. The kings were descendants of the chief of the Salian Franks, Merovech or Merowig, who ruled from 448 to 458, and took their name from him. The first Merovingian ruler was Clovis I, grandson of Merovech. Clovis expanded the kingdom to include most of what is now France and part of Germany; when he died in 511 his four sons divided the kingdom, and the four parts united, divided, and reunited in subsequent years. The last strong Merovingian monarch was the son of Clotaire II, Dagobert I, who ruled from 629 to 639; after his reign, the kingdom became decentralized as noble families took control of the land, ruling it under a feudal system. Of these families, the Carolingians became the most powerful, and in 751 one of them overthrew the Merovingian king Childeric III, putting himself in power as Pepin the Short (Pepin III), and bringing an end to the dynasty.
Pepin III -   · Also known as Pepin the Short. First king of the Frankish Carolingian dynasty and the father of Charlemagne. A son of Charles Martel, Pepin became sole de facto ruler of the Franks in 747 and then, on the deposition of Childeric III in 751, king of the Franks.
Huns -   · Turco-Altaic tribal hordes from Central Asia, begin pushing Germanic tribes West to Rhine and Danube from 350s. The Huns defeated and subjugated Gepids and Ostrogoths in 360s, sending other tribes over the rivers into Roman lands. Begin raiding East Rome directly from 430s under kings, such as Rugilla. Attila, leader from the 440s, extorted tribute from the East Roman Emperor. Marcian refused tribute increases; Huns went west, raiding in Gaul and Italy 451-4. Attila died in 454, loosing a revolt of subjugated Germanics forcing the Huns to scatter.
Leo I -   · East Roman Emperor to 474 and mentor of Zeno.
Illus -   · Isaurian general. At times allied to Zeno, the latter's opponents tried to lure Illus away with offers of power. Finally revolted in earnest in 483 and was put down by Ostrogoths acting on Zeno's behalf.
Burgundians -   · Barbarian tribe moving through Roman Gaul 401-430s, settled in central France, pushed to southwest.
Franks -   · Germanic tribe living between Rhine and Elbe, from 300s. From the 400s, start to come over Rhine, but do not get far into Gaul. Two groups--Ripuarian, staying on E. of Rhine, and Salic, coming to W. side. The two groups remained in contact, and each had large numbers of peasants settling ground closely. The Franks produced first post-Roman large Gallic state.
Cassiodorus -   · Scion of Roman senatorial family. Served Theodoric.
Boethius -   · Scion of Roman senatorial family. Served Theodoric. Executed for supposed treasonous contact with Constantinople. The last Classical philosopher of early medieval Europe, he wrote Consolation of Philosophy.
Anastasia -   · Eastern Emperor, 491-518. Faced Bulgar raids. Was Monophysite, causing schism with Rome.
Clovis -   · Son of Childeric I, Frankish war leader from 486-511. First Merovingian king, acheived conquests in central and southern Gaul. Becomes Catholic, defeats Visigoths, pressures Ostrogoths, E. Rome recognizes him as "consul".
Justin -   · Eastern Emperor 518-527. Ends schism with Rome, grooms Justinian for rule.
Athalric  -   · Theodoric's grandson, child-king. Died 534.
Amalasuntha -   · Athalric's mother, a powerful regent. Still Romanist in intent, elevated Cassiodorus to Praetorian Prefect. Athalric died in 534, but Ostrogothic nobles were unprepared to tolerate female rule. Imprisoned by Theodehad.
Theodehad -   · Theodoric's nephew, Ostrogothic king, imprisoned and murdered Amalasuntha. She had been assured by Justinian of imperial protection, and after her murder in 535, the Emperor had came close to effecting Theodehad's abdication. A preemptive Gothic strike into Dalmatia ended negotiations.
Justinian -   · Roman Emperor, 527-565. Latin, Thracian. After Fighting off an early insurrection, he reconquered N. Africa, Italy, and southern Spain. The Persian wars restarted under his rule, and an epidemic blew up in Mediterranean cities.
Belisarius -   · Justinian's most successful general. He led armies in N. Africa, Italy, and Persia.
Wittigis -   · Gothic king from 537, besiege the Byzantine commander in Rome. A second Byzantine cut off Wittigis' communications with his capital in Ravenna. A year later, Belisarius besieged him. Sought truce in 539-40. Just prior to defeat, Wittigis appealed to the Persian Sassanian shah for help in the form of opening a second front along Byzantium's eastern borders.
