In a continuing effort to put some context to early Islamic history, I picked up a book this afternoon. It has a handy timeline for events in the Mediterranean, so to help us all here is a comparison of Islamic and Northumbrian history.

541: Plague arrives in Byzantium

544: Maelgwn Gwynedd dies (AC), reputedly of plague.

563: Columba founds Iona

565: Emperor Justinian dies.

570: Muhammed born; before 574: Æthelfrith of Bernicia born and Ælle rules Deira.

622: Muhammed flees to Medina, year 1 of Muslim calendar.

592-616: Reign of Æthelfrith in Bernicia.

625: Bishop Paulinus arrives at York to begin evangelizing Deira/Edwin’s domain.

632: Death of Muhammed

633: Death of Edwin of Deira

634: Battle of Denisesburn/Heavenfield- Reign of Oswald of Bernicia begins.

635/636: Lindisfarne founded by Bishop Aidan from Iona.

636: Battle of Yarmuk- the fall of Christian Syria and Palestine to the Muslims

638: Jerusalem falls to the Muslims

642: Oswald falls to the pagan Mercians; Alexandria falls to the Muslims.

664: Synod of Whitby; major wave of plague strikes Britain.

670s: Second round of plague kills Abbess Audrey of Ely and King Cadwaladr of Gwynedd.

679: Death of Ælfwine of Deira unites all of Northumbria under Ecgfrith for the final time. Bishop Wilfrid makes the first English appeal to the Pope.

680: Murder of Huseyn causes the Shia schism among Muslims.

685: Construction of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem; King Ecgfrith fall at the battle of Dunnichen.

711: Muslim conquest of Spain begins.

718: Leo III turns the Muslims back from Constantinople; Bishop Ecgbert converts Iona to Rome leaving only the Welsh independent.

731: Bede completes the Ecclesiastical History of the English People.

732: Battle of Poitiers turns Muslims back from the doorstep of Gaul.

762: Baghdad founded.

793: Vikings attack Lindisfarne

800: Charlemagne crowned Emperor

827: Muslim begin the conquest of Sicily

846: Muslims raid Rome

867: Danes takes control of Northumbria.

The unification of Northumbria and its whole history looks rather slow and short in comparison, doesn’t it?

A little tidbit picked up so far:

The Kufie lettering on the inside of the dome of Ayasofya (Hagia Sophia): “In the name of God the Merciful and Pitiful; God is the light of Heaven and Earth. His light is Himself, not that which shines through glass or gleams in the morning star or glows in the firebrand.” (p. 7)

Stephen O’Shea Sea of Faith: Islam and Christianity in the Medieval Mediterranean World. Walker & Co., 2006.


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