TIMELINE OF WORLD HISTORY
Timeline of World History: Year by Year from Prehistory to Present Day

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700 - 799 PART IX
 
  PART I 700-700
  PART II 701-710
  PART III 711-712
  PART IV 713-720
  PART V 721-730
  PART VI 731-740
  PART VII 741-749
  PART VIII 750-750
  PART IX 751-760
  PART X 761-780
  PART XI 781-790
  PART XII 791-799
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
CONTENTS
  BACK-700-799 PART VIII NEXT-700-799 PART X    
 
 
     
700 - 799
YEAR BY YEAR:
700-700
Thuringia
Wu Tao-Tzu
Cave temple at Ellora
Jokhang Temple at Lhasa
Bhavabhuti
Dandin
Dandin "The Adventures of the Ten Princes"
Eastern Literature
Water Power
Stirrups in Europe
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
701-710
John VI
Li Bai
Li Bai "Poems"
Eastern Literature
Wuhou
Al-Walid
John VII
Wells Cathedral
Al-Aqsa Mosque
Great Mosque of Damascus
Sisinius
Constantine
Nara
Roderick
Sugar
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
711-712
Philippicus Bardanes
Tariq ibn Ziyad
Dagobert III
Liutprand
Samarkand
Seville
Glastonbury Abbey
Kojiki
Du Fu
Du Fu "Poems"
Eastern Literature
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
713-720
Xuanzong
Anastasius II
Muhammad bin Qasim
Theodosius III
Lindisfarne Gospels
Gregory II
Lisbon
Chilperic II
Leo III the Isaurian
Umar II
Battle of Constantinople
Battle of Constantinople
Pelagius
Battle of Covadonga
Yezid II
Paulus Diaconus
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
721-730
Theodoric IV
Abu Musa Jabir ibn-Hayyan
Alchemy and Mysticism
Hisham
Abbey of Reichenau
Bavaria
Donar's Oak
Yi Xing
Hubert
Qasr Mshatta
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
731-740
Ecclesiastical History of the English People
Gregory III
Battle of Tours
Battle of Tours (Poitiers)
Burgundy
Egbert
Alcuin
Hersfeld Abbey
Bishopric of Passau
Archdiocese of Munich and Freising
Bishopric of Ratisbon
Bishopric of  Salzburg
Battle of Akroinon
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
741-749
Constantine V Copronymus
Pepin the Short
Bertrada of Laon
Zacharias
Church of St Mary
Charlemagne
Childeric III
Mervan II
Swabia
Tassilo III
Aistulf
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
750-750
Abu-al-Abbas
John of Damascus
Shore Temple
Mahabalipuram
Horiuji
Pueblo I Era
Tiwanaku
Pre-Columbian civilizations

Ancient Pueblo People Eras
Abu Nuwas
Hanlin Academy
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
751-760
Battle of Talas
Han Gan
Gigaku
Battle Edge
Cuthred
Stephen II
Wang Tao
Al Mansur
Abd-al-Rahman
Cordoba
Desiderius
Krishna I
Offa
Paul I
Narbonne
Toshodai-ji
Manyoshu
The Coming of the Vikings
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
761-780
Lorsch Abbey
Ottobeuren Abbey
Constantine II, antipope
Carloman I
Stephen III
Kasuga shrine
Han Yu
Einhard
Number System Spreads
Saxon Wars
Hadrian I
Battle of Pavia
Battle of Pavia
Liu Zongyuan
Leo IV
Byzantine–Bulgarian Wars
Byzantine–Bulgarian Wars
Muhammad ibn Mansur al-Mahdi
Kremsmunster Abbey
Battle of Roncevaux Pass
Song of Roland
Song of Roland
Tea Classic
Irene
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
781-790
Nestorian
Massacre of Verden
Godescalc Evangelistary
Mosque of Cordoba
Widukind
Cologne
Cynewulf of Wessex
Harun al-Rashid
Seventh Ecumenical Council
Tassilo III
Wessobrunn Prayer
Libri Carolini
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
791-799
Lindisfarne
Albans Cathedral
Lothar I
Cynewulf
Leo III
Cenwulf
Palatine Chapel
 
 
     
 

Our Sovereign, a god,
Has made his Imperial City
Out of the stretch of swamps,
Where chestnut horses sank
To their bellies.
 
Ōtomo Miyuki

 

 
 
 
 
 
 HISTORY, RELIGION, PHILOSOPHY, ART, LITERATURE, MUSIC, SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, DAILY LIFE
 
 
 
 
YEAR BY YEAR:  700 - 799
 
 
 
Part IX: 751 - 760
 
 
 



751-760


UNDER THE NEW ABBASID CALIPHS the Islamic Empire continued to grow. Initial success came in 751 against the Chinese in the Silk Route kingdom of Tashkent. The Islamic armies were victorious at the Battle of Talas River near Samarkand, which led to the loss of most of Tang China's Central Asian possessions and introduced the Islamic world to papermaking. Outlying regions of the caliphate asserted their autonomy.

In Spain in 756, one of the last surviving Umayyads, Abd al-Rahman I, declared an independent Emirate of Cordoba. In Europe, the Carolingian Pepin III (Pepin (or Pippin) (died 24 September 768), called the Younger (Pippin der Jüngere), was the first King of the Franks (752–768) of the Carolingian dynasty) deposed the last Merovingian king, Childeric III.

With the pope's support Pepin was crowned and was soon able to return the papal favor. When the Lombards conquered Ravenna, the last Byzantine territory in Italy, the Lombard king, Aistulf then set his eyes on Rome.

Pope Stephen II appealed to Pepin for help, and in 755 and 756 Pepin invaded Italy, seizing Ravenna. It was later claimed by the papacy in a document entitled the Donation of Pepin, that Pepin had conceded all former conquered territories in northern Italy to the pope, but this was almost certainly not the case.

 
 
751
 
Carolingians Revive Europe
 
Wresting power from inept Merovingian kings, the Frank-ish Carolingian family ushered in a European revival in the mid-eighth century with the coronation of Pepin III, Charles Martel's son. Carolingian kings leaned on Anglo-Saxon intellectuals—English and Irish monks—for advice, notably St. Boniface. They established theocratic kingships and worked to gain the loyalty of the papacy, which still looked to Byzantium for political leadership.

Carolingians' effective military leadership and mission of Christian conversion throughout Germanic lands led to the first unified Europe, eventually bringing France, the low countries, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy into its empire. During this time Europe's signature cultural attributes were born. After its fall, the empire's core was divided into east and west—today's France and Germany.

The Carolingians rose from the office of mayor of the palace to the Merovingian kings to becoming virtual rulers of the Frankish kingdom. With consent of the pope, Pepin, the first Carolingian, became actual king.
 
 
 
751
 
Battle of Talas
 

The Battle of Talas (or Battle of Artlakh) (怛罗斯会战) (معركة نهر طلاس) in 751 AD was an especially notable conflict between the Arab Abbasid Caliphate and the Chinese Tang Dynasty, then under Emperor Xuanzong (together with various other peoples and nations associated with the geographical territory involved) for control not only of the Syr Darya region, but also a strategic area of Central Asia.

 
The Battle of Talas marked the end of the Tang Dynasty's western expansion of their territory, this representing the furthest point of territorial expansion to the west by the Tang, or any prior or subsequent Chinese dynasties. Leading up to this battlefield showdown, the Tang army had proceeded further and further westward, in a series of military events during the course of which various cities and states were conquered or overthrown. Meanwhile, a new power had arisen in the region. Beginning with a revolt against the Umayyad Caliphate, largely centered in Khurasan, not too far from Talas, the rising Abbasid Caliphate decisively defeated the rival Umayyad Caliphate, in the Battle of the Zab, in 750, which thus freed up their armies for other purposes, one of which would be challenge the Tang expansion into the region. In July, 751, both the Tang troops and the Abbasid troops met in the valley of the Talas River, where the Tang forces were defeated. The Battle of Talas is important because of the resulting changes in the political fortunes of the rival sides, and in the region generally, not to mention the economic importance of control over this strategic region along the Silk Road. There is also a tradition that Chinese prisoners captured as the result of the battle allowed for the transference of paper-making technology to the Middle East and eventually Europe.
 
 

Map of Transoxiana, with the Talas River
 
 
Location
The exact location of the battle has not been confirmed but is believed to be near Taraz and Talas on the border of present day Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. The Chinese name Daluosi (怛罗斯, Talas) was first seen in the account of Xuanzang. Du Huan located the city near the western drain of the Chui River.
 

Background
Prior to the battle, there were other indirect encounters between some of the combatants, and the military might of China had been projected beyond the harsh continental climate and the dry, desolate, and difficult terrain of the Tarim Basin, much of which consists of the Taklamakan Desert, as early as the Han Dynasty, when Emperor Wu of Han sent military expeditions to seize horses which got as far as the Ferghana. Then, in 715 when Alutar, the new king of Fergana Valley, was installed with the help of the Arabs of the Umayyad Caliphate. The deposed king Ikhshid fled to Kucha (seat of Anxi Protectorate), and sought Chinese intervention. The Chinese sent 10,000 troops under Zhang Xiaosong to Ferghana. He defeated the Arab puppet-ruler Alutar at Namangan and reinstalled Ikhshid. The inhabitants of three Sogdian cities were massacred as a result of the battle. The second encounter occurred in 717, when Arabs were guided by the Turgesh and besieged two cities in the area of Aksu. The commander of the Chinese Protectorate General to Pacify the West, Tang Jiahui, responded using two armies, one composed of Karluk mercenaries led by Ashina Xin (client qaghan of Onoq) and another composed of Tang regulars led by Jiahui himself.

