Justinian becomes emperor in Constantinople, but breaks with tradition when he decides not to found a new capital city named after him. Attempting re-conquest of Western Empire, he recovers North Africa, South Eastern Spain and Italy. Which is not a bad effort considering he only had two old men, a dark ages bicycle and a small dog for help.
Belisarius, Justinian's famous general, captures Rome. He then decides to let it go because it's under weight. But sanity prevails and Rome is skinned and cooked on the barbecue for lunch.
Justinian dies, after many years of constitutional reform, and a fair bit of stuffing himself with hamburgers on weekends.
Lombards(*) invade Italy, settle in the north.
(*) As everyone knows, the definition of Lombard is: "Loads Of Money, But A Real Dickhead"
Birth of Mohammed, who would be trained as a merchant, but would later decide on a career move, and became Prophet and founder of Islam instead.
Gregory The Great becomes Pope; declares Rome supreme centre of the Church. Those around him who say it will never catch on mostly decide to go and live as hermits out of embarrassment.
St Augustine lands in England, baptises Ethelbert, king of Kent. Ethelbert unfortunately cannot swim, and before anyone realises what's happened, drowns.
St Augustine becomes first archbishop of Canterbury after threatening to "baptise" any competitors.
Mohammed proclaims himself the only true prophet of Allah, after signing an exclusive distribution contract.
Great T'ang dynasty is founded in China. Yep, one day the people concerned said to themselves "I think today would be a good day to start a great dynasty. What shall we call this great dynasty of ours? Hmmm how about... Carrington? Nah... Ewing... Nah... oh wait, what about T'ang! Yeah, The Great T'ang Dynasty... it has a kind of ring to it. I like it!"
Mohammed writes to all rulers of the earth, demanding that they acknowledge the One True God, Allah, and serve Him. Most of the rulers of the earth read the letter, then throw it in the recycling.
Mohammed dies; his friend Abu Bakr, successor, leads the Arabs out of the desert to achieve Mohammed's aim of making the world submit to Islam. His mother ensures that he takes a packed lunch and a change of underwear with him.
"Not now mum, I'm leading the Arabs out of the desert to make the world submit to Islam!"
"I don't care where you're going, you're going there in an ironed shirt and clean socks."
The Arabs defeat armies of the Eastern empire at Yarmak. Somewhere here there's a link about the Pope always kissing the ground at airports, but something got lost in the translation. ("No no, that's TARMAC, your holiness".)
The Arabs defeat the Persians at Kardessia, and go on to storm up into the first division, defeating Mesopotamia, Syria, Palestine and Egypt.
Jerusalem surrenders to the Arabs, although civic leaders claim it's a dastardly plan to load the Arabs up with Wailing Wall souvenirs.
The Arabs capture Alexandria, and after a huge argument about overdue book fines, destroy the famous library. Efforts to fight the fire are hampered when instead of helping, all the librarians do is tell the firemen to shhhhhh!
The Arabs unsuccessfully attach Constantinople from sea. Attach? Attach Constantinople to what? And using what? Some kind of very strong rope? And why was it unsuccessful, did the rope break? Sometimes this book I'm shamelessly copying history out of is a bit puzzling.
Open all day, all night, every day of the year. Oh, sorry. Try again.
Having conquered East and North Africa, the Arabs cross into Spain.
Spain subdued with a hangover, the Arabs (with the Moors) invade France. Well, it's something to do on a Sunday afternoon, you know.
Charles Martel drives the Arabs out of France. Bit of a contrast to the Charleses of today, eh? I can't see Prince Charles driving anyone anywhere, unless it's a quick trip in the Range Rover to inspect a new type of tree at Balmoral, or to whinge to the press about what a wimp he is.
Pepin, son of Charles Martel, is crowned King of the Franks, founding the Hotfrangers dynasty, and taking over a business that has a stranglehold on hot snacks throughout the empire.
Baghdad founded; it becomes capital of the Arab empire. The locals immediately start building communications towers, five-star hotels for Western journalists to stay in, and bomb oops, I mean milk factories.
Pepin dies; his fastfood kingdom is divided between his sons Charles (later known by the stage name Charlemagne) and Carloman. They get into a huge argument over whether they should sell hot chips or French fries.
Carloman dies and Charlemagne takes possession of his lands. From then onwards Charlemagne enlarges his dominions (oooh err!) until his power reaches from the Pyrenees to the river Elbe in Germany, and from the Atlantic to the Danube and Tiber. Wow. That's an *awfully* big dominion.
Haroun-al-Raschid becomes Caliph at Baghdad; under him the Arab empire is at its greatest. He organises all parts of the empire under a common banner to increase his power; the Orgy of Prayer for the Eternal Caliph. Together they all try and invent something that can use up all the oil that they dig up.
After tense negotiations, Charlemagne wins a 14 year contract (including benefits and performance based pay) to be emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.
Egbert, king of Wessex (whoa! The WHOLE of Wessex?!?), one of seven Anglo-Saxon kingdoms fighting for supremacy in England. The others are Northumbria, Mercia, Kent, Sussex, Essex and East Anglia. Also the king of Little Frumpton-on-the-Water, but none of the other kings take him seriously.
Egbert hits upon a brilliant battle strategy. He withdraws his armies from fighting, and instead sends in the combined soccer hooligans of Wessex. It takes them a while to headbutt all the other opponents, but eventually they conquer the country.
Haroun-al-Raschid dies; beginning of 200 years of chaos and civil war in the Arab empire. Wait a sec, that must be a misprint. I think they mean 2000 years.
Charlemagne dies. And, at least according to the history I'm copying this from, there are absolutely no consequences. No rioting in the streets, civil war, or mass suicides.
After a thrilling Cup Final, Egbert unites England for the first time under one king. Yes, all hail King Egbert! King Egbert, the mighty! King Egbert, named after a Sesame Street character and the thing that comes out of a chicken's rear end! Hail King Egbert!
Frankish empire is divided between Charlemagne's sons and grandsons. Note that the Frankish empire is called that because the people were asked by visitors who they were.
"Franks!" the loyal declared.
"... ish..." added the doubtful.
Alfred the Great is king of Wessex, practically the only part of England not in Danish hands. When told by the local baker that he has Danish in the pantry, Alfred replies by chopping his head off.
Alfred defeats Danes, compels them by Treaty of Wedmore to stay in their settlements in N.E. England, and become Christians. Doesn't sound like much of a defeat to me. What about ruthless torture, sacrificing their goats, and all the other stuff that great defeats usually involve? Sounds like this Alfred the Great bloke was a bit of a wimp.
Alfred dies. While the body lies in state, thousands of his people come to pay their last respects, and try and get a glimpse of the alleged tackle that gave Alfred his nickname.
Henry I, king of Germany, completes the separation of the Frankish empire into Germany and France, by cutting along the dotted line and folding back.
Louis V, last Carolingian king of France, dies, and is succeeded by Hugh Capet, the first modern French king. Excuse me? Modern? In 987 AD? Who wrote this??
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