529Justinian Code Commission appointed by Justinian publishes the first version of the Corpus Juris Civilis, compiling Roman imperial law. That same year, Justinian orders the closure of the Academy of Athens, founded back in 347 BC by Plato.
530 - A series of defeats against the Berbers, prompts a crisis in the Vandal kingdom. Arian extremist King Gelimer of the Vandals takes over and ignites persecutions of his Catholic subjects.
531 - Franks of Austrasia conquer the Thuringians (central Germany) and incorporate them as Frankish subject tribes.
531 - Pope Boniface II issues decree by which the Pope is allowed to designate his successor and applies it immediately, appointing his favorite, Vigilius, son of a powerful Roman consul, as his successor. Opposition to the measure prompts him to withdraw and burn the decree.
531 - Nika riots Rivalry between chariot-team fans slips into violent rioting, killing thirty thousand, destroying half of Constantinople and nearly toppling Justinian I.
Death of the unpoular Pope Boniface II, first pope not to be declared a saint. Ascension of Pope John II.
Eternal Peace signed between Byzantine Emperor Justinian I and Persian King Chosroes I.
Franks attack the Burgundians.
Byzantine-Vandal War. Emperor Justinian declares war on the Vandals. While the Vandal fleets is distracted suppressing an uprising in Sardinia, the Byzantine general Belisarius lands his troops in Tunisia in late Summer and heads towards the Vandal capital, Carthage. The armies meet at the Battle of Ad Decimum ten miles south of Carthage. An imminent Vandal victory turns swiftly into a defeat, when Vandal king Gelimer, hearing the news of his nephew's death on the battlefield, lets his war-plan slip and Vandal ranks fall into chaos, permitting Belisarius to regroup and rout the Vandals. Carthage is captured soon afterwards.
December, 533 Belisarius defeats the Vandals again at the Battle of Ticameron.
End of the Vandals Vandal king Gelimer surrenders to Byzantine general Belisarius near Hippo. The Vandal kingdom is dissolved and incorporated into Byzantine Empire as the "Exarchate of Africa".
Final version of the Justinian code is published.
534 With the center of gravity of their kingdom now in Spain, the Visigothic capital is transferred from Narbonne to Toledo.
Frankish conquest of Burgundy The Frankish kings Clotaire of Soissons and Childibert of Neustria conquer the Kingdom of Burgundy and overthrow Godomar. The Kingdom of the Burgundians is annexed by the Franks, but maintained as a distinct kingdom under the joint rule of Clotaire and Childebert.
Death of the young king Athalaric of the Ostrogoths. His mother, the regent-queen Amalaswintha, has her cousin appointed as King Theodohad of the Ostrogoths and co-ruler.
Post by Khalid ibn Walid on Oct 29, 2006 22:27:53 GMT -5
Ostrogothic nobles led by nominal king Theodohad have regent-queen Amalaswintha imprisoned and murdered. Her son-in-law Vitiges (or Witiges or Vittigus) launches a revolt against Theodohad.
- An Ostrogoth King
May, 535 Death of Pope John II. He is succeeded by Pope Agapetus I. The late Boniface II's favorite, Vigilius, is defeated in the election and mollified with an appointment to Constantinople, where he immediately enters into local intrigues with Empress Theodora and the Monophysites.
With Emperor Justinian I threatening war, Theodohad persuades Pope Agapetus I himself to travel on a mission to Constantinople to dissuade the emperor. Alas, to no effect. He uses his time there to depose Patriarch Anthimius of Constantinople, a monophysite heretic and favorite of Empress Theodora.
October, 535 The Gothic War (Ostrogoth-Byzantine War) Justinian I dispatches a Byzantine invasion army under Belisarius to Italy. Belisarius lands in Catania and quickly captures Syracuse and the rest of Sicily by late December.
Taking advantage of the Byzantine-Ostrogoth war, the Gepids move westwards into southern Pannonia and recover Sirmium.
April, 536 Death of Pope Agapetus I. Election of Pope Silverius, with the support of the Ostrogoth pretender Vitiges.
May, 536 From their new base in Sicily, Byzantine troops under Belisarius ferry over to mainland Italy. Landing in Calabria, he quickly moves up the coast, but is forced to lay siege to Naples.
Frankish Provence Hoping to lure the Frankish kings into an alliance, or at least keep them neutral so they can draw on his frontier garrisons, the Ostrogoths cede Provence to the Franks. Provence will be hereafter attached to the Frankish Kingdom of Burgundy. The Frankish kings provide Vitiges with a corps of Burgundian auxiliaries.
November, 536 Naples falls to the Byzantines.
December, 536 Ostrogoth King Theodohad is killed by the rebellious Vitiges, who succeeds as King Vitiges of the Ostrogoths. He immediately confirms the treaty with the Franks and goes about organizing the defenses against the Byzantine advance.