In the year 750, Abu al-'Abbas al-Saffah (As-Saffah), the founder of the Abbasid Caliphate, launched a massive rebellion (known as the Abbasid Revolution) against the incumbent Umayyad Caliphate from the province of Khurasan. After his decisive victory at the Battle of the Zab and eliminating those of the Umayyad family who failed to escape to Al-Andalus, As-Saffah sent his forces to consolidate his caliphate, including Central Asia, where his forces confronted many regional powers, including those of China's Tang Dynasty.

Troop strength
The numeric quantities of the combatants involved in the Battle of Talas are not known with certainty, however various estimates exist. The Abbasid army (200,000 Muslim troops according to Chinese estimates, though these numbers may be greatly exaggerated) which included contingents from their Tibetan and Uyghur allies met the combined army of 10,000 Tang Chinese and 20,000 Karluks mercenary (Arab records put the Chinese forces at 100,000 which also may be greatly exaggerated).

Start of battle
In the month of July 751, the Abbasid forces joined in combat with the Tang Chinese force, in the geographical vicinity of the Talas river; the Abbasid army met the combined army of Tang Chinese and Karluk mercenaries in a big fight. On July 751, the Abbasid started a massive attack against the Chinese on the banks of the Talas river.

Course of battle
The Karluk forces deserted the Chinese coalition and changed to the Abbasid side during the course of the battle. With Karluk troops attacking the Tang army from close quarters and the main Abbasid forces attacking from the front, the Tang army was subjected to a devastating defeat. The Tang dynasty's defeat was due to the defection of Karluk mercenaries and the retreat of Ferghana allies who originally supported the Chinese. The Karluks forces, which composed two thirds of the Tang army, deserted the Chinese coalition and changed to the Muslim side while the battle was ongoing. With the Karluk troops attacking the Tang army from the rear and the Arab attacking from the front, the Tang troops were unable to hold their positions. The commander of the Tang forces, Gao Xianzhi, recognized that defeat was imminent and managed to escape with some of his Tang regulars with the help of Li Siye. Out of 10,000 Tang troops, only 2000 managed to return from Talas to their territory in Central Asia. Despite losing the battle, Li did inflict heavy losses on the pursuing Arab army after being reproached by Duan Xiushi. After the battle, Gao was prepared to organize another Tang army against the Arabs when the devastating An Shi Rebellion broke out in 755. When the Tang capital was taken by rebels, all Chinese armies stationed in Central Asia were ordered back to China proper to crush the rebellion.

Aftermath
Shortly after the battle of Talas, the domestic rebellion of An Lushan (755–63) and subsequent warlordism of the jiedushi (763 onwards) caused the decline of Tang influence in Central Asia by the end of the 700s. The local Tang tributaries then switched to the authority of the Abbasids, Tibetans, or Uighurs and the introduction of Islam was thus facilitated among the Turkic peoples. Well supported by the Abbasids, the Karluks established a state that would be absorbed in the late 9th century by the Kara-Khanid Khanate.

Abu al-'Abbas al-Saffah, whose forces were known to the Chinese as the Black Robed Ta-Shih, spent his wealth on warfare. He died in the year 752 AD. His brother who succeeded him as the second Abbasid Caliph Abu Jafar al-Mansur (r.754-775 AD) (A-p’uch’a-fo) helped the Chinese Emperor Suzong of Tang after he appealed for help during the An-Shi Rebellion in regaining control of his capital Chang'an from the treacherous commander, An Lushan, or his successors in the abortive Yan Dynasty. Abu Jafar al-Mansur responded by sending 4,000 men who recaptured the city and were well rewarded by the Chinese Emperor.

With the successful cooperation of Arabs and Turkic peoples, Islam began to exert its influence on the Turkic culture. The most important result of the battle was that the culture of Central Asia, which seemed to have been slowly turning Chinese, in fact became Islamized, though the process took some centuries. Chinese regimes would not rule again in Central Asia for a thousand years.

Historical significance
Among the earliest historians to proclaim the importance of this battle was the great Russian historian of Muslim Central Asia, Vasily Bartold, of 20th century according to whom, "The earlier Arab historians, occupied with the narrative of events then taking place in western Asia, do not mention this battle; but it is undoubtedly of great importance in the history of (Western) Turkestan as it determined the question which of the two civilizations, the Chinese or the Muslim, should predominate in the land (of Turkestan)."

The loss of 8000 troops to the Tang empire can be compared to a troop strength of more than 500,000 before the Anshi rebellion According to Bartold, for the history of the first three centuries of Islam, al-Tabari was the chief source (survived in Ibn al Athir's compilation), which was brought down to 915. (Unfortunately, this important work was only compiled and published by a group of Orientalists in 1901.) It is only in Athir that we find an accurate account of the conflict between the Arabs and the Chinese in 751. Neither Tabari nor the early historical works of the Arabs which have come down to us in general make any mention of this; however, Athir's statement is completely confirmed by the Chinese History of the Tang Dynasty. It must be noted that in all Arab sources, the events which occurred in the eastern part of the empire are often dealt with briefly. Another notable informant of the battle on the Muslim side was Al-Dhahabi (1274–1348).

The Battle of Talas was a key event in the history of paper - the technological transmission of the paper-making process. After the battle of Talas, knowledgeable Chinese prisoners of war were ordered to produce paper in Samarkand, or so the story goes. In fact, high quality paper had been known – and made – in Central Asia for centuries; a letter on paper survives from the fourth century to a merchant in Samarkand. But the Islamic conquest of Central Asia in the late seventh and early eighth centuries opened up this knowledge for the first time to what became the Muslim world, and so by the year 794 AD, paper manufacturing could be found in Baghdad, modern-day Iraq. The technology of paper making was thus transmitted to and revolutionised the Islamic world, and later the European West. The paper production was a state secret, and only some places and Buddhist Monks knew the technology. Of course, the paper was transported many kilometers as a Chinese luxury product, and as it was traded, the finding of paper in several places is not proof of production, but of use.

Other than the transfer of paper, there is no evidence to support a geopolitical or demographic change resulting from this battle. In fact it seems that Tang influence over Central Asia even strengthened after 751 and that by 755, Tang power in Central Asia was at its zenith. Several of the factors after the battle had been taken note of prior to 751. Firstly, the Karluks never in any sense remained opposed to the Chinese after the battle. In 753, the Karluk Yabgu Dunpijia submitted under the column of Cheng Qianli and captured A-Busi, a betrayed Chinese mercenary of Tongluo (Tiele) chief (who had defected earlier in 743), and received his title in the court on 22 October. Furthermore, at the same time that Talas took place, the Tang also sent an army from Shibao city in Qinghai to Suyab and consolidated Chinese control over the Turgesh. Chinese expansion in Central Asia did not halt after the battle; the Chinese commander Feng Changqing, who took over the position from Gao Xianzhi through Wang Zhengjian, virtually swept across the Kashmir region and captured Gilgit shortly two years later. Even Tashkent reestablished its vassal status in 753, when the Tang bestowed a title to its ruler. The Chinese influence to the west of the Pamir Mountains certainly did not cease as the result of the battle; Central Asian states under Muslim control, such as Samarkand, continued to request aid from the Tang against the Arabs in spite of Talas and hence in 754, all nine kingdoms of Western Turkestan again sent petitions to the Tang to attack the Arabs and the Tang continued to turn down such requests as it did for decades. Ferghana, which participated in the battle earlier, in fact joined among the central Asian auxiliaries with the Chinese army under a summons and entered Gansu during An Lushan's revolt in 756. Neither did the relations between the Chinese and Arabs worsen, as the Abbasids, like their predecessors (since 652), continued to send embassies to China uninterruptedly after the battle. Such visits had overall resulted in 13 diplomatic gifts between 752–98. Not all Turkic tribes of the region converted to Islam after the battle either — the date of their mass-conversion to Islam was much later, in the 10th century under Musa.

 
 
 
751
 
 
Han Gan
 

Han Gan (Chinese: 韩干/韓幹) (c. 706-783) was a Tang Dynasty painter.

 

Man herding horses
 
He came from a poor family in either Chang'an, modern day Xi'an, Shaanxi; Lantian, modern day Shaanxi; or Daliang, modern day Kaifeng, Henan. As a young man, Han Gan was recognized by Wang Wei, a prominent poet, who sponsored Han in learning arts. After his studies, Han became a painter in the Tang court.

Han painted many portraits and Buddhistic themed paintings during his career; however, he is most widely remembered for his paintings of horses. He was reputed to be able to not only portray the physical body of the horse, but also its spirit. His reputation rose and surpassed that of his teacher. Horse painters of later generations studied Han.