Sassanian -   · Persian dynasty coming to power in third century, reviving designs on Rome's Eastern possessions. Began on and off war from 200s up to 630s. Defeated finally by Heraclius in 628.
Chosroes II -   · Son of Persian shah Hormisdas. Latter was murdered so Chosroes II fled to Greek territory. Maurice granted his request for aid; new shah had promised Maurice a peace treaty along with restoration to Byzantium of Armenia and eastern Mesopotamia. Kept his promise until 603
Totila -   · Wittigis' nephew, made the Italian war very hard for Romans past 540.
Narses -   · Chief eunuch of Justinian, from Armenia, protected Justinian during Nika riots. Defeated Totila at Busta Gallorum (552).
Teias -   · Totila's successor, was defeated in 553 near Vesuvius.
Alboin -   · Lombard king crowned in Milan in 569. By 573-4, he was able to occupy Pavia, which became the Lombard capital.
Theodosius II (408-450) -   · Eastern Emperor when Huns begin raiding in Danube area.
Attila -   · Hun king from 440s; raided from Danube into Byzantium, then headed west in 451.
Marcian -   · East Roman Emperor from 450, refuses to increase Hun tribute. Presides over Chalcedon council condemning Monophysitism.
Eutyches -   · Accused of spreading the doctrine that Christ was not both human and divine in 448. He taught that Christ's divinity had overpowered his mortality and that Christ possessed only a single nature.
Alan -   · Tribal group originating perhaps on Iranian plateau; Germanic by the 300s, surged over Roman border from 406.
Aspar -   · Barbarian general; a military strongman not able to usurp emperorship because of his Alan background.
Pope Leo I -   · Reigned from 440-61. Condemned Monophysitism, believed in Rome's supremacy, held it up as such, negotiated with Huns not to sack Rome.
Basiliscus -   · Leo I's brother-in-law, devoted to Monophysitism, conspired with Verina and Aspar to become Emperor. Became Emperor in 475-477 when Zeno fled, but was inept. The masses were alienated through harsh taxation, the Church despised him for trying to impose Monophysitism. He was undone when he made his nephew Harmatius Master of Soldiers
Isaurians -   · Mountain people ranging from East Cappadocia to Taurus mountains. Provided military power to East Rome; Zeno was an Isaurian chief.
Vandals -   · Barbarian tribe that migrated across Rhine in 401-406, then passed through Gaul and into Spain. In 430s crossed over to N. Africa. Sacked and occupied Carthage, where it set up a pirate state and sailed to Rome in 451 to sack it. Gaiseric was their king. Were Arians, oppressed N. Africa Catholics. Destroyed by Belisarius in 533.
Blues and Greens -   · From 480s, Constantinople urban masses increasingly began to divide into two factions, based originally on charioteer teams in the capital. Blues were allied with Greco-Roman landholding aristocrats and supported Chalcedon. The Greens found support among urban traders and the civil service, and contained Monophysites. From the mid-490s they began to riot against each other, often entangling the Emperor. In 532, they united at Nika, almost costing Justinian the throne.
Bulgars -   · A nomadic group from the Ukraine, perhaps related to the Huns, they began to penetrate Thrace and raid from early 500s. Two subunits, the Utrigurs in the East, and the Kutrigurs in the West, could be used against each other. From 540s, they began to lead Slavs as far as southern Greece. In the seventh century founded a state, and in the ninth an empire. Subdued in tenth.
Acacia -   · Zeno's patriarch in the capital, consented to a Monophysite's appointment to the Patriarchate of Alexandria. The Pope excommunicated Acacia, who returned the favor, beginning a schism that lasted thirty-five years.
Justin I -   · A Balkan military man and Eastern Emperor from 518-527; ended schism with Rome begun by Acacia, sent flotillas against Theodoric. Guided by Justinian.
Theodora -   · Justinian's wife, very dominant Empress. Was Monophysite, of very humble origins. Disliked Belisarius, believing the man to be a probably usurper.
John of Cappadocia -   · Justinian's financial officer, responsible for harsh taxes that alienated the rich. Supposedly venal in private life. Nika rioters wanted his deposition and death.
Tribonian -   · A pagan, Justinian's head of legal codification Corpus Juris Civilis. Nika rioters wanted his deposition in 532.
Childeric II -   · Vandal king from 520s; he drew closer to Constantinople, cut back on suppression of Catholics.
