Girish Mahajan (Editor)

5th century

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5th century

The 5th century is the time period from 401 to 500 in accordance with the Julian calendar in Anno Domini / Common Era. The 5th century is noted for being a time of repeated disaster and instability both internally and externally for the Western Roman Empire, which finally collapsed, and came to an end in 476 AD. The Western Roman Empire was ruled by a succession of weak emperors, and true power began to fall increasingly into the hands of powerful generals. Internal instability and the pressing military problem of foreign invaders resulted in the ransacking of Rome by a Visigoth army in 410. Some recovery took place during the following decades, but the Western Empire received another serious blow when a second barbarian group, the Vandals, occupied Carthage, capital of the extremely important province of Africa. Attempts to retake the province were interrupted by the invasion of the Huns under Attila. After Attila's defeat, both Eastern and Western empires joined forces for a final assault on Vandal North Africa, but this campaign was a spectacular failure. In the far east, a lot of nomadic barbarian tribes northern to China immigrated into the central part of China and established a series of chinesized dynasties, which launched a 300-year division of the China between the north and the south and long-lasting wars. Both the north and south claim themselves to be the true successor of the ancient Chinese Empire and both rulers title themselves as emperors rather than kings. Unlike the fates of Roman, the barbaric immigrants in northern China were under the command of their emperor to convert themselves into Han or Chinese through the compulsory speaking and writing of Chinese, encouraged marriages with Chinese and farming.



  • 380 – 415: Chandragupta II reigns over the golden age of the Gupta Empire.
  • 399 – 412: The Chinese Buddhist monk Faxian sails through the Indian Ocean and travels throughout Sri Lanka and India to gather Buddhist scriptures.
  • 401: Kumarajiva , a Buddhist monk and translator of sutras into Chinese, arrives in Chang'an
  • Early 5th century – Baptistry of Neon, Ravenna, Italy, is built.
  • 5th century - North Acropolis, Tikal, Guatemala, is built. Maya culture.
  • 405: Mesrop Mashtots introduces number 36 of the 38 letters of the newly created Armenian Alphabet
  • 406: The eastern frontier of the Western Roman Empire collapses as waves of Suebi, Alans, and Vandals cross the then frozen river Rhine near Mainz and enter Gaul.
  • 407: Constantine III leads many of the Roman military units from Britain to Gaul and occupies Arles (Arelate). This is generally seen as Rome's withdrawal from Britain.
  • 410: Rome ransacked by the Visigoths led by King Alaric.
  • 411: Suebi establish the first independent Christian kingdom of Western Europe in Gallaecia.
  • 413: St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, begins to write The City of God.
  • 415 – 455: Kumaragupta, Gupta emperor
  • 420: The Jin dynasty comes to an end by Liu Yu.
  • 420 – 589: Northern and Southern dynasties in China.
  • 426: K'inich Yax K'uk' Mo' re-established Copan.
  • 430: The Ilopango volcano erupts, thereby devastating the Mayan cities in present-day El Salvador.
  • 431: First Council of Ephesus, the third ecumenical council which upholds the title Theotokos or "mother of God", for Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ.
  • 439: Vandals conquer Carthage.
  • At some point after 440, the Anglo-Saxons settle in Britain. The traditional story is that they were invited there by Vortigern.
  • 450: Several stone inscriptions were made witness to edicts from West Java. Amongst others, the Tugu inscription announced decrees of Purnavarman, the King of Tarumanagara, one of the earliest Hindu kingdoms of Java. (up until the year 669)
  • 451: Council of Chalcedon, the fourth ecumenical council which taught Jesus Christ as one divine person in two natures.
  • 451: The Persians declare war on the Armenians.
  • 451: The Huns under Attila facing the Romans and the Visigoths are defeated in the Battle of Chalons.
  • 452: The Metropolis of Aquileia is destroyed by Attila the Hun and his army.
  • 452: Pope Leo I meets in person with Attila on the Mincio River and convinces him not to ransack Rome.
  • 453: Death of Attila. The Hun Empire is divided between Atilla's sons.
  • 454: Battle of Nedao. Germanic tribes destroy the main Hun army and do away with the Hun domination.
  • 455: Vandals Sack Rome.
  • 455: The city of Chichen Itza is found in Mexico.
  • 455 – 467: Skandagupta, the last great Gupta emperor
  • 469: Death of Dengizich, last Khan of the Hun Empire.
  • 470: Riothamus, King of the Britons, helps the Roman Emperor in Brittany against the Visigoths.
  • 476: Deposition of Romulus Augustulus by Odoacer: traditional date for the Fall of Rome in the West.
  • 477 or 495: Chan Buddhists found the Shaolin Monastery on Mount Song in Henan, China.
  • 480: Assassination of Julius Nepos, the last de jure Emperor of the Western Roman Empire, in Dalmatia.
  • 481: Clovis I becomes King of the Western Franks upon the death of Childeric I.
  • 482: This year, the territory of modern Ukraine established Kiev.
  • 486: Clovis defeats Syagrius and conquers the last free remnants of the Western Roman Empire.
  • 490: (approximate date) Battle of Mount Badon. According to legend, British forces led by Arthur defeated the invading Saxons.
  • 491: King Clovis I defeats and subjugates the Kingdom of Thuringia in Germany.
  • 493: Theodoric the Great ousts Odoacer to become King of Italy.
  • 494: Northern Gaul is united under the Frankish King Clovis I, founder of the Merovingian dynasty.
  • 496: Battle of Tolbiac. King Clovis subjugates the Alamanni, and is baptized as a Catholic with a large number of Franks by Remigius, bishop of Reims.
  • Buddhism reaches Burma and Indonesia.
  • African and Indonesian settlers reach Madagascar.
  • The Hopewell tradition comes to an end in North America.
  • Significant people