 

Portrait of "Night-Shining White", a favorite steed of Emperor Xuanzong
 
 
 
751
 
 
Wooden "Gigaku" masks in Japan
 
Gigaku
 

Gigaku (伎楽?), also known as kure-gaku (呉楽?) refers to an extinct genre of masked drama-dance performance, imported into Japan during the Asuka period.

 
Records state that it was introduced during the 20th year of reign of Empress Suiko (612 A.D.) by a certain Mimaji (味摩之; Korean: Mi maji (미마지)) from Kudara kingdom (Baekje), one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea.

The masked dance was performed in silent mime, to the accompaniment of music. The flute, waist drum (or hip drum; (yōko (腰鼓?)), also known as kuretsuzumi (呉鼓, "Wu(China) drum"?)), and shōban (鉦盤?), a type of gong, were the three instruments used in the Nara Period, though the gong was superseded by a type of cymbal (dobyōshi (銅鈸子?)) in the early Heian Period (9th cent.).

 
About the only surviving description of the performance comes from the musical treatise forming a part of the Kyōkunshō(ja) (『教訓抄』; "Selections for Instructions and Admonition") authored by Koma no Chikazane(ja) (d. 1242). According to this, the netori or tuning of instruments signals the start, followed by a prelude of instruments. Then there is a parading of the whole cast, both dancers and instrumentalists. It has been speculated that the character mask named Chidō (治道?) "Govern the way" probably took position at the front of the parade, especially as this mask is listed first off in the assets ledgers (Shizaichō (資材帳?)) for some of the temples that house gigaku masks. The program opens with the Lion Dance (Shishimai), and solo dances by the Duke of Wu, wrestler, the birdman karura, and the Brahman priest.

There are two wrestler archetype characters, the Kongō (金剛?) or "Vajra-yakṣa" who is open-mouthed, and the Rikishi (力士?) who is closed mouthed. These two are said to be analogous to the two Niō or guardian gate statues, who respectively form the open and closed A-un shapes in their mouths.

With the exaggerated features of many of the masks, the content of the play is described as being farcical. Indeed, the two-part play of the Kuron (崑崙?) (or Konron; Chinese:Kunlun nu which denotes a black man or negrito) and the Rikishi (wrestler or "Strong Man") is outright obscene.

 
Gigaku masks from Horyuji temple
 
In the ribald performance, the lascivious Kuron falls in lust for the Gojo (Wu woman or Chinese maiden), and expresses his desire by holding up his phallic prop called marakata (陽物(マラカタ)?), and beating it with his hand fan[8]. The comic dance maneuvers are referred to as marafuri-mai (マラフリ舞, "phallus-swinging dance"?). In subsequent development, the Kuron is subdued by the Rikishi who binds the Kuron by his equipment (marakata), and drags him along by the noose around his manhood[8].

The gigaku is closely related to sangaku (散楽), and may be considered a variant imported via the Korean route, rather than more directly from China.

 
 
Gigaku mask
 
Gigaku mask, stylized wooden mask worn by participants in gigaku, a type of Japanese dance drama. Gigaku masks are the first known masks used in Japan and among the world’s oldest extant masks. Soon after a Korean musician named Mimashi imported gigaku plays into Japan from China, in 612, Japanese artisans began to carve gigaku masks after Chinese models. Because the plays were often performed out-of-doors at court or temple, the masks were given greatly exaggerated features so they would retain their comic effect when viewed at a distance.

Gigaku masks, unlike the later bugaku masks, covered the entire head and had no movable parts. They were usually carved by Buddhist sculptors, and they exemplify the style and technique of contemporary Buddhist sculpture. The carving of gigaku masks reached its highest point during the Nara period (710–784) but was no longer practiced by the middle of the Heian period (c. 990), when it was superseded by the bugaku mask.

 
 
 
752
 
Battle Edge
 

Battle Edge is a former field, located beside Sheep Street and Tanners Lane, in Burford in Oxfordshire, England where King Ethelbald of Mercia was defeated by King Cuthred of the West Saxons in 752 AD.

 
Cuthred had been tributary to Ethelbald but, by winning the battle and taking the standard (a golden dragon), "threw off the Mercian yoke."

Gardner's Directory of Oxfordshire, 1852, reports that "As some workmen were making a road from Burford to Barrington, a few years since, they discovered a large stone sarcophagus of very rude workmanship, weighing nearly three tons, which on examination, was found to contain the remains of a human body, and portions of (apparently) a leathern cuirass studded with metal nails, completely oxidated and matted together. From the size and appearance of this coffin (which is still preserved in the church), and from the circumstance of its being found near to Battle Edge, it may be presumed it was deposited there after the battle between Ethelbald and Cuthred above noticed."

 
 
Cuthred
 

Cuthred or Cuþraed was the King of Wessex from 740 (739 according to Simeon of Durham, 741 according to John of Worcester) until 756. He succeeded Æthelheard, his relative and possibly his brother.

 
Cuthred inherited the kingdom while Mercia was at its peak. The two kingdoms often fought, but it appears that Æthelbald of Mercia was Wessex's overlord, and that he compelled Cuthred to join him in fighting the Welsh in 743.

Cuthred's reign was a troubled time. In 748, Cuthred's aetheling Cynric, possibly his son, was killed (according to Henry of Huntingdon in a mutiny), while in 750 the ealdorman Æthelhun led an unsuccessful rebellion.

In 752, Cuthred led a successful rebellion against Æthelbald at Battle Edge in Burford and secured independence from Mercia for the rest of his reign. He is also said to have fought the Cornish in 753.

 
 
 
752
 
 
Stephen II
 

Pope Stephen II (715 – 26 April 757) was Pope from 752 to 757, succeeding Pope Zachary following the death of Pope-elect Stephen. Stephen II marks the historical delineation between the Byzantine Papacy and the Frankish Papacy.

 
  Unanimously elected in St. Mary Major's and consecrated on 26 March (or 3 April), 752; d. 26 April, 757. He had at once to face the Lombards who were resolved to bring all Italy under their sway. With the capture of Ravenna (751), they had put an end to the power of the Byzantine exarchs and were preparing to seize the Duchy of Rome. In vain did Stephen apply for help to Constantinople and freely spent his money to induce them to keep the peace they had made with him, and to refrain from hostilities. He accordingly devoted himself to prayer and endeavoured to obtain assistance from Pepin and the Franks. As a last resource he went himself to Gaul to plead his cause before the Frankish king. Receiving a most favourable reception, he crowned Pepin as King of the Franks, and at Kiersey was solemnly assured by him that he would defend him, and would restore the exarchate to St. Peter.
 
Failing to make any impression on Aistulf, the Lombard king, by repeated embassies, Pepin forced the passes of the Alps, and compelled him to swear to restore Ravenna and the other cities he had taken (754). But no sooner had Pepin withdrawn from Lombardy than Aistulf roused the whole Lombard nation, appeared in arms before the walls of Rome (Jan., 756), ravaged the neighbourhood, and made a desparate attempt to capture the city. After receiving one appeal for help after another from the pope, Pepin crossed the Alps a second time (756), and again forced Aistulf to submission. This time Stephen was put in possession of the cities of the exarchate and of the Pentapolis, and became practically the first pope-king. Towards the close of this same year Aistulf died amid preparations for once more violating his engagements. On his death two rivals claimed the Lombard throne, Desiderius, Duke of Istria and Ratchis, brother of Aistulf, who in 749 had resigned the Lombard crown, and had taken the monastic habit in Monte Cassino. Desiderius at once invoked the assistance of the pope, and, on condition of his help, promised to restore to Rome certain cities in the exarchate and the Pentapolis which still remained in the hands of the Lombards, and to give the pope a large sum of money. Stephen at once sent envoys to both the rivals, and, impressing on Ratchis the duty of being true to his monastic vows, succeeded in bringing about peace, and preventing civil war. Ratchis returned to his monastery and Desiderius was recognized as king (about March, 757). The latter, however, did not fulfill his promise to the pope in its entirety. He gave up Faenza, Ferrara, and two small towns, but retained Bologna, Imola, and other towns in the Pentapolis till his overthrow by Charlemagne. Stephen had scarcely established a system of government in the exarchate when he had to quell the rebellion of Sergius, Archbishop of Ravenna, whom he had made its governor. He, however, caused the rebel to be brought to Rome, and kept him there whilst he lived. Stephen corresponded with the Emperor Constantine on the subject of the restoration of the sacred images, and himself restored many of the ancient churches of the city. Remarkable for his love of the poor, Stephen built hospitals for them near St. Peter's, in which church he was buried.
 
 
 
752
 
 
Wang Tao
 

Wang Tao (ca 702-772 A.D.) - He is famous for writing the book Waitai Miyao (Medical Secrets of an Official), published in 752 A.D. He provided a comprehensive description of medical problems, covering more than 1,000 categories, and discussed over 6,000 herbal prescriptions.

 
  Wang Tao was an outstanding Chinese physician. He was born in the year 702 A.D, during the Tang Dynasty in Shaanxi Province. Wang was very famous for his renowned work named Waitai Miyao. The literal meaning of the title of this book is ‘medical secrets of an official’.

