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6th Century, 501 to 600

501  In Central America, the Maya are peaking in economic prosperity. The civilization at Teotihuacán (in what is today Mexico) begins to decline and its people are migrating to the greatest Mayan city, Tikal, bringing with them ideas about weaponry and new ritual practices. Maya population is rising.

507  The Franks, who are Catholic, use the Arian Christianity of the Visigoths as an excuse to expand against them – Catholics seeing Arianism as a heresy. The Franks defeat the Visigoths, kill their king, Alaric II, and drive them into Spain.

511  Clovis, king of the Franks, dies and, as is custom among the Franks, the lands of Clovis are divided among his four sons, beginning the sordid rule of Europe's "Merovingian" kings.

523  In northern China, power within the Tuoba Wei family (a Xiongnu family rather than Chinese) has passed to a dowager queen who is a devout Buddhist – Queen Hu.

524  One of the four sons of Clovis, Clodomer, dies, and two of the other sons of Clovis, Clotaire and Childebert, seize Clodomer's lands for themselves and murder his children.

525  Living in Italy under the rule of Theodoric, king of the Ostrogoths, Boethius has been accused of treason and imprisoned. He has written his work On the Consolation of Philosophy while in captivity, and in a year he is executed.

528  Hephthalites (White Huns) have moved from the Hindu Kush into the Punjab and eastward across the Ganges Valley, ravaging cities, towns and Buddhist monasteries, and now they are driven back, out of the Ganges Valley.

528  Despite her Buddhism, Queen Hu has resorted to an old monarchist tool: killing people. She has executed lovers who have displeased her. She has forced a rival into a convent and has had her executed, and in 528 she executes her son, who was growing restless under the tutelage of her lovers.

529  Justinian, Catholic Roman emperor at Constantinople since 518, closes down Plato's old academy in Athens as part of a move to stamp out paganism.

531  Khosrau I, of the Sassanian dynasty, comes to power in Persia. He has crushed the communistic Mazdakite movement and has ended decades of disorder. He is to support Zoroastrianism and to reform and improve Persia's economy, making taxes more equitable and curbing the power of aristocrats.

533  Getting the world ready for the Second Coming of Christ, Emperor Justinian sends his army to reconquer what had been parts of the Roman Empire. In North Africa he defeats the Vandals, who are Arian Christians, and he conquers territory and souls for the Church.

534  Continuing the Frankish tradition of making war for the sake of plunder, Clotaire and Childebert have overrun the kingdom of Burgundy – including the cities of Lyons and Geneva. The royal dynasty in Burgundy ends with the death of Gundimar. An independent Kingdom of Burgundy is no more.

534  Toledo becomes the capital of the Visigoth kingdom in Spain.

534  Outraged court officials rebel against Queen Hu. She cuts her hair and seeks refuge in a Buddhist nunnery, but the officials drag her out and assassinate her. Also, two thousands courtiers are killed. Northern China divides between western and eastern halves of the Wei dynasty.

536  Justinian's army invades Italy at Naples.

550  What had been Roman-ruled Britain is largely divided among illiterate Anglo-Saxon warlords, surrounded by men who are preoccupied with fighting, valor and loyalty. They look with contempt upon the what they see as the defeated God of the defeated Christians.

550  Rule in India is again divided among numerous kingdoms. Profitable trade with the Roman Empire has ended, and trade with Persia had also declined, which brings decline to some of India's cities. In India a movement called Bhakti has begun and is growing. They practice humility and sing of their adoration and love for a generous, merciful, supreme God.

554  Justinian's' army defeats the Ostrogoths of Italy.  Rome and much of Italy is in ruin. The Pope and Catholicism now reign supreme in Rome and central Italy. The Trinity version of Christianity has won against Arianism, violence again deciding a matter of theology.

560  The Hephthalites have returned to their power center near Samarkand. They are attacked, defeated by a Persian-Turkish alliance, the Persians taking revenge for the defeat that the Hephthalites had given their forefathers the previous century. The Hephthalites vanish as an identifiable people.

560  Ethelbert I succeeds his warlord father, Eormenric, in a kingdom in southern England called Kent – one of the older if not oldest Anglo-Saxon settlements in England, dating from the mid-400s or a couple of decades earlier. The young Ethelbert is soon to marry the Catholic daughter of the king of Paris, Charibert, a grandson of Clovis.

568  Constantinople has been weakened by its prolonged wars and by warring tribes into its empire. The Lombards invade Italy, reaching Milan.

577  A Xiongnu chieftain, Yan Ch'ien, unifies northern China by force.

581  Diffusion brings Chinese rule in northern China back to the Chinese. The Xiongnu chieftain, Yan Ch'ien, dies in 580 under mysterious circumstances. Replacing him is his son-in-law, Yang Jian, a tough Buddhist soldier from an aristocratic Chinese family, who has had the title Duke of Sui. Yang Jian proclaims that heaven and earthly signs indicate that he, being virtuous and wise, has been designated by heaven as the rightful successor. He takes the name Emperor Wen, and to eliminate rivalry he has fifty-nine people murdered. The Sui Dynasty has begun.

587  In Japan, the Soga clan, which has intermarried with the royal Yamato family, fights the Mononobe and Nakatomi clans over influence in selecting a successor to the Emperor Yomei has taken place. The Soga favor importing Buddhism from the Asian mainland, described there as the religion of the most civilized. The Mononobe and Nakatomi hold that Buddhism would be an affront to the gods of the emperor. The Soga win the civil war. The head of the Soga family, Umako, makes his nephew, Sujun, emperor.

588  In Spain, the king of the Visigoths, Recared I, has discarded Arian Christian and converts to Catholicism. And as the king goes, so goes his nation.

589  From northern China, Emperor Wen has gained power through the south. After 271 years of division, China is again united.

592  Emperor Sujun wants to be rid of his benefactor, Umako, but Umako strikes first and has Sujun murdered. Umako places his thirty-nine year-old daughter, Suiko, on the throne and makes her twenty-nine year-old nephew, Shotoku, regent.

594  Shotoku converts Suiko to Buddhism. Buddhism becomes the state religion and is called upon to protect the Japanese nation.

600  Monotheistic religion has spread to Arabia. Jews have been in Arabia for centuries. Christian missionaries have been in Arabia for more than a century. The entire Arabian province of Najran is Christian. Christianity has been established superficially in various other centers of trade, and Arabs living on the borders of Constantinople's empire and Persia's empire have been influenced by those empires.

5th Century (401 to 500 CE) | 7th Century (601 to 700 CE)

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