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Thirteenth Century History

1200 Buttons invented to decorate clothing. The sport polo introduced by Persians. Fourth Crusade (till 1204).

1202 Leonardo of Pisa publishes the Book of the Abacus explaining the Hindu-Arabic system to Europeans. The system was devised by Musa al-Kwarizmi in the 8th century. (Positional Base Notation and The Zero and The Point and Negative Numbers were not widely used until the 17th century.) The Order of Friars Minor, the Franciscans, created by Francis of Assisi.

1211 Genghis Khan invades China.

1212 The (two separate) Children’s Crusades. The first, led by a French peasant boy named Steven of Cloyes, marching 30,000 boys and girls younger than 12 to Palestine. Some drowned on the voyage over or were sold as slaves; the rest died of disease or starvation. The second Children’s Crusade was led by French boy Nicholas of Cologne, marching across the Alps with 20,000 mostly German kids. Most died of hunger or exhaustion. The pope encouraged the survivors to go home. Only 1 of 30,000 French and 200 of 200,000 German children survive.

1214 Genghis Khan captures Peking.

1215 The Great Charter, or Magna Carta, limiting royals power, signed and sealed by King John of England on 15 June at Runnymede, west of London near what is now Windsor. The Fourth Lateran Council recognized the doctrine of transubstantiation by which the bread and wine of the church service were seen as Christ’s flesh and blood.

1217 Fifth Crusade against Egypt.

1220 First appearance of the legend of the wandering Jew in an Italian chronicle mentioning of a meeting with a wandering Jew in Armenia. The legend tells of the Jew who struck or insulted Jesus on his way to the Crucifixion and was condemned to wander the world without peace of mind until Jesus’ second coming. (English chronicler Roger of Wendover mentioned the same story in 1228. The story has been told in hundreds of different settings.)

1221 Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II declare all official documents written on paper to be invalid, probably because paper was thought to be a Muslim manifestation. (The influence of wealthy landowners in cattle and sheep for parchment and vellum may have been the reason. The introduction of the printing press in the 15th century would change European attitudes attitudes toward paper.)

1222 The body of writings known as Eddas provide the earliest and most extensive source of Germanic mythology. The Eddas are composed of the Prose, or Younger, Edda and the Poetic, or Elder, Edda. Snorri Sturluson, an Icelandic chieftain and scholar, wrote the work as a textbook for young poets to help them with the difficult meters of Icelandic poetry.

1224 St. Thomas Aquinas, the chief theologian and philosopher of the Roman Catholic Church, born. His works included Summa Theologica, or Summary of Theology, which he left unfinished in 1273 after writing for 6 years.

1228 Sixth Crusade.

1233 The Inquisition begins.

1244 Jerusalem falls to the Muslims.

1248 Seventh Crusade.

1249 University of Oxford founded.

1250 Gun invented in China.

1252 The flioria gold coins created in Florence – it would become the first international currency.

1268 Invention of eyeglasses, according to some sources; others date it as 1285 or 1289.

1270 Eighth (final) Crusade.

1271 Marco Polo leaves Venice for China, where he would live and prosper for 17 years, returning to Venice where he died in 1323.

1273 Thomas Aquinas stops after 7 years of working on Summa Theologica, the basis of Catholic teaching.

1280 The first mechanical clocks made.

1282 The Mafia begins operating in Sicily, Italy.

1284 University of Cambridge founded.

1289 The first mention of reading glasses (spectacles) is found in a 1289 manuscript when a member of the Popozo family wrote: “I am so debilitated by age that without the glasses known as spectacles, I would no longer be able to read or write.”

1290 Windmill invented. Jews expelled from England. (Jews arrived in England in 1066 as financiers for the then new French king William)

1293 Marco Polo starts writing The Travels of Marco Polo

1295 Glass making starts in Italy.

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