Eighth Century History
700 The concept of Zero introduced (although it might have been used by early Babylonians). Porcelein introduced. Fingerprinting in use in China as a means of identifying people. Celts arrive in Ireland from parts of Gaul and Britain.
702 The Taiho Code is introduced in Japan, ruling the emperor as supreme moral authority and introducing a national tax system.
710 The capital of Japan is moved from Osaka to the city of Nara.
711 Moslem conquest of Spain. Jews welcome them as liberators.
717 Caliph Omar II grants tax exemption to all Muslim believers.
718 Leo the Isaurian, Emperor Leo III, holds off Muslim attacks on Constantinople for more than a year.
726 Byzantine Emperor Leo III forbids the worship of icons in an attempt to limit the powers of the monastaries.
730 Pope Gregory II excommunicates Leo III for his iconoclasm.
731 Anglo-Saxon scholar monk Bede writes Ecclesiastical History of the English People at his monastery in Jarrow. He numbers the years from the time of Christ rather than from the reign of kings, dividing between BC and AD (or BCE and CE).
732 The word Europe first mentioned. Frankish forces led by Charles Martel halt the Muslim advance into Europe in the Battle of Tours.
735 England’s second archbishopric is established in York; Egbert serves as its first archbishop. Small pox epidemic in Japan; over a period of two years wiping out a third of the population.
738 Boniface begins missionary work among Germanic peoples.
741 Charles Martel dies, succeeded by his two sons, Carloman and Pepin (Pepin the Short). Carloman would abdicate to become a monk, leaving Pepin as sole ruler of the Kingdom of the Franks.
748 First printed newspaper appears in Peking, China.
750 Abu-Abbas al-Sarah founds the Abbasid caliphate, which will control most of the Islamic empire for more than three centuries. Arabian mathematicians begin using numbers that originated in India. In Mexico, the great city of Teotihuacan (Teotihuacán) is destroyed.
751 Islamic army defeats the Chinese at the Battle of Atlakh, giving Muslims control of the Silk Road.
754 The Donation of Pepin establishes the papal states and recognizes the right of the papacy to control lands in Italy.
763 Mansur moves the Abbasid capital to Baghdad.
768 Pepin the Short dies, to be succeeded by his son, Charles, who will become Charlemagne, Karolus Magnus, or Charles the Great. The use of horseshoes becomes common in western Europe.
770 Women are exempted from imperial succession in Japan when the Fujiwara family removes Empress Shotoku after she had fallen in love with a Buddhist monk, Kokyo, whom she had promoted as her chief minister.
771 Charles becomes king of the Franks. A devout Christian, he also would have four wives and children by five mistresses.
774 Charlemagne overruns the Lombards in northern Italy.
775 Charlemagne declares war against the Saxons in Germany.
778 Basque forces decimate Charlemagne’s rear guard in the Pyrenees, inspiring the later epic The Song of Roland. Offa, King of Mercia, extends his power throughout southern England.
780 Musa al-Kwarizmi (780-850) born in Baghdad. He introduced Hindu-Arabic numerals in his book Kitab al-jabr wa al-mugabalah. Byzantine Emperor Leo IV dies, succeeded by his 10-year-old son, Constantine VI, with his mother Irene as regent.
787 The Second Council of Nicaea condemns iconoclasm and supports the use of icons in religious worship. Charlemagne learns to read and reproaches ecclesiastics for their uncouth language and ‘unlettered tongues.’ He orders monasteries to establish reading schools for clergy and laity.
788 Indian philosopher Shankara theorizes a system that equates the human soul with God.
791 Buddhism becomes Tiber’s official religion.
794 Emperor Kammu of Japan moves his family to a new capital, Heian-kyo, later renamed Kyoto.
795 Vikings invade Ireland.
796 King Offa of Mercia dies.
797 Irene becomes the first Byzantine empress after ordering soldiers to seize and blind her son, Emperor Constantine VI.
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