Gelimer -   · A Vandal, he overthrew Childeric in 530, giving Justinian a legal pretext for invasion.
Chosroes I -   · Sassanian Shah, in 540 began a major offensive into Eastern lands. Took the holy Christian city of Antioch. Though Justinian agreed to terms including more tribute, Chosroes' armies continued; the Byzantine army was defeated in Armenia in 543. But by 550, the Sassanian forces had been fought to a standstill.
Slavs -   · A forest people in the woods east of original German settlement areas, moved to the lower Danube when the Huns fell. Very uncivilized, pagan, had no visible government structures. Began raiding Eastern Rome from the 500s, but new Roman walls prevented tremendous damage. In the 540s, raids increased under the leadership of Bulgars. Justinian built three chains of east-west fortifications, which would cause Slavic-Bulgar losses upon their return from plundering.
Jacob Baradaeus -   · Extreme Monophysite, made bishop by the exiled Alexandria Patriarch in 543. He roamed through Mesopotamia, the Levant, and Asia Minor, consecrating bishops and thousands of Monophysite priests.
Nestorians -   · Christian sect believing there were two natures and two persons in Christ, and no mingling.
Avars -   · A barbarian tribe, raided and exacted tribute, then stayed in Byzantine lands, creating a Danube state post-570. Caused peasant flight, as well as full-scale urban decline in the Balkans and even Thrace. Also caused problems for Heraclius, who was fighting Persians at time. Both besieged Constantinople in 626.
Lombards -   · Barbarian tribe from beyond Danube, came west in 550s and invaded Italy from 568, setting up a kingdom in the north as well as duchies of Spoleto and Benevento in South. Pressured Pope, raided severely, brought on Dark Ages. Defeated by Pepin III and Charlemagne.
Maurice -   · Emperor 582-603, granted Chosroes II's request for promise of peace treaty in exchange for the restoration to Byzantium of Armenia and eastern Mesopotamia. Miraculously, Chosroes II kept his promise until 603. Maurice organized what was left of Justinian's acquisitions into exarchates as Imperial command posts. Also sent repeated expeditions against the Avars in the Danube region and beyond. Maurice tried to be as frugal as possible. He reduced military rations, and declined to ransom prisoners of the Avars. This ultimately led to his downfall.
Phocas -   · Danube area Roman general. He mutinied, massacred Maurice's family, and became Emperor in 603: his reign brought the Empire to its lowest point. With Maurice's assumption, Chosroes II invaded Byzantine lands. By 608, they came as far west as Chalcedon, within sight of Constantinople. During the same years, Avar-Slav incursions increased, with few troops available to stop them. Phocas' response was a campaign to forcibly convert the Empire's Jews. Deposed by Heraclius in 610.
Heraclius -   · Ruled 610-641. Deposed Phocas, fought and defeated Persians, 614-28. Recovered all lost lands. Resisted Avar sieges. Was defeated by Muslims, losing all of recovered lands. Promoted Monotheletism.
Shahr-Baraz -   · Chosroes II's key general.
Sergius -   · Heraclius' Patriarch of Constantinople. Supported emperor with Church and funds. Maintained capital's morale during Sassanian-Avar siege.
Razates -   · Replacement Persian general after Shahr-Baraz was killed in 627.
Kava Siroe -   · After Chosroes II committed suicide, he became Shah. Was killed.
Henri Pirenne -   · Belgian socio-economic historian, tried to revise the view that the Barbarian migrations spelled the doom of the Antique in Europe. According to him, one had to look elsewhere, and later, for the decomposition of Mediterranean civilization based on long-distance commerce and high culture. For him, the cause of Mediterranean dissolution was the Islamic expansion, which brought a war-like band of Arabs into domination of the trade routes. Not at all inclined towards trade, they strangled the Mediterranean basin, ushering in the impoverished early Middle Ages.
Muhammad -   · Born 570-580. Prophet of and founder of Islam. Emigration to Medina in 622, calendar begins. Returns Mecca in triumph 630. Died 632.
Khalid -   · Muslim general who defeated Byzantines in 634-637. Led Muslim conquest of Syria-Palestine.
Sophronius -   · Patriarch of Jerusalem, opposed Sergius' compromise doctrine that Christ had two natures, with a single motive force, or energy. Was Patriarch of Jerusalem when Muslims conquered it.
John IV -   · Western Pope who, in 641, condemned Monotheletism, the idea that Christ was of two natures, and did not have a single energy, but possessed a single will.