December, 536 The example of Naples's resistence persuades Vitiges that Rome can defend herself for a while. He leaves a garrison there and heads to Ravenna to collect the larger number of Gothic troops. But he didn't count on the treachery of his handpicked Pope Silverius and the Roman Senate, who invite Belisarius to take the city. The gates thrown open, Rome is captured by the Byzantines. Columns are immediately sent out to Umbria and Tuscany to seal off the Appenine passes.
Synod of Constantinople. Bishops acknowledge the Emperor's supremacy in Church matters.
February, 537 The Gothic host finally collected in Ravenna, Vitiges sets out to recover Rome.
March, 537 After losing their first encounter at Salaria bridge to prevent the Goths from encircling them, the Byzantines retire within the walls of the eternal city. The Ostrogoths, after a couple of bloody but fruitless assaults against the Byzantine defenses, settle on a siege of Rome. Belisarius's position is desperate, but by deft management, discipline and quite a bit of luck, keeps the defenses going.
November, 537 Former papal ambassador to Constantinople, archdeacon Vigilius, returns to besieged Rome and presents Belisarius with cash and documents issued by his patroness, Empress Theodora, promising him the Papal throne. Belisarius takes these as an order and, after a brief trial, deposes Silverius and installs Pope Vigilius. Silverius is placed under Vigilius's custody -- and dies in captivity a year later. With Silverius out of the way, the Roman clergy grumblingly reconciles itself to the new pope.
- Pope Vigilius
Late, 538 - Around this time, a large Byzantine force under John the Isaurian lands in Naples. Making no headway in Rome, Vitiges proposes a three-month truce in order to negotiate a peace treaty with the emperor. Belisarius agrees - but uses the time to resupply and fortify Rome, then launches surprise sorties to occupy critical towns outside of Rome - notably the all-important harbors of Porto and Ostia. Vitiges cries foul.
Early, 538 John the Isaurian's army reinforces the garrisons in the Appenines and then seizes Rimini.
March, 538 - The fall of Rimini threatens to seal off the vital corridor between Ravenna and Rome, leaving the Gothic siege camp stranded. Realizing his position is untenable, Vitiges lifts the siege of Rome.
538 Belisarius's success in Rome prompts the Catholic cities of northwest Italy (modern Lombardy and Liguria) to rise up against their Arian rulers. A mission led by Archbishop Dazio of Milan invites Belisarius to come north. He immediately dispatches a column under Mundila to seize the northern cities - all but Pavia pass over to the Byzantines.
In the meantime, from Rimini, John puts pressure on Ravenna while Belisarius goes about sweeping the center, moving towards the Adriatic coast to open the way for a new reinforcement army under Narses.
Busy in central Italy, Vitiges sends a Gothic detachment under his nephew Uria north to recover the cities.
In the meantime, the Byzantine commanders are divided. Belisarius wants to concentrate on sweeping central Italy town-by-town, sending only a detachment to help Milan. John and Narses insist on moving the bulk of the army into Emilia to draw the war there. The army is divided, John and Narses leading their batch to Emilia, while Belisarius concentrates on the center.
Summer, 538 Milan falls to the Ostrogoths. The population is put through the sword and the city razed to the ground.
Summer/Fall 538 Frankish intervention Seeing an opportunity to plunder the rich cities of Italy, the King Theudebert of the Austrasian Franks descends with a massive army on northern Italy. Confounding the fighters on who's side he was on, the Franks lay siege to both Byzantine-held Tortona and Gothic-held Pavia. But after a string of sacks, pestilence seizes the Frankish army, and they are forced to retreat, laden with Italian booty. On net, the Frankish intervention was beneficial to the Byzantines, since it put Uria's campaign in check.
539 - After a couple of long sieges, Fiesole and Osimo fall to the Byzantines. Feeling central Italy is sufficiently secure, Belisarius decides to move towards Ravenna to deliver a death-blow to Vitiges, who's army is melting away from desertions, pestilence and famine.
June, 539 - Belisarius lays siege to Ravenna
But Vitiges's diplomats have been busy. They failed to lure the Lombards to their side, but managed to interest Chorsoes I of Persia, then bulding up his forces, in an attack on Byzantium. Emperor Justinian I, not wishing to fight two wars simultaneously and seeining the value of a buffer state in Italy against the ambitious Franks, sends orders to Belisarius to implement a rather generous peace settlement with the Ostrogoths. In return for ceding Italy south of the Po and half their treasury, the Ostrogoths get to keep northern Italy and maintain their kingdom as federates of Byzantine empire.
However, Belisarius, knowing the weakness of the Ostrogoth army, decides on a feint and gets into contact with Ostrogoth nobles who had never quite reconciled themselves to Vitiges ascension.
