9th century

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Portal history | Portal Biographies | Current events | Annual calendar

| 7th century | 8th century | 9th century | 10th century | 11th century |
800 | 810s | 820s | 830s | 840s | 850 | 860s | 870s | 880s | 890s

Global territorial situation in the 9th century

The 9th century began on January 1, 801 and ended on December 31, 900 . The world population in this century is estimated at 200 to 300 million people. The Franconian Empire , which dominated Europe, was divided into several sub- kingdoms by the Carolingian royal dynasty . Due to internal dynastic battles, the Carolingians lost power and importance. At the same time, the Vikings traveled along Europe's coasts and across its rivers, plundered, traded and finally settled in some areas. The Byzantine Empire remained stable despite numerous attacks, while the caliphs of Baghdad increasingly lost power. Numerous independent Muslim sub-empires emerged on the territory of the caliphate. In East Asia , too , most of the larger empires went into decline. Tibet, the Uyghur empire and Nanzhao fell apart and the Korean peninsula was shaken by civil wars. In China and Japan the central power lost all importance.


In Europe, this century is part of the Early Middle Ages (approx. 500-1050).

Division of the Franconian Empire by the Treaty of Verdun (843)

The Franks

Political development

At the beginning of the century, Charlemagne completed his conquests to expand the Frankish Empire, which he had made the dominant empire of Europe in the previous century. Afterwards, like his son, Louis the Pious , who succeeded him in 814 , he concentrated on strengthening the unity and uniformity of the empire. However, this was opposed to the Frankish principle of dividing the empire among the sons after the death of a monarch. Ludwig's attempt on the one hand to consider all his sons and in particular his son from his second marriage, but on the other hand to give his son Lothar a priority, led to serious conflicts between the sons and their father and between the sons among themselves in the years 829 to 842 . Although he was deposed several times, Ludwig kept coming back to the throne. His death finally sparked military conflicts among his sons, which were provisionally settled with the Treaty of Verdun of 843. The empire was divided among the brothers into a western , eastern and central empire . The Middle Kingdom was again divided among the sons of its ruler Lothars. The last revision of the division of the Franconian Empire took place in the Treaty of Ribemont in 880. The north of the Middle Empire was added to the Eastern Franconia. The rest of the Middle Kingdom was divided into the Kingdom of Burgundy and the later Kingdom of Italy . In addition to these three kingdoms, the west of France remained. France later emerged from western France and the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation emerged from eastern France and the Kingdom of Italy . From the year 888, the argument that he descended from the Carolingian dynasty was no longer sufficient to be elected King of the Franks. The first non-Carolingian came to the throne in western France.

Charlemagne and Louis the Pious strengthened the county constitution, established in the 8th century, and bound the officials, who had extensive powers, especially as military leaders and judges, to the king. Officials, who mostly came from the high nobility, were counts, abbots and bishops. This reflected the political structure, which knew no separation between church and secular realm. Abbots and bishops took on not only spiritual tasks but also to a large extent secular tasks. On the other hand, the king interpreted his actions religiously. By means of written instructions, capitularies , compliance with which was controlled by royal messengers, they tried to establish uniform practices throughout the Franconian Empire. This practice ceased with the clashes from 830 onwards. During the 9th century, more and more counts became hereditary. Greater power structures, the duchies , emerged through the accumulation of offices and successes in warding off external enemies . These intermediate powers, the exact origin and character of which is controversial, acquired quasi royal powers at the end of the century. If these structures were incorporated into the imperial administration in the East Franconian Empire, they achieved a largely independent position vis-à-vis the king in the West Franconian Empire.

In addition to the internal dynastic battles, which continued after the year 843, the Frankish sub-empires were threatened by external enemies. The Vikings regularly ventured into the Franconian Empire, advancing deep into the interior of the country via the rivers. The resistance that the Vikings faced was unsustainable and was often organized as local self-help. Further attacks were carried out by Slavs on the eastern border and by Muslim North Africans, also called Saracens by the Franks , in Italy and southern France. In the Franconian Empire, the margraves , who had far-reaching powers of office , were responsible for defending against external attacks in the border areas, the border stamps. They used this basis in the course of the 9th century to expand their domains within the imperial borders.

Society and economy

In this century the population increase of the 8th century continued in Western and Central Europe, so that a doubling of the population is assumed for the last half of the 8th and the entire 9th century. Wars, famines and disease counteracted the increase and slowed it down towards the end of the century. After surviving childhood, the inhabitants of the Franconian Empire had a life expectancy of 44 to 47 years, with child mortality being high.