The most celebrated Waitai Miyao: This popular book on ancient medicines and herbal prescriptions was published by Wang Tao in the year 752 A.D. Wang Tao has given a detailed picture about many medical problems prevailing at that period. He covered more than 1104 categories and he has also recommended more than 6000 herbal prescriptions for all those medical problems. This book was released in 40 volumes of more than 50 classes. Wang Tao was a renowned medical scholar in the Chinese medicine and he proved his medical excellence through his book Waitai Miyao.

The world’s first doctor to recognize diabetes: Wang Tao was the world’s first doctor to recognize the dreadful disease called diabetes. He noticed that his father was suffering from frequent urination, increased thirst and increased intention to eat sweets. He has mentioned the herbal prescriptions for treating diabetes in his book “Waitai Miyao”.

 
 
Wang Tao’s favorite Chinese herbs: Many popular Chinese skin care products and lip balms are based on Wang Tao’s favorite Chinese herbs. Few favorite herbs of Wang Tao are sesame oil (Ding Xiang Flos Caryophylli), beeswax(Dang Gui (Radix Angelicae Sinensis), Shea butter (Bai Zhi (Radix Angelicae Dahuricae), coconut oil (Gan Song Xiang (Rhizoma Nardostachydis)and grape seed oil (Tan Xiang (Lignum Santali Albi). In which, grape seed oil contains (PCOs) Procyanidolic oligomers. It is also called Pycogenols. Grape seed oil is also rich in vitamin P. These constituents are powerful antioxidants and they can check the presence of free radicals in the skin. The procyanidolic oligomers in grape seed oil can also increase the intracellular levels of Vitamin C. It also helps in maintaining the skin elastin and protects the collagen structure. This herbal oil also helps in stabilizing the collagen structure and decreasing the capillary fragility.

Beeswax (Dang Gui Radix Angelicae Sinensis) is yet another popular traditional Chinese herbal medicine. This herbal medicine is added in many skin care products including creams and ointments. This herb helps in removing dead cells from the skin and helps in promoting the growth of new tissues. This herb also supports in moistening dry skin. This herb also helps in assisting proper blood circulation. Coconut oil is also used in moisturizing dry skin and giving a healthy and young look to your skin. Yet another remedy for your beautiful skin is the use of Shea butter. Shea butter is extracted from the seeds of the Karite tree in Africa. This natural herb is also proved to improve the blood circulation, heal the injured skin and gives a lively feeling to your skin. Thus, the mixture of all these favorite herbs of Wang Tao gives a wonderful cure for all your skin problems. This natural lip balm helps in healing the cuts and roughness in the lips.

Wang Tao passed away in the year 772 A.D.
 
 
 
754
 
Pope Stephen III journeys to Pepin to ask for protection from the Lombards; Pepin helps with a large army and helps in creating the Papal states
 
 
 
754
 
The Emperor Constantine V begins dissolution of monasteries
 
 
 
754
 
Al Mansur
 

Al-Mansur or Abu Ja'far Abdallah ibn Muhammad al-Mansur (95 AH – 158 AH (714 AD – 775 AD); Arabic: أبو جعفر عبدالله بن محمد المنصور‎) was the second Abbasid Caliph from 136 AH to 158 AH (754 AD – 775 AD).

 
Biography
Al-Mansur was born at the home of the 'Abbasid family after their emigration from the Hejaz in 95 AH (714 AD). "His father, Muhammad, was reputedly a great-grandson of Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib, the youngest uncle of Mohammad; his mother, as described in the 14th century Moorish historian Ali Ibn-Abd Allah's Rawd al-Qirtas was a "Berber woman given to his father."  He reigned from Dhu al-Hijjah 136 AH until Dhu al-Hijjah 158 AH (754 AD – 775 AD). In 762 he founded as new imperial residence and palace city Madinat as-Salam(the city of peace), which became the core of the Imperial capital Baghdad.

Al-Mansur was concerned with the solidity of his regime after the death of his brother, Abu'l `Abbas, who later become known as-Saffah (the blood spreader = bloody). In 755 he arranged the assassination of Abu Muslim. Abu Muslim was a loyal freed man from the eastern Iranian province of Khorasan who had led the Abbasid forces to victory over the Umayyads during the Third Islamic Civil War in 749-750. At the time of al-Mansur he was the subordinate, but undisputed ruler of Iran and Transoxiana. The assassination seems to have been made to preclude a power struggle in the empire. Though some findings suggest the Abu Muslim became incredulous and paranoid, thus assassination was necessary and arranged.

He deposed Isa bin Musa bin Muhammad bin Ali as his successor due to suspect of corruption and in his place appointed al-Mahdi as his successor and took public allegiance for him. Like his elder brother Saffah he wanted to unite the land so he get rid of all of his opposition.

During his reign, literature and scholarly work in the Islamic world began to emerge in full force, supported by new Abbasid tolerances for Persians and other groups suppressed by the Umayyads. Although the Umayyad caliph Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik had adopted Persian court practices, it was not until al-Mansur's reign that Persian literature and scholarship were truly appreciated in the Islamic world. The emergence of Shu'ubiya among Persian scholars occurred during the reign of al-Mansur as a result of loosened censorship over Persian nationalism. Shu'ubiya was a literary movement among Persians expressing their belief that Persian art and culture was superior to that of the Arabs; the movement served to catalyze the emergence of Arab-Persian dialogues in the eighth century.

Perhaps more importantly than the emergence of Persian scholarship was the conversion of many non-Arabs to Islam. The Umayyads actively tried to discourage conversion in order to continue the collection of the jizya, or the tax on non-Muslims. The inclusiveness of the Abbasid regime, and that of al-Mansur, saw the expansion of Islam among its territory; in 750, roughly 8% of residents in the Caliphate were Muslims. This would double to 15% by the end of al-Mansur's reign.

In 756, Al-Mansur sent over 4,000 Arab mercenaries to assist the Chinese in the An Shi Rebellion against An Lushan. After the war, they remained in China. Al-Mansur was referred to as "A-p'u-ch'a-fo" in the Chinese T'ang Annals.

Al-Mansur died in 775 on his way to Mecca to make hajj. He was buried somewhere along the way in one of the hundreds of graves that had been dug in order to hide his body from the Umayyads. He was succeeded by his son, al-Mahdi.

According to a number of sources, the Imam Abu Hanifa an-Nu'man was imprisoned by al-Mansur. Imam Malik ibn Anas, the founder of another school of law, was also flogged during his rule, but al-Mansur himself did not condone this - in fact, it was his cousin, who was the governor of Madinah at the time, who did so. Al-Mansur, in turn, punished his cousin, and retributed Imam Malik. (Ya'qubi, vol.III, p. 86; Muruj al-dhahab, vol.III, p. 268-270.)
 

Al-Masudi in Meadows of Gold recounts a number of anecdotes that present aspects of this caliph's character. He tells of a blind poet on two occasions reciting praise poems for the Umayyads to one he didn't realize was this Abbasid caliph. Al-Mansur rewarded the poet for the verses. Al-Masudi relates a tale of the arrow with verses inscribed on feathers and shaft arriving close to al-Mansur. These verses prompted him to investigate the situation of a notable from Hamadan unjustly imprisoned and release him. There is also the account of the foreboding verses al-Mansur saw written on the wall just before his death.

A very impressive aspect of this caliph's character is that when he died he left in the treasury six hundred thousand dirhams and fourteen million dinars.

In 2008, MBC 1 had depicted the life and leadership of Al-Mansur in a historical series aired during the holy month of Ramadan.

 
 
 
754
 
 
St. Boniface murdered (b. 673)
 
 

The Martyrdom of St. Boniface.
He was murdered by a band of pagans while getting ready to confirm a group of converts.
 
 
 
755
 
Abd-al-Rahman
 

Abd al-Rahmān I, also called al-Dākhil (flourished 750–788), member of the Umayyad ruling family of Syria who founded an Umayyad dynasty in Spain.

 

Abd al-Rahmān I, Emir of Córdoba
  When the ʿAbbāsids overthrew the Umayyad caliphate in 750 ce and sought to kill as many members of the Umayyad family as possible, Abd al-Rahmān fled, eventually reaching Spain.

The Iberian Peninsula had for some time been occupied by Muslim Arab forces, and he recognized political opportunity for himself in the rivalries of the Qays and Yaman, the dominant Arab factions there.

By shifting alliances and using mercenary support, he placed himself in a position of power, attacking and defeating the governor of Al-Andalus in 755 and making Córdoba his capital. As news of his success spread eastward, men who had previously worked in the Umayyad administrative system came to Spain to work with ʿAbd al-Rahmān, and his administrative system came to resemble that formerly operative in Damascus.

ʿAbd al-Rahmān secured his realm against external attack by defeating armies sent by Charlemagne and the ʿAbbāsid caliph. Although he faced a series of rebellions by Muslim Spaniards, Imazighen (Berbers) from the mountainous areas, and various Arab clans, his authority and dynasty remained firmly in power.