Constantine (r. 313-337) -   · Roman Emperor who reunited the state after years of civil war. Legalized and patronized Christianity, founded Constantinople in East. First Eastern Emperor, archetypal Christian Emperor.
Tariq -   · Muslim general who led 711 conquest of Spain.
Leo III -   · Elected to the Papacy in 796, but opposed by relatives of his predecessor. These enemies staged a coup in 799, but Charlemagne sent Leo back to the Holy See. Charlemagne came to Rome before Christmas 800, convoked a synod of Church and civil leaders. Leo took an oath his innocence. At Christmas mass Leo crowned Charlemagne as Emperor of the Romans.
Ali -   · Muhammad's relative and companion. Fourth Caliph, deposed in the civil war with Muawiya. Focus of Shi'ite beliefs.
muhajirun -   · Name for emigrants with Muhammad to Mecca in 622.
ansar -   · Medinian Muslims and helpers of Meccan émigrés (muhajirun).
Umar -   · Early Muslim, convinced Abu Bakr to become Caliph. Stewarded much early Islamic conquest.
Abu Bakr -   · First Caliph, a compromise choice between muhajirun and ansar.
Caliph -   · Secular-spiritual leader of Islamic state, 632-900s. Means 'successor', to Muhammad.
People of the Book -   · Term applied by Islam to Jews, Christians, and those receiving revealed scriptures. Zoroastrians were included in the classification for pragmatic reasons.
Uthman -   · Third Caliph, practiced nepotism, beginning of Ummayad possession of power. Murdered.
Muawiya -   · Muslim governor of Syria; related to Uthman, wanted to avenge his death, so revolted against the Caliph Ali. Emerged as victor in the resulting civil war, and established Ummayad Caliphate in Damascus.
Ummayads -   · Islamic dynasty ruling from Damascus, founded by Muawiya in 661. Continued until 751.
umma -   · Word for 'Islamic world': all Muslims, and area of Muslim control.
Shi'ite -   · Party of Ali, those who felt he should have been first Caliph, and that only his descendents are fit to rule Islamic state. View all others as illegitimate. Becomes religious sect in Islam.
Husayn -   · Ali's son, martyred by Muawiya's son at Karbala in 686.
Imam -   · Muslim prayer leader; in Shi'ism it refers to the male descendents of Ali, the only ones fit to rule.
Abbasids -   · Dynasty overthrowing the Ummayads in 749-751. Ruling from Baghdad, power dissipated from 900s.
Abd al-Rahman -   · Surviving Ummayad, escaped to Spain in 756, setting up Ummayad Caliphate of Spain centered at Cordoba.
Fatimid dynasty -   · State set up in Tunisia, reaching Egypt by 969. Based on a sub-sect of Shi'ism venerating descendents of Fatima, Muhammad's daughter.
Sunni -   · Mainstream, orthodox Muslims recognizing legitimacy of all four first caliphs and the Ummayads.
Ghaznavids under Mahmud -   · First Islamic state of Turkish ethnicity, in Eastern Iran, from 940s.
Abd al-Rahman III -   · Ummayad Amir in Spain, reestablished political unity among Iberian Muslims in 960s.
Kingdom of Asturias -   · Small Christian state in Iberia from 850s; holds on in north from Oveido.
Sancho the Great -   · Spanish Christian king, got along well with Muslims; by 1034, incorporated Aragon, Sobrarbe, Barcelona, as well as Asturian Leon and Castile into his kingdom.
Aegidius -   · The last Roman (though German) general in Northern Gaul, made himself the political leader of the area's Romans. Cut off from Italy by Burgundians, Visigoths, and others, he relied for warriors on Franks. On two occasions he hired a Frankish chieftain named Childeric I, Clovis' father.
Childeric I -   · Frankish war chieftain who died in 481. Increased Frankish raiding and territorial possessions. Died as most popular Frank, with palace at Tournai. Father of Clovis.
Syagrius -   · Aegidius' son in Gaul, defeated by Clovis at Battle of Soissons in 486.
Alaric II -   · Visigoth king in southwestern Gaul, exiled Catholic bishops no longer willing to cooperate with the Arian ruler. Defeated by Clovis in 507.
Clodomir -   · One of Clovis' four sons, received Western areas in 511. Died in 534, his areas divided among remaining brothers--Theuderic, Childebert, and Clothar I.