Society was divided into free and unfree, with the respective status being hereditary. The unfree were dependent on a master who had to grant them protection, but who could rule over them in many areas of life. The rights and duties of the unfree man and his master were very different in each individual case. The nobility, privileged by offices, rose from the free. In the 9th century a process of intensification of rule by the nobility at the expense of the rest of the free took place. Much military service and increasingly expensive weapons and armor, which they had to provide themselves, were an increasing burden for the free. So many free people thought it was economically more advantageous to become unfree tenants of a landlord in order to be freed from the burdens of war.

The society was strongly influenced by agriculture. The vast majority of the people lived in small rural villages. Most of the cities that went back to Roman foundations were in western and southern Europe. Wealth was essentially based on land ownership. Most of the land belonged to large landowners, such as kings, nobles, bishops or monasteries. The way this land was managed varied from region to region. In the core areas of the Franconian Empire, the manorial rule prevailed. In addition to economic rights, the landlord also exercised jurisdiction and police powers over his property. Villication was a widespread form of manorial rule . The landlords leased part of the property to unfree and free tenants who managed it independently. They managed the manor themselves with the help of unfree people and through the labor of the tenants. The three-field cultivation method established itself in more and more areas and, together with the introduction of the reversible plow, led to increased yields. Furthermore, the widespread introduction of the water mill made work easier. The people lived mainly on cereal products, as well as dairy products and vegetables.

The Frankish empire comprised many different ethnic groups. Neither the language nor the customs and traditions were uniform. While Romansh dialects were spoken in western France, the people in eastern France spoke Germanic vernacular. The linguistic separation is evident in the Strasbourg oaths , a document that was written in both a Romance language and a Franconian Germanic dialect. Although the idea of ​​a unified Frankish empire, which was subdivided into partial empires, was adhered to throughout the century, the western and eastern parts of the empire became increasingly alienated.

Vikings and British Isles

Travel routes and settlement areas of the Vikings
Britain around 878

In the 9th century, many small farming communities that belonged to numerous principalities settled in Scandinavia. Since the 790s, some groups from these communities have made regular trips to the coasts and rivers of Europe in the Viking ships they have built . The purpose of these trips was initially for raids but then also for trade and finally the settlement of new lands. These communities are called Vikings and the period in which they regularly traveled is called the Viking Age . Viking type ships were designed, built and mainly used by Vikings in Scandinavia. With them they could drive on the high seas as well as in shallow coastal waters and on rivers. Both their sail and their oars could serve as propulsion. Their goals were in the Franconian Empire, Ireland and England. But they also went on forays into the Iberian Peninsula. Many raids were carried out by Danish Vikings on the coasts of the Franconian Empire and England, and from the 830s they increasingly drove up rivers. Other groups of Vikings sailed the rivers of Eastern Europe from the Baltic to the Black Sea. Trade played a major role in these journeys, including with Byzantium. Some of the Vikings settled on the rivers and founded small lordships. These Vikings were called Rus by the local Slavs , from which the name Russia is derived. In the 10th century, the empire of the Kievan Rus , founded in this century, rose to become a regional power.

Vikings also settled permanently in other areas of Europe from the 860s onwards. So they settled on the British Isles and Iceland .

At the beginning of the century, several kingdoms of different sizes divided the British Isles , with the small kingdoms predominating in what is now Scotland and Wales. In the south of the island, the Kingdom of Wessex was able to gain dominance at the expense of the Kingdom of Mercia in the first half of the century . While England was initially only exposed to the Vikings' raids , from the year 866 they conquered a large area in the east and center of the British Isles called Danelag from what is now Denmark . The king of Wessex, who ruled from the year 871 and was later called Alfred the Great , united all the remaining Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, pushed the Vikings back and forced a peace treaty on them. The king, who is now considered the first king of England, ran a cultural promotion in his empire based on the model of the Frankish empire.

Iberian Peninsula

The Iberian Peninsula around 814

The Iberian Peninsula was shared by the Christian empires in the north, the Kingdom of Asturias and the Spanish Mark of the Franconian Empire, and the Muslim Emirate of Cordoba , which ruled most of the peninsula. The Kingdom of Asturias continued the reconquest of the Muslim-ruled areas, the so-called Reconquista . This lasted for several centuries and was completed in 1492. In this century the area was conquered up to the Duero River .

