Alternate History

Timeline 500-550 (Interference)

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The 6th century. Check the Totila-Belisarius alliance!


502 The Liang dynasty replaces the southern Qis on the throne at Nanking. King Dachi I makes Tbilisi the capital of Iberia/Georgia.

502-504 The Kutrigurs pillage the Sklaviniai (*OTL Balkans).

502-506 Conflict between Byzantium and Persia, with no clear winner.

504 Theodoric the Great annexes the formally Byzantine town of Sirmium (Illyria) to the Ostrogothic kingdom of Italy.

506 St. Benedict from Norcia founds the Benedictine monastic order in Italy. The Arab kingdom of Kindah occupies southwestern Mesopotamia.

507 Clovis I the Great routs the Visigoths at the battle of Vouillé, where the Visigoth king Alaric II falls on the battlefield, and extends the Frankish kingdom up to the Pyrenees; the Visigoths withdraw in Spain, where they set their new capital at Toledo. The Ostrogoth ruler Theodoric the Great (maternal grandfather of Amalaric, heir to the Visigothic throne) occupies Visigothic Provence.

508 The Lombards, expanding their power from Moravia, clash with the Heruli (now inhabiting Pannonia). The northern Wei of China defeat and kill Futu, Khan of the Ruanruan/Avars, at the battle of Pu-lei Lake. The Ripuarian Franks end absorbed into Clovis’ domains; now the Frankish kingdom dominates from the Pyrenees to Franconia (central Germany).

510 The White Hun ruler Mihiragula wrests once and for all Punjab, Gujarat and Malwa from the Guptas. The Persians reoccupy and partially annex Caucasian Albania/Azerbaigian, overthrowing the local Arsacid rulers of Armenian origin; the Mihranids, related with the Sassanians of Ctesiphon, reign over the vassal pincipality of Girdyaman/Kuchen.

510-520 Anti-Persian revolt of the Jews, persecuted by the Mazdakists; the rebellion, led by the Resh Galuta (Exilarch) Mar Zutra II, is eventually crushed in its stronghold at Makhoza.


511 The death of Clovis I the Great strats an era of fragmentation in the Frankish kingdom, which ends up divided between Clovis’ sons Theodoric, Chlodomir, Childebert and Chlotarius; their four domains are centered on the local capitals of Paris, Orléans, Soissons, Reims. Death of King Arthur during a civil war; new unrest and fragmentation ensues in Britannia.

511-514 Theodoric the Great’s Ostrogoths subdue Noricum, Pannonia and southern Germany up to the Danube. The Rugii, won by Theodoric and threatened by the first Slavs from the East, start migrating towards the Upper Danube, taking the name of Boioari (Baiuvari, Bavarians). A second wave of Celtic migration to Galicia (this time mostly from Britannia and Brittany) weakens the Irish hegemony and extends Celtic control and culture to the Asturias.

515 Anti-Moophysite rebellion led by Vitalianus in Thrace, only barely quelled by Byzantine loyalist forces.

516-518 First wave of Slav raids in the Sklaviniai (*OTL Balkans).

518 The aged Illyrian military officer Justin (a Nicene Catholic) succeeds the Monophysite Anastasius on the Byzantine throne.

519 Cerdic, a Celto-Saxon of mixed blood and former ally of King Arthur, founds the Kingdom of the Western Saxons (Wessex) and an important dynasty.

ca. 520 The Angle warrior Wuffa founds the kingdom of East Anglia.

520-521 The Ruanruan/Avars, troubled by internecine clanic struggles, are vassalized by the Wei of northern Cina.


522 Theodoric the Great, driven to paranoia by old age and Byzantine intrigue behind the scenes, orders all the highest members of the Roman Catholic nobility arrested as suspects of disloyalty in favor of Constantinople.

523 Massacre of the Mazdakists in Sassanian Persia. The Byzantine emperor Justin issues edicts against Monophysism and Arianism. The last “ludi circenses” with wild beasts (“venationes”, “huntings”) are held in the Roman world.

525 Theodoric the Great has his minister of Interiors, Severinus Boethius, killed in jail at Papia/Ticinum. During his time in jail Boethius wrote “De consolatione philosophiae”, the last great work of classical philosophy. Kaleb, Ethiopian Emperor of Axum, invades and conquers Yemen with Byzantine backing; Himyar’s ruler Yusuf Ash'ar Masruq Dhu-Nuwas was a convert to Judaism, which hadn’t been well received in Axum and even less in antisemitic Costantinople.

