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Timeline 400-500:


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The Chinese invent edge-runner mills with water-powered drives and ships with watertight sub-compartments at about this time.

Saint Augustine writes his Confessions.


Pope Innocent I establishes the Petrine Doctrine. He claims universal jurisdiction over the Roman Church. He serves as pope until 417.
402 The Western capital of the Roman Empire moved from Milan to Ravenna because of marauding barbarians
405 Saint Jerome finishes his translation of the Vulgate Bible.
406 Bitterly cold winter freezes the Rhine river, allowing hordes of Vandals, Alans, Suevi, and Burgundian warriors to cross into Rome's continental holdings. Vandals and other barbarians overrun the Roman province of Gaul.


The Avars found the first Mongol Empire. It lasts until 553.

Orders begin to recall Roman troops from outlying provinces to protect Italy from barbarians.


Rome sends orders for British legion to withdraw and protect Italy. The last Roman forces abandon the province in 410.

Vandals cross the Pyrenées and invade Spain.


Alaric the Goth leads his Germanic forces to sack Rome itself--the first time this had happened since looting Gauls invaded 800 years earlier.

The last Roman forces leave Britain to assist in defending Rome from Alaric.

c. 410-417 First recorded use of commemorative metal crucifix over a church attributed to Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, between the basilica and rotunda. According to legend, Roman Emperor Theodosius II encased it in gold and precious metals, and then crucifixes began to appear in and on churches in increasing numbers.
413-26 Saint Augustine writes The City of God.
420s Emperor Aetius begins a policy of hiring one mercenary barbarian band to attack other barbarian bands--Roman army now ineffective.

Scattered raids by Angles, Saxons, and Jutes on Britain.

Valentinian III declared "Roman Emperor" in the West--though much of the old Empire is in ruins--with communication breaking down and widespread depopulation.

c. 428

Germanic tribes begin exploratory raids in Britain, now that Roman legions have departed.


Vandals cross the Straights of Gibraltar and conquer Roman holdings in North Africa. Vandal kingdom forms in northern Africa. It lasts until 535. The Arian heresy dominates this region.


Saint Patrick begins mission to Ireland.


Attila rules the Huns. He dies in 453.


Vandal forces under King Gaiseric capture Roman Carthage.


Pope Leo the Great elected Pope. He serves until 461.
449 Traditional date the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes invade the part of Britain that will become England, introducing Old English as a language to the Celtic-speaking island. The Jutes under Hengest and Horsa conquer Kent (southeastern section of modern England).

Folklore attributes Saint Patrick with the invention of whiskey--though Romans probably brewed "aqua vitae" as early as 50 BCE.

Establishment of the seven liberal arts as regular course of study in medieval colleges. Probably no connection to earlier events this year.

450-700 earliest possible period for Old English poems reflecting continental life (dates contested in scholarly circles)


Attila the Hun invades Gaul. Franks, Romans, and Alemanni repulse him at the battle of Châlons.


Attila the Hun invades northern Italy
453 Death of Atilla the Hun.


Gaiseric and the Vandals sack Rome. Death of Emperor Valentinian.


The so-called "White Huns" dominate northern India.


Theodoric the Great, King of the Ostrogoths. He rules until 526.


Romulus Augustus declared Roman Emperor. He will be the last one.


Rome falls in its final death spasms under Romulus Augustulus. Odovacar the Goth and his forces depose Romulus Augustus. Traditional end of the Western Roman Empire, though the Eastern half continues and grows into the Byzantine Empire.


Huneric, Vandal King of North Africa, rules until 484.

Budhagupta, the last major Gupta Emperor in northern India, ascends to the throne. He rules until 495.





Clovis becomes King of the Franks. He rules until 511.


Gunthamund, Vandal king of North Africa, rules until 523.


Theodoric the Great becomes king of all Italy. His rule reinforces the dominance of the Arian heresy in place of Orthodox Catholicism.


Death of Budhagupta in northern India.


Thrasamund, Vandal King of North Africa, rules to 523.

King Clovis of the Franks converts to Christianity.


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