The 6th Century Timeline – Start of the Medieval Age
The Beginning of the Early Middle Ages
The 6th century spans the years 501–600 based on the Julian calendar. This century marks the end of Classical Antiquity and the beginning of the Middle Ages in the Western world. Late in the previous century, the fall of the Western Roman Empire fragmented Europe into numerous small Germanic kingdoms that competed fiercely for land and wealth.
As a result of the upheaval, the Franks rose to prominence and carved out a vast domain encompassing a significant portion of modern France and Germany. In the meantime, the surviving Eastern Roman Empire expanded under Emperor Justinian, who recaptured North Africa from the Vandals and attempted to recover all of Italy in the hopes of reestablishing Roman control over the lands formerly ruled by the Western Roman Empire.
In the sixth century, under Khosrau I, the Sassanid Empire reached its zenith of power during its second Golden Age.
The classical Gupta Empire of Northern India collapsed around the middle of the sixth century, when it was largely conquered by the Huna. The Kofun period in Japan was succeeded by the Asuka period.
China was reunited under the Sui dynasty at the end of the sixth century, following more than 150 years of division between the Southern and Northern dynasties.
The Three Korean Kingdoms endured throughout the century. After defeating the Rouran, the Goktürks rose to prominence in Central Asia.
Teotihuacan began to decline in the sixth century after reaching its peak between 150 and 450 AD in the Americas. Classic Period of the Central American Maya civilization.
Odoacer was a Roman general who deposed the child emperor Romulus Augustulus and became Rex/Dux (476–493). Odoacer's overthrow is traditionally seen as marking the end of the Western Roman Empire, as well as Ancient Rome.
Theodoric the Great killed Odoacer at a banquet after the Siege of Ravenna (490-493). The Ostrogothic Kingdom ruled Italy from 493 to 553.
The West Saxon advance is halted by Britons in England. Chiefly known today for the supposed involvement of King Arthur but because of the limited number of sources, there is no certainty about the date, location, or details of the fighting.
The Franks under Clovis defeat the Visigoths in the Battle of Vouillé. The Visigoths retreated into Spain.
Justinian I (; Latin: Flavius Petrus Sabbatius Iustinianus) was the Eastern Roman emperor from 527 to 565. His reign is marked by the ambitious but only partly realized renovatio imperii, or "restoration of the Empire".
This compiled centuries of legal writings and imperial pronouncements into three parts of one body of law.
The first of twelve monasteries founded by Saint Benedict, beginning the Order of Saint Benedict.
Nearly half the city being burned or destroyed and tens of thousands of people killed.
Vandal kingdom ends and the Reconquest of North Africa is completed.
Byzantines retook Italy but crippled the Byzantine economy and left Italy unable to cope against the oncoming Lombards.
The Lombard Kingdom was an early medieval state established by the Lombards, a Germanic people, on the Italian Peninsula in the latter part of the 6th century. Later became the Kingdom of Lombard Italy (Latin: Regnum Langobardorum; Italian:Regno dei Longobardi).
Muhammad (Arabic: Mujtah) was an Arab religious, social, and political leader and the founder of Islam. According to Islamic doctrine, he was aprophet divinely inspired to preach and confirm the monotheistic teachings of Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and other prophets.
The West Saxons continue their advance at the Battle of Deorham. Led to the permanent separation of Cornwall, England from Wales.
The missionary work reached new levels during his pontificate, revolutionized the way of worship for the Catholic Church, liturgy, etc., and was soon canonized after his death.
Christianization of England (Anglo-Saxons) begins.
- The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History” by Peter Heather (2005)
- Theodoric the Great” by J.B. Bury in The Cambridge Medieval History, Volume III (1922)
- “The History of the Kings of Britain” by Geoffrey of Monmouth
- Wikipedia Contributors. (2022, December 27). Timeline of post-classical history. Wikipedia; Wikimedia Foundation. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_post-classical_history
- The Franks Under Clovis: From the History of the Franks” by Gregory of Tours
- Friel, Ian. “Justinian.” The History Encyclopedia. https://www.history.com/topics/ancient-history/justinian
- Pope Gregory I” (Encyclopedia Britannica, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Saint-Gregory-I)
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