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Timeline 700-800:

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The Arabs conquer Tunis. Coptic Christianity is neary wiped out.
First surviving samples of Porcelain from the T'ang Dynasty in China.
Chinese invent ships with stern-post rudder.

C. 700 So-called "School of Caedmon" flourishes in Britain. Anglo-Saxon biblical paraphrases such as Genesis A and B, Exodus, Daniel, and the poem Judith written about this time.


Ethiopians attack Arab shipping in the Red Sea. Arabs in turn occupy Ethiopian seaports.


Muslims capture Tangier.


Muslims capture Ceuta.


Justinian II confirms papal privileges.
Roderic becomes the last Visigoth king over Spain, ruling until 711 CE.


Arab and Berber Moors invade Spain. Visigoth king Roderic is overthrown and Christian rule ends in his region of Spain.


Muslims establish a state in Sind (modern day Pakistan)


Second Arab siege of Constantinople commences.


Second Arab siege of Constantinople collapses in failure. Constantinople remains unconquered.


Visigothic prince Pelayo founds a guerilla kingdom (Asturias) in Spanish mountains. The Moors now hold most of the rest of Spain and Portugal, but continue to advance northwards.
Christian forces defeat Moorish army at the battle of Covadonga.


Byzantine Emperor Leo III, perhaps strongly influenced by Islamic taunts, begins the Iconoclast Movement. He believes that the depictions, sculptures, and other images of saints and Apostles are being worshipped in an idolatrous manner. He outlaws such art and orders the destruction of existing artwork. Pope Gregory II opposes his policy.

King Ine of Wessex first creates "Peter's Pence" tax to support a college in Rome.


The power struggle between Emperor and Pope intensifies. Pope Gregory II excommunicates Emperor Leo III.
731 The Venerable Bede completes his history of the Church in England, The Ecclesiastical History of the English People. It is the first history written of the English people as a whole.


Charles Martel "The Hammer" (Charlemagne's grandfather and the gris eminence behind the Frankish court as mayor of the palace) meets a Moorish force in Tours. He defeats the Moors, halting the northward advance of Islam into Europe.


Leo III withdraws Byzantine provinces of southern Italy from papal jurisdiction.


Death of the Venerable Bede. On his death-bed, he tells his grievous brother-monks, "Do not weep for me. Today is my birthday."


Charles Martel "The Hammer" defeats the Moors at Narbonne.


Second Coptic rebellion in Egypt.


Pepin the Short succeeds his father, Charles Martel "The Hammer," in the important position of Mayor of the Palace.


Greeks retake Cyprus from the Arabs.

c. 750-800?

Beowulf written in current form (date is a matter of debate--many scholars like Kevin Kiernan argue it is two centuries younger).

Flourishing period of Christian poetry in Northumbria (preserved in later West Saxon versions)

So-called "School of Cynewulf": Christ narrative, Elene, Juliana, Fates of the Apostles, Andreas, various saints' lives, the Phoenix.


Pepin the Short crowned King of the Franks, founding the Carolingian Dynasty.
Arabs defeat Chinese forces at Samarkand.
756 Abd-al-Rahman ibn Mu'awiya establishes Omayyad control in Cordoba, Spain.
Pepin the Short leads Frankish army to protect Pope Stephen III from the Lombards. Formation of the Papal states in Italy.


Offa inherits throne of Mercia. He builds Offa's Dike as a defense against Welsh incursions.


Third Coptic revolt commences in Egypt.
770 Oldest known block-printing (Buddhist magic charms).


Charlemagne inherits Frankish throne from his deceased father, Pepin. He rules until 814.


Charlemagne conquers Saxony and converts it by the sword to Christianity.

Third Coptic revolt in Egypt collapses.


Charlegmagne annexes Lombardy into his holdings.


Moors and Basques defeat Franks at Roncesvalles in the border mountains between Spain and France. This leads to the inspiration for The Song of Roland in medieval literature.
779 Offa, King of Mercia, becomes dominant over all the other Ango-Saxon kingdoms in England.


Constantine VI becomes figure-head Byzantine Emperor. In actual fact, the power behind the throne is Irene, his domineering mother.


Charlemagne summons the monk/scholar Saint Alcuin from York to head the palace school of Aachen, leading to a revival of learning in Europe.


Harun al-Raschid, Caliph at Baghdad, rules to 809 CE.

Council of Nicea orders resumed veneration of images in the Church.

Lost Danish ship lands at Portland Bill. King's reeve at Dorchester tries to collect taxes from them, and the confused Danes kill them--the first "Viking Invasion" foreshadowing later large-scale incursions.


Charlemagne annexes Bavaria.


Constantine VI imprisons his domineering mother and assumes power.


Death of Offa ends Mercian dominance in England.


Irene, Empress of Byzantium has her son blinded. She is eventually deposed in 802 CE.


Pope Leo III crowns Charlemagne as Holy Roman Emperor of the West.

Vikings attack Germany.

Feudal system develops among the Franks and spreads across Europe during the 800s.

Carolingian miniscule script invented by various scholars under the auspices of Saint Alcuin, the Anglo-Saxon abbot serving the Frankish Emperor, Charlemagne, in the abbey of Tours.

Music cultivated in monasteries during the 800s; development of "sequences" or elaborated passages in liturgical music.

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These timelines are intended as a rough guide for students seeking historical context rather than an authoritative research source. I consulted the following works while preparing this list. When sources differed on estimated dates, I used my best judgment to select an accurate date, but I will bow to the correction of professional historians.


  • Baugh, A. C. and Thomas Cable. A History of the English Language. 3rd edition. NJ: Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1978. [Now superseded by a sixth edition]
  • Cooke, Jean et al. History's Timeline: A 40,000 Year Chronology of Civilization. Ed. Fay Franklin. NY: Barnes and Noble, 1981. Updated 1996.
  • Crow, Martin and Virginia E. Leland. "A Chronology of Chaucer's Life and Times." As condensed and reproduced in Larry Benson's The Canterbury Tales, Complete. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2000. xxiii-xxv.
  • Englebert, Omer. The Lives of the Saints. Trans. Christopher and Anne Fremantle. NY: Barnes and Noble, 1994.
  • Haywood, John. The Penguin Historical Atlas of the Vikings. London: Penguin Books, 1995.
  • Lau, D. C., ed. "Chronological Table." Tao Te Ching. London: Penguin Books, 1963.
  • McEvedy, Colin. The New Penguin Atlas of Medieval History. London: Penguin Books, n. d.
  • Schafer, Edward H. Ancient China. Ed. Russelll Bourne, et al. Great Ages of Man Series. NY: Time-Life Books, 1967. Reprint 1976.
  • Urban, Linwood. A Short History of Christian Thought. Revised edition. NY: Oxford University Press, 1995.



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