Throughout the century, the emirs tried to enforce their central rule, which emanated from their capital, Cordoba. With regard to the court protocol and the promotion of science and art, they were guided by the Baghdad caliphate. In addition to uprisings at the beginning of the century, at the end of the century there were major uprisings by descendants of the Visigoths who had become Muslim, also called muladíes . The central demand of the insurgents, whose centers were in the north of the emirate, was equality with the Arab conquerors.

Further groups of descendants of the Visigoths became Muslim in the emirate. Still, Christians and Jews were able to keep their faith. As everywhere in the emirate, the Arabic language and culture prevailed among them.

Eastern and Southeastern Europe

Bulgaria (803-831)

In 831 the formation of was Mährerreiches whose core area in the east of the present-day Czech Republic and Slovakia was under King Mojmir I. completed. His empire was regularly in conflict with the (East) Frankish empire for supremacy in the region. With the completion of the founding of the empire, the Christianization of the country began, which was carried out mainly by the missionaries Cyril and Method from the year 662 . The missionaries who were sent by Byzantium were familiar with the Byzantine rite and were intended to counterbalance the Frankish church that was attached to the papal camp. Later the Moravian Church moved to the papal camp.

The Bulgarian Empire stretched further south in the Balkans . Through constant war campaigns, the Bulgarians were able to more than double the area of ​​their empire in this century, benefiting from the collapse of the Avar Empire . In the middle of the century the Bulgarian rulers introduced Christianity and after some time decided to adopt the Byzantine rite. The old Bulgarian nobility was overthrown by the Khan, the supreme ruler of the empire, because of their opposition to Christianization. The change in the ruling class and the fact that Christianization took place in the Slavic language led to the primacy of Slavic culture. The process of merging the two populations, the proto-Bulgarians and Slavs, was completed.

Religion, Culture and Education in Christian Europe

In the Franconian Empire, the British Isles and Italy, Christianity was the dominant religion according to the Catholic Confession. Christian missionary activity in this century showed great success, especially among the Slavs and Bulgarians. This mission was carried out by the missionaries Cyril and Method . Both translated some liturgical and biblical texts into the Old Church Slavonic language they had developed . As the oldest Slavic written language, it enabled all Slavic peoples to make written records in their language.

About the missionary work of the Slavs, there were disputes between the rulers and clergy, who were papal oriented and those who were Byzantine oriented. While the Byzantine side prevailed in Bulgaria, the papal side gained the upper hand among the Slavs living north of the Bulgarians. In addition to these disputes, there were power-political conflicts between the Byzantine patriarchs and the popes. The separation between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church , sealed in the Oriental Schism of the 11th century, began to emerge. In the regions east of the Rhine missioned in the 8th century, a church structure based on the model of the rest of the Franconian Empire was established. Dioceses were founded and parishes were marked out. This and numerous monasteries founded contributed to a deepening of the faith of the population.

In all Christian countries, the church also took on secular tasks to a considerable extent. Bishops and abbots were integrated into the ruling structure as local rulers. That is why they were installed in their office by the kings or nobles, especially in the Franconian Empire. Although the popes were held in high esteem and their opinion was in demand, they could not enforce that they were hierarchically above the bishops. In order to strengthen the power of the bishops against the secular authorities, a group of clergy in the 9th century forged numerous documents that are now called pseudo-isidorical decretals .

Ever since the papacy entered into an alliance with the Frankish kings in the 8th century, it has grown in power and influence. The imperial coronation of the Frankish kings by the Pope strengthened the alliance, but also harbored potential for conflict, since the Empire and the Papacy were connected with a universal claim to power. This conflict first appeared in the 9th century. In order to legitimize their claim to the papal state and their supremacy over Western Christianity, the popes used a forgery, the so-called Constantinian donation . According to this, as early as the 4th century , the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great bequeathed to the Pope a spiritual, but also effective, supremacy over Rome and the Western Roman Empire. Even if the Pope's authority peaked in the third quarter of the century, both this and the severity of the dispute remained well below the dimensions of the High Middle Ages . The forgeries that appeared in this century, however, played a decisive role in the struggle between the popes of the High Middle Ages and secular rulers. In the late 9th century, however, the authority of the papacy, which became the plaything of urban Roman domestic politics, fell sharply.