525-533 Dhu Jadan keeps on fighting an 8 year-long guerrilla war against the Ethiopians for Yemenite independence; during the struggle the island of Dioskoris/Soqotra, once held by Himyar, gains independence and becomes a century-long nest of piracy.

526 Theodoric the Great sends Pope John I at Costantinople as a peace feeler, but, after John solemnly crowned Justin as Emperor, on his return the unlucky Pope is arrested at Ravenna and starved to death in jail by the paranoid Theodoric, who in turn dies a few months later, leaving as his sole heir the 10 years old Athalaric under Amalaswentha’s regency. After Theodoric’s death the Ostrogoths wrest Provence from the Visigoths once and for all, defeating them at the battle of Arles. The Lombards migrate into Pannonia and subdue the local Heruli and Swabians.

527 Peter, son of Sabatius, succeeds his uncle Justin on the Byzantine throne, taking the name of Flavius Justianian. Mavortius is the last Roman consul appointed in the West by the Ostrogothic rulers of Italy; afterwards, the millenary institution is abandoned. The Byzantines, in alliance with the Taurian (*OTL Crimean) Huns, wrest Cherson/Sebastopol and the Taman peninsula from Taurogothia. Thrace is raided by the Ants (a Slavo-Iranic people, maybe composed by descendants of the Sarmatians). A new war between Byzantium and Persia is sparked by the Sassanian invasion of Armenia and Iberia/Georgia. Constantine Maurice founds the unified kingdom of Celtic Gallaecia in northwestern Spain, sealing a matrimonial alliance with the Swabian kingdom of Lusitania.

528 The Gupta Empire collapses under the pressure of Mihiragula’s White Huns, whose raids desolate northwerstern India with great bloodshed. The Persians make Iberia/Georgia a vassal and install on the local throne their candidate, Parsman V. The rulers of the Korean kingdom of Silla (in the southeast of the country) convert to Buddhism. The Arab kingdom of Kindah splits into five parts and falls prey to civil war.

529 The Byzantine emperor Justinian forcibly dissolves the Philosophical Academy of Athens, last refuge of classical paganism. St. Benedict from Norcia founds the Abbey of Montecassino

529-530 With Ghassanid help the Byzantines ruthlessly crush the rebellious Samaritans of Palestine led by Julianus, who styled himself “King of Israel”.

529-533 Justinian promotes the compilation of the “Corpus Iuris”, a collection of Roman laws which will become a pillar of the European legal systems.

530 The Jutes chase the Celts from the isle of Wight. The Byzantine general Belisarius stops the Persians at the battle of Dara.

ca. 530 Slavic invasion and colonization of Moravia and inner Bohemia. Vulgar/Boulgaros reigns over the Onogurs: his name will apply to all European Huns, who will be commonly called Bulgars.


531 The Persians defeat Belisarius’ Byzantine army at Callinicum (*OTL Raqqa, Syria). The new Sassanian Shah-in-Shah Khusraw I Anushirvan kills Mazdak and exterminates his followers, then strikes a peace deal with Byzantium, accepting a kind of condominium over Armenia. The Visigoth king Amalaric is attacked in Narbonne by his brother-in-law, the Frankish king Childebert II, whose sister he forced to convert to Arianism; Amalaric flees at Barcelona , where he is killed and replaced on the Visigothic throne by Theudis.

532 Constantinople erupts into the Nika (“Win!”) rebellion, unleashed by the circus factions (the “greens” and the “blues”) to support the pretender Hypatius; Justinian and Belisarius crush the rebels with horrendous massacres. The persecution of heretics in the Byzantine Empire quits after provoking notable turmoil. The Franks destroy the Burgundian kingdom at the battle of Autun. The Korean kingdom of Silla conquers Geumgwam (one of the Gaya/Kaya Confederation states)

533 Once defeated the local legitimist patriots, the Ethiopian Axumite general Abraha proclaims himself king of Southern Arabia (Himyar), while staying a loyal ally to Axum.

533-534 Belisarius reconquers Carthage and (northwest) Africa for Byzantium by destroying the Vandal kingdom and deports the vanquished Vandals to Anatolia. The Vandal governor Goddas tries to create a kingdom for himself in Sardinia, but some months later a Byzantine expedition overthrows him.

534 The northern Wei kingdom of China splits into an eastern and a western part. Theodatus usurps the Ostrogothic throne of Italy on the death of young Athalaric. The Franks defeat the Thuringians and conquer central Germany. First mention of Romancia (*OTL Graubünden/Grigioni, Switzerland), whose Romanized Rhaetic people stages a successful defence against the Alamanni.