Clothar I -   · Youngest son of Clovis, ruled all Frankish lands after his brothers' deaths (558-62). At his death, another four-fold division occurred among the leading members of the Frankish Merovingian family.
Austrasia -   · Ancient Frankish lands straddling the Rhine.
Sigibert -   · Merovingian family member, offspring of Clothar's generation, received Austrasia in 562.
Neustria -   · 'New lands', conquered after Clovis' ascent, in Northern, Western Gaul.
Chilperic -   · Sigibert's brother, received Neustria, 562.
Guntram -   · Descendent of Clothar, received Burgundy in 562.
Brunhilde -   · Visigothic princess, wife of Sigibert of Austrasia. Chilperic married her sister Galswintha, but murdered her shortly thereafter, provoking Sigibert's ire. Became regent for Childebert and real ruler of Austrasia. Chilperic died in 595, leaving Brunhilde as sole ruler of Burgundy and Austrasia, in the name of her grandsons Theudebert and Theodoric. Austrasian counts, chafed under their Visigothic queen whose chief supporter was Theodoric. He died in 613, and Austrasian nobility refused to recognize continued Brunhildian rule.
Clothar II -   · Chilperic's son, became Neustrian king in 593. Acquired Austrasia when nobles refused to recognize Brunhilde's rule.
Pepin of Heristal -   · Austrasian Mayor; he invaded the lands to the west and defeated the Neustrian- Burgundian Mayor Bercharius in 687 at Tertry, making his own king Theodoric III the nominal ruler of a re-united Gaul. Real power was left in Pepin's hands. In 689, Pepin defeated the Frisian king Radbod to join the North Sea lands to Frankish realms. Bishops and monks were sent to the area to further Christianization.
Charles Martel -   · Pepin of Heristal's illegitimate son, became Major Domo in Austrasia and went on to re-acquire Neustria, Aquitane, Alammania, and Thuringia. He made Bavaria dependent and began anti-Saxon, all the while putting the state firmly behind Christianization. In northern Gaul, he secularized Church property, appointing relatives and supporters as bishops. In 732, at the request of Aquitane's Count Odo, he defeated Iberian Muslim forces at the Battle of Tours in Poiters, establishing evacuated areas as border marches. On Odo's death in 735, control of Aquitane reverted to Charles, and his power grew in Burgundy and Provence. After the titular Merovingian king died in 737, Charles ruled alone until his own death in 741.
Charlemagne -   · Carolingian monarch, ruled 768-806. Conquered Saxony, Frisia, pushed Chrtistianization East, patronized Church in his own realms, tried to spur on classical learning, established border marches in Pyrenees, took Lombard Italy, rescued Pope, became Roman Emperor in 800.
Hadrian I (772-795) -   · Pope who implored Charlemagne to come south and punish the Lombard kings pressuring Rome.
Louis the Pious -   · Charlemagne's son and successor, allotted imperial title and most of realm. Religious in inclination, did not barely prosecuted war. Faced sons' rebellions and beginnings of Vikings. Died 840.
Widukind -   · Saxon King, submitted to Charlemagne in 785.
Vikings -   · Scandinavian pagan raiders who began an onslaught against Europe from 790s, beginning with Britain. Hit mainland in 820s, menacing France and Germany to the 920s. Went East to Russia as well.
Lothair -   · Louis the Pious' oldest son, slated to get the most of the realm. In 840 his two younger brothers Charles and Louis combined to fight him at the Battle of Fontenoy. Results required compromise. Charles the Bald received the western regions from forty miles east of Paris to the southwestern Marches and stretching from the English Channel to the Mediterranean. Louis the German received eastern districts from the Marches beyond the Elbe to just outside Strasbourg, and from Denmark in the north to the Adriatic in the south. Lothair's kingdom was wedged between, stretching from the North Sea all the way past the papal States in Italy, with the Imperial capitals. Accordingly, it was he who received title of emperor.
Charles the Bald -   · Son of Louis the Pious. After Fontenoy in 843, received the western regions from forty miles east of Paris to the southwestern Marches and stretching from the English Channel to the Mediterranean.
Louis the German -   · Son of Louis the Pious. After Fontenoy in 843, received eastern districts from the Marches beyond the Elbe to just outside Strasbourg, and from Denmark in the north to the Adriatic in the south.
Magyars -   · Tribes, perhaps Turkish, pushed to Hungary in late 700s. Raided in Austrasia and Italy from 820s. Finally stopped in 930s-955. Converted to Christianity, stayed in Hungary.