Lorscher Gospels , canon table

The cultural development of the Franconian Empire, which also had an impact on the other Christian empires in Europe, was shaped by the Carolingian renaissance . This was an educational reform that began on the initiative of Charlemagne in the 8th century and which his son Ludwig the Pious continued to promote. The aim was a cultural standardization in the Franconian Empire, which was aimed in particular at a church-religious standardization. Thus, the Latin language was used as lingua franca introduced in the Frankish Empire and a uniform font, the Carolingian minuscule , accepted as binding signature. This gradually spread over the whole of the West. Liturgical texts and the Bible text have been edited into a uniform version. In addition, the copying of ancient texts and their dissemination and exchange were promoted. This led to a large increase in the production of manuscripts in the 9th century. The actors in the reform were, on the one hand, important scholars who resided at the royal court, and on the other, the monasteries. Numerous ancient writings were copied and exchanged in the monasteries. Cathedral and monastery schools were established, where both future clerics and lay people were taught. In order to organize monastic life, Louis the Pious demanded that all monasteries adhere to the rule of Benedict of Nursia . With the beginning of the domestic political disputes in the Franconian Empire, the zeal with which the educational reform was pursued by the royal court slackened. The failure of the royal initiative gradually affected the whole empire. At the end of the century there was a noticeable decline in literary production, especially in eastern France. Nevertheless, the Carolingian Renaissance had an impact on cultural life throughout the Middle Ages.

Most of the documents were written in Latin. The biography of Charlemagne, written by Einhard , Vita Karoli Magni , was an important literary work in Latin. But literature was also written in the vernacular. Under the direction of the learned Rabanus Maurus , a translation of the Gospels was created around 830 with the Old High German Tatian. The first German poet is Otfrid von Weißenburg , who wrote the Liber Evangeliorum, an Old High German Bible epic, around 870.

However, education and the knowledge of reading and writing were only available to a very small elite. The majority of the population communicated orally and also passed on knowledge orally. Symbolic acts, rites and traditional customs played an important role in the actions of these people.

Similar to Charlemagne in the Frankish Empire, but not until the second half of the 9th century, Alfred the Great drove the cultural development in England.

Byzantium and the Muslim world


Byzantine Empire in 867

The Byzantine Empire suffered several military defeats in the first half of the century. After several defeats against the Bulgarians, it lost territories on the Balkan Peninsula . Furthermore, the islands of Crete and Sicily were conquered by Muslim troops. Even if only for a short time, areas in southern Italy and Asia Minor were also lost to them. From the 840s onwards, the Byzantines benefited from the internal disputes in the caliphate. The fleet regained importance and the Byzantines recaptured territories in Eastern Anatolia and Syria. The Christianization of the Bulgarians according to the Byzantine rite, however, only brought short-term relief.

Domestically, especially in the first half of the century, strong and weak emperors alternated. They fought and defeated usurpers, such as Thomas the Slavs (823), and religious movements regarded as heretical, such as the Paulicians . The dispute over the veneration of religious images of the 8th century, which revived against the background of external threats and defeats in the first half of the century, received special attention . In 843 the veneration of images was allowed again and the dispute ended.

The financial reforms of Emperor Nikephorus I in the first decade created a financial basis for Byzantium's military undertakings in the following years. In 867 the Macedonian dynasty , which ruled Byzantium for almost two centuries, prevailed. In the second half of the century, the foreign policy threat eased so much that a cultural upswing, the Macedonian Renaissance , promoted by the emperors took place. There was an increased return to the culture of antiquity, although the maintenance of the ancient tradition by Byzantium had never been completely given up before.

The Byzantine Empire was divided into districts called subjects . These were ruled by military commanders who also had powers over the civil administration. Many soldiers owned land, which they used as an economic basis for their military service. Incidentally, the nobility, who dominated the theme, expanded their property at the expense of the small farmers who became dependent on them.

In the second half of the century, the patriarch Photios I played an important role in representing the Byzantine Church. With several popes he had arguments over religious and ecclesiastical issues. During the same period, Byzantium sent missionaries to convert the Khazars , Bulgarians and Slavs to the Christian faith.

