World History 400-500AD - History

World History 400-500AD - History

World History 400-500 AD

Windmills In Persia, Romans leave Britain, Rome Sacked by Visigoths, Cathrage Captured By Vandals, First Saxon Revolt, Attila The Hun Defeated, Saxons Crush Britons, Vandals Sack Rome, Western Roman Empire Ends, Shah Defeated By Ephthalites, Roman Occupation Of Gaul Ends, Ostrogothic Kingdom Of Italy

400 AD Windmills Used In Persia-The Fifth Syrian War ended at the Battle of Banyais, between Antiochus II (King of the Seleucid Empire) and Ptolemy V of Egypt. The Egyptians were decisively defeated by Antiochus' forces, and were forced to cede all their territory -- with the exception of the Sinai Desert -- to the Seleucids.
407 AD Romans Withdraw From Britain- In 407 A.D., Constantine led his troops on a withdrawal from Britain. Roman troops never returned to Britain.
410 AD Rome Sacked by Visigoths- After a series of battles that continued sporadically for over ten years, the Visigoths under the command of Alaric, sacked Rome in August 410 A.D. For twelve days, Alaric and his men rained ruin upon the city.
439 AD Cathrage Captured By Vandals - The Roman city of Carthage was captured by Vandals, under the command of Genseric. Carthage became his capital.
441 AD First Saxon Revolt- The first Saxon revolt against native Britons took place in 441 A.D. It was led by two brothers, Hengst and Horsa.
451 AD Attila The Hun Defeated- Attila the Hun was leader of the Huns and it was he who had earlier defeated the Visigoths. Attila commanded an army that is said to have numbered as many as half a million men. Attila swept through Gaul. In 451 A.D., Attila faced the Visigoths and Romans together in the battle of Chalons. Attila was defeated in this battle, and forced to withdraw. He went on to invade Italy but was convinced to withdraw by Pope Leo. He died in 453 A.D.
455 AD Saxons Crush Britons- At the battle of Aylesford in Kent, England, the Saxons led by Hengst and Horsa defeated the Britons. This battle was an important step in the Saxon conquest of Britain.
455 AD Vandals Sack Rome- The Vandals viewed the assassination of the Western Roman Emperor Valentinian III as an opportunity to attack Rome. Their attack was successful and the city was sacked.
476 AD Western Roman Empire Ends- The Western Roman Empire came to an end when the Emperor Romulus Augustulus was deposed by German mercenaries at Ravenna. The German mercenaries then declared themselves to be the rulers of Italy.
483 AD Shah Defeated By Ephthalites- Firuz, the Shah of Iran, was defeated by the Ephthalites (from the site of present-day Afghanistan). Firuz attacked the Ephthalites after a series of inconclusive skirmishes with them.
486 AD Roman Occupation Of Gaul Ends- The last Roman emperor of France was defeated by Clovis I, King of the Salian Franks. After the defeat of the Romans, Clovis established the Kingdom of the Franks.
488 AD Ostrogothic Kingdom Of Italy- Theodoric I (the Great) invaded northern Italy at the request of Zeno the Byzantine Emperor. He conquered Italy and established the Ostrogothic Kingdom of Italy.

Timeline 400-500 (Interference)

5th century In the central eastern Alps a Rhaeto-Romano-Germanic koiné takes shape, which in the centuries will form the Ladinian nation.

402 The Visigoths under Alaric invade northern Italy, taking advantage of an imperial campaign against the Vandals and the western Alans across the Alps, but are defeated by general Stilicho at Pollenza (Piedmont) Stilicho arranges an alliance with the western Alans and the Huns to contain the Goths. The Emperor of the West, Honorius, moves his capital from Milan to Ravenna.

403 A new important victory of Stilicho against the Visigoths at Verona.

404 The Roman Emperor of the West, Honorius, abolishes the gladiatorial games when a monk is killed while trying to stop the bloody “entertainment show”.

404-406 The Huns under Uldin, migrating once again on horseback through the Carpathians, impose their rule over an immense area between the middle Danube and the Black Sea.

405-406 The huge barbarian horde guided by the pagan Ostrogoth Radagaisus, composed of varied Germanic and Sarmatian groups in flight from the Huns, invades Noricum and northern Italy from Pannonia and Moravia, but ends up destroyed by the imperial forces of Stilicho and the Huns under Uldin at Fiesole near Florence.

406-407 Marcus’ and Gratianus’ revolts in Roman Britannia.

407 Large barbarian invasion of Roman Gaul: Swabians, Vandals, Burgundians and a portion of the western Alans (many are still in Dacia) cross the frozen Rhine. Constantine, ruler of Armorica (Brittany), usurps power over Britannia the Roman troops abandon the island and the "limes" on the Rhine. The White Huns, or Hephthalites, acquire a huge part of Central Asia and begin to terrorize Persia and India with their raids.

408 Britannia thwarts the Saxon raids. Upon the death of his brother Arcadius at Constantinopole, the Roman Emperor of the West Honorius assassinates Stilicho revolt and massacre of the barbarian mercenaries at Papia/Ticinum. Thousands of Goths desert the imperial army defecting to Alaric, who invades Italy once again and besieges Rome, exacting a rich ransom.

409 Vandals, western Alans and Svevi establish themselves in Spain and Lusitania/Portugal Spain, after acknowledging Constantine as Emperor, rebels against him, too, under Gerontius and Maximus. Alaric continues his siege of Rome, because Honorius in Ravenna refuses to grant lands in Noricum, and subsequently (with the agreement of the Roman Senate) names a puppet anti-emperor, Attalus.

