A Study of an Old British Family
"History is the witness that testifies to the passing of time; it illumines reality, vitalizes memory, provides guidance in daily life and brings us tidings of antiquity." ....Cicero, Pro Publio Sestio
Elisha Scott Loomis, 1875
1435 Oliverus del Lumhalghes, Thomas del Lumhalghe, Radus del Lumhalghes, and Galfridus del Lumhalghes, held lands within the Manor of Bury, Lancaster Co., near Manchester.
1497 Lawrens Lomatz of Bolton, near Manchester, aged 70. Notes and Queries, 2d series, vol. 8, p. 478.
1551 Ellis Lomas, Strype's Ecclesiastical Memorials, vol, 2, pt. 1, p. 527.
1556 Jan. 27, John Lomas, burned at Canterbury for heresy, that is, for being a Protestant. Zurich Letters on the English Reformation, vol. iii, p. 175.
1561 Lawrent Lomax of Eye, Suffolk Co., born Lancaster Co., had a coat of arms recorded in the Visitation Book. British Museum Manuscripts.
1563 Ralph Lommas, Lancashire Calendar to Pleadings, 5 Elizabeth, p. 259.
1566 Lawrence Lomax, of Eye, Suffold Co., Proceedings in Chancery, vol. 2, p. 141.
1578 John Lommas, Derbyshire, Calendar to Pleadings, 20 Elizabeth, p. 72.
1585 Nicholas Lomas, Derbyshire, do. 27 Elizabeth, p. 159.
1591 Giles Lomas, Lancashire,do. 33 Elizabeth, p. 263.
1592 Alice Lomas, Lancashire,do. 34 Elizabeth, p. 290.
1594 Robert Lomas, Derbyshire, do. 36 Elizabeth, p. 326.
1595 Roger Lomax, do. 37 Elizabeth, p. 325.
1595 Richard Lomas, Proceedings in Chancery, vol. 3. p. 297.
1627 Jervase Lummas, Shropshire, Notes and Queries, 2d ser., vol. 8, p. 478.
1630 Jervase Lummas, Shropshire, do.
1633 Lawrence Lomax, Bailiff of Eye, Suffolk Co., Calendar of State Papers, 1633 4. p. 577.
1649 Edward Lomas, of Pevensy, Sussex Co., Sussex Archeological Collections, vol. 24. p. 257. (*)See Chambers' Astronomy, p. 69. Monthly Notices, R. A. S. vol. 22, p. 232. W. Lummis of Manchester, Eng.
N.B. In "the acts and monuments" of John Foxe, Vol. 7, p. 750, John Lomas is called a "young man" of the parish of Tenterden, Kent Co., and the nature of his heresy is described. In "select poetry" edited by Edward Fare, p. 165, the name is spelled Lo??.
1653 Anne Lomax, West Felton, Shropshire, Notes and Queries. 2d ser., vol. 8, p. 478.
1662 Thomas Lomes of Lothbury, London, Calendar of State Papers, 1662, p. 559.
1665 James Lomax, Graduate Cambridge Univ., Pembroke College.
1668 Rev. John Lomax, Graduate Cambridge Univ., Jesus College.
1674 Joshua Lomax, Esq., of St. Albans, Sheriff of Hertfordshire, purchased the Manor of Childwickbury, Hertfordshire, about 1666. Died in 1675
1693 May 15, John Lomax (of James and Mary) baptized, Westminster, London.
1700 Joshua Lomax, Graduate Oxford Univ., Brasen Nose College. Mem. Parliament for St. Albans, 1708.
1711 Thomas Lomax, Graduate Oxford Univ., Brasen Nose College.
1720 John Lomas, Graduate Oxford Univ., Lincoln College.
1727 Caleb Lomax of Childwickbury, Mem. Parl. for St. Albans 1727; died in 1729.
1753 Caleb Lomax Esq., of Childwickbury. Sheriff of Hertfordshire; died 1786.
1773 Henry Lomas, Graduate Oxford Univ., Wadham College.
1774 Edmund Shallet Lomax, Graduate Oxford Univ., St. John's College.
1781 James Lomax, Graduate Cambridge Univ., Catherine Hall.
1784 Rev. Thomas Lomas, Graduate Oxford Univ., Brasen Nose College; died in 1843.
1788 Caleb Lomax, Graduate Cambridge Univ., St. John's College.
1802 Edmund Lomax, Graduate Cambridge Univ., Trinity College.
1806 Frederick Shallet Lomax, Graduate Cambridge Univ., Trinity College.
1840 John Lomas, Graduate Oxford Univ., Worcester College.
1847 Ebeneser William Lomax, Graduate Cambridge Univ., Corpus Christi College.
1847 Thomas Lomax, Graduate Cambridge Univ., Trinity College.
1848 Rev. Holland Lomas, Graduate Oxford Univ., St. Mary's Hall.
1848 James Lomax, Lieut.-General of British Army, 1841-48; died Nov. 14, 1848,
At first view we might think that the name Lomax could not be derived from Lumhalghes, but a little reflection will render it less improbable. It is presumed that the name Lumhalghes was pronounced in two syllables. There are several English words ending in es in which the e is not sounded; such as besides, domes, fires, notes, etc., and in the early English the number of such cases was much greater than at present. Thus:
The letter "h" simply denotes a strong breathing which is common in all parts of England, but more particularly in the northern counties. Canceling the letters h and e, the word is reduced to "Lumalgs", and this would be pronounced very much like the word Lomax.
The same correspondent of "Notes and Queries," p. 478, states: "In a curious article contributed to the Chetham Society (Miscell., vol. 1855) being Examynatyons towcheynge Cokeye More, tpe. H. vii (1485-1509), one of the witnesses examined was Lawrens Lomatz of ye p'ish of Bolton, of the age of IXX years."
It appears that the name Lomas in England can be traced back a little more than four centuries, but I have been unable to trace it further. Surnames were first introduced into England about the time of the Conquest (A. D. 1066), but the custom came slowly into use during the eleventh and three following centuries. Hereditary surnames were not premanently settled among the lower and middle classes in England before the era of the Reformation (A. D. 1517). But Laurent Lomax, born about 1427, was a person of some distinction, and either he or his son (as will be shown hereafter) was authorized to have a coat of arms. The absence of any earlier mention in English annals of the name Lomax or Lomas is therefore thought to be somewhat remarkable, and may be explained if we suppose the family to have been natives of some other country, and that they had recently settled in England. The reasons for this last supposition will be stated hereafter.
The pronunciation of the name Lomas four centuries ago was probably well represented by the spelling Lomatz. Subsequently one branch of the family adopted the spelling Lomax and another the spelling Lomas, and these two modes of spelling have been pretty consistently adhered to in England down to the present time.
It is the common impression in England that the names Lomax and Lomas have the same origin. A surgeon of some eminence residing in Manchester, Eng., married a Miss Lomas. I visited the family in 1857, and was told that the lady's grandfather was named Lomax, but that her father (believing that the name was originally Lomas) adopted the spelling Lomas.
The change of the name Lomatz to Lomax and Lomas is no greater than the changes which have taken place in many other English names whose history can be traced back several centuries. We have an example of the facility with which the letter x is exchanged for the letter s or soft c, in the word index, whose plural is either indexes or indices.