Muslim world

Political development

The Abbasid Caliphate around the year 850

At the beginning of the century, the caliphs , who belonged to the Abbasid dynasty, ruled an area that stretched from North Africa to Central Asia. The caliphs, whose office was hereditary, held the highest secular and religious authority and ruled their caliphate centrally from Baghdad. This city was one of the most populous cities in the world with nearly a million inhabitants at the beginning of the century. About the successor of the caliph Hārūn ar-Raschīd broke out among his sons in the year 811 a two-year war of succession, as a result of which the area around Baghdad was particularly badly damaged. Even under the victor al-Ma'mun there were various uprisings and revolts, which he was able to suppress. His successor Al-Mu'tasim bi-'llāh reacted to the politically unstable situation and built a "private army" of military slaves called Mamluks . As members of the Turkic peoples of Central Asia who had no roots in the caliphate, the military slaves were strongly tied to the caliph. After serving for a period, they were released. Some of those released quickly rose to high military and civilian posts in the Caliphate. Since these slave troops could not be integrated into the city life of Baghdad, the caliph moved with them to Samarra , around 125 km away , which remained the residence of the caliphs until 892. The Mamluk troop grew rapidly and, in the second half of the century, gained power to determine which member of the Abbasid family would become caliph. They ended the rule of several caliphs by murder. In addition to troops from free mercenaries, the Mamluk army type was the predominant army type of the caliphate. The military consumed more than half of the state's revenue in the second half of the century. Due to the financial situation, the caliphs increasingly gave land as fiefs, so-called iqta , to high-ranking military officials. These strengthened the power of the tenant. In the centuries that followed, members of the Mamluks could again and again achieve the highest offices in the Islamic world.

The African slaves active in agriculture around Basra , the Zanj , were able to establish their own state in the course of their uprising in 869. This was destroyed by the Abbasid military in 892.

The caliphs used a hierarchy of officials to exercise their rule. The highest officials had a personal bond with the ruler. Despite this bond, high demands were placed on the competence of the officials compared to the pre-Basid period. In the provinces, the governors were the top officials who individually negotiated the local distribution of power with the local elite. The Abbasids had established a sophisticated post and communications system for communication.

Another central element of the administration was written communication on paper. The Abbasids had adopted the art of papermaking from the Chinese in the 8th century. At the end of the 8th century Baghdad owned a paper mill.

The caliphs set up governors to administer the provinces of the caliphate. Over the course of the century, more and more governors gained political independence from the caliphs, formally recognizing their secular and religious supremacy. At the beginning of the century, the caliphs installed the Aghlabid dynasty of Turkish origin as governors of the North African province of Ifrīqiya . Shortly after their inauguration, these made themselves politically independent of the caliphate. The Aghlabids ruled over a largely Muslim and Arabized population, which was, however, very restless. This was a motive to allow Byzantium to conquer most of Sicily and areas in southern Italy. While they were able to keep their territories in Sicily, the Byzantines were able to recapture the areas in southern Italy towards the end of the century. Nevertheless, through the conquests they gained an important position in the western Mediterranean, which benefited the province of Ifriqiya. Investments in agriculture and the promotion of trade and industry contributed to the prosperity. The city of Kairouan , which was a hub of the Trans-Saharan trade , flourished culturally.

On the Greek island of Crete, Muslim conquerors founded a politically independent emirate . They used this as a base for numerous pirate attacks throughout the Mediterranean. In Egypt, too, the local governor of the caliphs achieved a high degree of independence and founded the Tulunid dynasty.

Unlike in the west of the caliphate empire, in Central Asia and Eastern Persia as well as in the south of the Arabian Peninsula, local families achieved autonomous rule over the areas on their own. The caliphs subsequently recognized their supremacy and the dynasties in return formally recognized the caliphs. The Central Asian areas of Khorasan and Transoxania were ruled by local dynasties, the Tahirids and the Samanids , who gained independence from the caliph in the 820s. At the end of the century the Samanids conquered Khorasan, which has since been ruled by the Saffarids . The Samanid areas benefited from long-distance trade via the Silk Road but also from the slave trade, especially with slaves of Turkish descent. Intensive agriculture and grazing, as well as trade and commerce, were also part of the Samanid economy. The culture, which was strongly influenced by the Abbasids in Baghdad, but also contained elements of its own, flourished.

Law, science and culture

The spiral minaret of Samarra , one of the most important architectural monuments of the Abbasid period

The source of law in the 9th century Islamic world was Sharia . The most important roots of the Sharia were the Koran and the Sunna , the sum of all the traditional utterances and actions of the founder of the religion, Mohammed. However, the Sharia as such was not codified in writing. Rather, Islamic legal scholars who belonged to four schools of law in Sunni Islam established what Sharia was. In the political and social struggles of urban society in the 9th century, the schools of law that emerged in the 8th and 9th centuries were of great importance. In the 9th century, the sayings of the founder of the religion, Mohammed, which were important for Islamic legal doctrine and which had previously been passed down orally, were compiled, filtered according to criteria of authenticity and recorded in writing. The caliphs and governors appointed judges for the administration of justice, in whose proceedings written documents became increasingly important.

