Dictionary of Art and Artists  
Dictionary of Photographers  
Dictionary of Writers and Philosophers  

Visual History of the World




From Prehistoric to Romanesque  Art
Gothic Art
Renaissance  Art
Baroque and Rococo Art
The Art of Asia
Neoclassicism, Romanticism  Art
Art Styles in 19th century
Art of the 20th century
Artists that Changed the World
Design and Posters
Classical Music
Literature and Philosophy

Visual History of the World
I. Prehistory
II. First Empires
III. The Ancient World
IV. The Middle Ages
V. The Early Modern Period
VI. The Modern Era
VII. The World Wars and Interwar Period
VIII. The Contemporary World

Dictionary of Art and Artists


Visual History of the World





Visual History of the World - part IV

The Middle Ages



Timeline Four


410 Sack of Rome by the Visigoth Alaric
451 Attila, leader of the Huns, a Central Asian people, invades Gaul from Eastern Europe and, in 452, Italy
476 The Western Roman Empire falls and its territories are divided among various local rulers
с. 493 Theodoric, Eastern Roman Emperor, establishes the Ostrogoth kingdom in Italy, based in Ravenna
432 St. Patrick (died с 461) founds Celtic church in Ireland

Justinian, Eastern Roman Emperor (r. 527-565) with Empress Theodora. Their reign is marked by peace, monumental legal reforms, and attempts to reunite the Empire and reconquer lost imperial lands
568 Lombard kingdom created in northern Italy
529 St. Benedict (c. 480-с 550), founds Benedictine monastic order and writes The Rule, guidelines for monasteries
Pope Gregory the Great (r. 590-604)

600-800 Golden Age of Celtic culture
622 Mohammed (c. 570-632) flees persecution in Mecca, founds Islamic religion and state. Beginning of Moslem chronology
635 Lindisfame monastery founded in northern England

661750 Omayyad dynasty of caliphs in Damascus; high period of Moslem empire; 756, an Islamic state established in the Iberian Peninsula, centered in the city of Cordova 669-690 Theodore of Tarsus begins organization of English rival groups; period of Greco-Roman cultural revival
697 (traditional) First doge of Venice elected by governing council

71115 Conquest of North Africa and Spain by Moslems; much of the Mediterranean controlled by the Arabs
717 Leo III, Byzantine emperor (r. 717-741) defeats Arab invaders and establishes a period of peace; 726, his prohibition of images in churches sparks the Iconoclastic Controversy

756 Pepin the Short, king of the Franks (r. 747-768), defeats the Lombards in Italy and destroys their kingdom. His gift of conquered Central Italian lands to the pope (the Papal States) allows the papacy to be independent and earns France a privileged position
Charlemagne (r. 768-814), Pepin's successor, establishes control of most of Europe. His organization of European society into semiautonomous regional centers (called marks) becomes the basis for feudal society; 800, crowned Holy Roman Emperor by the pope. Charlemagne's empire is divided after his death into eastern and western Frankish kingdoms (approximately present-day France and Germany)
Harun al-Rashid, fifth of the Abbasid caliphs (r. 786-809), rules at the zenith of the Islamic empire from his brilliant Babylonian court
Irene, first empress of Byzantium (r. 797-802)
St. Angilbert (c. 750-814), monk at Charlemagne's court, rebuilds St.-Riquier abbey
St. Boniface (died 755) converts Germanic peoples to Christianity
St. Theodore the Studite (759-826) defends use of icons

800-900 Invasions by Scandinavian peoples in the North, Moslems in the Mediterranean, and Magyars from the East destabilize much of Europe, which suffers extended warfare
804-807 Vikings invade Ireland and, 856-875, British Isles. By 878, Danes control Scotland

с. 850-900 Angkor Thom, capital of the Khmer people, founded in what is now Cambodia. The moated city covers five square miles and has elaborate temples and palaces
с. 900 Toltec people settle in Mexico; they clash with the Maya in Yucatan

907 In China, the Five Dynasties period sees the land politically divided
с. 900 Russia converts to Christianity under the Eastern Orthodox church
910 Abbey of Cluny founded in France. Cluniac organization of monasteries and reforming methods spread through Europe

962 Otto I the Great, ruler of Germany (r. 936-973). defeats Magyar invaders and assumes crown of the Holy Roman Empire
Capetian kings (later, kings of France, 987-1792) come to power in Prankish kingdom with Hugh Capet (r. 987-996)
Bishop Bernward (bishop 993-1022) makes Hildesheim, in Germany, a cultural and artistic center

