What Happened When?

The timeline of the traditional schools of jurisprudence

AD 500 to AD 1500

529 Academy is destroyed at order of Justinian
538 Decree of Emperor Justinian goes into effect, Papacy established in Rome
1225-1274 St. Thomas Aquinas
1348 First known cases of Black Death in Europe
1453 Fall of Constantinople
1469-1527 Niccolo Machiavelli
1473-1543 Nicolaus Copernicus
1492 Columbus makes his first journey to the New World

529 After the Emperor Justinian took power, the Academy in Athens (founded by Plato) was determined to be a danger to the State.  Justinian ordered it destroyed and had the head of it killed when he resisted.

538 Justinian recognized that the religious power of the emergent Catholic Church would be a great asset to him politically.  Accordingly, he issued a decree in 529 that the old city of Rome would be in the hands of the Bishop of Rome at such time as the region was retaken from the Arian tribes.  In 538, Justinian's armies decimated the Vandals, the last Arian tribe, and the Bishop of Rome, now the Pope, was installed upon the throne.  The Papacy has continued since that time.

1225-1274 Thomas Aquinas was the son a well-to-do family who assumed (over his parents' objections) the habit of the Dominicans.  An eloquent speaker and theologian without peer, Aquinas was, and is, one of the most influential people in the Catholic Church today.  His masterwork, the Summa Theologiae, was published after his death in 1277.  His effect is felt even today in the study of jurisprudence and modern theology.  He was canonized in 1323.

1348 The Black Death (bubonic plague) ravaged Italian cities before spreading northward.  Eventually, it would devestate the continent of Europe, destroying hundreds of towns and thousands of lives.

1453 Constantinople fell to the predations of the Ottomans, who renamed it Istanbul and made it their capital.  After the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the city became the capital of modern Turkey until 1923, when the captial was moved to Ankara.  Istanbul continues to be a major economic center to this day.

1469-1543 Cynical and insightful, Machiavelli is well-known for his views on politics and rulership.  His best-known work, The Prince, details what he beleves necessary for all princes to maintain power.  His work is reflected today in modern theories of governance.

1473-1543 Nicolaus Copernicus was a Polish astronomer and physicist who theorized that the sun lay at the center of the solar system and the earth revolved around it.  Of special note is his proof of this fact, augmented later by Galileo's studies.  His proof was actually published shortly before his death, and was directly responsible for the destruction of the geocentric view of the solar system.

1492 Christopher Columbus, an Italian sailor in the employ of Spain, sailed west in hopes of finding a new route to India.  His calculations of the size of the world were substantially incorrect and he made landfall in 1492 on a small island in the Carribbean.  Apparently, he believed that this was India, and remained convinced of this fact during his subsequent voyages.  The area was eventually claimed by Spain as a colony and was later settled.

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This page last updated on 3 May 2002 by John Stradling
Copyright John Stradling 2002