With the knowledge of papermaking acquired in the 8th century, a relatively inexpensive writing medium was available in the caliphate. This led to a sharp increase in written records in this century. The dominant written and administrative language was Arabic, which became more and more popular in the caliphate. The process of developing the high-level Arabic language, which has a clear grammar, began in the 8th century and continued in the 9th century. Very often the documents dealt with religious content and the legal and historical subjects related to them. Other documents dealt with scientific and philosophical subjects. Finally, numerous works of fictional literature were also created in poetry and prose. The varied preoccupation with religion, science and culture promoted by the caliphs and high officials of the caliphate is often referred to as the heyday of Islam , the “golden age of Islam” or the “heyday of Islamic culture”.

A very important starting point for the knowledge of the non-religious sciences, such as mathematics, geography, astronomy and medicine, of this time was the knowledge of ancient Greece. Greek scriptures were systematically collected and translated, with Christian translators playing a major role. Knowledge from other cultures was also acquired through the Muslim trade network. The adoption of the decimal number system from India , today also called the Arabic number system, was the basis for great advances in mathematics and other natural sciences. An important institution of this scientific development was the House of Wisdom , founded in 830 , a library room in which a large number of manuscripts were centrally collected.

After the Islamic expansion in the 7th and 8th centuries, the population of the conquered areas was largely not forced to convert to Islam. Nevertheless, numerous members of other religions converted to Islam. In the 9th century, the number of Christians or Zoroastrians decreased sharply in large parts of the caliphate empire. In contrast to most of the other provinces, however, the vast majority of the population in Egypt remained Christian.


The empire of Ghana lay in West Africa south of the Sahara desert . This kingdom came to great wealth by mining gold, which it sold through the caravan trade through the Sahara to the Muslim states of North Africa. In return, the Muslim traders brought Islam to West Africa through the Trans-Saharan trade . The creation process of the Kanem-Bornu empire , which lay east of Lake Chad , was completed in the 9th century. The empire was ruled by kings of the Duguwa dynasty.

As in the 8th century, in the 9th century the East African coast was a destination for Arab immigrants who came to the coast of what is now Mozambique . The Swahili trading cities arose on the coast . Besides the immigrant Arabs, the cities were mainly inhabited by Africans of the Bantu ethnic group. On the one hand, Swahili , an African Bantu language, was spoken by the majority ; on the other hand, Islam shaped the social order and the legal system. The trade contacts of these cities reached across the entire Indian Ocean, but also into the African hinterland.


Indian subcontinent in the 8th / 9th centuries century

Indian subcontinent

The Indian subcontinent was shared by several regional empires. In particular, the dynasties of the Pala in northeastern Bengal , the Pratihara in the northwest, and those of the Rashtrakuta on the Deccan Plateau in the west of the subcontinent ruled larger competing empires. These waged wars among themselves for supremacy in northern India. While the Pala gained the upper hand in the first half of the century, they were replaced as the most powerful dynasty by the Pratiharas in the second half. At the end of the century, the Chola founded a great empire in southern India with the victory over the Pallava dynasty.

In large parts of India, except for Bengal, the process of the suppression of Buddhism by Hinduism that had begun in the previous centuries has been completed. In particular, the Vedanta philosophy and the Bhakti movement supported the spread of Hinduism. Most rulers used Hinduism to legitimize their rule. Society was divided into groups, the castes , with immigrants being flexibly classified into the caste system. Belonging to a caste acquired through birth, certain religious and social duties and rights. The population lived mainly in rural villages. The development of larger areas outside the river valleys through irrigation cultivation for intensive agricultural use, which began in the 8th century, was continued.


At the head of the Chinese empire were the Tang Dynasty emperors , but by the second half of the 8th century they had lost some of their power to regional military governors, the Jiedushi . Depending on the province, these ruled with a different degree of autonomy. In some provinces they had control of almost all resources. Emperor Tang Xianzong undertook reforms in the first few decades that were intended to strengthen the state revenue system and reduce the power of the military governors. After his death in 820, his successors gambled away even his partial successes. They increasingly lost their power to the court officials, mostly eunuchs .

With the loss of power of the emperors in the second half of the 8th century, China had also lost its supremacy in the East Asian region. Numerous intellectuals responded with a new definition of Chinese culture, drawing on ancient Chinese. There was a rejection of all cultural elements that originated abroad and xenophobia. Buddhism, in particular, which had gained great importance since its introduction in China in the first century, was branded by influential intellectuals as incompatible with Chinese culture. This social climate led in the years 842 to 845 to a great state persecution of Buddhists, in which a large number of monasteries were closed and a large number of monks and nuns were laicized or murdered. If there was a restoration of Buddhism in the following years, it did not achieve by far the importance it had before the persecution.