December, 539 - At length, the Ostrogoth nobles offer to reject the treaty, depose Vitigus and offer the Ostrogothic crown to mighty Belisarius himself. Belisarius accepts and the doors of Ravenna open to him and the Byzantines occupy the city. By the terms of the agreement, Vitiges and his commanders are arrested, but the city is spared. But at his coronation as Ostrogoth king in Ravenna, Belisarius refuses, captures the assembled Ostrogoth nobles and declares Italy conquered for the Emperor Justinian I.
Post by Khalid ibn Walid on Oct 30, 2006 23:32:25 GMT -5
March, 540 With the Persian war brewing, Belisarius is ordered to return (with his captive Vitiges) to Constantinople. Rather than glory, he encounters a furious Justinian, whose orders he had disobeyed.
540 Breaking the "eternal peace", Chorsoes I of Persia invades Syria. Despite his troubles with the Byzantine court, Belisarius is dispatched to deal with them.
Summer, 540 Ostrogoth Insurgency The Byzantine position in Italy begins to unravel. Belisarius's lieutenant Constantius makes a mess of things and a group of Ostrogothic nobles decide to initiate an insurgency and elect a new king. They offer the crown to Uria, but he refuses, not wishing to endager the life of his captive uncle. So the Ostrogoth nobles appoint their own King Heldebadus of the Ostrogoths.
Summer, 540 Heldebadus raises a small army in the Gothic citadel of Verona and defeats a Byzantine force set out against him.
January, 541 Intrigues lead Heldebadus to order the execution of Uria. The Ostrogoth nobles balk at the death of the famous commander, and quarrels begin. The Ostrogothic king Heldebadus is assassinated by a Gepid. He is succeeded by Eraric, who, instead of fighting, immediately begins negotiating for new peace with the Byzantines.
June, 540 The cowardly Eraric is murdered by Heldebadus' nephew who ascends as King Totila ('Baduila') of the Ostrogoths ('Totila' is his nom de guerre, real name is 'Baduila'). Totila immediately rallies the Ostrogoths against the Byzantines.
Assembling an army, Totila of the Ostrogoths draws the Byzantines away from their siege of Verona and defeats them at the Battle of Faenza. Much of northern Italy subsequently returns to the Ostrogoths.
Frankish invasion of Visigothic Spain is repulsed near Saragossa.
Bubonic plague from Asia breaks out in Constantinople and spreads through Europe for the first time.
Spring, 542 Totila of the Ostrogoths drives into Tuscany and, sidestepping Florence, defeats the Byzantines again at the Battle of Mugello. An assault on Florence fails, but the city is subsequently evacuated as the Byzantines decide to concentrate their forces in Rome, Perugia, Spoleto and Ravenna, a line of defense across central Italy. Totila sidesteps the central cities and goes into southern Italy, sweeping the countryside.
Fall, 542 Totila decides to lay siege to Naples, given the importance of its harbor as a possible landing point for Greek relief. Justinian dispatches two relief forces by sea, but they are both captured by the Ostrogoths, whom, upon repairing the Greek ships, now have a navy.
It is around this time that Totila is alleged to have met St. Benedict of Monte Cassino. By legend, Totila had one of his retainers dress up as king to test the abbot's gifts of prophecy, but St. Benedict caught on the dissimulation. At the meeting, Benedict allegedly prophesied that Totila would have great victories, take Rome and sail the sea, but also die ten years hence.
- Totila and St. Benedict
Spring, 543 Naples falls to the Ostrogoths. Totila's carefully-nurtured reputation for fairness and mercy on defeated towns were decisive for the city's decision to capitulate.
Emperor Justinian issues edict condeming Origen and his doctrines.
Anathema of the Three Chapters - In order to facilitate the reconciliation of Monophysites to the Church (and perhaps pushed upon him to distract him from the persecution of Origenism), Emperor Justinian issues edict confirming Nestorianism as heresy and anathemizing the "Three Chapters" (i.e. three allegedly proto-Nestorian works by the Antioch school -- the writings of Theodore of Mopsuestia, the writings of Theodoret of Cyrus and the epistle of Ibas of Edessa to Maris). But the rest of the Church balks at this, believing it to be a complete repudiation of the Council of Chalcedon. The Greek-speaking patriarchs (Constantinople, Antioch, Alexandria, Jerusalem) were the first to crack, subscribing to the edict after threats of deposition and force. But the Latin-speaking bishops (including the Pope) stand firmly against it.
Five-Year Truce negotiated between Byzantium & Persia. Justinian reluctantly orders Belisarius to return to Italy and put order back in the place. But he is not given sufficient troops or money. His march up the Dalmatian coast comes to a halt as payment problems leads to desertions and quarrels. Belisarius, stranded in Dalmatia, dispatches pleas for money from Constantinople, but they are ignored.
After mopping up small towns in the area, Totila of the Ostrogoths finally lays siege to Rome. Pope Vigilius flees the city by sea for Sicily, where he arranges for several shipments of grain to keep the city alive.