410 Alaric attempts a siege of Ravenna, then as a gesture of good will repudiates Attalus, but is attacked by treason by Honorius’ troopes and unleashes his Visigoths in the Sack of Rome, an event which shakes the entire Roman world he subsequently marches toward the south, taking hostage Galla Placidia, Honorius’ sister, and dies in Calabria. Official independence of the Britannian kingdom of Dumnonia, forerunner of the Celtic Cornwall official abandonment of Britannia by the Romans, and formation of the "Celtic" and "Roman" factions on the island. Coel Hen, ruler of northern Britannia, is the High King of Britain. Eugenius, a son of Magnus Maximus/Macsen Wledig, establishes the kingdom of Glywyssing in southern Wales. The Ruanruan establish themselves as a hegemonical power among the Xianbi (proto-Mongolians).

ca. 410 The White Huns/Hephthalites destroy the residual power of the Kushanshah in Afghanistan, making Chorasmia and the western Sogdians of Bukhara vassals and conquering Alexandria of Aracosia/Qandahar and Kabul, and begin devastating raids in northern India. After the Romans' abandonment of Britannia, the tribe of the Votadini, divided in a northern branch and a southern one, becomes enforces its ascendancy between Yorkshire and the Firth of Forth.

411 The usurper Constantine is captured in battle at Arles by the Roman general Flavius Constantius, and put to death by the Emperor of the West, Honorius also the rebellion of Gerontius and Maximus in Spain quickly collapses. Ataulf, brother-in-law and successor of Alaric, crosses Italy from the south to the north passing passing through Liguria, they pillage Lunae/Luni and Albingaunum/Albenga. After almost a century the Donatist schism of the Christian churches of Roman Africa is settled at Carthage, partly through the eloquence of St. Augustine of Hippo in denouncing the "heresy" and promoting its extirpation (paradoxically St. Augustine will become more and more a symbol of North Africanism in the following centuries). The Burgundians found a kingdom between the Rhine and the Rhone, straddling Gaul and Helvetia, with its capital at Geneva.

411-415 In Gaul, after the collapse of Constantine’s usurpation, other pretenders spring up (the last is the Visigoth-backed Priscus Attalus, the former puppet emperor they backed in 409) all are liquidated either by Flavius Constantius or by marauding barbarians.

412 The Visigoths enter Gaul from Italy, settling west of the lower Rhone. In Britannia, Pelagius spreads the Pelagian Heresy (no original sin, complete free will).

414 Galla Placidia marries Ataulfus, becoming the (not so enthusiast) Queen of the Visigoths. The Roman general Flavius Constantius expels the Visigoths from Narbona, forcing them to move themselves to Catalonia (which takes its name from them) and captures their puppet emperor Attalus.

415 Assassination of Ataulfus and of his murderer Sigeric Wallia is placed on the Visigothic throne. The emperors of Rome and Constantinople, Honorius and Theodosius II, abolish the office of Naśi (prince) of the Sanhedrin, until then hereditary within the Israelite clan Hillel, as the last claim of authority over the Jews, who are by now dispersed to the four winds.

416 Galla Placidia is ransomed by Flavius Constantius in exchange for about 5000 tons of wheat.

418 The Roman Emperor of the West, Honorius, grants Aquitaine to the Visigoths.

419 The Vandals occupy Hispania Betica (from this point the region will be known as Vandalusia). The Visigoths, now under Theodoric I, choose Toulouse as their capital their domains extend across the Pyrenees from southern Gaul to northern and eastern Spain.

420 The Liu-Song succeed the eastern Jin at Nanking.

ca. 420 Rugila’s western Huns of Rugila migrate in turn in Dacia and Pannonia, establishing themselves between the Carpathians and the Danube de facto reunification of western and eastern Huns. Mongolian tribes (Xianbi) migrate to Tibet, where for two centuries representatives maintain power under the title of Tsenpo. The Rugians occupy Bohemia and establish their rule as far as the Alps. The germanic tribe of the Sicambri, located in the Ruhr valley, intermingle with the Salian Franks.


Editorial note on the Timeline

The primary purpose of the Timeline is to be a quick reference to important dates for Catholic apologists. It also gives a general overview of the history of the Church to the Catholic who might like an idea of what occurred in the past, but has little inclination to read in-depth. The Timeline contains dates concerned with secular history that are pertinent to the Catholic apologist, as well as quirky Catholic history bits for the trivia buff. I've attempted to include as many important events as possible, both good and bad, and to include facts commonly raised in Catholic apologetic discussions. In some cases, I have attempted to debunk common myths. It would be beyond the scope of this work to count every historical objection and accusation made regarding Catholicism.


5th Century, 401 to 500

407 The greatest invasion into the Roman Empire occurs in the winter of 406-07, across the frozen Rhine. Resistance is feeble. Germanic tribes overrun Gaul all the way to the Pyrenees.

408 Roman legions are withdrawn from Britain, and Picts, Scots and Saxons invade the Britons.

409 Among the Germans who overran Gaul are those called Vandals. They cross the Pyrenees mountains into Hispania (Spain).

410 Goths sack Rome. Pagans see it as the work of Rome's old gods and blame the Christians. Pagan members of Rome's senate are afraid of retaliation from the Christians if they speak out. The Christian scholar Jerome laments that in the ruins of Rome the whole world has perished.