The imperial court financed itself through taxes on property and cultivated land, which were raised in money. In addition, offices were sold. However, a substantial part of the state revenue was the monopoly on salt. Due to the revenue system established at the end of the 8th century, the 9th century Chinese economy was a money economy. Individual traders in particular achieved great wealth and power. Small elites amassed large areas of private property, while numerous smallholders lost their land and fell into debt bondage. In the middle of the century there was an increase in crime. Large groups of salt smugglers and pirates smuggled and looted. The central power could do little to counter this. In addition, famines led to riots. When the supply of the north via the Kaiserkanal was interrupted by a mutiny by soldiers, the famines intensified dramatically. The ensuing uprisings, the largest of which was the uprising of Huang Chao from 875 to 884, led to the final collapse of the central power. The following Tang emperors no longer had any de facto power. During the uprisings, China's most important port city, Guangzhou , was destroyed by the rebels and 120,000 Muslims, Christians and Jews were killed. With the destruction of China's gateway to the world, the Arab dhows disappeared from the South China Sea.


In Japan, the 9th century is assigned to the Heian period (794–1185). This was initiated by the emperor's move from the previous capital Nara to Heian-kyō , today's Kyoto , in the 8th century. In the first half of the century, the emperors ruled Japan centrally and with great power. There were close ties to China and the rule and social order was based on the patterns that were developed in China at the height of the Tang period. Unlike in China, however, the offices were only awarded based on belonging to a noble family and their rank. Due to the intensive art funding, this time is also called the golden age of the Japanese arts. In the middle of the century the Fujiwara family gained de facto rule over Japan. She carried out official business in the name of the emperors who no longer had any political power.

While the court nobility lived isolated from the rest of the country, some provincial officials expanded their power. To combat revolts that resulted from the famine of the population, the emperor dissolved the military army and established an army of nobles. Due to the military power, the warrior elite of the landed nobility gained control over estates and military units. In addition to conquering the north of the main Japanese island, these aristocrats used their armies to control increasingly larger territories in a mutual displacement battle.

Central, East and Southeast Asia

The Kingdom of Tibet was a major regional power at the beginning of the century. The Tibetan troops were able to defend themselves against the attacks of the Uyghurs and the Nanzhao Empire in the first decades until these peace treaties were concluded. The Tibetan kings massively promoted the position of Buddhism. Buddhist monks increasingly assumed offices in the state. Some groups were opposed to this promotion of Buddhism and tried from the year 838 to push back Buddhism again. After the reigning king was assassinated in 842, the empire was shaken by strong internal political conflicts and the central power and with it the kingdom of Tibet fell apart.

On the Korean peninsula, the kingship of the Silla Empire lost power in favor of local military rulers. Finally, when a partial kingdom split off in 892, the end of the Silla kingdom began.

In Southeast Asia, the Khmer established and enlarged their kingdom (also known as the Kingdom of Angkor ). The Khmer developed an effective agriculture with the help of irrigation canals and water reservoirs. The food surplus enabled King Indravarman I to begin an extensive building program in Angkor at the end of the century, which was continued by his successors.


In America, the Mayan Empire began to decline . Individual Maya centers in the lowlands were abandoned and the population began to decline rapidly. Among other explanations, climate changes combined with environmental degradation are discussed as causes for the decline.




  • 802 : Beginning of the historical Khmer empire in Angkor ( Cambodia ) through the unification of previously independent kingdoms
  • 842 : Beginning of the Buddhist persecution in China, which significantly reduced the importance of Buddhism in China
  • 858 : The rule of the Fujiwara family began in Japan , who controlled the imperial family and thus became the actual government.
  • 875 : Beginning of the Huang Chao uprising , as a result of which the Chinese Tang emperors lost all power and which contributed to the fall of the Tang dynasty.



  • With the Carolingian Renaissance he sponsored, Charlemagne (* around 748 ; † 814 ) laid the cultural foundations that shaped the West in the Middle Ages.
  • Pope Nicholas I (* 820 ; † 867 ) promoted the mission of the Slavs and emphasized the priority of the popes.
  • Alfred the Great (* 848 or 849 ; † 899 ) united the parts of England that were not occupied by Vikings, is considered the first English king and promoted education and culture in his empire.