 
 
 
Caliphate of Córdoba
 
The Caliphate of Córdoba (Arabic: خلافة قرطبة‎; trans. Khilāfat Qurṭuba) ruled the Iberian peninsula (Al-Andalus) and part of North Africa, from the Islamic Qurtuba (Córdoba) city, from 929 to 1031. This period was characterized by remarkable success in trade and culture; many of the masterpieces of Islamic Iberia were constructed in this period, including the famous Great Mosque of Córdoba. In January 929, Abd-ar-Rahman III proclaimed himself Caliph (Arabic: خليفة) of Qurtuba in place of his original title Emir of Córdoba (Arabic: أمير قرطبة 'Amīr Qurṭuba). Abd-ar-Rahman III was a member of the Umayyad dynasty; the same dynasty who held the titles of Emir of Córdoba since 756. The rule of the Caliphate is known as the heyday of Muslim presence in the Iberian peninsula. The Caliphate was practically disintegrated due to civil war (Fitna of al-Ándalus) between descendants of the last legitimate Caliph Hisham II and the successors of his prime minister (hayib) Al-Mansur. The shell of the Caliphate existed until 1031 when, after years of infighting, it fractured into a number of independent Taifa kingdoms. Despite these fractures, the Islamic civilisation in Iberia, one of the most culturally florid periods of European civilisation, continued until 1492 when its last bastion, the Alhambra in Granada, was formally surrendered to the Christians.
 

Caliphate of Córdoba (green), c. 1000.
 

The Umayyad Dynasty

Rise

Abd-ar-Rahman I became Emir of Córdoba in 755; fleeing for six years after the Umayyads had lost the position of Caliph held in Damascus in 750. Intent on regaining a position of power, he defeated the existing Islamic rulers of the area who defied Umayyad rule and united various local fiefdoms into an emirate. In 806, however, occurred the first of a series of incursions to Corsica.

Rulers of the Emirate were content to use the title emir or sultan until the 10th century, when Abd-ar-Rahman III was faced with the threat of invasion by the Fatimids, a rival Islamic empire based in Cairo. Partially to help in his fight against the invading Fatimids, who claimed the Caliphate in opposition to the generally recognized Abbasid Caliph of Baghdad, Abd-ar-Rahman III claimed the title of Caliph himself. This move helped Abd-ar-Rahman III gain prestige with his subjects, and the title was retained even after the Fatimids were repulsed.

Prosperity
The Caliphate enjoyed immense prosperity throughout the 10th century. Abd-ar-Rahman III not only united al-Andalus, but brought the Christian kingdoms of the north, through force and diplomacy, under control. Abd-ar-Rahman stopped the Fatimid advance into Caliphate lands in Morocco and al-Andalus. This period of prosperity is marked by growing diplomatic relations with Berber tribes in North Africa, Christian kings from the north, with France and Germany, and Constantinople. The death of Abd-ar-Rahman III led to the rise of his 46 year old son Al-Hakam II in 961. Al-Hakam II more-or-less followed in his father's footsteps, occasionally dealing with a few disruptive Christian kings and North African rebels, though trying not to be too severe. Unlike his father, al-Hakam's dependence upon his advisers was more distinct.

Fall
The death of al-Hakam II in 976 marked the beginning of the end of the Caliphate of Córdoba. Before his death, al-Hakam named his 10 year old son Hisham II (976–1008) as successor. Seeing that the child was in no way competent to be Caliph, yet having sworn an oath of obedience to him, Al-Mansur Ibn Abi Aamir (the top adviser to Hisham's father, also known as Almanzor) pronounced him Caliph. Ibn Abi Aamir acted as guardian to the young Hisham, exercising the Caliph's powers until he was of age. While doing so however, he isolated Hisham in Córdoba while systematically eradicating opposition to his own rule. He allowed Berbers from Africa to immigrate steadily to al-Andalus in order to build up his base of support. He, and eventually after his death in 1008, his son Abd al-Malik (al-Muzaffar), and later his brother (Abd al-Rahman) retained the powers nominally held by Caliph Hisham. However, on a raid in the Christian north, a revolt tore through Córdoba, and Abd al-Rahman never returned.

The decision to name Hisham II Caliph shifted power from the individual to the advisers. The title Caliph became only a symbol; it no longer held power and influence. The Caliphate would be rocked with violence, with different revolutionaries claiming to be the new Caliph. The last Córdoban Caliph was Hisham III (1027–1031). With different factions competing, the Caliphate finally crumbled in 1031 into independent taifa kingdoms.

 
 
 
Cordoba
 

Córdoba, conventional Cordova, city, capital of Córdoba provincia (province), in the north-central section of the comunidad autónoma (autonomous community) of Andalusia in southern Spain. It lies at the southern foot of the Morena Mountains and on the right (north) bank of the Guadalquivir River, about 80 miles (130 km) northeast of Sevilla.

 

View of the Roman bridge and the city of Córdoba
 
 
Córdoba was probably Carthaginian in origin and was occupied by the Romans in 152 bc. The city flourished under their rule, though 20,000 of its inhabitants were massacred in 45 bc by Julius Caesar for having supported the sons of Pompey. Under Augustus, the city became the capital of the prosperous Roman province of Baetica. It declined under the rule of the Visigoths from the 6th to the early 8th century ad.

In 711 Córdoba was captured and largely destroyed by the Muslims. Its recovery was impeded by tribal rivalries until ʿAbd al-Raḥmān I, a member of the Umayyad family, accepted the leadership of the Spanish Muslims and made Córdoba his capital in 756. ʿAbd al-Raḥmān I founded the Great Mosque of Córdoba, which was enlarged by his successors and completed about 976 by Abū ʿĀmir al-Manṣūr. Though troubled by occasional revolt, Córdoba grew rapidly under Umayyad rule; and after ʿAbd al-Raḥmān III proclaimed himself caliph of the West in 929, it became the largest and probably the most cultured city in Europe, with a population of some 100,000 in 1000. Under Umayyad rule, Córdoba was enlarged and filled with palaces and mosques. The city’s woven silks and elaborate brocades, leatherwork, and jewelry were prized throughout Europe and the East, and its copyists rivaled Christian monks in the production of religious works. When the caliphate was dismembered by civil war early in the 11th century, Córdoba became the centre of a contest for power among the petty Muslim kingdoms of Spain. It fell to the Castilian king Ferdinand III in 1236 and became part of Christian Spain.

 
 

Interior of the Great Mosque of Córdoba.
 
 
Córdoba remained a Christian military base in the frontier warfare against the Muslim kingdom of Granada. But the substitution of Spanish for Muslim rule hastened the city’s economic and cultural decline, and the fall of Granada in 1492 left Córdoba a quiet city of churches, monasteries, and aristocratic houses. The exotic poetry of Luis de Góngora y Argote briefly revived Córdoba’s cultural prestige in the 17th century. Besides Góngora, the city is noted as the birthplace of the Roman philosopher Seneca, the poet Lucan, and the medieval philosophers Averroës and Maimonides.

The city was stormed and sacked by the French in 1808 for its part in fomenting the rebellion against Napoleonic French rule. It was one of the first cities occupied by Francoist forces in the Spanish Civil War (1936–39).

Córdoba remains a typically Moorish city with narrow, winding streets, especially in the older quarter of the centre and, farther west, the Judería (Jewish quarter). A Moorish bridge with 16 arches on Roman bases connects Córdoba with its suburbs across the river. The bridge is guarded at its southern end by the Calahorra fortress. West of the bridge, near the river, lies the Alcázar, or palace, which was the residence of the caliphs and is now in ruins. Other important buildings include several old monasteries and churches, the city hall, various schools and colleges, and museums of fine arts and archaeology. Córdoba’s Moorish character and its fine buildings—especially the Great Mosque—have made it a popular tourist attraction.

The city is also noted for its textile manufactures, traditional medieval handicrafts, and its manufacture of gold and silver ornaments and products in copper, bronze, and aluminum. Córdoba’s other significant industries are brewing, distilling, and food processing (especially olives), as well as the manufacture of machinery parts and metalworking. Pop. (2006 est.) 297,506.

 
 
 
756
 
Desiderius
 

Desiderius (also known as Daufer or Dauferius; Didier in French and Desiderio in Italian) was the last king of the Lombard Kingdom of northern Italy (756-774), died c. 786. He is chiefly known for his connection to Charlemagne, who married his daughter and conquered his realm.

 

Desiderius, king of the Lombards
  Rise to power
Desiderius was originally a royal officer, the dux Langobardorum et comes stabuli, "constable and duke of the Lombards," an office apparently similar to the contemporaneous Frankish office of dux Francorum. King Aistulf made him duke of Istria and Tuscany and he became king after the death of Aistulf in 756. At that time, Aistulf's predecessor, Ratchis, left his monastic retreat of Montecassino and tried to seize the kingdom, but Desiderius put his revolt down quickly with the support of Pope Stephen II. At his coronation, Desiderius promised to restore many lost papal towns to the Holy See, in return for the papacy's endorsement of his claim. Conflict with the Holy See under Pope Stephen III arose, for Stephen opposed Charlemagne's marriage to Desiderius' daughter. Desiderius ceased delivery of the towns after only a few.

Seeking, like his predecessors, to extend the Lombard power in Italy, he came into collision with the papacy and the southern duchies.

 
 
In the same year Desiderius associates to his kingdom the son Adelchis. Alboin, the duchy of Benevento and Liutprand, that of Spoleto were coaxed by Pope Stephen to commend themselves to the Franks and thus separate themselves again from monarchy. They then  placed themselves under the protection of Pippin (Lat. Pipinus), the king of Franks. In 758, Duke Liutprand of Benevento attained his majority and rebelled. Desiderius defeated him and granted his duchy to one Arechis, tying the duchy more closely to Pavia than it had been since Grimoald's time. In that same year, Desiderius deposed Alboin of Spoleto and exercised himself the ducal powers there.