Other families of the Loomis name-
There was also a Joseph Lomas born in England about 1761, who was a soldier in Burgoyne's army, who remained in this country after the war, settled in Andover, Massachusetts, and died in Erie Co., N. Y., about 1830. He had ten children, among whom were six sons, who married and had children. They generally claim that the proper spelling of their name is Lomas, but it is sometimes spelled Loomis. I have also undertaken to make out a complete genealogy of this family.
Besides the three families above referred to, in most of the larger cities we find persons of the name Lomas who were born in England, or whose parents came from England since the peace of 1783. Such persons uniformly claim that the proper spelling of their name is Lomas, but in the city directories it is frequently spelled Loomis. I have not yet found a person in the United States bearing the name Lomas, Loomis, or Lummis who does not probably belong to one of the preceding classes; in other words, there are believed to be in the United States but two Lomas families whose ancestors came to this country before the Revolution of 1776; the members of one (being descended from Joseph of Windsor, Conn. A copy of this and much additional data is now in the possession of Elisha S. Loomis, of Berca, O. Windsor) almost without exception spelling their name Loomis, and those of the other family (descended from Edward of Ipswich) generally spelling their name Lummis. If the work which I have commenced should be ever completed, it will show the genealogy of every person in the United States bearing the name Loomis, Lummis, or Lomas, and whose ancestors came to this country before the commencement of the present century.
Under "Early History of the Name Lomas In England", these additional facts are pertinent:
"Laurens Lomatz" appears in one author as "Laurent Lomax, b. 1427, of Bolton Parish, Eng. A witness at ae. 70."
Jossu Von Lom, b. 1500, in Buren, Holland, a physician, wrote a work and signed his name (Lottu) Lommius.
"1578 John Lummas, Derbyshire" is also written "John Lomax."
"1668. Rev. John Lomax" was the father of John Lomax, who was the ancestor of the Lomaxes of Va., and N. C., U. S. A.
"1848. James Lomas, Lieut. Gen.," is also written "James Lumax, Lieut. Gen."
In Notes and Queries, Dec. 10, 1859, the same name is written the following three ways,--Lummas, Lummis, and Lomax.
Also it appears that Anne and Sarah Lomax, of Shropshire, were daughters of Jervase Lummas, of Shropshire.
Also James Lomax, 1626, had his name written Lummax.
Also Bardsley's (Ed'n of 1901) Dictionary of British and Welsh Surnames, p. 492 and 500, for name Loomis has:
"Lomas, Lomax, Local, `of Lomax,' a small spot in the parish of Bury Co., Lanc. I do not know whether it can still be identified, but it has given birth to a family name that has ramified itself in a wonderful manner."
1. Christopher Lomax, of bury, 1590; wills at Chester (1545-1620), p. 125.
2. Jeffery Lomax, of Heap, 1590; ibid.
3. Lawrence Smethrust, of Lomax, parish of Bury, 1624; ibid (1621-50), p. 201.
4. Edw. Smethrust, of Lomax, parish of Bury, Yeoman, 1638; ibid.
5. Oliver Lumas, 1602, Preston Guild Rolls, p. 63.
6. Oliver Lumax, 1622, ibid, p. 70.
7. Richard Lumas, 1603, ibid, p. 63.
8. Richard Lumax, 1622, ibid, p. 70.
The double instances given in 5, 6, 7 and 8 prove, if proof were needed, that Lomax and Lomas are one and the same name. In Manchester Directory Lomas occurs 31 and Lomax 18 times; London, 7, 10; New York, 3, 4."
Page 500--"Lummis--Local, a variation of Lomas, q. v. 1702, Bapt. Eliz. d. Edw. Lumis; St. Jas. Clerkenwell, ii, 18.
1796, married,--Wm. Lummis and Margery Kneebone; St. Geo. Hun. Sq. ii, 148. Manchester, 1; East Rid. Court Div. 1; New York, 2."
(*)It is now (1885) established that one William Lomas, a forgeman (i. e. trained to forge iron) came from Wales and settled in East Nantmel, Chester Co., Pa. He bought land there in 1797 and died in 1803, leaving sons Wm., Thomas and John; from John are now known many descendants. It is said that Wm. Lomas came in the British army, but deserted to the American army while at Valley Forge. He helped to make the first gun ever made in Pennsylvania.
In British Family Names, 2nd edition, 1903, is found the following- "Lomax, Lomas. Fr. Lammas, Lamusse; Fl. Lammers; D'ch. Lommesse, p. n. (time of birth (?) famous). Lammasse in Rot. Hund. Lamisso, a Lomb. King 5th century."
Another writer says- "The name is Lomas in France and Lommatsch in Germany."
The following historical note relative to the Scottish border revolution, 1095, makes reference to a name which seems closely related to the name Loomis:
"Soon after, (the last revolution in Scotland, 1095), the young king, (Edgar, King of Scotland, in 1098), in testimony of his gratitude, made a present of the above-mentioned convent (the convent of Durham), of the place and lands of Coldingham, together with several villages in its neighborhood.
Is not Lumis (omitting the "den") nearer Loomis than Spanish Loma, Lancastrian Lumhalghes, or even Lomax? Was there a Lumis family sufficiently established in 1095 to stamp its name on this "border" place, or did the place (through the meaning of the term) give rise to a Lumis family? And was this family in any way connected with the early Lancastrian family? Who can tell?
In "Homes of Family Names in Great Britain," by Heary ?? Gappy, M. B., edition of 1890, p. 135, the author says: "Lomas is a name very numerous on the Cheshire border and in the vicinity of Stockport in that county," viz, Derbyshire. On p. 57 he says: "Lomas. Cheshire, 40 (meaning 40 per 10,000 of population); Derbyshire, 61; Lancashire, 11; Staffordshire, 14. In Lancashire it is occasionally spelt Lomax." (The reader will note that the spelling Loomis does not occur at all in Gappy's work).
While vacationing in England in 1988, John B. Lomax discovered an old English charter that dated back to 1210. It is significant to note the date of this charter because it was during this very time period families were adopting more specific surnames to properly identify individuals. It would appear the very first Lomaxes had close ties to "Lummehalenges" and thus probably assumed that place name as their surname.
The Research of John B. Lomax of Menlo Park, California
(Copyright by John B. Lomax and reprinted
with expressed written permission)
Prior to the Norman conquest of England in 1066, almost all Britons and Saxons had but a single name. Under the Norman influence, and as the population increased, surnames gradually began to be used. Often the surname taken was the name of the hamlet or locale where the person lived; such surnames were usually accompanied by the preposition "de", French for "of ", hence John de Bury merely meant that John lived in Bury. Other sources were parentage (Johnson), occupation (Weaver), animal (Fox), and many others.
Initially such second names were not permanent, but could change with abode or occupation, and usually did not descend to the children. The use of second names gradually became the norm and inheritance of the father's surname became common. Family names in England therefore generally originated sometime between 1100 and 1400, with lords and gentry adopting the practice first. Many of the surnames in Lancashire, particularly of the lower and middle class, did not become fixed until much later, often into the 1600s.
An extensive study of the origin of the Lomax/Lomas/Loomis surname was done by Charles A. Hoppin Jr. The facts presented in that study have withstood the test of time and later discoveries superbly, and will to some extent be repeated herein. However, one assumption by Mr. Hoppin, namely the specific location from which the name was derived, is certainly incorrect; subsequent discoveries of old manuscripts and maps by the author, as will be described, leads to a new conclusion.
Eilert Ekwall, a Professor of English at the University of Lund, devoted much of his life to the study of the origin of placenames in Lancashire and concluded that the name of the hamlet of Lomax, a "now lost name of the district South of the Roch, where Charlestown and Heady Hill are," was descended from the Saxon (Old English) word Lumhalghs.
