The Middle Ages (Group 2)

This semester our group will collectively edit a timeline covering the period we are studying. Each week students will add six new dates, events or people to the timeline. Three of these will be specifically related to the topic being studied that week. The other three will help set the topic in its wider context by considering what else was happening at the time.

Major Events

This layer shows important things happening during the period we are studying, thereby setting seminar topics within a wider context.

Diarchy and Tetrarchy

285 - 324

In order to provide stability in the Roman Empire, power was split between first two, and then four men. The two-way split (diarchy) lasted from 285-293. The four-way split (tetrarchy) from 293-c. 313. The final years of this system were marked by warfare between the leaders of different sections of the Empire.

Great Persecution

303 - 311

In the midst of a crisis, a major clampdown on Christians began in the Roman Empire, although it was not uniformly applied. In theory it officially ended with the Edict of Milan in 313, but there was a lack of conviction among several rulers long before this, and it was coming to an end in the West by 311.

Roman Empire Reunited


Constantine completes his reunification of the Roman Empire, bringing to an end the diarchy/tetrarchy arrangement.

Reign of Clovis, king of the Franks

481 - 511

Life of Muhammad

570 - 632

Muhammad was a member of a trading family who lived in and around Mecca. Over a number of years he had a series of revelations that he and his followers believed to have come from God. Through these he founded Islam and helped to unite the Arab tribes.

Reign of Æthelberht, king of Kent

590 - 616

The dating of the start of Æthelberht's reign is debateable, as is the date of his conversion to Christianity, and the process by which that conversion took place.

Papacy of Gregory I (the Great)

590 - 604

Gregory sent the missionary Augustine to King Æthelberht of Kent.



In 622 Muhammad and his followers moved from Mecca to Medina. This is taken as the starting point of the Islamic calendar.

Abbasids Take Over


In this year power in the majority of the Muslim world was transfered from the Umayyad caliphs to the Abbasids (who were from a different branch of Muhammad's family).

Pepin's Anointment


As 'Mayor of the Palace' Charles Martel had exercised more power than the Merovingian kings whom he sevred, however it was not until his son, Pepin the Short, was confirmed and anointed as king of the Franks in 754 by Pope Stephen II that the Merovingian dynasty can be said to have been replaced by the Carolingian.

Treaty of Verdun


Charlemagne's empire was divided among later generations of his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. At various times it had a single ruler, a nominal emperor, or was completely divided. The Treaty of Verdun crystallised many of these divisions, and there was only one (very brief) period of complete unity experienced after its signing.

The First Crusade

1096 - 1099

In the late eleventh century a number of factors came together to prompt Pope Urban II to call for Christian knights to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and win it back from the Muslims. The response of the laity was enormous, and several years later Jerusalem was captured.

Lateran IV


The Fourth Lateran Council was held by Pope Innocent III. It discussed and issued canons on a huge range of topics affecting the church and Christendom. Included in these canons was an opening statement declaring the orthodox Catholic faith. The third canon put forward measures for dealing with heresy.

Seminar Topics

This layer shows when the things we are studying happened.

Conversion of Constantine


Contemporary and later accounts date Constantine’s conversion to Christianity to the period when he was marching on Rome, shortly before the Battle of the Milvian Bridge. The nature of his conversion and how long it actually took are both debatable.

Edict of Milan


Agreement between Constantine and Licinius promoting religious tolerance within the Roman Empire.

First Council of Nicea


A general council of the Church, called by Constantine, which discussed and made proclamations on various articles of Christian faith.

Marriage of Clovis and Clotilde


Clotilde was a Christian, and according to certain sources she was very important in persuading Clovis to convert. At the very least, our group decided she would have been an important mediator between her husband and Christian clerics.

Conversion and baptism of Clovis


As with other conversions, the process by which Clovis became Christian is complicated and up for debate. Christmas Day 496 is the date traditionally given for his baptism.

Life of Gregory of Tours

538 - 594

Gregory was bishop of Tours. Towards the end of his life he wrote the 'Ten Books of History', often called the 'History of the Franks', which provides a description of the conversion of Clovis (although one that might say more about Gregory's interpretation of that event than the conversion itself).

Muhammad Returns to Mecca


Muhammad returned to Mecca in this year as part of what is now known as the Hajj. Pilgrimmages to Mecca had already occurred in Arabic society, but from this one on they were exclusively Muslim. It also represented the submission of the Meccan families to Muhammad's rule and the Islamic faith.

Muhammad's Last Sermon


Muhammad died in 632. His last sermon was recorded (in various versions) as it gave directions to his followers about how to follow God and live according to the Qu'ran.

Uthman and the Qu'ran

644 - 656

Uthman was the third caliph and it was during his rule that various writings and traditions were drawn together to form an officially recognised, written version of the Qu'ran.

Keys and Banner


On his elevation to the papacy, Leo III sent Charlemagne the keys of St. Peter's tomb and the banner of the city of Rome.

Leo III at Paderborn


Pope Leo III fled from Rome under pressure from his enemies and met Charlemagne at Paderborn, a city of new significance to Charlemagne following his eastward expansion.

Charlemagne's Coronation


At a ceremony in Rome Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne as Emperor on Christmas Day AD 800.

Henry III and the three Popes


Emperor Henry III intervened in a dispute between three men claiming to be the rightful Pope. At a council in December 1046 all three were deposed, and a new man, Clement II, was raised to the position of Pope.



Henry IV was in dispute with Pope Gregory VII over lay investiture of clerical positions. He had been excommunicated and faced rebellion within his kingdom. In 1077 he travelled to Canossa, where the Pope was staying, and reportedly knelt in the snow for three days begging for forgiveness. Often seen as a demonstration of the papacy’s increasing power, there are still question marks over the actual significance of the incident, not least because the dispute soon flared up again and Henry was once again excommunicated (and this time did not provide a similar apology).

Concordat of Worms


After decades of disputes the papacy final came to terms with the imperial secular power with regard to lay investiture. With the Concordat of Worms Pope Calixtus II and Emperor Henry V agreed the role that was to be played by secular lords and rulers in ecclesiastical elections.

Wendish Crusade


This was a campaign fought as part of the second crusade against a collection of Western Slavs. There were two main armies, which campaigned with varying levels of success. In terms of Christianisation, the impact is debateable, not least because the second army discovered that its target was a city that already had a large Christian population.

Albigensian Crusade

1209 - 1229

Concern over the widespread presence of the Cathar heresy in the region that is now south-west France led to a call for crusade against the people of that region. A long campaign, which included several large massacres of whole towns, was fought. Quite who the enemy was, or how they should be dealt with, were issues that were never really resolved, and undermined the effectiveness of the crusade as a weapon against heresy.

The Conversion of the Grand Duke of Lithuania


The date of 1387 is often given as the conversion of Lithuania (the last major European pagan society) to Christianity. This was the year in which Grand Duke Jogaila received baptism and opened Lithuania up to full Christianisation. Previous conversions of Lithuanian rulers had failed to produce a lasting Christianity.