Appointing Antipope Phillip
Desiderius seized a priest named Phillip from the Monastery of St Vito. One July 31, 768 he summarily appointed him pope. Antipope Philip was never recognized nor gained a significant following so he left the same day and returned to his monastery where he was never heard from or seen again.

Relations with Charlemagne
Stephen III opposed Charlemagne's marriage to Desiderius' daughter, Desiderata, in 768, but by his death in 772, he had made peace with the Lombards. The new pope, Adrian I, however, implored the aid of Charlemagne against him, for the marriage of dynasties was dissolved by Charlemagne's repudiation of Desiderata in 771. Charles sent her back to her father. Moreover, Gerberga, the widow of Charlemagne's brother Carloman, sought the protection of the Lombard king after her husband's death in 771; and — probably in return for the insult Charlemagne had given to the Lombards by rejecting Desiderata — Desiderius recognised Gerberga's sons as lawful heirs, and attacked Pope Adrian for refusing to crown them kings and invaded the Pentapolis. The embassies of Adrian and Desiderius met at Thionville and Charlemagne favoured the pope's case.

Such was the position when Charlemagne and his uncle Bernard led troops across the Alps in 773. The Lombards were severely defeated at Mortara (Ara Mortis) and soon besieged in their capital of Ticinum, the modern Pavia. Desiderius' son Adelchis was raising an army at Verona, but the young prince was chased to the Adriatic littoral and fled to Constantinople when Charlemagne approached.

The siege lasted until June 774, when, in return for the lives of his soldiers and subjects, Desiderius surrendered and opened the gates. Desiderius was exiled to the abbey of Corbie, where he died, and his son Adelchis spent his entire life in futile attempts to recover his father's kingdom. Some sources state that the king and his family were banished to a monastery at Liège, Belgium.

Desiderius died sometime around 786.

The name Desiderius appears in the romances of the Carolingian period. Charlemagne took the title rex Langobardorum, the first time a Germanic king adopted the title of a kingdom he had conquered.

 
 
 
756
 
Krishna I
 

Krishna I (756–774 CE), an uncle of Dantidurga, took charge of the growing Rashtrakuta Empire by defeating the last Badami Chalukya ruler Kirtivarman II in 757.

 
This is known from the copper plate grant of Emperor Govinda III of 807 and a copper plate grant of the Gujarat Rashtrakuta Emperor Karka from Baroda. He is also known as Kannara or Kannesvara and took the titles Akalavarsha, Shubatunga, Prithvivallabha and Shrivallabha. He patronised the famous Jain logician Akalanka Bhatta, the author of Rajavartika.

Some historians are of the opinion that Krishna I usurped the throne from his nephew Dantidurga. But others disagree as the term "demise of Dantidurga" occur in the Kavi and Navasari copper plates indicating Krishna I mush have ascended the throne after the death of Dantidurga. However, from the Baroda inscription it seems that Krishna I may have had to subdue another claimant to the throne, perhaps a Rashtrakuta princes or a son of Dantidurga.

He successfully fought the Western Ganga Dynasty king Sripurusha and acquired some territory in Gangavadi (Southern Karnataka) and the Shilaharas of south Konkan. He defeated the Eastern Chalukya ruler Vishnuvardhana IV.

The Kailasanatha Temple in Ellora was commissioned during his time as described by the Alas inscription of 770. He was responsible for building 18 Shiva temples. 1800 coins of his, discovered recently, have the legend Parama Maheshvara which indicates his strong Shaiva faith.His eldest son, Govinda II came to power after him.

 
 
 
757
 
Offa
 

Offa was the King of Mercia from 757 until his death in July 796. The son of Thingfrith and a descendant of Eowa, Offa came to the throne after a period of civil war following the assassination of Æthelbald after defeating the other claimant Beornred.

 
  Offa, (died July 796), one of the most powerful kings in early Anglo-Saxon England. As ruler of Mercia from 757 to 796, Offa brought southern England to the highest level of political unification it had yet achieved in the Anglo-Saxon period (5th–11th century ad). He also formed ties with rulers on the European continent.

A member of an ancient Mercian ruling family, Offa seized power in the civil war that followed the murder of his cousin, King Aethelbald (reigned 716–757). By ruthlessly suppressing resistance from several small kingdoms in and around Mercia, he created a single state covering most of England south of modern Yorkshire.

The lesser kings of this region paid him homage, and he married his daughters to the rulers of Wessex and Northumbria.

 
Offa appears to have aspired to be accepted as an equal by continental monarchs. Charlemagne, king of the Franks, quarreled with Offa, but the two rulers concluded a commercial treaty in 796. In addition, Offa maintained a friendly relationship with Pope Adrian I, who was allowed to increase his control over the English church, while acceding to Offa’s request for the creation of an archbishopric of Lichfield. This remarkable, if temporary, change in church organization freed the Mercian church from the authority of the archbishop of Canterbury, who was seated among Offa’s enemies in the kingdom of Kent.

An impressive memorial to Offa’s power survives in the great earthwork known as Offa’s Dyke, which he had constructed between Mercia and the Welsh settlements to the west. Perhaps the most enduring achievement of his reign was the establishment of a new form of coinage bearing the king’s name and title and the name of the moneyer responsible for the quality of the coins. The principles governing his coinage were employed in England for centuries afterward.
 
 
 
757
 
 
Paul I
 
 

Pope Paul I (700 – 28 June 767) was pope from 29 May 757 to 28 June 767. He first served as a Roman deacon and was frequently employed by his brother, Pope Stephen II, in negotiations with the Lombard kings.

 
  He was a brother of Stephen II. They had been educated for the priesthood at the Lateran palace. Stephen entrusted his brother, who approved of the pope's course in respect to King Pepin, with many important ecclesiastical affairs, among others with the restoration to the Roman States of the cities which had been seized by the Lombard Kings Aistulf and Desiderius; these cities Desiderius promised to give up. While Paul was with his dying brother at the Lateran, a party of the Romans gathered in the house of Archdeacon Theophylact in order to secure the latter's succession to the papal see. However, immediately after the burial of Stephen (died 26 April, 757), Paul was elected by a large majority, and received episcopal consecration on the twenty-ninth of May.
 
Paul continued his predecessor's policy towards the Frankish king, Pepin, and thereby continued the papal supremacy over Rome and the districts of central Italy in opposition to the efforts of the Lombards and the Eastern Empire. Pepin sent a letter to the Roman people, exhorting them to remain steadfast to St. Peter. In the reply sent by the senate and the people of Rome to the Frankish king, the latter was urged to complete the enlargement of the Roman province which he had wrested from the barbarians, and to persevere in the work he had begun.

In 758 a daughter was born to Pepin, and the king sent the pope the cloth used at the baptism as a present, renewing in this way the papal sponsorship. Paul returned thanks and informed Pepin of the hostile action of Desiderius, who had failed to deliver the cities of Imola, Osimo, Ancona, and Bologna to Rome, and had also devastated the Pentapolis on his expedition against the rebellious Dukes of Spoleto and Benevento. The two duchies were conquered and annexed by Desiderius (758). At Benevento Desiderius had a conference with the Greek ambassador Georgios, and agreed on a mutual alliance of Byzantines and Lombards in central Italy. On his way home Desiderius came to Rome, and when the pope demanded the return of the aforesaid cities, he refused to comply. He promised to give back Imola, but on condition that the pope should persuade Pepin to send back the Lombard hostages whom the Frankish king had carried off, some time before, at the time of his second victory over the Lombard King Aistulf. If Paul would not do this, Desiderius threatened to go to war with him. The pope was in great straits. He found it difficult even to get the Frankish king informed of his position. He gave two letters to Bishop George of Ostia and the Roman priest Stephen, his ambassadors to Pepin, who made the journey with the Frankish messenger Ruodpertus. In the one letter that was to secure the envoys a safe passage through Lombard territory, he agreed to the demands of Desiderius and begged Pepin to accede to the wishes of the Lombards by making a treaty of peace and returning the hostages.

At the same time the envoys were to give the Frankish king a second secret letter, in which the pope communicated to him the latest occurrences, informed him of the agreement of Desiderius with the Byzantines for the conquest of Ravenna, and implored Pepin to come to the aid of the pope, to punish the Lombard king, and to force him to yield the towns retained by him. Towards the close of 759 another envoy was sent to Pepin. Early in 760 two Frankish envoys, Bishop Remidius of Rouen, brother to Pepin, and Duke Antschar, came to Desiderius, who promised to return its patrimony to the Roman Church in April, and also to yield the towns demanded by the pope. But he again refused to carry out his promises, dallied, and even forced his way into Roman territory. Once more Paul implored the Frankish king's help. The position of affairs was made even more threatening by Byzantine action. Georgios had gone from southern Italy to the court of Pepin and had here won over a papal envoy, Marinus. With all his efforts Georgios could not move Pepin. In 760 a report spread through Italy that a large Byzantine fleet was under sail for Rome and the Frankish kingdom. Later it was reported that the Byzantines intended to send an army to Rome and Ravenna. The Archbishop Sergius of Ravenna received a letter from the Byzantine emperor, in which the latter sought to obtain the voluntary submission of the inhabitants of Ravenna. The same attempt was also made in Venice. Sergius sent the letter of the emperor to the pope, and the pope notified Pepin. In case of a war with the Eastern Empire it was important to make sure of the support of the Lombards, consequently Pepin desired to come to an agreement with Desiderius. Thereupon the Lombard king showed more complaisance in the question of the Roman patrimony included in the Lombard territory, and when he visited Rome in 765, the boundary disputes between him and the pope were arranged. The Frankish king now directed Desiderius to aid the pope in recovering the Roman patrimony in the regions in southern Italy under Byzantine rule, and to support the ecclesiastical rights of the pope against the bishops of these districts. Paul's opposition to the schemes of the Emperor Constantine Copronymus had no real political basis.