Other authors independently conclude that the surnames Lomas and Lomax were territorial, derived from living in the district or hamlet of Lumhalghs, and that Lumhalghs was "in Bury parish. The place concerned lay east of Bury itself, to the east of the river Roch." "Lum" had different regional meanings; in Lancashire generally it meant a deep pool in a river, but near the Yorkshire border it could also mean a wood bottom growing shrubs and trees. The second element, "halghs", is the plural of the Old English "halh" also "haugh" and meant either low-lying, level ground by the side of a river, or, land lying within the bend of a river. Actually, the hamlet of Lomax is not "lost".
The map of England shows the location of the Salford Hundred, which is one of the old enumeration districts of Lancashire. The adjacent map of Salford Hundred shows the areas of the various parishes as they were in about the 15th to the 18th centuries.
In Bury Parish the township of Heap is shaded. (Heap has since disappeared as a township, with the borough of Heywood taking the larger part within it.) A map dated 1785 (in the Bury Public Library) titled "A Plan of Lomax in Heap, The Parish of Bury" shows 25 parcels of land, their names, and a list of their areas, with a total area of 75 acres. That map is reproduced at a reduced scale, with the defined areas shown shaded, and overlaid on an 1847 of the area to show its location relative to Bury and Heywood and to show some of the old place-names that no longer exist.
The following are labeled and their locations shown on the map: (1) Lower Lomax, (2) Higher Lomax, (3) Heady Hill, (4) Charles Town, (5) Lomax Woods, and (6) an unnamed street on the 1785 and 1847 maps but now called Higher Lomax. The road labeled Heap Lane is now called Bury Old Road and the Bury New Road on the 1847 map has been omitted because it did not exist on the 1785 map.
Lower Lomax has retained its name to the present time and was, when visited in 1988, a dairy farm bordering the South side of the river Roch. The Lower Lomax Farm is 8.5 miles due north of Manchester City Center. The farm's meadows are fifty feet lower than Heady Hill which rises quite gradually from Lower Lomax and Heap Bridge. The river Roch has cut a channel 75 feet deep through that pasture land. The area shown as Lomax Woods on both the 1847 map and a current street atlas of greater Manchester is now largely scrub growth in the bottom and on the south side of that gorge. It is unknown whether there was a deep pool in this part of the river but one wide area, bordering the part of old Lomax in the bend of that river, was named Botany Bay. With the bottom of the gorge covered with shrubs and trees, a portion of old Lomax laying within a sharp bend of the river, and the extensive meadows beside the river, the descriptive Saxon term Lumhalghs is certainly satisfied.
The earliest known mention of this area is contained in a charter, dated 1210, in one of the Lansdowne manuscripts (British Museum MSS 485, f. 49). It is in Latin, but has been roughly translated as follows: "I, Adam de Biry [Bury], have given ... to God and St. Mary Magdalene of Bretton and to the monks serving there and to the work of her church, one piece of land in Hep [Heap] which is called Lummehaleges [Lomax], divided as follows: That is to say from the rivulet which falls into Blackwell, through the centre of the moss as far as Meresache as the land divides itself as far as the Guledene [Gooden] and from the Guledene to the water of Rached [Roch], together with all rights pertaining thereto in wood, in plain, in meadows, in pastures, and in waters, and with all common rights of communication, with their livestock with the same ville, wheresoever the livestock of my men communicate with the same ville of Hep."
The names that have survived to the present are shown in brackets. The township of Heap was recorded as early as 1278. This authoritative history also states concerning Heap that: "The principal road is that eastward from Bury across the Roch at Heap Bridge, through Charlestown and Heady Hill (here was the old district or hamlet of Lumhalghs or Lomax), and the town of Heywood, where it divides, to Rochdale on the north-west and Middleton on the south."
NOTE: There is no record of the Lumhalghs/Lomax surname in the Domesday Book of 1086, nor in the Pipe Rolls (Great Rolls of the Exchequer) of 1130-1216.
The earliest record of the Lomas/Lomax family name is for William de Lumhalghs who was mentioned as being at a court held at Tottington (about four miles WNW of Lower Lomax) on 15 February 1324 according to a document that has survived to the present time.
The Lay Subsidy (Tax) Roll, number 130-6 at the Public Record Office, London, for Lancashire in 1333 lists "Rico de L'mhales" (Latin for Richard of Lumhalghs) as a land owner in Penhilton (Pendleton, about seven miles SSW of Lower Lomax) in the parish of Eccles. In 1380, Henry and Richard Lumhalgh and their wives contributed two shillings each to the Exchequer Lay Subsidy in the Parish of Bury, and at the same time Thomas de Lumhalgh paid twelve pence.
In 1391 King Richard II granted a pardon to John del Damme for stealing at Bury in 1390, two bullocks, value 10 shillings, from Richard de Lumhalghs.
In 1435 the following names appeared (in Latin) on the rent rolls of Sir John Pilkington, lord of the manor of Bury: Radus del Lumhalges, Oliverus del Lumhalges, Thomas del Lumhalge de Whetyle, and Galfridus del Lumhalges.
In 1441, Ralph de Lumhalx, John de Lumhalx and others, of Heap, were concerned in a lawsuit regarding land in Bury and Middleton.
Movement out of Lancashire is also recorded:
Regarding the matter of pronunciation, the letter "h" is often not sounded in England, the "al" was pronounced in Old English as though it were an "au" in modern British English, which is similar to the "a" in father in American English; the "gh" in Halghes is pronounced in Lancashire today as though it were "sh". The Old English pronunciation of "Lumhalgh" in Lancashire was thus probably Lum'ash, with primary stress on the first syllable, but in some areas was also pronounced Lum'agz. The pronunciation of that name changed over the years so that it finally became Lomax (pronounced in Lancashire today as Lum'uks). The dialects of different regions resulted in various pronunciations, recorded phonetically by clerks in old records as "Lumaus", "Lummas", "Lomas", "Lumhales", "Lumhalx", "Lomax", "Lummys", "Loomys", and "Loomis".
The earliest records of the modern spelling of the name were found by Joseph Lomax. He reported on a family lineage of Laurent Lomax, with the first Laurent Lomax born about 1427 in Bolton parish, the second about 1460 in Lancashire, and the third about 1493. This last one was the first Lawrent Lomax of Eye, Suffolk.
Another early family that was noteworthy can be traced to a Richard Lomax of Pilsworth who married Janet Heap in 1545. His descendants were:
The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Blaunche Lommas who was christened on December 9th, 1538 at Farnworth, near Prescot, Lancashire, during the reign of King Henry VIII.
Elizabeth Lomas was christened on November 8th, 1549 at Farnworth, near Prescot, Lancashire.
Alice Lomax and Roger Wroe were married on January 13th, 1562 in Middleton by Oldham, Lancashire.
Of the parish registers that have survived to the present time from the Lancashire region, none predate 1541. The parish registers for Bury, Bolton, Deane and Rochdale, parishes with concentrations of Lomas/Lomax families, do not start until 1590, 1587, 1637 and 1582 respectively. More than 30 entries of Lomax baptisms, marriages and burials were found in those registers prior to 1600. The 1642 Protestation Returns for Salford Hundred only listed 66 persons named Lomax or Lomas, including 25 in Bury parish, and 24 in contiguous parishes. The remainder occur mostly in the northern part of the hundred, particularly in Deane parish, a short distance to the west of Bury, but the name also appears at Manchester and Salford.