1016 Normans arrive in Italy from northern France, establishing a kingdom in the south, 1071, by taking Bari; between 1072 and 1091 they take Sicily, evicting the Arabs who had possessed the island
First kings of Scotland; Duncan I (r. 1034 40), murdered by the usurper Macbeth (r. 1040-57), himself defeated by Malcolm Canmore (r. 1057-93). Beginning of Anglicization of Scotland
Henry III the Black (r. 1039-56) aggressively asserts German imperial authority by personally nominating new popes and mastering the duchies of Poland, Hungary, and Bohemia

1066 French Normans under William the Conqueror, duke of Normandy, invade England and defeat local forces under King Harold at Battle of Hastings. William crowned king of England
1083 Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor (ruler of Germany), invades Italy in a dispute with the pope; 1084, Rome sacked by Normans. Ensuing political chaos results in increased power of individual German principates and weakening of papacy
1096 First Crusade, called by Pope Urban II in 1095, to retake the Holy Land from the Moslems for Christianity. A disorganized mass of mostly French, Norman, and Flemish nobles and peasants, 30,000 or more, leaves Europe for Palestine in several waves; an estimated 12,000 are killed in Asia Minor; 1097-99, the crusading force takes Nicaea, Antioch, and Jerusalem, which is sacked
1054 Final schism between Eastern (Orthodox) and Western (Catholic) Christian Churches
с. 1115 St. Bernard (1091-1153) founds the ascetic Cistercian order at the Abbey of Clairvaux, in northern France

Foundation of the crusading orders of knighthood: 1113, Knights Hospitalers; 1118, Templars; 1190, Teutonic Knights
1122 Suger becomes abbot of St.-Denis, near Paris, and adviser to kings Louis VI and Louis VII
1147-49 Second Crusade called, urged by the preaching of St. Bernard of Clairvaux; it achieves little. Suger is regent of France

1171 Salah al-Din (Saladin), ruler of Egypt, dominates Damascus and captures Syria; 1187, he recaptures Jerusalem for Islam
1189-92 Third Crusade, a fruitless attempt to regain Jerusalem, led by Frederick I Barbarossa, Holy Roman Emperor, King Richard I the Lionhearted, of England, and King Philip II of France, all of them rivals; the papacy is largely excluded. Project ends with capture of English king Richard I. The crusading armies, unable to oust Saladin from Palestine, conclude a pact with him that permits Christian pilgrims to visit Jerusalem unmolested

1202-4 Fourth Crusade sets out for Palestine in Venetian ships. Diverted to Christian Constantinople, crusaders sack the city; entire enterprise excommunicated by the pope; 1208-74, numerous other crusades shift possession of lands in the Middle East from one of the Western powers to another, and confront the Moslems, who nevertheless hold Jerusalem from 1244 until 1917
120623 Mongol ruler Genghis Khan crosses Asia and Russia, threatening Europe
1215 Magna Carta, a pact between the English monarch and the feudal barons, signed by King John. The document, limiting the absolute powers of the monarchy, is the genesis of a new constitution that places the law over the will of the king, contains new legal, religious, and taxation rights for the individual, including the right to a trial and other reforms, and establishes a parliament
1215 Fourth Lateran Council of bishops, in Rome, establishes major Catholic doctrines: transubstantiation, practice of confession, and worship of relics
1223 St. Francis of Assisi founds Franciscan monastic order, emphasizing poverty

Louis IX, king of France (St. Louis, r. 1226-70), leads Seventh and Eighth Crusades

1254-73 Period of strife in Germany, with contested claims to the throne of the Holy Roman Empire, confirms fractured nature of individual German states and signals the end of the empire as a political power
By 1263 Papal grant to trade awarded to Teutonic Knights, originally a crusading order of chivalry. The order grows powerful in the absence of any strong monarch and controls much of Prussia, northern Germany, and parts of Lithuania and Poland. Founds numerous independent cities as a mercantile corporation; these later form part of the Hanseatic League of free trading cities of Northern Europe
1271-95 The trader Marco Polo travels from Venice to the court of Kublai Khan. His journeys through India, China, Burma, and Persia open the first diplomatic relations between European and Asian nations

1289 Tohn of Montecorvino establishes a permanent Christian mission in China
1290 Jews expelled from England; 1306, from France
1295 King Edward I of England institutes the Model Parliament, first bicameral English parliament

1302 First known convocation of French estates-general, parliamentary assembly of the crown, clergy, and commons, to support Philip IV the Fair in his struggle with Pope Boniface VIII over questions of papal authority
1305 Fearing political anarchy and desperate conditions in Rome, Pope Clement V establishes Avignon as the primary residence of the papacy; beginning of the so-called Babylonian Captivity (to 1376)
1310-13 Holy Roman Emperor Henry VII invades Italy to reestablish imperial rule