413 In response to the charge that Christianity was to blame for the fall of Rome, Bishop Augustine overturns the theory of Rome that was devised by Bishop Eusebius. The Roman Empire, he claims, was influenced both by God and by demons. Rome, he writes, was a product of sin and based on self-love, robbery, violence and fraud. He describes the Romans as the most successful brigands in history.

414 Changra Gupta II dies. His empire extends to India's west coast. India is enjoying prosperity. Hinduism is tolerant and happy. Hinduism is absorbing aspects of Buddhism and Jainism, which, born amid suffering, are now losing their appeal.

415 Hypatia of Alexandria is hated by local Christians. She is a mathematician, teacher and devoted to neo-Platonist paganism. A Christian mob pulls her from her chariot and murders her.

420 In southern China, Liu Yu has forced the Jin emperor to abdicate in his favor. Liu Yu begins what is to be known as the Liu Song dynasty.

421 Under the Sassanid king, Bahram V, persecution of the Christians begins again. Many Christians flee into the eastern half of the Roman Empire.

421 According to legend, the city of Venice is founded by Romans fleeing from Germans.

429 An army of around 80,000, mostly Vandals, cross from Spain into North Africa.

430 The Vandals have conquered all the way to Augustine's city, Hippo. While the Vandals have Hippo surrounded, Augustine dies.

441 Anglo-Saxons, running from northern Europe and away from advancing Huns, are invading Britain.

445 In northern China, Buddhist monasteries have become economically powerful landowning enterprises with hereditary serfs. Buddhists have been creating enemies, and Taoists inspire a movement against Buddhism. The Xiongnu ruler issues an edict against the Buddhists. Orders go out for all Buddhist monks to be put to death and all Buddhist images and books to be destroyed.

446 Vortigern has been leading the Britons against the Picts (from Scotland) and Scots (from Wales). He is using Anglo-Saxon mercenaries.

450 People who speak Nahuati are settled in Mexico. Among them are those who have establish the city-state of Teotihuacan, and descendants of a branch of Nahuati speakers will be those called Mexica, or Aztecs.

450 The civilization at Teotihuacan (in central Mexico but not Aztec) extends through much of the Mesoamerican region. The city has a population of more than 150,000 people and perhaps as many as 250,000.

451 Attila the Hun crosses the Rhine into Gaul.

453 &ndash 455 In southern China, Buddhism has been adopted by the Liu Song emperor, but Buddhism proves no deterrent to strife and chaos. The emperor is assassinated by his son, who takes power and is assassinated by his brother, who becomes the south's Emperor Xiao Wu.

458 Anglo-Saxons are sending the Celtic Britons fleeing westward toward and into Wales, to Ireland and across the English Channel into what is today called Brittany.

465 In southern China, Emperor Xiao Wu is succeeded by a sixteen-year-old who is assassinated six months later. The murdered boy is succeeded by his uncle, Emperor Ming (Mingdi), who is to have all of his brothers and nephews executed.

466 Northern China has a new Xiongnu ruler, Emperor Xian-wen. He declares himself a Buddhist. Buddhism is restored in the north. He guards against his own assassination by massacring other princes in his extended family.

475 Emperor Ming is succeeded by his ten-year-old son, Emperor Shun, and in his behalf more murders follow.

476 A German commander of Rome's army, Odoacer, seizes power in Rome.

477 The stirrup is now widely used across China.

477 &ndash 479 Emperor Shun is assassinated. What is left of the royal Liu family is discredited. A state official deposes the Liu family and founds a new dynasty, called Chi, and the Chi family begins killing one another.

484 Hephthalites (Huns) kill the Sassanian king, Firuz, and his cavalry and much of the Sassanid nobility. They capture the king's family and treasury.

488 The emperor in the eastern half of the Roman Empire, Zeno, sends an army of Germans, led by Theodoric, across the Alps against Odoacer.

493 Theodoric's army defeats Odoacer's army. Theodoric assumes the title of King of Italy, and the Bishop of Rome befriends Theodoric.

496 The king of the Germanic Franks, Clovis, has extended his rule in northeastern Gaul, spilling much blood. His wife, Clotilda, is a Trinity believing Christian. Clovis accepts his wife's faith for himself and his subjects.

497 Persia has suffered drought and famine. Persians rebel against the Sassanid king, Kavad (son of Firuz). A Zoroastrian priest, Mazdak, proclaims that he has been sent by God to preach that all men are born equal and that no one has the right to possess more than another. He claims that he is reforming and purifying Zoroastrianism. The world, he says, has been turned from righteousness by five demons: Envy, Wrath, Vengeance, Need and Greed. His followers plunder the homes and harems of the rich.

500 Migrating Bantu speakers, on the move for more than a century, arrive in southern Africa. Camels have been established as a means of transportation in northern Africa.

500 Incompetent government has led to a failure by the Chinese to defend their northern border. A dynasty of Xiongnu kings, the Tuoba Wei, are dominating the whole of northern China, and culturally they are becoming more Chinese. In the south, meanwhile, a recent string of Chinese families had risen and fallen from power while engaging in rampages of murder as a way of settling disputes over who was to rule.


Europe 500 CE

The western Roman empire has fallen to German invaders, but the eastern Roman empire remains intact.

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Civilizations

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What is happening in Europe in 500CE

This map shows the history of Europe in 500 CE. The Roman Empire survives in the east, but the western provinces have fallen to a group of German tribes.

The Roman Empire in decline

The past three centuries have seen the Roman Empire experience many changes. The great days of ancient Rome are past, and the city of Rome itself has ceased to be the seat of political power. Emperors have spent more and more time close to the frontiers, to deal with the ever increasing threats, both from beyond the frontiers and from their own armies.

