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Map of Europe - AD 400-800 Early medieval
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AD 400
Gaul ravaged by Germanic tribes
AD 401
Visigoths attack northern Italy
AD 402
Honorius transfers the capital of the western empire to Ravenna
AD 406
Germanic tribes (Vandals, Alans and Suevi) cross River Rhine into Roman Empire, beginning an invasion of Gaul
AD 407
Vandals, Alans and Suevi enter the Iberian Peninsula
AD 410
Alaric sacks Rome
AD 414
Leader of Visigoths, Athaulf, sets up Visigothic state at Narbo (Narbonne, south-western France)
AD 421
East Romans defeat the Persians
AD 434
Attila the Hun and army move west, defeating Germanic tribes along the way
AD 440
Angles, Saxons and Jutes start to migrate from north Germany and Denmark
AD 443
East Romans are defeated by the Huns in the Balkans
AD 451
Battle of Catalaunian Fields: Romans and Goths defeat Attila in Gaul
AD 452
Attila invades Italy, destroying Aquileia completely and plundering Milan
AD 455
Vandals under Gaiseric sack Rome
AD 476
The last western emperor Romulus Augustus is deposed; Odoacer, a German, becomes king of Rome
AD 486
Clovis, king of the Franks, conquers much of northern Gaul
AD 500
Visigoth lands include most of Iberian Peninsula
AD 507
Battle of Vouillé: Visigoths defeated by Franks and driven out of Aquitaine
AD 507
Visigothic establish kingdom between rivers Ebro and Tagus
AD 510
Theodoric, Ostrogothic king, controls a kingdom from Gaul to Illyricum (Yugoslavia)
AD 525
Byzantines destroy Ostragothic kingdom
AD 535
Byzantine army invades Italy
AD 536
Franks expel Visigoths from Provence
AD 537
Franks defeat the Alemanni
AD 540
Byzantine army takes Ravenna, which becomes the Byzantine capital in Italy, and Milan
AD 568
Lombards, under Alboin, invade Italy
AD 580
Avars establish state on Hungarian plains
AD 585
Visigoths conquer Suevi kingdom; now control almost whole Iberian Peninsula
AD 600
Kingdoms develop in Denmark, Norway and Sweden
AD 613
Civil wars between Franks ends with accession of Chlotar II, king of all Gaul
AD 620
Visigoths expel the Byzantines and rule all of Spain
AD 626
First great siege of Constantinople by the Persians
AD 640
Slavs establish independent Bohemian kingdom, led by Samo
AD 640
Croats conquer the Avars
AD 640
Slavs establish independent Bohemian kingdom, led by Samo
AD 650
Khazars conquer Great Bulgarian empire in southern Russia
AD 650
Khazars conquer Great Bulgarian empire in southern Russia
AD 674
Constantinople survives Arab sieges
AD 681
Bulgars found new state on delta of River Danube
AD 700
Avar and Slavic tribes conquer Byzantine territories in the Balkans, occupying lands as far south as the Peloponnese
AD 711
Arabs invade and occupy most of the Iberian peninsula except for an area in the far north
AD 712
Lombards extend kingdom to Ravenna
AD 717
Third Arab siege of Constantinople
AD 718
Pelayo founds the Visigothic kingdom of Asturias and leads rebellion against the Umayyads
AD 732
Battle of Tours: Charles Martel defeats Arab armies
AD 739
Galicia liberated from Moorish occupation by Asturian forces
AD 740
Byzantine control of Ravenna is restored with help from the Venetians
AD 751
The Lombard King Aistulf captures Ravenna, now permanently lost to the western empire
AD 756
Muslim Umayyad dynasty establishes a unified state, al-Andalus, over most of Spain
AD 774
Lombard kingdom and northern Italy come under Frankish rule
AD 778
Charlemagne, king of the Franks, captures Pamplona during a military campaign in the Upper Ebro, but is forced to retreat
AD 790
Beginning of Viking raids on western Europe
AD 795
Charlemagne creates frontier province between Frankish and Arab empires
AD 799
Vikings raid Aquitaine
AD 800
Pope Leo III crowns Charlemagne Holy Roman Emperor at St Peters, Rome

AD 400-800 Early medieval

During this period Rome’s military power could no longer maintain its empire intact in the west. As a result of either Roman influence or Roman military threat, Germanic peoples had long since organised themselves into relatively large political groupings. Now they founded kingdoms in the west, often with the grudging agreement of the Roman authorities and in cooperation with the existing aristocracy: Franks and Burgundians in western Europe, Anglo-Saxons in Britain, Ostrogoths in Italy and Visigoths in Spain. Some of them acknowledged the notional authority of the eastern Roman emperor, who ruled his still powerful state from Constantinople (Byzantium).

Although most of northern and eastern Europe remained pagan, the groups who founded these new kingdoms (with the exception of the Anglo-Saxons) were already Christianised. However, most had been converted to heretical Arian Christianity and only gradually converted to the orthodox theology of Rome and Constantinople. These new kingdoms could be fragile, as they fought among themselves or submitted to revived Byzantine power, like Ostrogothic Italy in the 6th century AD, to or the new power of Muslim Arabs, like Visigothic Spain in the 8th century. By the 8th century the Franks were dominant in the west, symbolised by the coronation of the Frankish king Charlemagne as ‘Roman Emperor’ by the Pope in AD 800.

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