1325 Foundation of the city of Tenochtitlan by the Aztecs
1337 Hundred Years' War between England and France begins (until 1453)
1347-50 Black Death in Europe. Bubonic plague kills an estimated one-third of population

1356 Edward, the "Black Prince," son of Edward III of England, defeats the French at Poitiers and takes prisoner Jean le Bon, king of France
с. 1358 Foundation of the powerful Hanseatic League of Baltic mercantile cities
Peasant uprisings: 1358, Jacquerie revolt in France; 1381, Wat Tyler's rebellion in England, London sacked
1368 In China, the Buddhist monk Chu Yuan-chang leads a peasants' revolt, driving the Mongols out of Beijing and founding the Ming dynasty, taking the title Hung-wu
Timur (Tamerlane, с 1369-1405), Mongol leader, with capital at Samarkand, establishes the Timurid empire, conquering much of the Mideast and Persia and invading India

1378 Papal court returns to Rome from Avignon. Great Papal Schism begins, in which several candidates compete for the papacy
c. 1382 John Wycliffe, English theologian and religious reformer, initiates first complete translation of the Bible into English

1410 Teutonic Knights defeated by Poles and Lithuanians at battle of Tennenberg, ending their sole jurisdiction over Prussia
Philip the Good of Burgundy (r. 1419-67) inherits the Northern Provinces; including Holland, Flanders, and Luxembourg, it is one of the largest and richest holdings in Europe and a threat to France
1405-15 Jan Hus, influenced by Wycliffe, leads the Hussite movement to reform the church in Bohemia and denounces sale of indulgences; 1415, burned at the stake as a heretic at the Council of Constance
1417 Pope Martin V ends Great Schism

1438 Hapsburg rule of the Holy Roman Empire (later Germany and Austria) begins (until 1806)
By 1450 Medici family, founded by Cosimo the Elder (1389-1464), gains power in Florence; 1469-92, Lorenzo the Magnificent virtually rules the city
1431 Joan of Arc burned at the stake in Rouen, accused of heresy and witchcraft
1439 Council of Florence attempts to reunite the Eastern Orthodox church with the Western Catholics; its success is short-lived

1453 Constantinople falls to the Turkish army of Mohammed II; Ottoman Empire founded
Matthias the Just (r. 1458-90) establishes Hungary as dominant power in central Europe
1469 Marriage of Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile unites Spain
1464 Pope Pius II, humanist and patron of learning, dies during a failed crusade against the Turks
Pope Sixtus IV (r. 1471-84) condemns the excesses of the Spanish Inquisition and tries to reunite Russian church with Rome

1477 French army defeats Charles the Bold of Burgundy at Nancy. Northern Provinces pass to Maximilian, Hapsburg emperor; 1488, Flemish cities revolt against his rule
1478 Pazzi Conspiracy in Florence; Giuliano de' Medici assassinated during Easter mass, and Pazzi family decimated in revenge; 1480, turmoil among Tuscan city-states quelled by Lorenzo's leadership
1492 Defeat of Moslem Grenada by the Spanish Christian powers; 1502, expulsion of Jews and Moors
1493-94 Territories of South America divided between Spain and Portugal by the pope
1494 Medici rulers expelled for the first time from Florence; a republic declared
1495-96 Charles VIII of France invades Italian peninsula and claims the kingdom of Naples; repulsed by the Holy League (the Papacy, Spain, and Holy Roman Empire)
1494 Rise in Florence of Fra Girolamo Savonarola
(1452-98), monk and religious radical advocating moral and governmental reform; 1498, he is burned at the stake for heresy


Timeline Four



Roman philosopher whose Consolation of Philosophy held the struggle for knowledge to be the highest expression of love of God

с. 400 Invention of the stirrup in China
с. 410 First records of alchemical experiments, in which science and myth are utilized to try to create gold from metal

с. 550 Procopius of Caesarea writes Buildings, on architecture and public works of the Byzantine Empire
с. 600 Chinese invent woodblock printing

c. 600 Gregorian chants widely used in Catholic mass
Isidore of Seville (died 636), encyclopedist

с. 600 Stirrup introduced in Western Europe
604 First church bell made in Rome

652 Koran written
The Venerable Bede (673-735), English writer and historian, primary member of Theodore of Tarsus' intellectual group

Early 700s "BEOWULF", English epic

Rhabanus Maurus (784-856), German encyclopedist

с. 800 Carolingian schools chartered by Charlemagne, encouraging study of Latin texts

c. 800 First version of The Thousand and One Nights (
"The Arabian Nights", a collection of Arabian stories of the court of Harun al-Rashid