Belisarius meets John the Isaurian, who had sailed from Rimini to Durazzo to pick up reinforcemets. The commanders disagree on strategy - Belisarius wants to save Rome at once, but John decides to launch a campaign to seize the south first.
While John sends his army into Apulia and Calabria, Belisarius gathers enough ships to speed to Rome's rescue. But Totila has heavily fortified the Tiber entrance. Belisarius manages to land in Porto, but has to fight his way across all sort of makeshift defenses to get upriver.
December, 536 Just as Belisarius's troops are making their way up the Tiber, Rome falls to the Ostrogoths, who proceed to sack it and raze its walls, and head south against John.
Gepid-Lombard War - Death of Watari of the Lombards. Ascension of King Audoin of the Lombards, but the succession is contested. The Lombard pretender is defeated and takes refuge in Gepid territory. The Lombards demand he be handed over, but the Gepids refuse. Happy to see these two Germanic tribes at odds, the East Roman Emperor Justinian fans the flames of the conflict by granting the Lombards federate status, a homeland in Pannonia that stretches into Gepid areas and even dispatches Roman-Heruli auxiliaries to assist them.
Early 547, After the Gothic withdrawal, Belisarius enters Rome and sets about restoring Roman fortifications, prompting Totila to return against it. Belisarius defeats Totila in the encounter but, starved of supplies and men, can't follow it up. Belisarius decides to hunker down in Rome to await for reinforcements from Constantinople.
But jealous intrigues in the Constantinople court play on Emperor Justinian's resentment of his successful general (or possibly he thinks he can still implement a peace plan with Totila). Whatever the case, the support does not materialize, and Belisarius is left to fester in Rome, thinly spreading his few troops (he has less than 20,000 in all of Italy) across the remaining Byzantine citadels.
With Belisarius immobilized and weakened by lack of supplies, the Ostrogoths continue their campaign. Perugia falls to the Ostrogoths. Annoyed at the resistance, Totila orders the city's bishop, Herculanus, to be flayed alive.
From Sicily, Pope Vigilus arrives in Constantinople and presses the Emperor Justinian for assistance against the Ostrogoths. But Justinian waves that away and instead presses Vigilius to ratify the edict condemning the "three chapters". Vigilius, knowing how the Latin churchmen will react, refuses. Justinian orders his forcible detainment in Constantinople until he does.
Frankish Intervention Hoping to make the most of the Byzantine-Ostrogoth duel, the Franks launch an assault on northern Italy, supposedly in coordination with the Gepids. But, busy with the Lombards, the Gepids fail to hold their part of the invasion and whole effort fails.
After over a year of inactivity, Belisarius is dismissed from his command of Byzantine forces in Italy and ordered to return to Constantinople.
(By intrigues in court, Belisarius will be later demoted, disgraced and, according to legend, reduced to a blind, homeless street beggar - a favorite topic for artists:)
Post by Khalid ibn Walid on Oct 30, 2006 23:33:19 GMT -5
Seeking to avoid a Latin-Greek schism, Pope Vigilius issues a judicatum concurring with Emperor Justinian's condemnation of the Three Chapters, but the furor among Latin bishops prompts him to withdraw it. Pope Vigilius convinces the Emperor to agree to a truce and stop pressing for ratification of the edict and just put the anathemization before a new General Council, where the findings of Chalcedon could also be confirmed..
Second Lombard assault on the Gepids ends inconclusively.
With Belisarius gone and the country devastated by war and famine, Totila recovers Rome again with little trouble.
With practically all of Italy in his hands (only Ravenna and Ancona remain in Byzantine hands), Totila decides to launch a series of Ostrogoth naval campaigns. He captures and plunders Sicily, Corsica and Sardinia, and even sending an Ostrogothic fleet to raid the Greek coasts.
Alarmed at the Ostrogothic sea projection, Justinian decides to renew his efforts against them. Preparations of a new invasion of Italy are delayed by a Slavic and Hunnish incursions into the empire and Totila's offers of negotiation. It is further delayed by the sudden death of Justinian's handpicked commander, Germamo, an Ostrogoth himself.
Third Lombard assault on the Gepids again ends inconclusively.
New Byzantine Invasion After long preparations, Justinian finally dispatches the elderly eunuch Narses at the head of a fresh Byzantine invasion force (bolstered by Germanic auxiliaries from Lombard and Heruli tribes) to Italy.
Breaking his truce with the Pope, Emperor Justinian suspends his plans for a General Council and renews his edict condemning the Three Chapters. Pope Vigilius, still in Constantinople, complains -- but is ignored and roughed around by the Byzantine authorities.
March, 552 To dodge the dangerous Gothic navy, Narses decides to take his army overland but as he moves up the Dalmatian coast, he hears that the bulk of the Ostrogoth armies are assembling in the critical bottleneck of Verona. So Narses decides to ferry the troops across the Adriatic and disembarks his army near Ravenna. After a brief rest, he seizes Rimini from the light Gothic garrison and then heads down the Via Flaminia towards Rome.