King Arnulf -   · German king, asked Magyars to punish the Czech Kingdom of Moravia to the east of Germany and Burgundy in 892. After destroying it in the 900-910s, they turned to raiding in Germany, Italy, as well as Burgundy, France, and Provence.
Conrad of Franconia -   · Elected by Austrasian nobles in 911 to replace last Carolingian. Too weak to fight off Magyars.
Henry the Fowler -   · German king from 918-936. A Saxon, was able to defend his region from Magyars, and accommodated other nobles.
King Otto I -   · Henry the Fowler's son, became king in 937, ruled to 970s. Defeated Magyars at Lechfeld (955), punished noble rebels, intervened in Italy taking lands and appointing popes. Starts the Ottonian dynasty of Saxon kings in Germany.
Alfred the Great (r. 871-899) -   · Held off Vikings in England, defeating them at Edington (878), as well as in renewed attacks in 890s, before coming to a truce. United Wessex and Mercia through marriage. Strengthened the army and territorial fortifications.
Varangians -   · Vikings going into Russia from 800s, as far south as Kiev, a new outpost. Visited Constantinople with trade and raid in mind.
Sviatoslav -   · By the middle of the century under Sviatoslav, the Varangians had been demographically swallowed by Slavs. The king led expeditions against the Khazars (965), Volga Bulgars (966) and the Lower Danube Bulgar Khanate (967), but was not able to penetrate Byzantine Balkans, and was killed in a Patzinak ambush (972).
Vladimir I, Prince of Kiev (980-1015) -   · Officially accepted the Orthodox rite through an accord with resurgent Byzantium under Basil II (r. 976-1025) whereby he also agreed to marry the Emperor's daughter, establishing lasting cultural ties.
Basil II (r. 976-1025) -   · Very powerful Byzantine Emperor. Known as Bulgar Slayer, removed this people as an offensive threat to the Empire. Also was successful in eastern campaigns, and reformed army as well as administration. Ruled at the apogee of Byzantium.
Emperor Charles the Fat -   · The last strong Frankish king in the East, was able to push Vikings off from Paris; he offered the Vikings a ransom called Danegeld, as well as unhampered plundering in Burgundy, his enemy at the time.
Rollo -   · Viking leader given lands at the mouth of the Seine by Charles the Simple in 911. Soon enlarged to include Normandy. The eventual Normans also accepted Christianity and nominal vassalage to the French King. Defending the region from other Vikings, they would rise through the century from counts to dukes, and become increasingly French.
Robert the Strong -   · Progenitor of French noble clan called Capets, got his start when Charles the Bald appointed him missus in the Loire to hold off the Vikings. In the next thirty years, his family expanded to include the counties of Angers, Tours, Blois, Orleans, and most importantly, Paris.
Odo (r. 888-898) -   · Rather than a Carolingian, in 887 French feudal lords chose Odo, the marquis of Neustria and son of Robert the Strong, as king.
Capetians -   · French noble family descending from Robert the Strong of 870s, based in Paris region. When the last West Frankish Carolingian, Louis V, died in 987, France's great men elected Hugh Capet (987-996) as 'Duke of France.' He soon had his son elected as associate and heir. Though supported by the church, his control did not extend far beyond his own duchy.
Damasus -   · Church father supporting Papal predominance in Christendom. Wrote in 380s.
Augustine -   · Church father, theologian in 420s-430s. Bishop near Carthage, wrote City of God, exonerating Christianity of Rome's fall. Encouraged an inward-looking spirituality.
Stylites -   · Monastics in Syria, Palestine, practiced isolation though dwelling on high pillars.
John Cassian -   · Left Egypt for Constantinople, settling in Marseilles as a refugee from Church disputes in the 410s. Up until this time individual monasteries had been following their own rules. On the request of a local bishop, John wrote a rule- book entitled Institutes, based upon Greek rules from Basil of Caesarea (370s).
Basil of Caesarea (370s) -   · The founder of organized monasticism in the Eastern Church.
St. Benedict  -   · St. Benedict of Nursia (c. 480- c. 543). Living in Italy during Byzantine- Ostrogothic warfare, he wanted to create a rule of life for personal spiritual improvement within a corporate, communal framework. Unlike his Egyptian predecessors, essential to the Benedictine Rule was "nothing harsh nor burdensome." A monastery was to be a school for beginners, with monks remaining in one location--a vow of (territorial) stability. A rigorous daily schedule of prayer and work was to embody the key principles of humility, obedience (expressed through total submission to the abbot), and work in the fields, to prevent idle thoughts and laziness.