Note that the English population in general, and certainly including the Lomax families, had been repeatedly depleted by the Black Plague during a number of major epidemics between 1563 and 1603. The Lomax name became more numerous in the latter part of the 17th century and in the 18th century.
A study of the surnames of Lancashire stated that the name "Lomax seems to have become more dispersed by the end of the 18th century than some other surnames originating in the same part of the country." We Lomaxes do tend to migrate.
The earliest record found to date of a Lomax in America is for Thomas Lomax, born June 14, 1630 in Newcastle, England. He was in Maryland before 1657. Thomas was a backer of Josias Fendall, who seized control of the colonial Maryland government in 1658. Thomas was Clerk of the Court while Fendall was in power, from January 1659 to November 1660. Thomas was tried in Provincial Court in 1661 for acting "mutinously and seditiously" for helping Fendall, but was found not guilty. His younger brother Clibourne arrived with his wife Blanch in 1668 and was also prominent among the colonial gentry and in the Maryland government. Thomas and Clibourne were children of Ralph Lomax of Newcastle-on-Tyne; the "Virginia Lomaxes" are also descendants.
The source references of the extensive research of John B. Lomax are listed on the web page "References/Research".
Timeline of the Middle Ages in Europe
The beginning of the Middle Ages (6th to 10th centuries) was known as The Dark Ages - an accurately named period as the world was plunged into darkness from super-volcano eruptions again at Krakatoa in 535 A.D. This cataclysmic event lowered the earth's temperature 5-10 degrees for at least 10-20 years eradicating several civilizations through famine. (courtesy of Ken Wohletz of the Los Alamos National Laboratory)
The Middle Ages ended in the 15th Century as civilization once again flourished, and education and the arts became much more important than fighting and control of land.
In the Middle Ages, England was a country split by feudal warlords and very little is known in detail about this period. The Middle Ages in England was a complex time. With all of the feudal lords divided by counties, life was chaotic. Lords and their knights lived in castles that were huge fortresses made of stone, brick, or wood. For entertainment, knights traveled to the monthly tournament, where they competed against other knights in jousts, meles, and the ladies. Knights would wager on the outcome of their jousts, with the winner receiving money.
Riding around on an athletic horse, the knight, dressed in layers of chain tunics and plate armour, was a formidable opponent. He carried a sharp, silver colored sword or a heavy axe in his strong hand. In his weak hand he held a large shield, which helped protect him from the blows of a weapon like a sword or axe. The shield was a complement to the armour he wore.
The Middle Ages were exciting, wild and unpredictable. It was, without a doubt, one of the most fascinating periods in the history of mankind.
500 CE: Medieval Europe - Clovis, founder of the Frankish state, conquers most of France and Belgium, converting his territories to Western Catholic Christianity. He founds the Merovingian dynasty and passes his kingdom on to his sons, who begin fighting one another for additional territory.
590 CE: Medieval Europe - Pope Gregory, originally a Benedictine, creates a religious policy for western Europe by fusing the Roman papacy with Benedictine monasticism. He creates the Latin church, which serves to counteract the subordination of the Roman Popes to Eastern emperors. As the fourth great "Church Father," St. Gregory the Great draws his theology from St. Ambrose of Milan, St. Jerome and St. Augustine of Hippo. His concepts of Purgatory and Penance widen the gulf between the Eastern and Western Churches. He reigns until his death in 604 CE.
600 CE: Medieval Europe - The early Middle Ages, also referred to as the Dark Ages, begin in 600 CE and last until 1050 CE.
610 CE: Medieval Europe - Heraclius becomes Emperor in Constantinople as the Persian Empire is attempting the takeover of Byzantine civilization. For the sake of convenience, the rule of Heraclius generally marks the beginning of Byzantine history, though it can be argued that Byzantine civilization begins with Diocletian, Constantine or Justinian.
627 CE: Medieval Europe - Persia is conquered by Byzantine forces. The Jerusalem cross is retrieved from the Persians, who stole the relic in 614 CE. Heraclius reigns until his death in 641 CE.
650 CE: Medieval Europe - Arab forces conquer most of the Byzantine territories, formerly occupied by the Persians.
677 CE: Medieval Europe - The Arabs attempt to conquer Constantinople but fail.
687 CE: Medieval Europe - Pepin of Heristal, a Merovingian ruler, unites the Frankish territories and builds the center of his kingdom in Belgium and other Rhine regions. He is succeeded by his son, Charles Martel, who forms an alliance with the Church which helps the Merovingian Dynasty (and Christianity) to expand into Germany. Pepin the Short succeeds his father, Charles Martel, and strengthens the alliance between Benedictine missionaries and Frankish expansion.
700 CE: Medieval Europe - Benedictine missionaries complete the conversion of England begun by St. Gregory the Great.
717 CE: Medieval Europe - The Arabs attempt to conquer Constantinople for the second time. Byzantine Emperor Leo the Isaurian, who reigns until 741 CE, counters the Arab attempt with "Greek Fire" (a liquid mixture of sulfur, naphtha and quicklime which is released from bronze tubes, situated on ships and on the walls of Constantinople) and great military strength. Leo defeats the Arab forces and reconquers most of Asia Minor. The territory of Asia Minor, together with Greece, becomes the seat of Byzantine civilization for several centuries.
735 CE: Medieval Europe - Venerable Bede, an Anglo-Saxon Benedictine scholar, writes the History of the English Church and People in Latin, perhaps the best historical writing of medieval history.
740 CE: Medieval Europe - The Iconoclastic movement is initiated by Byzantine Emperor Leo the Isaurian, but the movement flourishes under the reign of his son Constantine V who rules until 775 CE. The Iconoclasts advocate doing away with paganistic icon worship (images of Christ or saints). For them, Christ cannot be manifested or conceived of through human art. The Iconoclast controversy ends in the ninth century when a new Byzantine spirituality recognizes that the contemplation of icons may help someone ascend from the material to the immaterial.
750 CE: Medieval Europe - The first great English epic poem, Beowulf, is written in Old English. The work is anonymous and untitled until 1805. It is a Christian poem that exemplifies early medieval society in England and shows roots in Old Testament Law.
750 CE: Medieval Europe - Irish monks establish early-medieval art. The greatest surviving product of these monks is the Book of Kells, a Gospel book of decorative art.
751 CE: Medieval Europe - St. Boniface anoints Pepin a divinely sanctioned king, and the Frankish monarchy is fused into the papal order. The western European empire, based on the alliance between the Frankish monarchy and the Latin Church, provides the image of Western cultural unity for Europeans, though it does not last long.
768 CE: Medieval Europe - Pepin's son, Carolus Magnus (Charlemagne), succeeds his father and is one of the most important rulers of medieval history. In time, his empire, known as the Carolingian dynasty, includes the greater section of central Europe, northern Italy and central Italy in addition to realms already conquered by Frankish rule. Charlemagne's system of government divides the vast realm into different regions, ruled by local "counts" who are overseen by representatives of Charlemagne's own court. In addition, to aid expansion and administration of the kingdom, Charlemagne promotes, what is called later, the "Carolingian Renaissance." Prior to this revival of learning, practically the entire realm (with the exception of Benedictine England) is illiterate due to the decay of the Roman Empire. The director of the "renaissance" is Anglo-Saxon Benedictine Alcuin, who receives his learning from a student of Bede. Alcuin sets up schools, sees to the copying of classical Latin texts and develops a new handwriting.