July, 552 Battle of Taginae (Busta Gallorum). Totila's army is waiting for Narses on a field on the other side of the Appenines between Taginae and Busta Gallorum (modern Gualdo Taldino). Although stronger initially, the Ostrogothic army panics and a favorable fight turns into a complete rout, a decisive victory for Narses. King Totila is mortally wounded in the retreat.
Narses immediately splits his army and orders them to quickly seize a string of fortresses across central Italy, thereby bottling the Ostrogoth armies in the north. Narses himself heads towards Rome.
In the meantime, the commander of the Ostrogoth armies in Verona is acclaimed as King Teia of the Ostrogoths. He wastes a lot of precious time in Pavia trying to lure the Franks into an alliance, giving Narses's columns time to seize the central cities.
Fall, 552 Rome falls to the Byzantines after a brief siege. The alarmed Teia puts his army on a swift march southwards. His destination is Cuma, where the garrison is commanded by his own brother. But Narses forces him off his track and he winters in Nocera.
552 After securing the agreement of several Greek bishops, Pope Vigilius finally convinces Justinian to suspend ratification once again and hold his promised General Council. But Justinian ignores Vigilius's plea to hold in the western sphere, where Latin bishops can easily attend.
Early, 553 Teia gets comfortable at Nocera, where he entrenches himself with fortifications in a well-positioned, favorable ground, supplied by sea, to wait out the Byzantines. But when the commander of the Ostrogothic navy suddenly passes over to the imperial side, Teia's army is stranded. Starved of supplies Teia is forced to leave Nocera, taking his weakend army to battle against the enemy.
March, 553 Battle of Mons Lactarius In a brave and desperate effort, the weakened Ostrogoths throw themselves at the Byzantines, but are thoroughly defeated. Teia dies on the field.
Spring 553, Second Council of Constantinople (Fifth Ecumenical Council - the first such council since Chalcedon) with most Latin bishops missing. Emperor Justinian pushes through the anathemization of the "Three Chapters" of the proto-Nestorian Antioch school, thereby facilitating the reconciliation of Monophysites to the Church, but at the same time stresses that the findings of the Council of Chalcedon a century earlier (451) remain unaffected by this move. The council also condemns the works of Origen as error.
Pope Vigilius (still in Byzantium, but not at the session) issues a declaration, subscribed by Latin bishops, agreeing to only part of it. He is duly banished to the confines of the Empire.
February, 554 At the request of the newly-liberated Roman prelates, Emperor Justinian agrees to let Pope Vigilius return to Rome -- on the condition that he concur with the Council. The tired and battered Pope Vigilius succumbs and condemns the Three Chapters in an independent judgment (albeit without referencing the Council). But the Italian clergy, led by the Archbishop Macedonius of Aquileia, refuse to go along with the Pope's condemnation of the Three Chapters.
554 - Byzantine-Visigothic War Bolstered by their victory over the Ostrogoths in Italy, Justinian I orders Byzantine armies to invade Spain, hoping to recapture the peninsula from the Visigoths. But a general uprising of the Romano-Hispanic population doesn't materialize, and the Byzantines are limited to holding the heavily-urbanized southern coast.
Frankish Intervention A small remnant of irredentist Gothic forces under Indulf assembles in Pavia and appeals to the Franks for assistance. King Theudebert of the Austrasian Franks formally refuses, but allows his Frankish and Alemanni lords to help on their own account, and a large army of some 75,000 clambers over the Alps to help out one thousand Goths in Pavia.
The alarmed Narses, still in the south, rushes north and places a detachment at Parma to block the road to Ravenna, while he takes the bulk of his own army to try to quickly sweep up Tuscany. Pisa, Florence and Volterra fall quickly, but the tiny Gothic garrison at Lucca manages to force him to lay a siege.
Narses soon receives news that the Parma roadblock was routed by the Frankish-Gothic army and had to retreat to Faenza. He quickly takes Lucca by assault and rushes back to Ravenna.
At Ravenna, Narses is bolstered by Gothic troops, who prefer to submit to the Byzantines rather than the Franks. But seeing the size of the enemy host, realizing the Franks are more interested in plundering than conquering and knowing a defeat might put an end to Byzantine power in Italy, Narses cautiously avoids battle, carefully watching Frankish movements, moving in only to fend them away from Ravenna.
Summer, 554 Luck plays a Narses's success. Disinterested in a pitched battle over Ravenna, the Frankish army decides to loot the south first, dividing into two columns, one headed to Apulia, another to Campania. Narses lets them go. On their return from Apulia, one column, weighed down by booty, is harassed by the Byzantines along the way, and then heavily decimated by disease once they get near the Venetian marshes.