Pope Gregory I -   · Laid the foundations for future Papal grandeur. Born into a noble Roman family in 540. He lived through Lombard depredations, entering into imperial service and becoming he Prefect of Rome by the 570s. In 574, he left secular life to become a monk. From 579-85 he lived in Constantinople as Rome's ambassador, returning to Rome to help in Church administration. In 590 he became Pope. The first, immense challenge facing him was the Lombard invasions. Civil administration was almost nonexistent in this period, so he assumed control of the city. During the total vacuum of imperial control, he made a truce with the invaders in 592, and then directed urban defenses when war re- ignited the following year. To provide for the Church and laity's material survival, he reorganized Papal Estates in the south, making them turn profits from their crops. Revenues relieved famines, and endowed churches, hospitals, and schools. Gregory's next accomplishment was to enforce Papal supervision over all churches in Italy and southern Gaul through agents of the central church. Farther north was more of a problem, as Frankish Kings saw the church as their property. Upon building churches or monasteries, rulers would appoint priests, and tried to control Christian hierarchies. Gregory stood against this. Commanding priests not to marry, he hoped to end the familial alliances that produced Frankish control over clerics. Also patronized missionary efforts in England.
St. Patrick (390?-461) -   · Possibly born among the Christianized west Britons, he was carried off to Ireland as a slave at a young age, after which he escaped to Gaul and spent twenty years in its burgeoning monastic centers. At this point (432), he undertook a further exile (a pattern followed by later Irish-English monks), returning to Ireland as a bishop and overseeing mass conversion there.
St. Columba (521-597) -   · Practicing exile, this Irish monk set up a monastery on the Scottish coastal island Iona, and from the 560s traveled through Scotland converting Picts.
St. Columbanus (530?-615) -   · About 590, arrived at the Merovingian Guntram's Burgundy court. The latter supported his foundation of monasteries in the region. Quarrels with Brunhilde and his refusal to recognize Theuderic's illegitimate children resulted in expulsion from Frankish lands. He eventually arrived in Lombard Italy, where King Agilulf supported his founding of the Bobbio monastery in 615.
Aethelbehrt -   · King of Kent in 570s-580s, had married Frankish King Charibert's daughter, the former had been required to allow a Frankish bishop and retinue into his kingdom. Pope Gregory, sent a monk named Augustine (d. 605) to Kent in 597, whom Aethelbehrt allowed to preach from a monastery in Canterbury. The King and his people soon converted to Roman Catholicism, and Augustine became Archbishop of Canterbury. East Saxons then converted around 604, with a bishop posted to London. Though Essex and Kent kings reverted to paganism after Aethelbehrt's 616 death, they soon returned to the faith under Kent's Eadbald and Eorcenberht (616-64).
Augustine (d. 605) -   · Pope Gregory sent a monk named Augustine (d. 605) to Kent in 597, whom Aethelbehrt allowed to preach from a monastery in Canterbury. The King and his people soon converted to Roman Catholicism, and Augustine became Archbishop of Canterbury.
Edwin -   · Christianization spread northward in the 620s when King Edwin of Northumbria married Eadbald's sister and agreed to accept the new religion.
Paulinus -   · A Roman missionary who worked in North England in the 630s.
Oswald (633-642) -   · In 633, he defeated the Mercians, allowing Christianization to proceed in England. He, however, invited a Celtic monk to preach.
Theodore of Tarsus -   · In 669 Pope Vitalian sent a new Archbishop to Canterbury, Theodore of Tarsus. While the English church had been largely monastic up until now without rigid dioceses, Theodore established these. Furthermore, being from Eastern Rome, he was in touch with the original sources of classical learning.
Willibrord -   · Between 690-739 engaged in conversion efforts in Frisia and among Germans east of Ripuarian Franks.
Boniface -   · English Benedictine monk, Papal legate to Germans beyond the Rhine and Archbishop in eastern Germany. From 741-747 he held councils with Frankish support to Christianize the populace, reform the area church, and monasticize it. This also led to increased control from Rome.


Busta Gallorum (552) -   · Byzantine final defeat of Goths. Narses led Romans, and Totila led Goths.
