Medieval Timeline


Early Maps

1000 AD - 1200 AD

Medieval European scholars create maps which reflect their religious beliefs of the universe.

Europe's Attitude is Negative

1000 - 1450

Europe is transitioning from the Roman Empire into the rebirth.

Compass Comes to Europe Around 1100's


The compass comes from China to Europe. A compass is an instrument used for determining directions, as by means of a freely rotating magnetized needle that indicates magnetic north. Before the compass, sea and land explorers had to use the sun, wind, and stars as guides. This is important because it made mapping easier, which in turn increased trade.

Roger Bacons Writings

1250 - 1270

Roger Bacon writes about the need to understand the physical reality of the world as the first step in understanding its challenges, which includes defeating the mongols. He is assigned by Pope Clement in 1266 to find out about the threat of Gog and Magog. He maps out a map of the world using longitude and latitude

Marco Polo

1254 - 1324

Marco Polo (1254-1324), is probably the most famous Westerner traveled on the Silk Road. He excelled all the other travelers in his determination, his writing, and his influence. His journey through Asia lasted 24 years. He reached further than any of his predecessors, beyond Mongolia to China. He became a confidant of Kublai Khan (1214-1294). He traveled the whole of China and returned to tell the tale, which became the greatest travelogue.

Matthew Paris's Cosmos


The medieval cosmos has the earth at its center, surrounded by the spheres of water, air, fire, the moon, the sun, the planets, and the firmatent. Paris put earth at the center of the universe.



Byzantine scholar, Planudes, finds a copy of Ptolemy's "Geography". Planudes uses Ptolemy's calculations of latitude and longitude of places and recreates his maps.

"Geography" comes to Europe


Byzantine scholar, Chrysoloras, who fled Florence to teach Greek, brings a copy of Planudes' work with him.

Ottoman Turks Threatening Byzantine Empire

1397 - 1453

Causes many scholars to look for a new home

Ptolemaic view of world

1400 - 1500

Ptolemaic view of the world takes hold in Europe. This has a new physical representation of the world, and a new way to map the planet that is more precise that before.Ptolemy was an ancient astronomer, geographer, and mathematician who considered the Earth the center of the universe. As a geographer, Ptolemy's reputation rests mainly on his Geographike hyphegesis (Guide to Geography), which was divided into eight books; it included information on how to construct maps and lists of places in Europe, Africa, and Asia. tabulated according to latitude and longitude. Thought circumfrance was 30 percent smaller than it actually is.

Caravel Comes Into Use Around 1400s


A caravel is a light sailing ship that that was developed by the Portuguese in the late 1400's, and was used for the next 300 years. The caravel was an improvement on older ships because it could sail very fast and also sail well into the wind. The Caravel is important because it increased sea trade.

Angeli Translations

1406 - 1409

Angeli translates Chrysoloras' copy of "Geography" into Latin, and the book spreads throughout Europe

Prince Henry's School of Navigation Form


Prince Henry the Navigator starts school of navigators in Sagres, Portugal. His goal was to sail from Portugal, around Africa, and end in India+Spice Islands.

Rebirth of Europe


Europe's attitude shifts into positive, and becomes productive in trading due to new inventions

Constantinople falls to the Ottomans


Portugese Sailors Make It Around Tip of Africa