800 CE: Medieval Europe - On Christmas Day, Charlemagne is crowned emperor by the pope in Rome. This event indicates an autonomous Western culture based on Western Christianity and Latin linguistics. Charlemagne establishes schools in all bishoprics and monasteries under his control.
814 CE: Medieval Europe - Charlemagne dies without leaving competent successors to continue the glory of the Carolingian dynasty. His sole surviving son, Louis the Pious, divides his inheritance between his own three sons, who engage in civil war. Charlemagne's united realm is invaded by Scandinavian Vikings, Hungarians and Muslims during these civil wars. The Carolingian Empire falls apart.
871 CE: Medieval Europe - King Alfred the Great of England constructs a system of government and education which allows for the unification of smaller Anglo-Saxon states in the ninth and tenth centuries. Alfred is responsible for the codification of English law, public interest in local government and the reorganization of the army. He founds schools and promotes Anglo-Saxon literacy and the establishment of a national culture. Alfred dies in 899 CE. His innovations are continued by his successors.
910 CE: Medieval Europe - The Benedictine monastery of Cluny in Burgundy becomes a place of monastic reform. The two major innovations here are the direct subjection of monasteries to the pope -- avoiding secular, local and ecclesiastical powers -- and the building of "daughter monasteries" subordinate to the Cluniac "family," which grows to sixty-seven monasteries by 1049 CE.
936 CE: Medieval Europe - Otto the Great is crowned king in Germany and is responsible for Germany's strength through the latter part of the eleventh century. Otto establishes a pattern of resistance to political fragmentation and a close alliance with the Church.
955 CE: Medieval Europe - John XII becomes pope at the age of eighteen and rules for nine years. His title as pope exemplifies the decline in value of the Church in the early-medieval period. Local lords establish control over churches and monasteries, and Church officials are often unqualified. The majority of priests are illiterate and live with concubines. The majority of popes, mostly sons of powerful Roman families, are corrupt or incompetent.
962 CE: Medieval Europe - Otto the Great is named emperor in Rome after defeating the Hungarians. This provides Germany with the power to resist invasion. Following Otto are several competent and enthusiastic successors, who continue to shape a stable German government.
987 CE: Medieval Europe - Hugh Capet replaces the last of the Carolingian monarchs in France. The Capetian dynasty rules until 1328. The Capetian dynasty is too weak in the beginning to have any influence on the unification of France.
1025 CE: Medieval Europe - The Byzantine aristocracy gains control over the government and begins to limit the freedom of the peasantry, thereby beginning the destruction of the economic base of Byzantine civilization.
1046 CE: Medieval Europe - German Emperor Henry III arrives in Italy and names a German monastic reformer as pope. The series of reforming popes that follow enacts decrees against simony and clerical marriage.
1049 CE: Medieval Europe - The Cluniac monastic reform sparks interest in the reform of the clerical hierarchy.
1050 CE: Medieval Europe - The period from 1050 to 1300 is generally considered the High Middle Ages. Western Europe rises as a great power with only China equaling it in political, economic and cultural flourishing. It also witnesses profound religious and intellectual change, including the organization of the papal monarchy.
1050 CE to 1200 CE: Medieval Europe - The first agricultural revolution of Medieval Europe begins in 1050 CE with a shift to the northern lands for cultivation, a period of improved climate from 700 CE to 1200 CE in western Europe, and the widespread use and perfection of new farming devices, some previously discovered by the Carolingians and the Romans. Technological innovations include the use of the heavy plow, the three-field system of crop rotation, the use of mills for processing cloth, brewing beer, crushing pulp for paper manufacture and many other advantages that before were not available, and the widespread use of iron and horses. With an increase in agricultural advancements, Western towns and trade grow exponentially and Western Europe returns to a money economy.
1059 CE: Medieval Europe - The reforming popes, following from the acts of Henry III, issue a decree on papal elections which gives the cardinals sole right of appointing new popes. This decree allows papal elections to escape the whims of political leaders.
1066 CE: Medieval Europe - William the Conqueror invades England and asserts his right to the English throne at the Battle of Hastings. The Norman Conquest fuses French and English cultures because William is both the King of England and the Duke of Normandy. The language of England evolves into Middle English with an English syntax and grammar and a heavily French vocabulary. French art and literature prevail over previous English art and literature, and the French language eventually becomes the language of the political realm. William achieves political stability in England with the introduction of the feudal system. The system progresses over the next two centuries into a national monarchy.
1071 CE: Medieval Europe - The Seljuk Turks of Islam defeat the Byzantines at Manzikert in Asia Minor and reconquer most of the eastern Byzantine provinces.
1073 CE: Medieval Europe - Gregory VII initiates a new conception of Church. According to Gregory, the Church is obligated to create "right order in the world," rather than withdraw from it. Gregory seeks to create a papal monarchy with power over the secular state and to establish ecclesiastical authority. Henry IV, the German king, resists this authority thereby inaugurating the "investiture controversy." Gregory excommunicates Henry IV in 1077 CE. The Gregorian reform encourages the practice of Christian warfare in the pursuit of providing "right order in the world" and establishes religious enthusiasm in all of Christendom.
1079 CE: Medieval Europe - Scholasticism emerges as an attempt to reconcile classical philosophy (primarily Aristotelean) with Christianity. Peter Abelard contributes to this movement with his great theological work, Sic et Non. He dies in 1142.
1095 CE: Medieval Europe - The First Crusade is initiated when Byzantine Emperor Alexius Comnenus requests help in reconquering the lost territory of Asia Minor. Western Europe sends enormous support to rescue Jerusalem from the control of Islam. Pope Urban II calls the crusade to strengthen the Gregorian papacy by bringing the Greek Orthodox Church under papal authority and by humiliating the German emperor Henry IV who had forced Urban to flee Italy.
1098 CE: Medieval Europe - The crusaders of the First Crusade capture Antioch and most of Syria, killing the Turkish inhabitants. The oldest epic poem in French, is written by an unknown author. The poem is set in northern Spain during the reign of Charlemagne and is based on the Roncesvalles massacre of Charlemagne's rearguard. It serves to establish the differing characteristics between Christianity and paganism. The death scene of Roland, devoted patriot of Charlemagne, is commonly considered one of the greatest scenes in all of world literature.
1099 CE: Medieval Europe - The crusaders of the First Crusade capture Jerusalem, killing its Muslim inhabitants. The Crusaders divide their new territories into four principalities.
1100 CE: Medieval Europe - Henry I, the son of Willaim the Conqueror, institutes a system of representatives dedicated to travelling the country and administering justice. He dies in 1135 CE. Around the same time, a new asceticism is sought for monks who wish to engage in contemplation and self-examination. Two new orders are created: the Carthusian and the Cistercian. St. Bernard of Clairvaux, leader of the Cistercians, establishes 343 monasteries by the time of his death. Accompanying the fervent worship of Christ Jesus during this period is the pronouncement of the Virgin Mary as a saint. This is the first time a woman is given central significance in the Christian religion.
1108 CE: Medieval Europe - Louis VI, the first important Capetian king of France, banishes the "robber barons" from the Ile-de-France, which allows agriculture, trade and intellectual activity to flourish.