During the 4th century a dramatic transformation was set in train when the emperor Constantine (reigned 311-337) converted to Christianity. Under his successors Christianity became the official religion of the empire. Constantine also founded a new imperial capital, Constantinople.

The fall of the Roman empire in the west

During the 5th century the western provinces of the empire were overrun by German tribes. A number of Germanic kingdoms were established here, and their territories expanded to cover the entire territory of the former western empire. For a time, the whole of Western Europe was threatened by the fearsome Huns, a people from the central Asia who, under their king Attila, looked as if they might take over the whole Roman empire. In the event, however, they were defeated by a coalition of Romans and Goths (451).

Finally, in 476, the last Roman emperor in the West abdicated. This left the kingdoms of the Visigoths, the Burgundians and the Franks to divide Gaul between them, while the Visigoths and Seubi shared the Iberian Peninsula. North Africa has been occupied by another German tribe, the Vandals. Southern Britain is being settled by north German peoples who came to be known to history as the Anglo-Saxons.

By this date, even Italy, the heartand of the old Roman empire, is under barbarian rule, with the king of the Ostrogoths ruling from Ravenna, formerly the seat of the western Roman emperors.

The fall and survival of Roman civilization

Graeco-Roman civilization has taken a major hit in these former Roman provinces, and society is experiencing huge changes. The city-based way of life enjoyed by the Romans is in steep decline.

The shrunken towns are now dominated by Christian bishops, who have proved to be the only figures capable of protecting the townsmen in these turbulent times.

The Roman Empire is far from extinct. It has shrunk to its eastern half, but, governed from its capital of Constantinople, it remains powerful and prosperous. Here, Roman civilization continues to thrive, though in an altered form as it morphs into Byzantine civilization. Above all, the Christian Church has a huge influence on its society and culture.

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Map of Early Independent Britain AD 400-425

Faced with an economic downturn in the second half of the fourth century and various barbarian raids and more serious incursions, Roman Britain exhibited a marked decline in fortunes. Various internal revolts meant that military units were greatly depleted, with two strong forces being taken onto the Continent never, it seems, to return in any great number.

Various client states were set up (or officially acknowledged) in the west and north. Renewed war flared up against the Picts of the far north, apparently lasting 'for many years'. Further Scotti (Irish) raids took place on the south coast of Britain in 404/405, just as a major force of imperial troops was being withdrawn. The British provinces were relatively isolated and lacking in support from Rome in their fight against barbarian incursions. In 409 the Britons expelled all Roman officials, breaking ties that were never renewed.

Following the break with Rome there came a period in which central administration apparently began to break down. And then Vortigern seemingly came to the fore, already powerful in the semi-independent Pagenses territories of the west.

All borders are conjectural, but rough territorial boundaries are known.

To select a territory for further information (usually in the accompanying feature if an entry is available), click anywhere within its borders.

Original text and map copyright © P L Kessler and the History Files. An original feature for the History Files. Go back or return home.


Roman Timeline of the 5th Century AD

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Rome's first emperor, Augustus, the adopted son of Julius Caesar, has probably had the most lasting effect on history of all rulers of the classical world. This book focuses on his rise to power and on the ways in which he then maintained authority throughout his reign.


16 Amazing Scientific Inventions and Discoveries in Ancient India

In the ancient civilization, the growth of the civilization was the result of incredible ancient engineering and technology during those days. These technologies have in some way affected the modern lives. But, a lot of these inventions are forgotten, lost on just pages, and only to be revitalized thousands of years later. These are some of the best examples of ancient technology and inventions that were used in Ancient India, or had been developed by the ancient Indians:

1. The atomic theory developed 2600 years ago in Ancient India

John Dalton is said to be the father of atomic theory. However, before Dalton who had lived between 1766-1844, Acharya Kanad had already talked about the idea of anu – atom – that’s indestructible particle of the matter more than 2600 years ago.

The story behind this is that when he was walking with the grain of rice in his hand, he could not break it further. No matter how small he broke it into, he thought, it still is rice. That way he thought that there must be an indivisible matter called anu, atom, that all things in the universe are made out of. And that different substance have a different composition of these atoms that make them.

2. The Newton’s Law was developed 1200 years before Newton

In Surya Siddhanta, which is dated 400-500AD, the Hindu astronomer Bhaskaracharya states, “Objects fall on the earth due to a force of attraction by the earth. Therefore, the earth, planets, constellations, moon and sun are held in orbit due to this attraction.” They are the lines similar to Newton’s law of Gravity. Only after 1200 years later in 1687 AD, Sir Isaac Newton discovered this phenomenon.

3. Bhaskaracharya and his calculation about earth

Bhaskaracharya was the person who calculated the time take by earth to orbit the sun hundreds of years before the western discovery. He found it to be 365.258756484 days. His works Lilavati, Bijaganita are considered to be unparalleled. In his other work Siddhant Shiromani, he talks about the planetary positions, eclipses, cosmography, mathematical techniques, astronomical equipment.

4. Father of Medicine – Acharya Charak

Known to be the Father of Medicine in the Indian context, Acharya Charak wrote Charak Samhita, which is considered to be the encyclopedia of Ayurveda. His prognosis, diagnosis, principles, cures still have great value even today. When there were confusions in the west about different theories, Charak had established his principles on various human anatomy, embryology, pharmacology, blood circulation, disease, diabetes, tuberculosis, heart diseases etc. In his book, he has given 100,000 herbal plants with their medicinal qualities. He has also talked about the impact of having a proper diet on mind and body. And many more impacts.