The pope's aim was to defend ecclesiastical orthodoxy regarding the doctrine of the Trinity and the veneration of images against the Eastern emperor. Paul repeatedly dispatched legates and letters in regard to the veneration of images to the emperor at Byzantium. Constantine sent envoys to western Europe who in coming to King Pepin did not disguise their intention to negotiate with him concerning dogmatic questions, also about the submission of the Exarchate of Ravenna to Byzantine suzerainty. Papal legates also came to Pepin in regard to these matters. On their return the legates were able to reassure the pope as to the views of the Frankish ruler, who kept two of the papal envoys, Bishop George and the priest Peter, near him. In 767 a Frankish synod was held at Gentilly, near Paris, at which the Church doctrines concerning the Trinity and the veneration of images were maintained. Paul showed great activity and zeal in encouraging religious life at Rome. He turned his paternal home into a monastery, and near it built the church of San Silvestro in Capite. The founding of this church led to his holding a synod at Rome in 761. To this church and other churches of Rome, Paul transferred the bones of numerous martyrs from the decayed sanctuaries in the catacombs devastated by the Lombards in 756. He transferred the relics of St. Petronilla from the catacomb of St. Domitilla to a chapel in St. Peter's erected by his predecessor for this purpose.

The legend of St. Petronilla caused her at that era to be regarded as a daughter of St. Peter, and as such she became the special Roman patroness of the Frankish rulers. Paul also built an oratory of the Blessed Virgin in St. Peter's, and a church in honour of the Apostles on the Via Sacra beyond the Roman Forum. He died near the church of San Paolo fuori le mura, where he had gone during the heat of summer. He was buried in this church, but after three months his body was transferred to St. Peter's. The "Liber Pontificalis" also praises the Christian charity and benevolence of the pope which he united with firmness. Paul is venerated as a saint. His feast is celebrated on the twenty-eighth of June.

Catholic Encyclopedia

 
 
 
759
 
The Franks get Narbonne back from the Arabs
 
Narbonne
 

Narbonne (French pronunciation: [naʁ.bɔn]; Occitan: Narbona; Latin: Narbo) is a commune in southern France in the Languedoc-Roussillon region. It lies 849 km (528 mi) from Paris in the Aude department, of which it is a sub-prefecture. Once a prosperous port, it is now located about 15 km (9.3 mi) from the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. It is marginally the largest commune in Aude, although the capital is the slightly smaller commune of Carcassonne.

 

Muslim troops leaving Narbonne to Pépin le Bref, in 759
, after 40 years of occupation.
 
 
History
Narbonne was established in Gaul in 118 BC, as Colonia Narbo Martius. It was located on the Via Domitia, the first Roman road in Gaul, built at the time of the foundation of the colony, and connecting Italy to Spain. Geographically, Narbonne was therefore located at a very important crossroads because it was situated where the Via Domitia connected to the Via Aquitania, which led toward the Atlantic through Toulouse and Bordeaux. In addition, it was crossed by the Aude River. Surviving members of Julius Caesar's Legio X Equestris were given lands in the area that today is called Narbonne.

Politically, Narbonne gained importance as a competitor to Massalia (Marseille). Julius Caesar settled veterans from his 10th legion there and attempted to develop its port while Marseille was revolting against Roman control. Among the amenities of Narbonne, its rosemary-flower honey was famous among Romans.

Later, the provincia of southern Gaul was named "Gallia Narbonensis", after the city, and Narbonne was made its capital. Seat of a powerful administration, the city enjoyed economic and architectural expansion.

It was subsequently the capital of the Visigothic province of Septimania, the only territory from Gaul to fend off the Frankish thrust after the Battle of Vouille (507). For 40 years, from 719, Narbonne was part of the Emirate of Cordoba with a strong Gothic presence. The Carolingian Pepin the Short conquered Narbonne from the Muslim in 759 after which it became part of the Carolingian Viscounty of Narbonne. He invited, according to Christian sources, prominent Jews from the Caliphate of Bagdad to settle in Narbonne and establish a major Jewish learning center for Western Europe. In the 12th century, the court of Ermengarde of Narbonne (reigned 1134 to 1192) presided over one of the cultural centers where the spirit of courtly love was developed.

In the 11th and 12th centuries, Narbonne was home to an important Jewish exegetical school, which played a pivotal role in the growth and development of the Zarphatic (Judæo-French) and Shuadit (Judæo-Provençal) languages. Jews had settled in Narbonne from about the 5th century, with a community that had risen to approximately 2000 in the 12th century. At this time, Narbonne was frequently mentioned in Talmudic works in connection with its scholars. One source, Abraham ibn Daud of Toledo, gives them an importance similar to the exilarchs of Babylon. In the 12th and 13th centuries, the community went through a series of ups and downs before settling into extended decline.

Narbonne loses its river and port
Narbonne itself fell into a slow decline in the 14th century, for a variety of reasons. One was due to a change in the course of the Aude River, which caused increased silting of the navigational access. The river, known as the Atax in ancient times, had always had two main courses which split close to Salelles; one fork going south through Narbonne and then to the sea close to the Clappe Massif, the other heading east to the etang at Vendres close to the current mouth of the river well to the east of the city. The Romans had improved the navigability of the river by building a dam near Salelles and also by canalising the river as it passed through its marshy delta to the sea (then as now the canal was known as the Robine.) A major flood in 1320 swept the dam away. The Aude river had a long history of overflowing its banks. When it was a bustling port, the distance from the coast was approximately 5 to 10 kilometres, but at that time the access to the sea was deep enough when the river was in full spate which made communication between port and city unreliable. However, goods could easily be transported by land and in shallow barges from the ports (there were several: a main port and forward ports for larger vessels; indeed the navigability from the sea into the etang and then into the river had been a perennial problem!)

The changes to the long seashore which resulted from the silting up of the series of graus or openings which were interspersed between the islands which made up the shoreline (St. Martin; St. Lucie) had a more serious impact than the change in course of the river. Other causes of decline were the plague and the raid of Edward, the Black Prince, which caused much devastation. The growth of other ports was also a factor.


Narbonne Cathedral

Narbonne Cathedral (Cathédrale Saint-Just-et-Saint-Pasteur de Narbonne) is a former cathedral, and national monument of France, located in the town of Narbonne. It is dedicated to Saints Justus and Pastor.

It was the seat of the Archbishop of Narbonne until the Archbishopric was merged into the Diocese of Carcassonne under the Concordat of 1801. (The title, however, passed to the Archbishop of Toulouse.) The church was declared a basilica minor in 1886.

The building, begun in 1272, is noted for being unfinished.

The cathedral is situated in the heart of the present city of Narbonne, but in the Middle Ages was located by the city wall. This placement was due to a long history of the site as a place of worship. In 313, just after the edict that authorized Christianity as a legal religion, a Constantinian basilica was erected on approximately the same spot as the present cathedral.

Ruined by a fire in 441, it took 37 years to demolish those parts of the basilica that had escaped destruction. Then a Latin basilica was constructed by Bishop Rusticus, who was encouraged in his work by the Gaulish prefect, Marcellus. The basilica was finished on November 29, 445. Originally dedicated to Saint Genesius of Arles, it was re-dedicated in 782 to the young Spanish martyrs Saint Justus and Pastor. Little remains of this building: two Roman columns from the former forum, used in the nave, can now be seen in the present cloister; the lintel and an aedicule of white marble can now be seen in the Lapidary Museum of Narbonne.

A Carolingian cathedral was erected in 890 by Archbishop Theodard (d. 893). Its steeple, largely restored, is visible from the cloister. Yet despite the help given to it by three popes, this church fell into ruin.

The idea to build a Gothic cathedral was a political decision made in 1268 by Pope Clement IV, the former archbishop of Narbonne. He decided that it would be a monument made in the magnificent style of the Kingdom of France. The construction of the new cathedral was supposed to begin in 1264, but did not actually start until 1272. The first stone of the current cathedral was laid by Archbishop Maruin on April 13, 1272, in the foundation of the current Chapel of the Sacred Heart.

The choir was finished in 1332, but the rest of the building was never completed, as the result of many factors including sudden changes in the economic status of Narbonne, its unusual size and geographical location (to complete it would have meant demolishing the city wall) and financial constraints.

 

City of Narbonne in south of France, and the Saint Just cathedral, viewed from the Gilles Aycelin dungeon.
 