1122 CE: Medieval Europe - A compromise is drawn between pope and emperor over the issue of investiture. At the Concordat of Worms (a German city), religious symbols, originally invested for prelates, are replaced with symbols of temporal rule. Prelates accept the emperor as their temporal overlord and are invested with the symbol that recognizes their right to rule. Following the issue of investiture, the successors of Gregory VII develop the canon law of the Church which provides the papacy with jurisdiction over the clergy, the rights of inheritance and the rights of widows and orphans. Because the papacy begins acting as a court of appeals, it is necessary that popes are trained as legal experts, rather than as monks.
1125 CE: Medieval Europe - German princes abolish the hereditary claim to the throne and establish the right to elect new rulers.
1144 CE: Medieval Europe - The Romanesque abbey church of St. Denis, a burial shrine for French saints and kings, is torn down and replaced with Gothic architecture. Gothic architecture is highlighted by pointed arches, rather than Roman arches, ribbed vaulting, flying buttresses and intricately wrought stained-glass depictions of stories from the Bible and everyday life.
1152 CE: Medieval Europe - Frederick I of Germany entitles his realm the "Holy Roman Empire," in an attempt to bring prestige back to the German throne.
1155 CE: Medieval Europe - A student of Peter Abelard, Peter Lombard, writes the Book of Sentences which answers fundamental questions of theology with passages from the Bible and various Christian thinkers. His book becomes a standard text in all universities by the thirteenth century.
1164 CE: Medieval Europe - Henry II constructs the Constitutions of Clarendon in an attempt to regain power for the civil courts, which have been loosing authority to ecclesiastical ones. The archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket, strongly resists the decision of Henry and a quarrel breaks out. Becket is murdered in Canterbury Cathedral. He is quickly made a martyr by the English public and is revered as the greatest saint of English history. The political result is the abandonment of Henry's court program. Aside from this event, Henry II is considered one of England's greatest kings due to his judicial reforms and legal innovations. His reforms establish a stable government which requires little, if any, attention of the king.
1165 CE: Medieval Europe - Frenchman Chretien de Troyes is the first writer to condense the legendary Arthurian history, based on the Celtic hero King Arthur and his knights of chivalry, into what is known as the Arthurian Romances. Chretien is the first writer to put forth the idea of romantic love within marriage. The innovation of longer narrative poems is the earliest ancestor to the modern novel. The idea of chivalry, the literal meaning being "horsemanship," emerges about the time of the romances. Chivalry includes the defense of honor, combat in tournaments, and the virtues of generosity and reverence. The noble code of chivalry is accompanied with the improvement of noble life and the status of noblewomen.
1168 CE: Medieval Europe - English scientist Robert Grosseteste translates Aristotle's Ethics and makes technological advances in optics, mathematics and astronomy. He dies in 1253 CE.
1170 CE: Medieval Europe - The first European windmill is developed.
1176 CE: Medieval Europe - The German troops of Frederick I are defeated by the Italian Lombard League at Legnano.
1180 CE: Medieval Europe - Philip Augustus, Louis VI's grandson, assumes the title of monarch in France. He recaptures most of the western French territory, previously taken by William the Conqueror, from the English king, John. Philip installs royal officials in the conquered regions in order to win allegience to the king. Philip is one of the strongest founders of the modern French state.
1187 CE: Medieval Europe - Muslims recapture Jerusalem, and the Third Crusade is ordered. It is led by German Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, French King Philip Augustus and English King Richard the Lionhearted. It is not successful.
1189 CE: Medieval Europe - Richard the Lionhearted, son of Henry II, assumes the English crown. He rules for ten years and is only present in the country a total of six months. His rule exemplifes the strength of the governmental foundations set up by Henry II. During Richard's absence, ministers take care of administration and help to raise taxes for the support of the crusades.
1198 CE: Medieval Europe - Innocent III, the founder of the Papal State, is thirty-seven when he is elected pope. He is trained in canon law and theology. His primary concern of administration is the unification of all Christendom under the papal monarchy, including the right to interfere with the rule of kings. He is the organizer of the Fourth Crusade, ordered to recapture Jerusalem from Islam.
1200 CE: Medieval Europe - The growth of lay education and the intellectual renaissance begin. Students start entering schools with no intention of becoming priests, and education is offered in European languages other than Latin. The rise in lay education causes a loss in Church control over education, the growth of literacy in the West and the transformation of cathedral schools into advanced liberal arts universities. Bologna and Paris are the distinguishing schools of the High Middle Ages.
1204 CE: Medieval Europe - The crusaders of the Fourth Crusade capture Constantinople. The sack of Constantinople causes a firm Byzantine hatred of the West.
1204 CE: Medieval Europe - King John of England loses Normandy and the surrounding area to the French king, Philip Augustus.
1206 CE: Medieval Europe - St. Francis of Assisi, at the age of twently-five begins his twenty year allegiance to Christ Jesus until his death in 1226 CE. He is the founder of the Franciscan order which seeks to imitate the life of Jesus by embracing poverty. St. Francis wins the support of Pope Innocent III.
1208 CE: Medieval Europe - Innocent III calls for the Albigensian Crusade in order to destroy the heretical threat of the Albigensians.
1212 CE: Medieval Europe - Spain reconquers the Iberian peninsula from the Muslims in the name of Christianity.
1214 CE: Medieval Europe - A student of Grosseteste, Roger Bacon predicts the technological advancement of automobiles and airplanes and extends Grosseteste's observations in optics. Both thinkers advocate concrete sensory observation for the advancement of scientific thought, rather than abstract reasoning.
1215 CE: Medieval Europe - Innocent III organizes the Fourth Lateran Council in Rome in order to discuss and define central dogmas of Christianity. It recognizes the necessity of the Eucharist and penance as sacraments for salvation. The Council exemplifies the power of the papacy over kings and Church. The Council also calls for the Fifth Crusade to be warred under papal guidance by sea. It is a failure. English barons write "The Magna Carta" (Great Charter) in order to cease John's demands of money from the English without the consent of the barons and to require that all men be judged by a jury of peers in public courts, rather than privately by the crown. The Magna Carta serves as a symbol of a limited government and a crown that is bound by the same laws as the public.
1216 CE: Medieval Europe - The Dominican order is founded by St. Dominic of Spain and is authorized by Innocent III. Its purpose is to convert Muslims and Jews and to put an end to heresy. The Dominicans eventually become the main administrators of inquisitorial trials.
1223 CE: Medieval Europe - Louis VIII, Philip Augustus' son, rules for three years and conquers most of southern France.
1225 CE: Medieval Europe - Thomas Aquinas, the most influential Scholastic theologian, is teaching at the University of Paris. Aquinas believes in the contemplation of God through the natural order, though ultimate truths are revealed only by studying the revelations of the Bible. His two greatest works are the Summa contra Gentiles and the Summa Theologica, both of which attempt to found the Christian faith on rational principles. His philosophy emphasizes human reasoning, life in the material order and the individual's participation in personal salvation.
1226 CE: Medieval Europe - Louis IX (St. Louis), son of Louis VIII, is one of the most loved monarchs of French history. He is canonized by the Church for his piety and reigns over a period of internal peace in France.
1228 CE: Medieval Europe - Frederick II, leader of the Sixth Crusade, begins a diplomatic negotiation with Islam for control of Jerusalem. It is a success. However, because Frederick was excommunicated by the pope, he crowns himself king of Jerusalem.
1237 CE: Medieval Europe - The Mongols, under the leadership of Batu, cross the Urals from Asia into Russia. Prior to the thirteenth century, Russia is ruled by westerners who found the Kievan state. During the thirteenth century Russia retreats from the West, partly due to the distance between Moscow and the rest of Europe.
