Age / Epoch
European cultural area
The Western Roman Empire disintegrated decades ago: since 476/80 there has been no separate emperor for the west of the Imperium Romanum , and in Central and South-Western Europe post-Roman empires are beginning to form under mostly Germanic rulers on the ruins of the collapsed empire Theodoric's Ostrogoth empire in Italy , Visigoths and Suebi on the Iberian Peninsula , the empire of the Franks under the Merovingians , Burgundians , Thuringians , Gepids in Hungary and Transylvania , Vandals in North Africa , Sardinia and Corsica .
In the 6th century, however, the formal and, in some cases, factual sovereignty of the Eastern Roman emperors was still largely unchallenged in the West. Emperor Justinian has had his generals conquer North Africa, Italy with Sardinia and southern Spain since 533; In 565, after the restauratio imperii, he reigns over an empire that extends from Gibraltar via Italy and the Balkans to Egypt , Syria and Georgia - a final high point in late Roman history and at the same time a possible date for the “ end of antiquity ”. The emperors after Justinian no longer speak Latin, and Ostrom is increasingly being transformed into the Greek Byzantium of the Middle Ages.
The Justinian plague has raged in the Mediterranean region since 541, claiming numerous victims in several waves over decades before the disease disappears from Europe in the 8th century , only to break out again in 1347 .
From 568 the Lombards invade Italy; this is traditionally considered to be the end point of the late ancient migration. The Bavarians are mentioned for the first time around 550 and populate the northern foothills of the Alps . Slavic peoples (e.g. Wends ) immigrate into the former East Germanic areas depopulated by the migration of peoples . Around this time the Slavs are also present in the Balkans, who moved to a permanent settlement south of the Danube from the 580s, although the conquest of the Slavs in the Balkans was delayed by the Balkan campaigns of Maurikios (from 592). Together with the Lombards, the originally Central Asian Avars invade the Hungary / Eastern Austria area . The empire of the Franconian Merovingians reached its greatest extent for the time being around 560 and after 562 it entered a phase of weakness due to internal turmoil. The Arian Visigothic kings occur 589 to Catholic Christianity over.
In England, the Anglo-Saxons are increasingly harassing the native Romano-Celtic-Christian rulers. The defensive struggle probably gives rise to the legend of King Arthur . The Celtic Church of England merged with the Roman Catholic Church towards the end of the century . In Scandinavia small kingdoms that operate the Baltic Sea trade are gaining strength . The Vendelzeit begins in Sweden .
Near and Middle East
From Syria to Pakistan and to the limits of the Gobi , the extended New Persian Empire of the Sassanids under Khosrow I. at the height of his power. With a Persian attack in 540, after the break of the Eternal Peace of 532, a new war between the East and the Sassanids begins - the Roman-Persian Wars - which lasts until 630 (with two short interruptions) and enables Islamic expansion .
Around 560 the Persians annihilated the empire of the Hunnic Hephthalites through an alliance with the Turks , who turned against their former allies a little later and attacked the Sassanids in 572 in alliance with the Eastern Romans. However, these can assert themselves in the two-front war.
The Imperial China has 420 in the Southern and Northern Dynasties split, until the Sui Dynasty one 581 the kingdom for nearly 40 years back, with economic recovery and cultural reorganization. Buddhism begins to spread in China via the Silk Road , and it also extends to Korea and Japan . Here the ancient Kofun period ends and the Asuka period begins in 582 with the adoption of Buddhism as the state religion, or in 590 with a Buddhist imperial dynasty. This goes hand in hand with the spread of Chinese writing in Japan.
- before 512 : The splendid manuscript of the Viennese Dioscurides is made in Constantinople .
- 529 / 531 : The Platonic Academy is closed.
- 532 to 537 : The Hagia Sophia is erected as the largest domed structure in Constantinople at the time.
- 541 : The Justinian plague breaks out, raging throughout the Mediterranean for years and claiming countless victims.
- 553 : The Fifth Ecumenical Council meets in Constantinople .
- 567 : The Lombards destroyed along with the Avars the Gepidae rich .
- 568 : Incursion of the Longobards into Italy (marks the end of the migration period ).
- 584 : Construction of the Imperial Canal from the new Chinese capital Chang'an to the Wei He and Huang He rivers begins .
- Theodoric the Great (ca. 455 - 526 ), king of the Ostrogoths
- Clovis I (ca. 466 - 511 ), Merovingian king of the Franks
- Benedict of Nursia (ca. 480 - 547 ), founder of Western monasticism
- Prokopios of Caesarea (approx. 500– 560 ), last important ancient historian
- Flavius Belisarius (approx. 505– 565 ), Roman general
- Justinian I ( 482 / 527 - 565 ) east Roman Emperor
- Maurikios , ( 539 / 582 - 602 ) east Roman Emperor
- Khosrow I (r. 531 - 579 ), Sassanian King of Kings
- Pope Gregory the Great (around 540- 604 ), the last of the ancient church fathers
- Mohammed (around 570- 632 ), founder of a religion of Islam
- Garab Dorje (dates unknown), Buddhist master and founder of the Dzogchen tradition
- Ingrid Heidrich: Introduction to the History of the Middle Ages - 6th Century ( Memento from October 19, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) (revised electronic version of Introduction to the History of the European Middle Ages , HCI, Bad Münstereifel 2003, ISBN 3-00-010998- 6 )