Fall, 554 The other Frankish column, hearing of Narses approach, digs itself in Volturno to await him. In an all-out fight, Narses defeats the Franks at the Battle of Volturno, killing their commander. The remainder of the Frankish army - shaken but still formidable - take refuge in Conza fortress. Narses lays siege.
555 The Frankish column besieged in Conza finally surrenders to Narses, while the remnant of the pest-ridden Frankish column in Veneto returns home. Narses conducts a sweep of Italy to rid it of stragglers.
Post by Khalid ibn Walid on Oct 30, 2006 23:34:09 GMT -5
End of the Ostrogoths. Justinian issues the pragmatic sanction annexing the Ostrogoth kingdom of Italy into the Byzantine Empire. The Ostrogoths, as a people, will evaporate from history, completely absorbed with indigenous Italian population or, of those who left, become Franks. The provinces of Italy are reorganized and placed under direct military rule from Byzantium. The eunuch general Narses remains as Byzantine governor in Italy, with capital at Ravenna.
June, 555 Death of Pope Vigilius in Syracuse, en route back to Rome. The papal throne will be briefly vacant.
April, 556 - Election of Pope Pelagius I, a hero to the Romans for his valiant efforts during Totila's siege. Justinian I endorses the candidate after Pelagius's agreement to confirm the condemnation of the Three Chapters - to the anger of the rest of Italy, who had expected him to remain steadfast.
- Pope Pelagius I
557 - Three Chapters Schism At a Synod in Aquileia assembled by Paulinus I of Aquilieia (Macedonius's successor), the bishops of nothern Italy confirm their break with Rome over the condemnation of the Three Chapters. Paulinus of Aquileia declares himself primate of Italy and Patriarch of the West, thereby usurping the pope's titles.
558 - Death of the Frankish kings leads to the reunification of all Frankish kingdoms under a single monarch, Clotaire I, the sole surviving son of Clovis.
March, 561 Death of Pelagius I, unlamented as a Byzantine stooge. Ascension of Pope John III.
Partition of Francia Death of Clotaire I leads to a renwed partition of the Frankish kingdom among his four sons: Paris, Neustria (Soissons), Austrasia (Metz), and Burgundy.
562 Arrival of the Avars Central Asian tribe, possibly of Mongolian origin, pushed along by the Turks and Persians westwards, arrives in Europe. They bring with them two important innovations - the stirrup and the cantle - that will revolutionize horsemanship in Europe. In 562, under Bayan Khan, the Avars settle in the Danube basin, without approval of the Byzantines.
563 Abbey of Iona Irish monks led by St. Columba, land on the island of Iona off the Scottish coast. The monastery of Iona will becomes the ecclesiastical center for Irish missionaries.
563 Paid off by Justinian, the Avars head north into central Europe, coming up against the Austrasian Franks in Thuringia. Finding resistance stiff, the Avars come back south and being pushing against the Balkan Slavs.
565 Death of Audoin of the Lombards. His son ascends as King Alboin of the Lombards. He marries a daughter of Clotaire I of the Franks, but with her death in childbirth, sets his eyes on a new wife -- Rosamund, granddaughter of King Torisind of the Gepids.
565 Lombard-Gepid War Alboin's kidnapping of the Gepid princess Rosamund prompts a new round of hostilities. This time, the Emperor Justinian I backs the Gepids, in return for the restoration of Sirmium (in Moesia). The Gepids defeat the Lombards and Rosamund is restored to her family. But the Gepids fail to restore Sirmium.
Torismund of the Gepids dies. His son (Rosamund's father) ascends as King Cunimond of the Gepids.
November, 565 Death of Emperor Justinian I. His nephew (son of sister Vigilantia) ascends as Byzantine Emperor Justin II, inheriting a greatly expanded Byzantine Empire which includes Italy, North Africa and southern Spain.
- Byzantine Emperor Justin II
Lombard-Avar alliance Seeing the Avars are still looking for a place to settle, King Alboin of the Lombards strikes an alliance with Bayan Khan of the Avars. In return for their assistance against the Gepids, the Avars are promised a tenth of the cattle, half of the booty and all of the territory of the Gepids.
Seeing the impending Lombard-Avar onslaught, the Gepids beg Constantinople for assistance. But remembering the earlier slight involving Sirmium, the Emperor turns a deaf ear to their appeals. Left to his own devices, King Cunimond of the Gepids launches a pre-emptive strike against the Lombards, hoping to knock them out before throwing themselves upon the Avars. But the Gepids are completely defeated and king Cunimond killed. Rosamund is taken back as Alboin's wife.
End of the Gepids The partition of the Gepids proceeds as per the pre-arranged plan. The Avars settle in Pannonia and the Gepids, as a people, will eventually disappear, being assimilated into the Lombard and Avar populations.