5. Rishi Bharadwaj and vimanas

Written by Maharshi Bhardwaj, Vymaanika-Shaastra was discovered in a temple in India. This book was written 400 BC and talked about the operation of ancient vimanas, how they steered, propelled, how they took precautions for long flights, how they protected airships from storms and lightning, how they switched the drive to solar energy and other free-energy sources. The vimanas in those days took off vertically, and he talks about at least 70 authorities and 10 experts of air travel.

6. Rishi Kanva and the science of wind

Kanva, the descendant of Rishi Angirasa, talks about the science of wind in the Rigveda sections 8:41:6 in Jagati meter of God wind.

7. Rishi Kapil Muni and his take on how the universe was created

Rishi Kapil Muni has had a rare intellect at an early age. He even wrote Sankhya Darshan that defined the concepts of meditation. According to him, dhyana or meditation is the state of mind that remains without any subjectivity/objectivity, without any thought, without any worldly or material pleasure. He talks about the continuity from the lowest inorganic to highest organic forms, the source of which is the Prakrit, nature.

He even talks about how the universe was manifested out of creation (samasara), from which Purusha (soul) and Prakriti (matter) are eternal and independent of each other. He states that no arguments can irrefutably establish God’s reality, thus Purusha and Prakriti are responsible for the creation, without the creator, the God.

8. Patanjali – Father of Yoga

Yoga is one of the greatest Hindu contributions to the world. Through yoga, one can discover and realize the ultimate reality. Acharya Patanjali is the person behind the spread of this global practice. He prescribed how control of breath can be used to control mind, body, and soul, and his 84 yogic postures also showed how the efficiency of different systems – circulatory, nervous, digestive, respiratory, endocrine, and others – in the body can be improved.

9. Acharya Aryabhatt and the first claim about earth’s rotation

Acharya Aryabhatt is one of the greatest mathematician and astronomer in this side of the world. Born on 476CE in Kusumpur, he wrote his text on astronomy and an unparalleled treatise on mathematics known as Aryabhatiyam at the age of 23. He was the first person to calculate the motion of planets and time of eclipses, and also the person who proclaimed that earth is round that rotates on its axis and orbits the sun. This was 1000 years before Copernicus published the heliocentric theory.

10. Sushruta – Father of Surgery

Way back 2600 years before, Sushruta was doing what modern scientists still find difficulties doing. He was conducting complicated surgeries like caesareans, cataract, artificial limbs, rhinoplasty, plastic surgery, brain surgery and many, many others. He was born to sage Vishwamitra and also wrote the book “Sushruta Samhita” that talks about more than 300 surgical procedures and 125 surgical instruments.

11. Varahamihira and the luminescence of the moon

In Panch Siddhant, the author Varahamihira talks about the lustrous nature of moon and planets because of the sunlight. He also wrote Bruhad Samhita and Bruhad Jata where he talks about the domains of geography, constellation, science, animal science, cures for various diseases inflicting plants and trees.

12. Galaxy is oval, earth is spherical

Image Credit – Wikimedia

Yajur Vedic verse says: “Brahmaanda vyapta deha bhasitha himaruja..” which states that Shiva is the one who spread out in the Brahmaanda. Anda means egg, which shows the shape of the galaxy. Back in the days, the westerns used to believe that earth was flat. But on this side of the world, people always believed that the earth was spherical. Many scriptures talk about bhoogola, the earth, where Gola means round.

13. Sub-atomic particles

In the excerpt from Lalitha Sahasranama, Hayagreeva describes Goddess to Agastya muni as the super consciousness/Brahman that pervades even the subatomic particles within matter: “Paranjyotih parandhamah paramanuh paratpara”. Anuvu means an atom, paramanu is a sub-atomic particle, finer than the finest of the atom, meaning electrons and the others.

14. Nuclear weapons in the ancient times

Mahabharata clearly shows that a catastrophic blast had occurred which affected a big chunk of earth. Historian Kisari Mohan Ganguli says that the scriptures and ancient writings do talk about such descriptions: “A single projectile charged with all the power in the Universe…An incandescent column of smoke and flame as bright as 10,000 suns, rose in all its splendour…it was an unknown weapon, an iron thunderbolt, a gigantic messenger of death which reduced to ashes an entire race.”

In Rajasthan, India, 10 miles west of Jodhpur, it has been established that there was a high rate of birth defects and cancer under the area years before. Scientists speculate that it could be because of radiation caused by an atomic blast that dates back 8000 to 12000 years ago.

15. Ancient ultrasound machines

In Shrimad Bhagavatam, 30th chapter 3rd canto describes the growth of the embryo in the mother’s womb. This description is quite similar to modern descriptions found in modern textbooks. Perhaps back in the days, there were ancient ultrasound machines through which they found about this process.

16. Fire bacteria

Science has long been saying that no life can exist in fire. It gave them a base for sterilization. But Vedas claim that life exists everywhere, even in the fire. But recently, it has been discovered that ‘fire bacteria’ can survive in a fire.

These facts, yes facts, throw a question in the face of the earth, “Did ancient science really know more than modern science?”


The world in 200-400AD?

Anyone having suggestions on good reference litterature on the world (not only Europe) in the period 200-400AD?

Cultures, countries, regents, terrain, etc.

Even if it only covers a part of the world will suffice, then I can assemble the information myself.