  • Aegidius, Gallo-Roman warlord, founder of the Kingdom of Soissons (d. 464/465, reigned 457-464/465).
  • Aelia Eudoxia, Roman Empress (before 385-404).
  • Aetius, Roman magister militum, considered the last of the great Roman generals (391-454).
  • Alaric I, King of the Visigoths, primarily known for the Sack of Rome in 410 (c. 370/375-410, reigned 395-410).
  • Alaric II, King of the Visigoths in Toulouse (c. 458/466-507, reigned 484-507).
  • Ambrosius Aurelianus, war leader of the Romano-British.
  • Anastasius I Dicorus, Roman Emperor (c. 431-518, reigned 491-518).
  • Anthemius, Roman politician, Praetorian prefect of the East, de facto regent (possibly d. 414). Primarily remembered for constructing the Theodosian_Walls.
  • Anthemius, Roman Emperor (c. 420-472, reigned 467-472).
  • Arcadius, Roman Emperor (377-408, reigned 383-408).
  • Ariadne, Roman Empress (c. 450-515).
  • Arvandus, Roman politician, Praetorian prefect of Gaul, and alleged usurper.
  • Aspar, Eastern Roman general and politician (c. 400-471).
  • Ataulf, King of the Visigoths (c. 370-415, reigned 411-415).
  • Attila, King of the Huns
  • Augustine of Hippo, Bishop, theologian
  • Avitus, Roman Emperor (c. 380/395-456/457, reigned 455-456).
  • Bahram V, Sassanid Shah of Persia
  • Basiliscus, Roman Emperor (d. 476/477, reigned 475-476).
  • Basiliscus, Roman Caesar (reigned 476-477/478).
  • Batuo, first abbot of the Shaolin Monastery
  • Bodhidharma, founder of Chan Buddhism
  • Bonifacius, Roman comes and general, in charge of the Diocese of Africa (d. 432).
  • Burdunellus, Roman usurper (d. 496, reigned 496).
  • Castinus, Roman patricius, general, and politician.
  • Chandragupta II, (380-415) Gupta Emperor
  • John Chrysostom, Patriarch of Constantinople
  • Clovis I, King of the Franks (c. 466-511, reigned 481-511). The first Frankish King to unite the Franks; first Barbarian King to convert to Catholicism.
  • Constans II, Roman Emperor (d. 411, reigned 409-411).
  • Constantine III, Roman Emperor (d. 411, reigned 407-411).
  • Constantius III, Roman Emperor (d. 421, reigned 421).
  • Cyril of Alexandria, Patriarch of Alexandria, theologian
  • Dioscorus, Patriarch of Alexandria
  • Euric, King of the Visigoths (c. 440-484, reigned 466-484).
  • Faxian, Chinese Buddhist monk
  • Fan Ye, Chinese historian
  • Galla Placidia, Roman Empress and regent (388-450, reigned 423-437).
  • Gelasius, Bishop of Rome
  • Genseric, King of the Vandals and founder of the Vandal Kingdom in North Africa (c. 389-477, reigned 428-477).
  • Gerontius, Roman general and rebel (d. 411).
  • Glycerius, Roman Emperor (c. 420- after 480, reigned 473-474).
  • Goar, King of the Alans (before 390-c. 450, reigned 406-c. 450).
  • Gratian, Roman usurper (d. 407, reigned 407).
  • Gunderic, King of the Vandals (379-428, reigned 407-428).
  • Gundobad, Roman Patrician and later King of the Burgundians (c. 452-516, reigned 473-516).
  • Gunthamund, King of the Vandals, ruler of the Vandal Kingdom (c. 450-496, reigned 484-496).
  • Gunther, King of the Burgundians (d. 437, reigned c. 407-437). Known primarily for conflicts with the Western Roman Empire and the Huns. He was remembered in medieval legend and he appears as a mythologized figure in the Nibelungenlied.
  • Heraclianus, Roman provincial governor and usurper (d. 413, reigned 412-413).
  • Honorius, Roman Emperor (384-423, reigned 393-423).
  • Huiyuan, Chinese Buddhist
  • Huneric, King of the Vandals, ruler of the Vandal Kingdom (d. 484, reigned 477-484).
  • Hypatia of Alexandria, woman philosopher
  • Illus, Byzantine general and rebel (d. 488).
  • Jerome, Christian hermit, priest, Latin translator of the Bible and author of theological works.
  • Joannes, Roman usurper (d. 425, reigned 423-425).
  • John Cassian, Christian monk and theologian
  • Jovinus, Gallo-Roman senator and usurper (d. 413, reigned 411-413).
  • Julius Nepos, Roman Emperor (c. 430-480, reigned 474-480).