Dismissal of Narses In response to an embassy of malcontent Roman nobles, Emperor Justinian II dismisses Narses as governor of Italy and appoints Longinus in his stead. As a crowning insult against his "unmanhood", Empress Sophia sends the eunich Narses a golden distaff and invites him to come spin with her maidens in her apartments. "I will spin her such a thread that she shall not find the end of it in her lifetime!", Narses is said to have muttered.
According to legend, Narses dispatches an embassy laden with Italian fruits to King Alboin of the Lombards, inviting him to bring his people to the rich land. By other accounts, the Lombards decided to head down on their own, on hearing of the retirement of the formidable Narses to Naples.
Post by Khalid ibn Walid on Oct 30, 2006 23:39:14 GMT -5
THE LOMBARD CONQUEST[/size]
568 - Lombard Invasion of Italy - Abandoning Pannonia to the Avars, the Lombards (bolstered by auxiliaries from other Germanic tribes, including a company of Saxons) invade Italy.
In their first year, the Lombards sweep through the northeast, driving all the way up to the Adda River, sacking and razing as they go. Refugees flee towards the Adriatic coasts - the remnant of the population of Aquileia moves with their archbishop to the island of Grado, that of Altino to the islands of the Venetian lagoon. Some cities (e.g. Treviso, Verona, Vicenza) negotiate a surrender and are spared. Other cities (notably Padua, Mantua and Cremona) are sufficiently well-fortified to defy the Lombards and thereby side-stepped.
[Aside: uniquely among Germanic tribes, the Lombards were a horse-riding tribe (perhaps a result of their long sojourn in Pannonia ). Lombards relied on heavy cavalry, the nobles which they placed in a line at the front, their retainers & support from behind and footmen and archers on the flanks. This was something the Romans were not used to.]
569 - Before pressing on, the Lombard king Alboin begins setting up a series of Lombard dukes charged with control of a large area, e.g. the Duke of Friuli (based in 'Forum Julii', now Cividale) is set up to command the passage between Italy and the Balkans, the Duke of Trent is charged with manning the passage between Tyrol and Italy, etc. The dukes have the right to handpick the Lombard clans and families to reside with him in the duchy.
Renewing their campaign, the Lombards head west through the Padanian plains, taking Brescia, Bergamo and, most notably, Milan. Once again, entire populations stream to the relative safety of the coasts (e.g. Milanese evacuate to Genoa). After a quick spin around Piedmont, the Lombard armies begin their descent back east along the Po River. Once again, some fortified cities resist. He settles down to a siege of Pavia.
570 - Deciding to keep a move on, Alboin leaves the siege of Pavia and takes the bulk of his forces over the Po river and down the Emilian road towards Ravenna. Strong Piacenza is sidestepped, but other towns (e.g. Parma and Modena), fall easily.
As Alboin approaches the Po delta and the suburbs of Ravenna, resistance becomes stiffer, so he swerves south into central Italy, sweeping up the countryside, but avoiding the coasts and the five citadels of the Pentapolis (Rimini, Pesaro, Fano, Senigalia, Ancona). He establishes a major Duchy of Spoleto in central Italy to keep the pressure on them and sever their communication with Rome.
571 - Much of the interior of southern Italy is conquered, again populations driven the coasts of Naples and Apulia (Brindisi, Bari, etc.). Alboin sets up the Duchy of Benevento to finish the job, while he presses west towards Rome. But the Lombard advance is checked by the all-important Byzantine fortress of Perugia, which defiantly commands the narrow corridor between Rome and Ravenna. Unable to take it, he goes around it into the Tuscan valley. Lucca, Florence, Pisa and the rest of Tuscany fall quickly.
572 After long siege, Pavia falls. Alboin spares Pavia the horrible revenge he had planned for its defiance. Begins to organize the rest of the north with ducal appointments. Lombard dukes proceed to seize the remainder of Piedmont and raid Burgundy again. Remarkably, Byzantines manage to hold on to the lake fortress of Isola Comacina.
June, 572 Assassination of Alboin of the Lombards at Verona at the instigation of his wife, the Gepid princess Rosamund. Her attempt to assert herself as regent fails, so she flees with her lover and the bulk of the Lombard treasury to Ravenna.
Post by Khalid ibn Walid on Oct 30, 2006 23:40:14 GMT -5
Lombards elect the Duke of Bergamo as King Cleph of the Lombards. He tries to make up for the lost treasure by plundering his Roman subjects viciously, and when that isn't enough to keep the Lombard war-machine going, imposes hefty taxes on the Lombards themselves.
Persian-Byzantine War breaks out over Armenia. This will sap Byzantine attentions for quite a while.