(posted the same question (identically phrased) for 400-600AD in the Medieval and Byzantine History sub-forum, so that you know! )

Frank81

In China, the most famous piece of true litterature is "The Romance of the Three Kingdoms".

The age you want to cover in China comprise the Three Kingdoms and the Western Jin.


In India, you have the mighty Gupta empire

Caracalla

[ame=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gupta_empire]Gupta Empire - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]

[ame=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sassanid_Empire]Sassanid Empire - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]

[ame=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Jin_Dynasty]Jin Dynasty (265[/ame]

AndreasK

Many thanks, Frank81 and Caracalla.

I actually found thanks to your links a very useful map, Asia in 500AD. Not the period asked for in this sub-forum but in another.

Attachments

Frank81


(You can't see the Three Kingdoms because they existed only during the 3rd century.)

Pixi666

Guaporense

The period from 200 ad to 400 ad was the period when the mediterranean economy started it's collapse. Levels of shipwreck and lead pollution (proxy indicators of sea trade and metal production) show massive decline in the period:

I consider it the darkest period in human history, since it represented the greatest setback in the development of western civilization and therefore, of the world (since our modern world is the product of the west). The early middle ages were actually not as dark, as it represented the beginning of the recovery: from 650 ad to 1000 ad Europe and the Middle East started their recovery from the fall of the Roman Empire (for instance the estimated population of Europe increased from 25 million in 650 ad to 36 million in 1000 ad).

During the 3rd century the Roman Empire declined massively, in 200 ad it was the undisputed ruler of the ancient world while a century later is was struggling to win their wars with the Sassanids and Germanic barbarians. Inflation, civil war and overall decline in the quality of the political institutions resulted in a social collapse. The empire had to be reformed to survive as the ways of the Principate were not adapted to the new circunstances. The reforms of Diocletian more than anything else were responsible for the long transformation of the Roman Empire from a confederation of mediterranean city states into a centralized military dictatorship. Christianity as we know it was developed by the Romans in the early 4th century to serve as the official religion of the empire, to serve as a new glue to hold the empire together during these times of economic and social desintegration.

Frank81

In Rome, the 3rd Century was characterized by dramatic crisis that nearly collapsed the Empire as Guaporense has indicated. The 4th Century was a recovering age and a full reshaping of the empire, a change led by Diocletian and Constantine.

I would say that the main change was that of the nature of the Empire, that became far more burocratized and statalized than before, to the point that some of the measures that the Emperors took during this age, such as the control of prices, have been considered by many authors as a form of archaic socialism.

Guaporense

It is interesting how delicate the Roman Empire was, around 150 CE it appeared to completely dominate the ancient world. But during the mid 3rd century inflation and economic crisis resulted into the near collapse of the empire and massive invasions of germanic and persian barbarians into the empire.

These peoples were only awaiting the decline of the Roman military power to take advantage and sack the wealthy cities of the mediterranean.

Eratosthenes

It is interesting how delicate the Roman Empire was, around 150 CE it appeared to completely dominate the ancient world. But during the mid 3rd century inflation and economic crisis resulted into the near collapse of the empire and massive invasions of germanic and persian barbarians into the empire.

These peoples were only awaiting the decline of the Roman military power to take advantage and sack the wealthy cities of the mediterranean.

It wasn't "inflation and economic crisis" that weakened Rome, they had some managerial problems. I don't see how any state or culture could survive a 90 year long string of incompetents in purple.

180-192 Lucius Aurelius Commodus Antoninus. Marcus's sicko son became Emperor upon Marcus' death. So for 12 years the Roman world was led by a mentally ill person who spent most of his time acting out increasingly vile fantasies in the arena, usually while playing the part of Hercules. He was finally assassinated by members of his own family.

So in 193, came the wars of succession, there were 5 emperors that year which left the most bloodthirsty of them all (Septimius Severus) as the last man standing. In 195 he promoted his worthless son Caracalla to Caesar which brought on another civil war. By 197 Severus had declared Rome a military dictatorship. His reign brought the "empire" a series of unnecessary wars with Parthia (who were not "barbarians") in which he slaughtered nearly all the inhabitants of Cestiphon and brought the eternal wrath of the Persian people.

The harvest of Severus's wars on the disorganized de-centralized Parthians was the rise of the Sassanids, who became an aggressive enemy of Rome for the next 400 years.

In 211, Severus died and left Caracalla as Emperor. Caracalla was one of the worst emperors ever. He started a losing war with Parthia and had to be assassinated by his proctarian prefect, who was soon assassinated himself by Julia Maesa, a member of the Severus family.

Thus brought Julia 's grandson, Elagabalus, possibly the most inept clown to ever hold the title of emperor to power, but not really in "power" because his mom and grandmother (Julia) also made themselves 'Augusta" and they ran the show.

This didn't last long as Julia decided to do away with both Elagabalus and his mother - They were beheaded and their bodies were dragged through the streets of Rome and thrown into the Tiber and Elagabalus's cousin (and his mother) were made emperor(s) until 235 when they too were hacked to death by Maximus. Which brought the Year of the Six Emperors in 238.

Eventually (after Maximinus and his son's corpses were decapitated) a child Emperor named Gordian was chosen. By 241 Gordian married the daughter of the praetorian prefect, Timesitheus who became the de facto ruler of the Roman empire.

But that didn't last long as Gordian managed to get himself killed by the Persians at the Battle of Misiche shortly after his father inlaw had passed away.

This left Gordian's (new on the job) praetorian prefect, Phillip as Emperor.