535 Amalaswentha, the former Queen Dowager of the Ostrogoths, is jailed and killed at the isola Bisentina on Bolsena lake by his cousin Theodatus, thus giving Byzantium an excuse to make war on the usurper. Belisarius lands in Sicily, easily conquering the island; the Byzantine governor of Illyria, Mundus, takes over Dalmatia from the Ostrogoths. In the meantime, the Franks occupy Ostrogothic Provence. Buddhism is adopted throughout all of Korea after two centuries of spreading.

536 Mundus is defeated and killed by Ostrogothic forces on the Sava river. Belisarius lands in Bruttium/Calabria, then marches north, besieges and conquers Naples. The Ostrogoth general Witigis, hailed as king by his troops near Rome, kills Theodatus, then vainly tries to appease the Byzantines, but Belisarius advances and occupies the Urbs Aeterna. Anti-Byzantine rebellion of the Armenians.

537-538 For an entire year Witigis besieges in vain Belisarius in Rome, destroying the ancient aqueducts and desolating the Agro Romano (the Roman countryside). Pope Silverius (resented by Empress Theodora for his theological stances) is deposed by Belisarius in favor of Vigilius. The Byzantines land fresh troops in the Picenum (Marche) and at Genoa, then rout the Ostrogoths at Papia/Ticinum and conquer Milan; Witigis is forced to raise the siege of Rome and withdraw to Ravenna.

538-539 Frankish raids devastate Piedmont.

538-556 Frankish, Burgundian and Alamannic raids and encroachments utterly desolate northwestern Italy.

539 A horde of Ostrogoths and Burgundians led by Uraia, nephew of Witigis, besieges, takes and razes Milan to the ground, killing all of its male popluation. Belisarius conquers Papia/Ticinum and several other city north of the Po river, but he can’t reenter Milan; he then turns back to complete the conquest of central Italy. At Ravenna, Witigis not only surrenders, but offers the crown of Italy to Belisarius: the Byzantine general, loyal to Justinian, refuses. Just as Belisarius proves his loyalty, in Constantinople Justinian undoes his work by deciding to leave Italy north of the Po river to the Ostrogoths. The Franks, taking advantage of the complete collapse of Ostrogothic power, conquer the northern watershed of the Alps up to the boundaries of Pannonia.

539-540 Kutrigurs and Slavs raid deep into Illyria.

540 The Ostrogoths reenter Papia/Ticinum: Uraia is offered the crown, but he doesn’t accept, then the army elects Ildibad, who as his first act as king has Uraia slain. Taking advantage of Byzantine troubles in Italy and the Sklaviniai (*OTL Balkans), the Persians retake arms against Byzantium, taking and razing Antioch. The kingdom of Kindah (central Arabia) is overthrown and annexed by its northern neighbour, Hirah.

ca. 540 The Saxon kingdom of Essex (East Saxe) is established. Huns, Bulgar Kutrigurs and Slavs cross the Danube and pillage the Sklaviniai (*OTL Balkans): the Slavs start settling the area, to whom they’ll give its new name. Vast religious insurrection led by Iabda in the Aurés region of Numidia; the Byzantines lose control over the interior of North Africa.


541 After the sequential assassinations of Ildibad and his successor Eraric, the Ostrogoths find a new great ruler with Baduila/Totila, Ildibad’s nephew. The Persians conquer Lazica (Colchis, northwestern Georgia). The Ruanruan/Avars defeat and vassalize the first Uighur khanate in Mongolia.

542 The Byzantine general Artabazos cunningly occupies Verona; Totila reacts by first besieging and then pursuing the beleaguered Byzantine up to Faenza, where he crushes Artabazos’ forces. The Ostrogoths thus proceed to cross the Apennines, rout again the Byzantines at the Mugello, take Florence and reconquer (with the notable exception of Ravenna) all the area between the Po river and the Picenum (Marche), while in all of Italy slaves and peasants alike revolt against the Byzantinophile aristocracy.

542-546 Devastating plague throughout Europe and the Mediterranean. With this last blow the classic urban civilization in the former Roman West collapses.

543 Totila’s Ostrogoths reconquer Naples. The Frank kings Childebert II and Chlotarius invade and sack Catalonia, but end up routed by the Visgoth ruler Theudis. The Chams attack Vietnam but are driven out by general Pham Tu.

544 Failed Persian siege of Edessa; afterwards, a five year truce between Persia and Byzantium is declared. Totila is forced to raise the siege of Otranto and turn back to central Italy when Belisarius comes back in Ravenna. Justinian provokes the religious schism of the Three Chapters by anathematizing the works of three Syrian Fathers of the Church (Theodore of Mopsuestia, Theodoret of Cyrus, Ibas); the Patriarchate of Aquileia will lead the reaction against Justinian’s decision, taken to appease the Monophysites, who are majority in Syria and Egypt. Pope Vigilius abandons Rome for Sicily. Vietnam frees itself from Chinese domination under the Li dynasty.