Lombard Confederation The cruel Cleph is assassinated. Instead of acclaiming his son Authari, the Lombard dukes decided to do without a king at all. A confederacy of thirty-five Lombard dukes is set up. to only meet in a general assembly twice a year. Nominally at its head was Duke Zaban of Pavia. After him, come the four big dukes who have successfully acquired (& stabilized) substantial territorial domains -- Gisulf of Friuli, Euin of Trent, Faroald of Spoleto and Zotto of Benevento. After them, are the lesser dukes Vallari of Bergamo, Alechis of Brescia, Aimone of Turin and the dukes of Milan, Verona and Istria (whose names are unknown to us). Minor dukes (some of them created later) are those of Asti, Ivrea, S. Giuliano island, Piacenza, Parma, Brescello, Reggio, Lucca, Florence, Chiusi, Fermo, Rimini, Vicenza, Treviso and Ceneda. Italy descends into feudal anarchy as the dukes race up and down the peninsula attempting to grab more territory.
July, 574 - Death of Pope John III. Election of an illustrious Roman noble as Pope Benedict I. However, the chaos in Italy and confusion Constantinople delays his imperial confirmation and formal ascension for another year.
December, 574 - Emperor Justin II having slipped into madness, is pushed into retirement by the Empress Sophia. One of his generals is appointed co-Emperor Tiberius II Constantine of Byzantium.
Lombard confederacy defeats a massive Byzantine invasion force near Naples.
Death of mad emperor Justin II. Co-emperor and regent Tiberius II Constantine becomes full emperor.
Faroald of Spoleto goes on the offensive, ravaging the lands around Rome and seizing the suburbs of Ravenna. With the noose tightening, the Pope begs Constantinople for assistance, but the Emperor (his hands full with Persian and Avar wars) can't spare any men. Sends money and instructs them to either negotiate a truce or appeal to the Franks for help.
July, 579 - Death of Pope Benedict I. Ascension of Roman noble, probably of Gothic descent, as Pope Pelagius II.
- Pope Pelagius II
Death of Tiberius II Constantine, possibly poisoned by his designated heir, the general Maurice Cappadoccia. Ascension of Byzantine Emperor Maurice ("Cappadocia").
- Byzantine Emperor Maurice
Exarchate of Italy Under Maurice's direction, Exarchate of Italy (capital: Ravenna) is formally organized. The civil and military offices of Praetorian prefect and Magister militum are combined into a single, plenipotentiary office of 'Exarch'. Decius is appointed first Byzantine Exarch of Ravenna. The Exarchate covers the various areas of Italy (now organized as distinct Byzantine 'duchies') still under Byzantine control - that is isolated Isola Comacina, the Ligurian coast (Genoa), the eastern Po corridor (Cremona/Mantua/Padua), the Venetian coast, the Istrian peninsula, Romagna (Ravenna), the Pentapoli coast, Perugia fortress, the province of Rome and the enclaves of Naples, Calabria and Apulia.
Kingdom of Lombardia. Frightened by the sudden Frankish venture and Byzantium's new organization, the Lombard dukes agree to dissolve the confederation and elect Cleph's son as King Authari ("Flavius") of the Lombards. The dukes grant the royal monarch the capital of Pavia and half the revenues of each of their duchies, in return for which the king confirms to each duke the actual property title to a third of the lands in their duchies (actual private ownership, not merely a share of rents as military fee). This deal simultaneously stabilizes central royal authority while securing the position of the dukes.
- a Lombard king
- The 'iron crown' of the King of the Lombards
584 Byzantine-Frankish alliance concluded with King Childebert II of the Austrasian Franks. In return for a 50,000 gold solidi subsidy, the Franks invade Italy. But, for some reason (perhaps to do with insufficient payment), Childebert changes his mind and returns back home.
After a long defiance, Isola Comacina falls at last to the Lombards.
Exarch Decius relieved. A fresh Byzantine army under the new Italian Exarch Smargadus is assembled in Constantinople and sent to Italy. Smargadus goes on an offensive and recovers Classe and Brescello.
Simultaneously, the Franks are pressed to either repay their cash subsidy or fulfill their part in the offensive, so Childebert II invades Italy again. Authari rallies an army to meet him, but needlessly. A dispute between Frankish and Alemanni regiments in Childebert's army puts a stop to its advance. The Franks retire once more.
With the Franks gone, Authari throws the assembled army at Brescello, leaving the Exarch Smargadus little choice but to negotiate a three-year truce.
585 - Visigoths of Spain annex the Swabian kingdom in Galicia.
Synod of Ravenna convened by Exarch Smargadus, with the assent of Pope Pelagius II. Patriarch Severus of Aquileia and other schismatic bishops are urged to drop their schism. When they refuse, the Exarch arrests them all.
588 - After a year in a Ravenna jail, and subjected probably to torture by the Exarch Smargadus, Patriarch Severus of Aquileia and his fellow-bishops reconcile themselves to Rome by abjuring the Three Chapters schism. They are released, but the tales of their harrowing experience bring widespread condemnation upon the Exarch.
Truce expires, renewal of Byzantine-Frankish offensive . They register some successes, but the Lombards rally, annihilate the Frankish invasion army and force the Byzantines to retreat.