Byzantium, the Muslim world and Asia

  • Photios the Great (* around 820 ; † 891 ), Byzantine patriarch who initiated the mission of the Slavs.
  • Al-Chwarizmi (* around 780 ; † between 835 and 850 ), mathematician who contributed significantly to the adoption of the decimal number system from India. On the basis of this number system, he significantly further developed mathematics.
  • Fujiwara no Yoshifusa (* 804 , † 872 ) established the influence of the Fujiwara family on the Japanese imperial throne by establishing his grandson as emperor.

See also


Web links

Commons : 9th Century  Collection of Images, Videos, and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Vogelsang: History of China . 2013, p. 289 .
  2. ^ A b Goetz: Europe in the early Middle Ages 500–1050 . 2003, p. 66 f .
  3. Jussen: The Franks . 2014, p. 72 f .
  4. ^ Goetz: Europe in the early Middle Ages 500-1050 . 2003, p. 145 .
  5. ^ Goetz: Europe in the early Middle Ages 500-1050 . 2003, p. 148 .
  6. Jussen: The Franks . 2014, p. 71 .
  7. ^ Goetz: Europe in the early Middle Ages 500-1050 . 2003, p. 71 f .
  8. ^ Gerhard Lubich : The Middle Ages (=  orientation history ). Verlag Ferdinand Schöningh, Paderborn 2010, ISBN 978-3-506-76582-6 , p. 74 f .
  9. ^ Andreas Weigl : Population history of Europe . Böhlau Verlag, Vienna 2012, ISBN 978-3-8252-3756-1 , p. 36 .
  10. ^ Buttinger: The Middle Ages . 2012, p. 72-74 .
  11. ^ Goetz: Europe in the early Middle Ages 500-1050 . 2003, p. 170 .
  12. ^ Buttinger: The Middle Ages . 2012, p. 99 .
  13. Jussen: The Franks . 2014, p. 122 .
  14. ^ Goetz: Europe in the early Middle Ages 500-1050 . 2003, p. 161-165 .
  15. Jussen: The Franks . 2014, p. 113 .
  16. ^ Goetz: Europe in the early Middle Ages 500-1050 . 2003, p. 250-255 .
  17. ^ Buttinger: The Middle Ages . 2012, p. 104 f .
  18. Ralph-Johannes Lilie : Byzanz, History of the Eastern Roman Empire . 4th edition. Verlag CH Beck, Munich 2005, ISBN 3-406-41885-6 , p. 56-57 .
  19. Halm: The Arabs . 2010, p. 36 .
  20. Krämer: History of Islam . 2005, p. 86 .
  21. a b Halm: The Arabs . 2010, p. 57 f .
  22. a b c Krämer: History of Islam . 2005, p. 89 .
  23. Krämer: History of Islam . 2005, p. 79 .
  24. a b Krämer: History of Islam . 2005, p. 110 .
  25. Website of the museum The David Collection (English)
  26. a b Krämer: History of Islam . 2005, p. 105-107 .
  27. Website of the museum The David Collection, section The Samanids (English)
  28. a b Krämer: History of Islam . 2005, p. 95-97 .
  29. a b Halm: The Arabs . 2010, p. 40-42 .
  30. Halm: The Arabs . 2010, p. 54 .
  31. Denise Badini, Andrea Reikat: A continent in transition - Africa from the 7th to the 16th century . Federal Agency for Civic Education, Bonn 2005, p. 3 ( Website-BpB ).
  32. ^ Walter Schicho: History of Africa . Theiss Verlag, Stuttgart 2010, ISBN 978-3-8062-2240-1 , p. 36 .
  33. ^ Franz Ansprenger: History of Africa . 3. Edition. Verlag CH Beck, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-406-47989-2 , p. 40-41 .
  34. ^ Dietmar Rothermund : History of India. From the Middle Ages to the present . 2nd Edition. Verlag CH Beck, Munich 2006, ISBN 978-3-406-47994-6 , p. 18 .
  35. Warriors: History of Asia: An Introduction . 2003, p. 43 .
  36. ^ Vogelsang: History of China . 2013, p. 288 .
  37. ^ Vogelsang: History of China . 2013, p. 289 f .
  38. a b c Vogelsang: History of China . 2013, p. 283 f .
  39. ^ A b Vogelsang: History of China . 2013, p. 293 .
  40. ^ Vogelsang: History of China . 2013, p. 300 .
  41. Liew: History of Japan . 2012, p. 31 .
  42. Liew: History of Japan . 2012, p. 32-35 .
  43. ^ Marion Eggert , Jörg Plassen: Small history of Korea . Verlag CH Beck, Munich 2005, ISBN 3-406-52841-4 , p. 37-38 .