Phillip didn't last long either, he was assassinated by Decius who only lasted two years himself (it is noteworthy that Phillip showed signs of competence.)

Decius was replaced by Gaius Vibius Trebonianus Gallus who also only lasted two years before he met an untimely death.

The next Emperor, Aemillian, (probably Decius's killer) lasted all of three months.

Valerian marched on Aemillian and nearly set a third century longevity record by remaining emperor for seven years - until he earned the distinction of becoming the only Roman Emperor to be captured alive by an enemy, the Persians.


Years: c. 500 BCE - c. 400 BCE Subject: History, Ancient history (non-classical to 500 CE)
Publisher: HistoryWorld Online Publication Date: 2012
Current online version: 2012 eISBN: 9780191735394

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The Daily Life of Medieval Monks

Life for monks in a medieval monastery, just like in any profession or calling, had its pros and cons. While they were expected to live simply with few possessions, attend services at all hours of the day and night, and perhaps even take a vow of silence, monks could at least benefit from a secure roof over their heads. Another plus was a regular food supply which was of a much higher standard than the vast majority of the medieval population had access to. Besides attempting to get closer to God through their physical sacrifices and religious studies, monks could be very useful to the community by educating the youth of the aristocracy and producing books and illuminated manuscripts which have since proved to be invaluable records of medieval life for modern historians.

Development of Monasteries

From the 3rd century CE there developed a trend in Egypt and Syria which saw some Christians decide to live the life of a solitary hermit or ascetic. They did this because they thought that without any material- or worldly distractions they would achieve a greater understanding of and closeness to God. In addition, whenever early Christians were persecuted they were sometimes forced by necessity to live in remote mountain areas where the essentials of life were lacking. As these individualists grew in number some of them began to live together in communities, continuing, though, to cut themselves off from the rest of society and devoting themselves entirely to prayer and the study of scriptures. Initially, members of these communities still lived essentially solitary lives and only gathered together for religious services. Their leader, an abba (hence the later 'abbot') presided over these individualists – they were called monachos in Greek for that reason, which is derived from mono meaning 'one', and which is the origin of the word 'monk'. Over time, within this early form of the monastery, a more communal attitude to daily life developed where members shared the labour needed to keep themselves self-sufficient and they shared accommodation and meals.

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From the 5th century CE the idea of monasteries spread across the Byzantine Empire and then to Roman Europe where people adopted their own distinct practices based on the teachings of Saint Benedict of Nursia (c. 480-c. 543 CE). The Benedictine order encouraged its members to live as simple a life as possible with simple food, basic accommodation and as few possessions as was practical. There was a set of regulations that monks had to follow and, because they all lived the same way, they became known as 'brothers'. Monastic rules differed between the different orders that evolved from the 11th century CE and even between individual monasteries. Some orders were stricter, such as the Cistercians which were formed in 1098 CE by a group of Benedictine monks who wanted an even less-worldly life for themselves. Women too could live the monastic life as nuns in abbeys and nunneries.

As monasteries were intended to be self-sufficient, monks had to combine daily labour to produce food with communal worship and private study. Monasteries grew in sophistication and wealth, greatly helped by tax relief and donations, so, as the Middle Ages wore on, physical labour became less of a necessity for monks who could now rely on the efforts of lay brothers, hired labourers or serfs (unfree labourers). Consequently, monks in the High Middle Ages were able to spend more time on scholarly pursuits, particularly producing such medieval monastic specialties as illuminated manuscripts.

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Recruitment

People were attracted to the monastic life for various reasons such as piety the fact that it was a respected career choice there was the chance of real power if one rose to the top and one was guaranteed decent accommodation and above average meals for life. The second or third sons of the aristocracy, who were not likely to inherit their father's lands, were often encouraged to join the church and one of the paths to a successful career was to join a monastery and receive an education there (learning reading, writing, arithmetic, and Latin). Children were sent in their pre-teens, often aged as young as five and then known as oblates, while those who joined aged 15 or over were known as novices. Both of these groups did not usually mix with full monks although neither oblates nor novices were ever permitted to be alone, unsupervised by a monk.

After one year a novice could take their vows and become a full monk, and it was not always an irreversible career choice as rules did develop from the 13th century CE that a youth could freely leave a monastery on reaching maturity. Most monks came from a well-off background indeed, bringing a substantial donation on entry was expected. Recruits tended to be local but larger monasteries were able to attract people even from abroad. Consequently, there was never really any shortage of takers to join a monastery although monks only ever made up around 1% of the medieval population.

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Monasteries varied in size with a small one having only a dozen or so monks and the larger ones having around 100 brothers. A major monastery like Cluny Abbey in France had 460 monks at its peak in the mid-12th century CE. The number of monks was essentially limited to the monastery's income which largely came from the land it owned (and which was given to it by patrons over the years). Monasteries included a good number of lay brothers in addition to the monks and these were employed to do manual labour such as agricultural work, cooking or doing the laundry. Lay brothers did observe some of the monastic regulations but lived in their own separate quarters.

The Abbot

Monasteries were typically managed by an abbot who had absolute authority in his monastery. Selected by the senior monks, who he was supposed to consult on matters of policy (but could also ignore), the abbot had his job for life, health permitting. Not just a job for the old and wise, a monk in his twenties might stand a chance of being made abbot as there was a tendency to select someone who could hold the office for decades and so provide the monastery with some stability. The abbot was assisted in his administrative duties by the prior who himself had a team of inspectors who checked up on the monks on a daily basis. Smaller monasteries without an abbot of their own (but under the jurisdiction of another monastery's abbot) were typically led by the prior, hence the name of those institutions: a priory. Senior monks, sometimes known as 'obedientaries', might have specific duties, perhaps on a rotation basis, such as looking after the monastery's wine cellar, the garden, the infirmary, or the library and scriptorium (where texts were made).