546 Totila conquers Ascoli, Fermo and Spoleto and occupies Rome. The Byzantines reconquer Bologna, then Belisarius heads south but the Ostrogoths rout his army at Capua (Campania).

547 The Angles, taking advantage of the chronic civil wars amongst the Brythons, found the kingdom of Bernicia in Northumbria. Belisarius eventually manages to reenter Rome and defeats Totila at Tivoli, but this success has no effect. In a matter of weeks the Ostrogoth ruler is able to reconquer and half-destroy Rome, whose inhabitants are temporarily moved out leaving the Urbs Aeterna void as a dead shell. Totila declares all remaining slaves of Italy free. In the meantime Pope Vigilius goes to Costantinople to discuss the Three Chapters schism, who finds the harshest resstance in the West.

547-548 Slavic hordes overrun Illyria to the Adriatic Sea; the barbarians destroy Epidamnos/Dyrrachion.

548 The Byzantine situation in Italy is awful: they still keep only Liguria, Ravenna, Otranto and Crotone and are besieged in Rome and Perugia. Belisarius is embittered by Justinian’s suspicions and by the resultant lack of reinforcements. So, when news reach him that his wife has died in Constantinople and Justinian wants to recall him, Belisarius accepts Totila’s startling offer of an alliance and combines his forces with his former enemy’s Ostrogoth army. Belisarius is hailed as king of Italy and adopts Totila as his son and heir, viceroy and sole commander of the Ostrogoths. In Constantinople Pope Vigilius is convinced/coerced into ratifying the condemnation of the Three Chapters. The Persians subdue Armenia. Byzantium is forced to come to terms with the Numidian Berbers, enforcing a fragile control over Ifrigia/Punia (*OTL Tunisia) in exchange for practical independence of local Berbers and Zenetes in the interior between Septem/Sefta (*OTL Ceuta), just occupied by Spain’s Visigoths, and Ippona/Bona. Romancia (*OTL Graubünden, Switzerland) recognizes Frankish supremacy but preserves its independence.

549 Justinian keeps Pope Vigilius in Costantinople and allies with the Franks against Totila and Belisarius; his generals work hard to quell several military insurrections in favor of Belisarius, raging from Illyria to Assyria. A loyalist Byzantine army under general Conon is routed by Totila at Avellino (Campania), while Belisarius with a motley collection of Hunno-Bulgarian and Lombard mercenaries stops the Frankish invasion of Italy at Lomello and Sirmione (Lombardy). The Korean kingdom of Silla subdues another member state of the Kaya/Gaya Confederation, Karak.

550 The eastern Wei of China change their dynastical name becoming the northern Qi dynasty. Totila reconquers Corsica and Sardinia from the beleaguered Byzantines, while Belisarius occupies Sicily and Dalmatia. Byzantine Africa rises in rebellion in favor of Belisarius; in the Sklaviniai (*OTL Balkans) the Belisarist rebels end up crushed by Zabergan Khan’s Kutrigurs, cunningly called for help by Justinian.

ca. 550 The Bavarians, coming from Bohemia, establish the Duchy of Bavaria north of the central Alps. The Gurjaras, nomads from Central Asia, found the royal dynasty of Mandor in Rajputana (India). The Chalukya kingdom of Badami/Vatapi is established. Vallabhi (Gujarat) is destroyed by Omani Arab raiders. The Alans of northern Caucasus create a strong kingdom, tightly bound to Byzantium, under their king Sarosius. Bhavavarman I, heir to the throne of the Funan Empire in Indochina, inherits through dynastical marriage the crown of the Mon-Khmer kingdom of Chenla (Laos); in a matter of years, by will of the new ruler, this will become the real powerhouse. Funan will quickly decay, while in the nearby Lopburi region of central Siam the Mon kingdom of Dvaravati arises. Seceding from the crumbling White Hun/Hephtalite Empire the Hindu Zabulistan kingdom arises in Afghanistan, with its capital in Kabul. Western Ukraine hosts the formation of the Slavic Drevlian tribe. Beowulf, ruler of the Geats of Götland (southwestern Sweden), inspires with his deeds the later Anglo-Saxon poem of the 8th-9th century.

Basileus' Interference Timeline
Earlier in time:
Timeline 400-500 AD
500-550 AD Later in time:
Timeline 550-600 AD

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