1240 CE: Medieval Europe - Mongols enter the state of Kiev and create a new state on the Volga River, from where they rule Russia for two centuries. Over these two centuries, the Grand Duchy of Moscow emerges and eventually defeats the Mongol Khans.
1242 CE: Medieval Europe - St. Bonaventura enters the Franciscan order. He becomes the seventh general of that order within fifteen years. He is a professor of theology at the University of Paris, Bishop of Albano, made cardinal by Gregory X and is canonized by Sixtus IV. St. Bonaventura's major works are the Reductio Artium in Theologiam, the Biblia Pauperum and the Breviloquium. His thought is heavily influenced by an ancient Greek philosopher, Plotinus.
1244 CE: Medieval Europe - Jerusalem is lost by the West and is not recaptured again until 1917 CE.
1250 CE: Medieval Europe - The successors of Innocent III are involved in a political struggle with Frederick II, who attempts to take control in central Italy. They order a crusade against him, the first time a crusade is called for political reasons. The outcome is the death of Frederick.
1252 CE: Medieval Europe - The papacy approves the use of torture for religious disobedience, following Innocent III's brutal "inquisitions" against heresy (namely the Waldensian and Albigensian heretics).
1260 CE: Medieval Europe - Several texts are translated from their original languages into Latin, including the texts of Aristotle.
1261 CE: Medieval Europe - The Byzantine Empire returns to Constantinople.
1265 CE: Medieval Europe - Dante Alighieri is born. Later, he will write the Divine Comedy -- perhaps the greatest literary expression of the Middle Ages -- in Italian verse. Born in Florence, Dante is extensively educated in literature, philosophy and Scholastic theology. His "Comedy" is saturated with the belief of earthly immortality through worthy deeds and the preparation of life everlasting.
1267 CE: Medieval Europe - Florentine Giotto, the most important painter of the later Middle Ages, begins the modern tradition in painting. He is a naturalist whose paintings include depictions of Christ's entrance into Jerusalem and the death of St. Francis.
1268 CE: Medieval Europe - The military champion of the papacy's crusade against the heirs of Frederick II is Charles of Anjou, who is from the French royal house. Charles defeats the last of Frederick's heirs and wins Sicily.
1272 CE: Medieval Europe - Edward I of England, Henry III's son, establishes Parliament, originally a feudal court for the king and not yet a system of representative government.
1280 CE: Medieval Europe - Eyeglasses are invented and later improved in the late medieval period.
1282 CE: Medieval Europe - Charles of Anjou's efforts to tax Sicily provokes the "Sicilian Vespers" revolt. The rebels install the king of Aragon as their own king, thereby reinstating rule to the house of Frederick II.
1285 CE: Medieval Europe - France becomes the strongest power in Europe due to the administration of St. Louis' grandson, Philip IV. He attempts to gain full control over the French Church from Rome and begins the process of governmental centralization.
1294 CE: Medieval Europe - Boniface VIII disputes with the kings of England and France over the taxation of the clergy for support of war. Later, Boniface will run into political problems with Philip IV of France.
1300 CE: Medieval Europe - The Late Middle Ages begins here and ends around 1500 CE. The beginning of the Late Middle Ages witnesses the invention of the magnetic compass, greatly aiding overseas expansion and enhancing trade between places such as Italy and the North. Boniface VIII calls the first papal "jubilee," thereby recognizing pilgrimages to Rome instead of Jerusalem, which is no longer accessible to the West.
1303 CE: Medieval Europe - Boniface VIII is captured in Anagni by local citizens and is abused beyond his capabilities to sustain the mistreatment. He dies in his seventies a month after his release. After his death, the Church witnesses many institutional crises.
1305 Ce: Medieval Europe - The papacy is moved from Rome to Avignon, beginning the Church's "Babylonian Captivity." For most of the fourteenth century, the papacy is subordinate to French authority with the majority of cardinals and popes being French.
1315 CE: Medieval Europe - Bad weather and crop failure result in famine across northwestern Europe. Unsanitary conditions and malnutrition increase the death rate. Even after the revival of agricultural conditions, weather disasters reappear. A mixture of war, famine and plague in the Late Middle Ages reduces the population by one-half.
1327 CE: Medieval Europe - Born in 1260, German Dominican Master Eckhart defines the individual soul as a "spark" of the divine at its most basic element. By renouncing all knowledge of the self, one is able to retreat into that "spark" and reach God. Most of his teachings are condemned by the papacy. Two bands of mysticism arise from Eckhart's theories: heterodox, the belief in the unification of God and man on earth without the aid of priests as intermediaries, and orthodox, the belief in the possibility of joining the soul with God and the awareness of divine presence in everyday life.
1328 CE: Medieval Europe - The last heir of the Capetian dynasty dies and is replaced by the first ruler of the Valois dynasty. Because the English kings are also descended from the Capetian line, England attempts to claim the French crown.
1330 CE: Medieval Europe - Oxford theologian John Wyclif is born. He later becomes the leader of a heretical movement: finding the Church extravagant, he condemns most Church officials and begins a reform movement. He receives aristocratic support by advocating the replacement of officials with men willing to lead apostolic lives modeled on the New Testament. He dies in 1384, before the death penalty for heresy emerges in England. The use of heavy cannons in warfare begins.
1337 CE: Medieval Europe - The French retaliate against the English and initiate the Hundred Years' War, a series of battles lasting until 1453 CE. The three greatest battles of the war are fought at Crecy (1346, Poitiers (1356) and Agincourt (1415). Due to the military superiority of the English, the French are defeated in most of the battles.
1340 CE: Medieval Europe - Geoffrey Chaucer is born. He later begins the literary tradition with his Canterbury Tales.
1342 CE: Medieval Europe - The reign of Avignonese Pope Clement VI exemplifies the French takeover of the Church. Clement offers spiritual benefits for money, appoints Church leaders for economic gains and commits sexual acts on "doctors' orders." The French Church based in Avignon rises in power, centralizes the Church government and establishes a system of papal finance.
1347 CE: Medieval Europe - The Black Death appears during a time of economic depression in Western Europe and reoccurs frequently until the fifteenth century. The Black Death is a combination of bubonic and pneumonic plagues and has a major impact on social and economic conditions. Religious flagellation appears among lay groups in order to appease the divine wrath. English Franciscan William of Ockham dies. He teaches that God is free to do good and bad on earth as He wishes and developes the philosophical position known as "nominalism." His quest for certainty in human knowledge is one of the foundations of the scientific method.
1348 CE: Medieval Europe - Italian Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375 CE) begins writing the Decameron, a collection of stories about love, sex, adventure and trickery told by seven ladies and three men on a journey into the country to escape the Black Death. Boccaccio's work is the first literature written in narrative prose. His prose is realistic of the men and women in the stories, rather than blatantly moral or immoral as in the earlier romances.
1356 CE: Medieval Europe - A war begins between the English and the French directly following an occurrence of the Black Death in France. French peasants suffer the most economically, as is usual in medieval times during war, and physically -- their homes are pillaged and burned. The English defeat the French king, John II, at the Battle of Poitiers, and the peasants again are asked to bear the weight of the upper class.
1358 CE: Medieval Europe - Economic hardship in France results in an uprising of the lower-class, called the "Jacquerie" (taken from the French peasant "Jacques Bonhomme"). The peasants burn castles, murder and rape their lords and lords' wives and take advantage of the political confusion in France by attempting to reform the governmental system. The revolt occurs during the king's captivity in England. Also, during this time, an aristocratic group plans the takeover of power. A brief revolt is put to an end when this group restores order by the massacre of the rebels.