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The abbot represented the monastery when dealing with other monasteries and the state, in whose eyes he ranked alongside the most powerful secular landowners. Not surprisingly for such an important figure, monks were expected to bow deeply in the abbot's presence and kiss his hand in reverence. If an abbot were extremely unpopular and acted contrary to the order he could be removed by the Pope.

Rules & Regulations

Monks followed the teachings of Jesus Christ in rejecting personal wealth, as recorded in the Gospel of Mathew:

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If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven and come, follow me (19:21)

Along these lines, creature comforts were shunned but the strict application of such ideals really depended on each monastery. So, too, silence was a method to remind monks they were living in an enclosed society quite different from the outside world. Monks were generally not allowed to speak at all in such places as the church, kitchen, refectory or dormitories. One might be bold enough to attempt a snatch of conversation in the cloisters right after a general meeting but besides that indulgence, conversation was to be kept to an absolute minimum and when it did occur it was supposed to be restricted to ecclesiastical matters or everyday necessity. Monks were further restricted in that they could only talk to each other as speaking at all to lay brothers and novices was not permitted, not to mention to outside visitors of any kind. For this reason, monks often used gestures which they had been taught as novices and sometimes they even whistled rather than speak to a person or in a place they should not.

Anyone who had broken the rules was reported to the abbot telling on one's brothers was seen as a duty. Punishments might include being beaten, being excluded from communal activities for a period, or even being imprisoned within the monastery.

Clothing & Possessions

Monks had to keep the tops of their heads shaved (tonsured) which left a distinctive band of hair just above the ears. In contrast to their hairline, a monk's clothes were designed to cover as much flesh as possible. Most monks wore linen underclothes, sometimes hose or socks, and a simple woollen tunic tied at the waist by a leather belt. Over these was their most recognisable item of clothing, the cowl. A monastic cowl was a long sleeveless robe with a deep hood. On top of the cowl another robe was worn, this time with long sleeves. In winter, extra warmth was provided by a sheepskin cloak. Made from the cheapest and roughest of cloth, a monk usually had no more than two of each clothing items but he did receive a new cowl and robe each Christmas.

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A monk did not own very much of significance besides his clothes. He might have a pen, a knife, handkerchief, comb and a small sewing kit. Razors were only distributed at a prescribed time. In their own room, a monk had a straw- or feather mattress and a few woollen blankets.

A Monk's Daily Routine

Monks were not usually permitted to leave the monastery unless they had some special reason and were permitted to do so by their abbot. There were exceptions, as in Irish monasteries where monks famously roamed the countryside preaching and sometimes even founded new monasteries. For most monks, though, their daily life was entirely contained within the grounds of the monastery they had joined as a novice and which they would one day die in.

Monks usually got up with the sun so that could mean 4.30 am in summer or a luxurious 7.30 am in winter, the day being very much dictated by the availability of light. Beginning with a quick wash, monks spent an hour or so doing silent work, which for monks meant prayers, reading the text they had been assigned by their superior or copying a specific book (a laborious process that took many months). Next, morning mass was held, followed by the chapter meeting when everyone gathered to discuss any important business relevant to the monastery as a whole. After another working period, which might include physical labour if there were no lay brothers to do it, there was a midday mass (the High Mass) and then a meal, the most important of the day.

The afternoon was spent working again and ended around 4.30 pm in winter, which then saw another meal or, in the case of summer, a supper around 6 pm followed by more work. Monks went to bed early, just after 6 pm in winter or 8 pm in summer. They did not usually have an unbroken sleep, though, as around 2 or 3 am they got up again to sing Nocturns (aka Matins) and Lauds in the church. To make sure nobody was sleeping in the gloom one brother would go through the choir checking with a lamp. In winter they might not return to bed but perform personal tasks such as fixing and mending.

Monks were, of course, very poor as they had few possessions of any kind but the monastery itself was one of the richest institutions in the medieval world. Consequently, monks were well-catered for in the one area which probably mattered most to the majority of the population: food and drink. Unlike the 80% of those who lived outside monasteries, monks did not have to worry about going short or seasonal variations. They had good food all year round and their consumption of it was only really limited by how strict the rules of asceticism were in their particular monastery. In stricter monasteries, meat was not usually eaten except by the sick and it was often reserved for certain feast days. However, those monasteries with more generous rules allowed such meats as pork, rabbit, hare, chicken and game birds to appear on the communal dinner table more often. In all monasteries, there was never a shortage of bread, fish, seafood, grains, vegetables, fruit, eggs, and cheese as well as plenty of wine and ale. Monks typically had one meal a day in winter and two in summer.

Giving Back to the Community

Monks and monasteries did give back to the community in which they lived by helping the poor and providing hospitals, orphanages, public baths, and homes for the aged. Travellers were another group who could find a room when needed. As already mentioned, in education, too, monasteries played a prominent role, notably building up large libraries and teaching youths. Monasteries looked after pilgrim sites and were great patrons of the arts, not only producing their own works but also sponsoring artists and architects to embellish their buildings and those of the community with images and texts to spread the Christian message. Finally, many monks were important contributors to the study of history – both then and now, especially with their collections of letters and biographies (vitae) of saints, famous people, and rulers.