  • Justa, Byzantine rebel, leader of a Samaritan revolt (reigned 484).
  • Kālidāsa, Great Sanskrit poet
  • K'inich Popol Hol, Ruler of Copan 437-455
  • K'inich Yax K'uk' Mo', Ruler of Copan 426-437
  • Ku Ix, Ruler of Copan 465-476
  • Kumaragupta I, Gupta emperor
  • Kumarajiva, (344-413), Kuchean Buddhist monk and Chinese translator
  • Muyal Jol, Ruler of Copan 485-504
  • Leo I, Bishop of Rome, theologian
  • Leo I the Thracian, Roman Emperor (401-474, reigned 457-474).
  • Leo II, Roman Emperor (467-474, reigned 474).
  • Leontius, Byzantine usurper and rebel (d. 488, reigned 484-488).
  • Libius Severus, Roman Emperor (c. 420-465, reigned 461-465).
  • Longinus, Byzantine politician and rebel, instigator of the Isaurian War.
  • Longinus of Cardala, Byzantine politician and rebel, fought in the Isaurian War (d. 497).
  • Majorian, Roman Emperor (c. 420-461, reigned 457-461).
  • Marcian, Roman Emperor (392-457, reigned 450-457).
  • Marcian, Byzantine usurper (reigned c. 479-484).
  • Marcus, Roman usurper (d. 407, reigned 406-407).
  • Marcus, Roman Caesar and briefly co-emperor (d. 476, reigned 475-476).
  • Masties, Roman-Berber ruler in North Africa.
  • Maximus of Hispania, Roman usurper (d. 422, reigned 409-411, 419-421).
  • Mesrop Mashtots, Armenian monk
  • Nestorius, Archbishop of Constantinople, father of Nestorian heresy
  • Niall Noigiallach, founder of one of Ireland's greatest dynasties
  • Odoacer, Scirian general, later King of Italy (433-493, reigned 476-493).
  • Olybrius, Roman Emperor (d. 472, reigned 472).
  • Orestes, Roman general and politician (d. 476).
  • Palladius, Roman Caesar (c. 420-455, reigned 455).
  • Patricius, Roman Caesar (reigned 470-471).
  • Patrick, (Patricius) Catholic Bishop, missionary to Ireland
  • Pei Songzhi, Chinese historian
  • Pelagius, Catholic priest; father of Pelagianism
  • Petronius Maximus, Roman Emperor (c. 396-455, reigned 455).
  • Priscus Attalus, Roman usurper (d. after 416, reigned 409, 414-415).
  • Pulcheria, Roman Empress and regent (398/399-453, reigned 414-453).
  • Rechiar, King of Galicia (d. 456, reigned 448-456).
  • Ricimer, Western Roman general, politician, and ruler (c. 405-472).
  • Riothamus, King of the Britons, a candidate for the legendary King Arthur
  • Romanus, Roman usurper (d. 470, reigned 470).
  • Romulus Augustulus, Roman Emperor (c. 461- after 507, reigned 475-476).
  • Tyrannius Rufinus, priest of Aquileia, hermit, Latin translator
  • Sebastianus, Roman usurper (d. 413, reigned 412-413).
  • Skandagupta, Gupta emperor
  • Socrates Scholasticus, Byzantine Church historian
  • Sozomen, Christian church historian
  • Stilicho, Roman magister militum, de facto regent of the Western Roman Empire (c. 359-408).
  • Syagrius, Roman military commander, last ruler of of the Kingdom of Soissons (430-486/487, reigned 464-486).
  • Theoderic the Great, king of the Ostrogoths and ruler of Italy (454-526, reigned 475-526).
  • Theodoric II, King of the Visigoths (c. 426-466, reigned 453-466).
  • Theodosius II, Roman Emperor (401-450, reigned 408-450).
  • Valentinian III, Roman Emperor (419-455, reigned 425-455).
  • Verina, Roman Empress (d. 484).
  • Vortigern, warlord in Sub-Roman Britain, remembered as a King of the Britons.
  • Emperor Xiaowen of Northern Wei, barbaric-born Chinese emperor of northern China who promoted traditional Chinese culture.
  • Yazdegerd I, Sassanid Shah of Persia
  • Zeno, Roman Emperor (c. 425-491, reigned 474-475, 476-491).
  • Zu Chongzhi, Chinese astronomer and mathematician
  • Inventions, discoveries, introductions

  • Horse collar invented in China
  • Heavy plow in use in Slavic lands
  • Metal horseshoes become common in Gaul
  • Anglo-Saxon runes alphabet introduced in England
  • Armenian alphabet created by Mesrob Mashtots c. 405
  • References

    5th century Wikipedia

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