Timeline of Events
Literary Works of The Medieval Period



Literary Works from this Period

In this context, we have defined the Medieval time period to be from approximately 600 to 1300AD. This time frame covers topics such as the Crusades, Charlemagne, and Peter Waldo.

After many centuries of persecution the doctrinal truths of the Bible and the Christian faith had begun to be realized and accepted by the modern world (namely the Medieval time period). This created an opportunity for rulers to integrate this as a world religion mixed with humanistic and political ideas to forward political agendas. Many events such as the crusades to defend the Holy Lands took place during this time period, to combat the rising Muslim faith, and their attempts to take over Jerusalem. This is the time period when the doctrines and teachings of the Catholic Church where the dominate christian belief systems in the world.



Augustine of Canterbury 613 d.

615ad – Columban, missionary to the continent

622ad –  Beginning of Islam – Mohammed’s flight from Mecca to Medina

635ad – The Nestorian church did not disappear after the council of Ephesus in 431. They evangelized east. By 635 Nestorian Christianity had reached the heart of China, but it disappeared after two hundred years

636ad – d. Isidore of Seville

637ad – b. Wilfrid, British missionary to Belgium

663ad – Synod of Whitby reconciles the old British liturgy and the Roman liturgy

675ad – b. John of Damascus, an important Eastern Orthodox mystic

680ad – b. Boniface, who brought Anglo-Saxon Christianity to the pagans in Germany. He cut down the pagan’s sacred tree and built a church out of it 8th Century Composition of Be Thou My Vision

709ad – d. Wilfrid

711ad – All of North Africa is under Islamic control – Islam has spread from India to North Africa

720ad – Muslims begin to take Spain

726-787ad – The iconoclastic controversy. Emperor Leo III attacked the use of images. John of Damascus defended the use of icons in worship by differentiating between veneration and worship. He also argued that the use of images is an affirmation of Christ’s humanity, because a real person can be depicted. The opposition responds that images of Christ are not valid depictions because they can only represent his humanity, but not his divinity

732ad – Europeans turn back the Muslims at the Battle of Tours

749ad – d. John of Damascus

754ad – d. Boniface

787ad – Council of Nicea supports the decision of John of Damascus concerning icons. This decision was not well recieved in the West because John’s words for veneration and worship were difficult to translate

800ad – Charlemagne crowned head of the Holy Roman Empire (a.k.a. the Nominally Christian Germanic Kingdom) by Pope Leo III. His dynasty is called the Carolingian Empire. His reign is the cultural high point of the Early Middle Ages

875-950ad – The Dark Ages. The Carolingian Empire was weakened and was assailed by new invaders. This period also marks the low point of the papacy


The High Middle Ages (1000-1299) – The Crusades, Waldensians, Francis of Assisi, and Thomas Aquinus, Anselm, the Roman/Eastern split

1014 Pope Benedict VIII officially added filioque to the Nicene Creed. It means that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son. He did this to insist on the equality of the deity. But the Eastern Church insists that the Father alone is the origin of both the Son and the Spirit. They are offended that the West altered the Creed without an ecumenical council

1033 b. Anselm, father of scholasticism. He proposed the ontological argument for the existence of God. He argued for the necessity of the Incarnation and Redemption of Christ

1054 The Great Schism of the Church, the break between Constantinople and Rome, after 500 years of progressive estrangement and of failed attempts at consensus.

1073 Pope Gregory VII excommunicated Emporor Henry IV. The high point of papal supremacy

1079 b. Peter Abelard, the Refiner of Scholasticism. He came to some heretical conclusions. For example, he believed that the death of Christ was just a moral example for us to follow. His autobiography is called A History of Calamities, in part because he was emasculated for having an affair with his young neice

1079 Under the Seljuk Turks, the Muslims are more determined than previously to keep the Christians from making pilgrimages to the Holy Land

1093 b. Bernard of Clairvaux, the most influential person of his day. He helped reform the monastaries. He was a great preacher, in spite of his allegorical exegesis. And he was Augustinian in his doctrines of grace, which later gave Calvin and the other reformers an anchor in the High Middle Ages

1096-1099 The First Crusade fought for lofty ideals. The pope wanted to save Constantinople, save the Byzantine Empire, and thus heal the breech between the Eastern and Western Church. They were able to temporarily regain the Holy Land

1100 b. Peter Lombard, scholastic author of Four Books on the Sentences, the standard theological text for 200 years. It influenced Calvin’s Institutes

1109 d. Anselm

1140 b. Peter Waldo in Lyons, France. He is the founder of an old, old protestant church (300 years before Luther). The Waldensian church still exists in some parts of the world today, but in most countries it merged with the Methodists and Presbyterians. Waldensians stress the authority of scripture and lay preaching. They also come to reject salvation by sacraments

1143 d. Peter Abelard

1147-1148 The Second Crusade. Bernard of Clairvaux was the chief motivator of this crusade, but somehow his reputation survives it. It was a disastrous failure. The failure was blamed by the Westerners on the lack of committment of the Eastern Church. The wedge is driven deeper

1153 d. Bernard of Clairvaux

1174 Peter Waldo converted

1179 Two of Waldo’s followers (called Waldensians) are laughed out of the Third Lateran Council after being tricked into saying that Mary was the mother of Christ. They didn’t know they were agreeing with Nestorius

1181/82 b. Francis of Assisi

1184 Waldensians are declared heretical

1187 Muslims retake Jerusalem

1189-1192 The Third Crusade is an ineffective attempt to recover Jerusalem

1200-1204 The Fourth Crusade. The Crusaders finished this crusade by looting Constantinople, the seat of the Eastern Orthodox church. So much for the lofty ideals of the First Crusade

1209 Innocent III proclaims a “crusade”, a papal inquisition, against the Waldensians

1212 The Children’s Crusade. The children felt they could take the Holy Land supernaturally because they were pure in heart. Most of them were drowned, murdered, or sold into slavery

1215 Fourth Lateran Council requires annual communion for Christian burial. Also condemns the Waldensians. They are persecuted for the next 600 years. They sought refuge in the Alps, and thus were not directly involved in the Reformation of Luther until later

1216 Papal approval for the Dominicans, the Order of Preachers. Their purpose was to oppose heresy with piety, learning and zeal

1219-1221 The Fifth Crusade. The crusaders temporarily held Damietta in Egypt. Francis of Assisi went with the crusaders. But where they stopped, Francis kept going. He went unarmed into the presence of the sultan and preached to him

1224 St. Francis’s Stigmata, a mystical experience of the wounds of Christ

1224/25 b. Thomas Aquinus, the chief teacher of the Catholic Church. Author of Summa Contra Gentiles, an apologetic handbook for Dominican missionaries to Jews, Muslims, and heretics in Spain, and Summa Theologica, the theological textbook that supplanted Lombard’s Sentences as the chief theological work of the Middle Ages

1225 Francis writes “The Canticle of the Sun”, which we know as “All Creatures of Our God and King”

1226 d. Francis

1229 The Sixth Crusade. Frederick II temporarily gained Jerusalem by making a treaty with the sultan

1232 b. Raymund Lull, first missionary to the Muslims

1248 The Seventh Crusade. St. Louis IX of France is defeated in Egypt. This was the last crusade. The final result of the crusades is that the western Christians drove a wedge between the Church and the Jews, between the Church and the Muslims, and between the Western and Eastern Church.