822 Earliest documented church organ, Aachen

Virgin and Child Enthroned, mosaic, Hagia Sophia, Constantinople, c. 843-867

с. 850 Horse collar adopted in Western Europe for draft work
860 Danish Vikings discover Iceland; с 866, they attack England; с 980, they find Greenland

Ibn Sina (Avicenna) (980-1037?), Arab physician and interpreter of Aristotle, active in Persia and the Middle East; chief medical authority of the Middle Ages

с. 1000 Ottoman revival in Germany
с. 1000 Development of modern music notation system in Europe
Solomon ibn Gabirol (1020-70) Jewish poet and philosopher active in Moslem Spain
с. 1000 Urban development of Europe begins; cities grow steadily in importance and size throughout the Middle Ages. Use of abacus for computation in Europe
1002 Leif Ericson sails to North America and establishes a settlement
Speyer Cathedral, Germany, begun 1030

с. 1004 MURASAKI SHIKIBU "The Tale of Genji"

с. 1050 Chanson de Roland ("SONG OF ROLAND"), French epic tale Hariulf (c. 1060-1143), a monk at St.-Riquier, author of a history of the monastery

ABELARD PETER  (1079?-1144), French Nominalist philosopher at the University of Paris, author of Sic et Non, a theological inquiry, and opponent of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, "The Love Letters of Abelard and Heloise"

The Bayeux Tapestry  after 1066

1086 Domesday survey in England, first full census of a population, for taxation purposes. Domesday Book, containing collected data, compiled

с. 1100 Chretien de Troves, French poet, writes Arthurian romances
Omar Khayyam (c. 1100), Persian poet
Early 1100s Troubadour poetry and music, a courtly, intricate style, often on the theme of love, popular in France and Italy
Ibn Rushd (Averroes) (c. 1126-98), Spanish Moslem physician and philosopher, author of treatises on Plato and Aristotle
1100s Moorish paper mills in operation; use in Italy of lateen sail for improved sailing; soap in widespread use;
Theophilus Presbyter, German scholar, publishes manual on building and decorating a cathedral

с. 1160 Nibelungenleid, German epic
Nicholas Mesarites (c. 1163-after 1214), Byzantine chronicler
Late 1100s
"Carmina Burana", a collection of popular secular poems
Albertus Magnus (1192-1280), German Scholastic philosopher
Matthew Paris (c. 1200-59), French historian
с. 1150 Crossbow, more effective than the standard bow and arrow, in widespread use
Notre-Dame Cathedral, Paris, 1163-c. 1250
с. 1170 Leonardo of Pisa, Italian mathematician, introduces Hindu mathematics, geometry, and algebra
1180-1223 Philip II of France embarks on a rebuilding of Paris. Roads are paved, walls erected, and, с 1200, the Louvre palace is begun
1193 First merchant guild, England

1200 Foundation of the University of Paris (called the Sorbonne after 1257);
1209 University of Valencia;
1242 University of Salamanca; these become centers for interchange between Arabs and Christians
1200s Use of coal gains over wood fuel; mining begins in Liege, France. Advances in seafaring: sternpost rudder and compass in use in Europe; spinning wheel and gunpowder introduced

St. THOMAS AQUINAS (1225-74),

Italian Scholastic philosopher. His Summa Theologica, a founding text of Catholic teaching, examines the relationship between faith and intellect, religion and society

BACON ROGER (died 1292),

English scientist who utilized observation and experiment in studying natural forces

Vincent of Beauvais (died 1264), French encyclopedist

DANTE ALIGHIERI (1265-1321), author of "The Divine Comedy", in Tuscan vernacular. The poem is immensely influential for the development of the Italian language

1266-83 The Golden Legend, a collection of apocryphal religious stories by the Italian prelate Jacopo da Voragine (c. 1228-98)

Giotto (1267-1337)

c. 1297 Publication of Marco Polo's Book of Various Experiences. These enormously popular tales of travels in the Far East fostered a general interest in foreign lands
Late 1200s Arabic numerals introduced in Europe
с 1286 Spectacles invented

c. 1300 The Roman de la Rose, satire on society written in vernacular French
William of Ockham (c. 1300-49), English Nominalist philosopher, stresses mystical experience over rational understanding

PETRARCH (1304-74), Italian humanist scholar and poet "Song Book"

BOCCACCIO  GIOVANNI (1313-75), Italian author of "The Decameron", a collection of tales

Early 1300s Earliest cast iron in Europe; gunpowder first used for launching projectiles

1325-27 Ibn Batutah (1304-c. 1368), Arab traveler and scholar, visits North Africa, the Mideast, and Persia; 1334, reaches India and later, 1342, China; his memoirs contain commentary on political and social customs
Franco Sacchetti (1332?1400), Italian poet and author of Three Hundred Stories

CHAUCER  GEOFFREY (1340-1400), English diplomat and author of The Canterbury Tales.