 
 
759
 
 
Wang Wei, painter and poet, d. (b. 698)
 

Portrait of Fu Sheng, painted by Wang Wei
 
 
 
759
 
 
Toshodai-ji
 
Tōshōdai-ji (唐招提寺) is a Buddhist temple of the Ritsu sect in the city of Nara, in Nara Prefecture, Japan. The Classic Golden Hall, also known as the kondō, has a single story, hipped tiled roof with a seven bay wide facade. It is considered the archetype of "classical style."

It was founded by a Chinese Buddhist monk named Jianzhen during the Nara period in the year 759. Jianzhen was hired by the newly empowered clans to travel in search of funding from private aristocrats as well.

Tōshōdai-ji is one of the places in Nara that UNESCO has designated as World Heritage Site "Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara".

 
 

Golden Hall
 
 

Lecture Hall
 
 

Korō
 
 

Raidō
 
 

Hōzō and Kyōzō
 
 
 
760
 
 
Manyoshu
 

Man'yōshū (万葉集, man'yōshū?, "Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves") is the oldest existing collection of Japanese poetry, compiled some time after 759 AD during the Nara period. The anthology is one of the most revered of Japan's poetic compilations. The compiler, or the last in a series of compilers, is believed to be Ōtomo no Yakamochi. The collection contains poems ranging from AD 347 (poems #85-89) through 759 (#4516), the bulk of them representing the period after 600. The precise significance of the title is not known with certainty.

 
The collection is divided into twenty parts or books; this number was followed in most later collections. The collection contains 265 chōka (long poems), 4,207 tanka (short poems), one tanrenga (short connecting poem), one bussokusekika (poems on the Buddha's footprints at Yakushi-ji in Nara), four kanshi (Chinese poems), and 22 Chinese prose passages. Unlike later collections, such as the Kokin Wakashū, there is no preface.

It is standard to regard the Man'yōshū as a particularly Japanese work. This does not mean that the poems and passages of the collection differed starkly from the scholarly standard (in Yakamochi's time) of Chinese literature and poetics. Certainly many entries of the Man'yōshū have a continental tone, earlier poems having Confucian or Taoist themes and later poems reflecting on Buddhist teachings. Yet, the Man'yōshū is singular, even in comparison with later works, in choosing primarily Ancient Japanese themes, extolling Shintō virtues of forthrightness (真, makoto?) and virility (masuraoburi). In addition, the language of many entries of the Man'yōshū exerts a powerful sentimental appeal to readers:

This early collection has something of the freshness of dawn. [...] There are irregularities not tolerated later, such as hypometric lines; there are evocative place names and makurakotoba; and there are evocative exclamations such as kamo, whose appeal is genuine even if incommunicable. In other words, the collection contains the appeal of an art at its pristine source with a romantic sense of venerable age and therefore of an ideal order since lost.

The collection is customarily divided into four periods. The earliest dates to prehistoric or legendary pasts, from the time of Yūryaku (r.?456–?479) to those of the little documented Yōmei (r.585–587), Saimei (r.594–661), and finally Tenji (r.668–671) during the Taika Reforms and the time of Fujiwara no Kamatari (614–669). The second period covers the end of the seventh century, coinciding with the popularity of Kakinomoto no Hitomaro, one of Japan's greatest poets. The third period spans 700–c.730 and covers the works of such poets as Yamabe no Akahito, Ōtomo no Tabito and Yamanoue no Okura. The fourth period spans 730–760 and includes the work of the last great poet of this collection, the compiler Ōtomo no Yakamochi himself, who not only wrote many original poems but also edited, updated and refashioned an unknown number of ancient poems.

In addition to its artistic merits, the Man'yōshū is important for using one of the earliest Japanese writing systems, the cumbersome man'yōgana. Though it was not the first use of this writing system, which was also used in the earlier Kojiki (712), it was influential enough to give the writing system its name: "the kana of the Man'yōshū". This system uses Chinese characters in a variety of functions: their usual ideographic or logographic senses; to represent Japanese syllables phonetically; and sometimes in a combination of these functions. The use of Chinese characters to represent Japanese syllables was in fact the genesis of the modern syllabic kana writing systems, being simplified forms (hiragana) or fragments (katakana) of the man'yōgana.
 
Manyousyu Nukata Ohkimi
 
Julius Klaproth was the first to publish any translation of Taika era Japanese poetry in the West. Donald Keene explained in a preface to the Nihon Gakujutsu Shinkō Kai edition of the Man'yōshū:

"One 'envoy' (hanka) to a long poem was translated as early as 1834 by the celebrated German orientalist Heinrich Julius Klaproth (1783-1835). Klaproth, having journeyed to Siberia in pursuit of strange languages, encountered some Japanese castaways, fisherman, hardly ideal mentors for the study of 8th century poetry. Not surprisingly, his translation was anything but accurate."

The Man'yōshū has been accepted in the Japanese Translation Series of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
 

Mokkan
A total of three wooden fragments known as mokkan (木簡?) containing text from the Man'yōshū have been excavated:

From the archaeological site in Kizugawa, Kyoto. A 23.4 cm long, 2.4 cm wide, 1.2 cm deep fragment. Dated between 750 and 780, it contains the first eleven characters of poem #2205 (volume 10) written in Man'yōgana. Inspection with an infrared camera indicates other characters suggesting that it was used for writing practice

From the Miyamachi archaeological site in Kōka, Shiga. A 2 cm wide, 1 mm deep fragment was discovered in 1997 and is dated to mid 8th century. It contains poem #3807 (volume 16).

From the Ishigami archaeological site in Asuka, Nara. A 9.1 cm long, 5.5 cm wide, 6 mm deep fragment was found. Dated to the late 7th century, it is the oldest of the known Man'yōshū fragments. It contains the first 14 characters of poem #1391 (volume 7) written in Man'yōgana.


Poetry excerpt

In 673, Emperor Temmu moved the capital back to Yamato Province on the Kiyomihara plain, naming his new capital Asuka. The Man'yōshū includes a poem written after the Jinshin conflict of 672 had ended:

Our Sovereign, a god,
Has made his Imperial City
Out of the stretch of swamps,
Where chestnut horses sank
To their bellies.
                             - Ōtomo Miyuki


Temmu was enthroned at Asuka; and he reigned from this capital until his death in 686.

More than 150 species of grasses and trees are included in 1500 entries of Man'yōshū. More than 30 of the species are found at the Man'yō Botanical Garden (万葉植物園, Manyō shokubutsu-en?) in Japan, collectively placing them with the name and associated tanka for visitors to read and observe, reminding them of the ancient time in which the references were made. The first Manyo shokubutsu-en opened in Kasuga Shrine in 1932.

 
 
 
760
 
 
The use of Arabic numerals, which originated in India, spreads as far as the region of Baghdad in the Middle East.
 
 
 
 

The Coming of the Vikings

 

 


"York, with its high walls and lofty towers, was first built by Roman hands... as a haven for ocean-going ships from farthest ports ... To York from divers peoples and kingdoms all over the world, they come in hope of gain, seeking wealth from the rich land, a home, a fortune, and a hearth-stone for themselves."

Alcuin (c.780; 1982 trans.) lines 19-37. York had in early years a population that included many peaceful Scandinavian settlers, becoming in the 9th century the hub of the Viking half of England.

****

"There was in Mercia ... a certain vigorous king called Offa, who terrified all the neighbouring kings and provinces around him, and who had a great dyke built between Wales and Mercia from sea
to sea."

Asser Life of King Alfred (c.893; 1983 trans.) Ch.14. Offa's Dyke was for many years the boundary between Wales and England. In places it was 60 feet high, with a ditch 13 feet deep, and it stretched for 170 miles between the rivers Dee and Severn. Much of it is still visible today.

****

"You have written to us also about merchants, and by our mandate we allow that they shall have protection and support in our kingdom, lawfully, according to the ancient custom of trading. And if in any place they are afflicted by wrongful oppression, they may appeal to us or our judges... Similarly our men, if they suffer any injustice in your dominion, are to appeal to your equity."

Charlemagne to King Offa of Mercia, 796; D. Whitelock (ed.) English Historical Documents Vol. I (1955) p.781. Possibly the first recorded trade agreement in northern Europe. The great Charlemagne, king of the Franks, did not consider King Offa his equal, however, and he did not refer to Mercia as a kingdom.

****

"[In 896 the aged King Gharles the Simple of France decided that] it was advisable to make a show of royal munificence as he was unable to contain the Vikings. Accordingly it was decided by treaty that Rollo should be baptized, and then hold the north of the country of the king as his lord.

The inbred and untameable ferocity of the man may well be imagined; for, on receiving this gift, as the bystanders suggested that he ought to kiss the foot of his benefactor, disdaining to kneel down, Rollo seized the king's foot and hoisted it to his mouth as he stood erect. The king fell flat on his back, and the Norsemen laughed."

William of Malmesbury (c. 1125; 1854 trans.) p. I II. After ravaging in the north of England, Rollo - who was 'of such great size that no horse could bear him, so he always journeyed on foot' - became the first Duke of Normandy in 911. His great-great-great-grandson was William the Conqueror.

 
 
 
 
 

 
 
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