6 th Century, 501 to 600 AD
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
Justinian, Catholic Roman emperor at Constantinople since 518, closes
down Plato's old academy in Athens as part of a move to stamp out
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
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.
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
Toledo becomes the capital of the Visigoth kingdom in Spain.
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.
Justinian's army invades Italy at Naples.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
Constantinople has been weakened by its prolonged wars and by warring
tribes into its empire. The Lombards invade Italy, reaching Milan.
A Xiongnu chieftain, Yan Ch'ien, unifies northern China by force.
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
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,
In Spain, the king of the Visigoths, Recared I, has discarded Arian
Christian and converts to Catholicism. And as the king goes, so goes
From northern China, Emperor Wen has gained power through the south.
After 271 years of division, China is again united.
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.
Shotoku converts Suiko to Buddhism. Buddhism becomes the state religion
and is called upon to protect the Japanese nation.
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.
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