1360 CE: Medieval Europe - With the introduction of oil painting into western Europe, the earliest naturalistic painting is created. Its subject is the French king, John the Good. After this, naturalistic portraitures become prominent in European art.
1367 CE: Medieval Europe - Urban V is successful in returning the pope to Rome. However, Pope Gregory XI dies in 1368. Because the papacy is now in Rome, an Italian pope, Urban VI, is elected and begins quarreling with the French cardinals. The French cardinals cancel the previous election and elect a French pope, Clement VII.
1378 CE: Medieval Europe - The second phase of the Church's institutional crisis is the Great Schism. The French papacy leaves Rome due to the uprising of Urban VI and his group of newly founded cardinals. The split of the two groups causes confusion in Europe. French territories recognize Clement VII as pope, and the rest of Europe recognizes Urban VI as pope. The schism survives the death of both popes. The Florentine Ciompi, wool-combers, witnessing a depressed industry, rise against the governmental system and gain power for six weeks, in which time they institute tax relief, provide a proletarian representation in government and expand employment. All reforms are revoked with the new oligarchic power.
1381 CE: Medieval Europe - The presence of the Black Death in England works to the advantage of English peasants, causing a shortage of labor, a freeing of serfs, a rise in salary and a decrease in rent. The aristocratic class, however, passes legislation that lowers wages to the amount before the plague and that requires lower wages for laborers without land. The peasants rise against this oppression in what is called the English Peasants' Revolt when a national tax is levied for every individual in England. The peasants march into London, murder the lord chancellor and treasurer and are met by Richard II. Richard promises the abolition of serfdom and a lower of rent. After the peasants leave, Richard has the peasant groups followed and murdered.
1385 CE: Medieval Europe - The first German university is opened in Heidelberg.
1386 CE: Medieval Europe - The queen of Poland, Jadwiga, marries grand duke of Lithuania, Jagiello. The marriage creates a state double the size of Poland's previous size.
1399 CE: Medieval Europe - In England, the death penalty becomes the punishment for heresy, and many Lollards, Wyclif's lay followers, convert.
1400 CE: Medieval Europe - Czech students of John Wyclif bring Wyclifism to the Bohemian capital of Prague. Preacher John Hus (1373-1415 CE) adopts Wyclif's theories to support his own claims against ecclesiastical extravagance. The Northern provinces of Italy devise their own systems of government. The government of Venice becomes a merchant oligarchy; Milan is ruled by dynastic despotism; and Florence becomes a republic, ruled by the rich. The three cities expand and conquer most of Northern Italy.
1409 CE: Medieval Europe - A council of prelates from both sides of the Great Schism meet at Pisa and decide to rename a new pope in place of the two. However, both popes enjoy great political power and refuse the deposition, causing three rivals to the papacy instead of two.
1410 CE: Medieval Europe - Polish-Lithuanian forces defeat the German Teutonic Knights and extend rule eastward, almost into Russia. Eastern Orthodox Moscow begins a campaign of resistance to Roman Catholic Poland-Lithuania.
1414 CE: Medieval Europe - A Lollard uprising in England fails. Some Lollards retreat underground and aid the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century.
1415 CE: Medieval Europe - John Hus travels to the Council of Constance to propose his reforms for the Church. Upon his arrival at the Council, Hus is tried for heresy and burned. His death encourages futher revolt by his followers.
1417 CE: Medieval Europe - The Council of Constance, the largest Church meeting in medieval history, ends the Great Schism. The council gains secular support and elects Martin V as pope. It replaces papal monarchy with a conciliar government, which recognizes a council of prelates as the pope's authority, and mandates the frequent meeting of the council. This new period is known as the Italian territorial papacy, which lasts until 1517 CE.
1419 CE: Medieval Europe - The province of Burgundy breaks from France and allies with the English during the Hundred Years' War.
1420 CE: Medieval Europe - Hus' supporters defeat German "crusaders." The lower-class Hussites are led by General John Zizka.
1427 CE: Medieval Europe - Thomas a Kempis writes The Imitation of Christ, a manual directing the individual through Orthodox mysticism. Originally in Latin, it is translated into European languages for the lay audience. Its major themes concern the path of Christian piety for those active in everyday life, communion with Christ, biblical meditation and a moral life. The only sacrament suggested to its reader is the Eucharist.
1429 CE: Medieval Europe - Joan of Arc, a peasant girl in France, seeks out the French leader and relates her divinely-inspired mission to drive the English out of France. She takes control of the French troops and liberates most of central France.
1430 CE: Medieval Europe - Joan of Arc is captured and taken to England. The English accuse her of being a witch and condemn her for heresy. Joan is publicly burned in the city of Rouen.
1434 CE: Medieval Europe - Aristocratic Hussites end the revolt of Hus' supporters and their attempts of social and religious reform. Bohemia does not return to Catholic Orthodoxy until the Catholic Reformation of the seventeenth century.
1434 CE: Medieval Europe - The Medici banking family dominates the government of Florence.
1453 CE: Medieval Europe - Ottoman Turks take Constantinople and end Byzantine civilization. The French king Charles VII captures Bordeaux in the southwest and ends the Hundred Years' War, during the reign of English King Henry VI and after the withdrawal of Burgundy from English alliance. The French monarchy reestablishes rule and returns to collecting national taxes and maintaining a standing army in times of peace. The monarchy becomes even stronger during the reigns of Louis XI and Louis XII.
1454 CE: Medieval Europe - Italy is divided into five major regions: Venice, Milan, Florence, the Papal States and the southern kingdom of Naples.
1455 CE: Medieval Europe - Henry VI of England wages the Wars of the Roses. The two sides of the war are the red rose (Henry's family at Lancaster) and the white rose (the house of York). Yorkist Richard III gains the kingship for a short time.
1462 CE: Medieval Europe - Ivan III of Moscow annexes all Russian principalities between Moscow and Poland-Lithuania over a period of twenty-three years.
1469 CE: Medieval Europe - Ferdinand of Aragon marries Isabella of Castile, and the two Spanish kingdoms end their conflicts but remain separate powers.
1477 CE: Medieval Europe - Charles the Bold of Burgundy is captured by the Swiss, and Louis XI recaptures the lost territory.
1482 CE: Medieval Europe - Ivan III of Moscow renounces the Mongol Khanate rule over Russia. The Mongols do not resist in the light of the rise of the Moscow state.
1485 CE: Medieval Europe - With the end of the Wars of the Roses in England, the Tudor dynasty replaces Richard III. Henry VII, the first Tudor king, rules for twenty-four years and revives the English throne. He reestablishes royal power over the aristocracy, ends funding of foreign wars and reforms finances. Parliament also becomes a stable part of the governmental system.
1492 CE: Medieval Europe - Ferdinand and Isabella annex Granada, expel all Jews from Spain and seek overseas expansion (for example, as patrons of Christopher Columbus). The flow of American gold and silver through Spain, the conquest of Mexico and Peru and superiority on the battlefield make Spain the most powerful state in Europe.
1505 CE: Medieval Europe - Ivan the Great of Moscow extends the Russian border into the Byelorussian and the Ukrainian territories, before his death. Muscovian Russia is recognized as a major Eastern-oriented power in Europe.
1509 CE: Medieval Europe - Henry VIII succeeds his father, Henry VII, for the English crown.
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