Council of Chalcedon  -   · Church council in 451, at which Monophysitism was condemned again and the idea of Two Natures Coexisting in One Person was promulgated as official doctrine: the Chalcedonian Definition
Nika Revolt -   · Revolt of Blues and Greens in Constantinople against Justinian in 532. Put down by Belisarius, Narses, and Munda.
Bubonic Plague -   · Plague afflicting Mediterranean Basin from 542-550, and then at intervals in next 50 years. Up to 33% mortality rate.
Ctesiphon -   · Imperial Sassanian capital in Persia. Sacked by Heraclius.
Battle of the Yarmuk (636) -   · Islamic armies defeat Byzantine troops in Syria-Jordan.
Battle of Qadisiyya -   · Islamic armies' defeat Sassanian forces, opening up Persia, and causing Sassanian downfall.
Battle of Tours -   · Battle in Poitiers in 732, where Charles Martel stopped Muslim penetration into France.
Occultation -   · Disappearance of last Shi'ite Imam in 980s. Temporary, his return is messianic.
The Lesser Jihad -   · Armed Holy War. Greater Jihad is contemplation and spiritual improvement.
Tournai -   · Location of Childeric I's palace by 481.
Battle of Soissons -   · Clovis' defeat of Syagrius in 486
Battle of Vouille -   · Clovis' defeat of Arian Visigoths, 507
Regium Francium -   · Term for Frankish lands, encapsulating modern France, Belgium, and Germany.
Edict of Clothar (614) -   · Edict in which Clothar committed to only appoint royal officials from a particular regions local counts.
Major Domo -   · Mayor of the palace, chief officer of the king's royal household, will supplant Merovingians in 670s onwards.
Battle of Fontenoy -   · Louis the Pious' oldest son Lothair was slated to get most of the realm. In 840 his two younger brothers Charles the Bald and Louis the German combined to fight him at the Battle of Fontenoy. Losses were tremendous, yet the results required compromise. Charles the Bald received western regions from forty miles east of Paris to the southwestern Marches and stretching from the English Channel to the Mediterranean. Louis the German received eastern districts from the Marches beyond the Elbe to just outside Strasbourg, and from Denmark in the north to the Adriatic in the south. Wedged in between this was Lothair's kingdom, stretching from the North Sea all the way past the papal States in Italy, with the Imperial capitals.
Margraves -   · March lords on Carolingian borders.
missi dominici -   · Royal agents sent from Charlemagne's palace. A lay noble and a prelate, they would check on status of royal estates, and see that counts were in line. They would also convey the king's desire.
Capitularies -   · Decrees sent out by Charlemagne to regions, meant to apply to all subjects equally.
Unstrut -   · In 933, Henry the Fowler refused further payments of tribute to the Hungarians. When the Hungarians launched a massive punitive expedition, Henry routed it at Unstrut.
Battle at Lechfeld -   · Otto I's defeat of the Magyars in 955. They ceased as a threat after that.
Edington -   · 866, a "great army" of Danish Vikings invaded southeastern England, overrunning East Anglia, Northumbria, and Mercia by 877. They were stopped only by King Alfred the Great (r. 871-899) of Wessex, who defeated them at Edington in 878.
The Danelaw -   · Areas in Britain allotted to Vikings.
Dyle  -   · Viking power began to wane, as German king Arnulf defeated them at Dyle in the Netherlands in 891.
shire-revee -   · Royal official in counties in Saxon England. Sherriff.
ealdorman -   · Elder serving on court in Wessex.
cenobitic -   · Solitary monastics, mostly in Egypt, Palestine, and Syria from the 250s.
Council of Whitby -   · In the 650s-660s, both Irish and Roman missionaries were converting in England. Given differences in ritual observance, King Oswy held the Council of Whitby in 664, where the decision was made to follow the Roman rite.
Simony -   · The sale of church offices to the highest bidder. Poor quality churchmen resulted
Cluny -   · In Burgundy, earnest monastics convinced William the Pious of Aquitane to found the Cluny monastery around 910. It was endowed generously from the start, so that it would not be dependent on secular rulers. Additional gifts of land or provisions would not be in return for feudal services, but would be recompensed by the monks' prayers. The monks received the right to elect their own abbot, putting the position beyond lay interference. Cluny's founders tried to eliminate any potentially idle time by instituting heavy schedules of communal liturgical prayer services, in addition to fieldwork and manuscript reproduction. Cluniac monks attained a high level of sustainable piety and discipline throughout the tenth century and into the eleventh.

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