1335-45 Artillery first used on ships
1340 Francesco Pegolotti writes The Merchant's Handbook, an Italian manual for traders
1346 Longbow replaces crossbow: at the Battle of Crecy the English use it to defeat the French, including cavalry; greater participation of foot soldiers in warfare follows

1361 Foundation of the University of Pavia, in northern Italy
Christine de Pizan (c. 1363-c. 1430), French writer of poems on courtly love, best known for her spirited defense of women in The Book of the City of Ladies, с. 1404-5
Leonardo Bruni (1370-1444), prominent humanist and classical scholar in Florence, author of Praise of the City of Florence, 1402-3
1355 Death of Jacopo Dondi (b. 1298), creator of an early clock run by weights
Bohemian Master Death of the Virgin, Prague, 1350-60

1395-98 Manuel Chrysoloras, a Byzantine Greek scholar, teaches Greek in Florence; translates Plato's Republic into Latin; author of first Greek grammar used in Western Europe
1375 Charles V of France commissions the Carta catalana, an accurate map of Europe, North Africa, and Western Asia
Prince Henry the Navigator of Portugal (1394-1460) sponsors exploration, especially of the African coasts, an observatory, a school of navigation, and improvements in ship design, the compass, and cartography
1398 Cennino Cennini writes the Libro dell' arte, a technical manual for painters

Brunelleschi Filippo (b. 1377, Firenze, d. 1446, Firenze)

Sluter Claus (d. с. 1405) The Moses Well, Dijon, 1395-1406

Limbourg brothers (Herman, Paul, and Johan; 1385-1416)

Jan van Eyck (1395-1441)

Rogier van der Weyden (1399-1464)


Leone Battista Alberti (1404-72) writes influential treatises On Painting, 1435, On Architecture, 1452, and On Sculpture, 1464
1406 King Edward IV of England founds the Society of Merchant Adventurers to encourage trade and commerce
1407 Establishment of Bank of St. George, first public bank, in Genoa
1410 Ptolemy's Geography translated into Latin
c. 1413 Pictorial perspective invented in Italy, by Filippo Brunelleschi
Florence Cathedral
, begun by Arnolfo Di Cambio, 1296;
dome by
Brunelleschi Filippo, 1420-36

Donatello (c. 1386-1466), St. Mark, 1411-13

Gentile da Fabriano (1370-1427) The Adoration of the Magi, Italy, 1423

Francois Villon (born с 1431), French poet
Marsilio Ficino (1433-99), humanist and philosopher, undertakes a translation of Plato, under the patronage of the Medici in Florence
Josquin des Pres (c. 1445-1521), Flemish composer of madrigals
Pope Nicholas V (r. 1447-55) founds Vatican Library
c. 1425 Discovery and proliferation in Northern Europe of the technique of painting with oil
с. 1440 Earliest record of a suction pump

ERASMUS DESIDERIUS of Rotterdam (c. 1466 1536),

scholar and satirical author (Praise of Folly, 1509), epitomizes the humanist intellectual concerns of the Northern Reformation

с. 1450 Movable type for printing invented in Germany (by Johann Gutenberg?); books become more readily available; literacy gradually spreads

Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) performs dissections of human cadavers; his experiments in hydraulics, mechanics, engineering, flight, and optics, recorded in coded manuscripts, address a dazzling range of intellectual and scientific problems

Durer Albrecht (1471-1528)


1481 A commentary on DANTE ALIGHIERI "The Divine Comedy" is published, with illustrations by Botticelli and a preface by Marsilio Ficino

1494 Sebastian Brant (1458?-1521), German humanist, writes The Ship of Fools, a satirical poem
1487-88 Bartholomew Diaz of Portugal rounds Cape of Good Hope and circumnavigates African continent
1490 First Latin edition of Galen's works on medicine published in Venice
1492 Columbus lands in the Bahamas
1497-1501 Voyages of Vasco da Gama and Pedro Cabral establish Portuguese dominance of trade with India, utilizing both Atlantic and Pacific sea passages

Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510)

Hieronymus Bosch

Lucas Cranach the Elder

Michelangelo (

Giorgione (14771510)

Raphael (1483-1520)

Titian (1488-1576)

Hans Holbein the Younger (1497-1543)


Discuss Art

Please note: site admin does not answer any questions. This is our readers discussion only.

| privacy