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With the Roman Empire in decline the rulers decided to split into two kingdoms with one in Rome and the other in Byzantium. A new city for the Eastern Empire was built just like Rome on and around seven hills. The city was named Constantinople (now Istanbul) and from this city the Byzantine Empire would rule the area for a thousand years. The city became the center of the Greek Orthodox Church.
With the leaders backing them the Church of Christ became intolerant of all other religions, especially the Jews, and established the act of excommunication that dammed fallen Christians to every lasting Hell. The Christians also claimed that any human that did not except that Jesus Christ was the Son of God was dammed to never-ending Hell. This new religion spread like wildfire throughout the Roman Empire with the fear of excommunication becoming the powerful weapon of the church leaders.
As time moved on the church leaders supported the Monarchs and their courts to enslave the masses under rich men. The Gospels were strictly controlled and modified from the pulpit as required. Popes and church leaders were selected from the ranks of the rich rather than the true believers in Christ's teachings.
For centuries the Romans had looked down their noses and gave the name Barbarian to all peoples that were not Roman. They must have been surprised when a people of mystery and terror arrived on the fringes of the Roman Empire in the late fourth century riding their war horses out of the steppes of Asia. These nomads called the Huns conquered the populations north of the Black Sea and then across the Danube into the Roman Empire. This led to the astounding defeat of the Roman army in the northeast regions in 378 AD.
Many other leaders tried to fight Rome and among them was one group led by a man named Vandal. His name survived as vandalism. The Western Roman Empire was not able to hold back the wave of invasions that sacked the city of Rome in 410. Rome was abandoned as the army and leaders of the church moved to France. The western empire struggled to continue in power until the barbarians were reinforced by the most savage of the barbarians, Attila the Hun, known as the Scourge of God, When the Huns crossed the Rhine in 451 they were feared by barbarians and Romans alike. Rome called for support from its troops in other areas including giving up control of England.
The first Christians in France took the fish as a symbol. In these troubled times the new Roman City at Avignon was a fortified wall encircling the cliff where the population and the church leaders had taken refuge. The great Western Roman Empire was finished but the bosses of the church would take over the minds of the people and led this part of the world into the Dark Ages.
Christians were recorded in England in early 200's AD but like the Romans did not go to Ireland until later. Saint Ciaran was the first-born of the Irish saints. After studying in Rome he was ordained a bishop. Like many of the early church leaders he was credited with miracles including restoring life to the dead. While remembered in Irish church history it was Saint Patrick who was given credit for converting the pagan island. As a son of a Roman official in Wales he was captured and sold to an Irish chieftain where spent years in slavery. He escaped and was eventually able to return to his family in France where he studied in the church. He returned to Ireland in 432 where he established the Celtic church. Later Saint Finnian became the father of Irish monasticism. Future monks in the Irish monasteries would be credited with saving the gospels and other writings of the church from certain destruction in the Dark Ages.
The Eastern Empire was bypassed the invaders who sacked Rome but was blackmailed to pay an annual subsidy to the Huns who by then dominated Hungary and were an ever-present threat to the Eastern Empire. In 441 AD the Huns overran most of the Balkan Peninsula, capturing cities and devastating them but did not attempt to invade Constantinople. A long-term agreement for peace was reached when the Emperor agreed to double the payment.
A Religious sect that preached incarnation was outlawed in by the Roman church in 432 AD and its followers were driven eastwards. From Northern Iran merchants brought the faith along the Silk Road, and the first Christian church was consecrated at China in 638 AD. This Christian religion took root on the Silk Road and lasted into the fourteenth century.
Romulus Augustus became Caesar of what remained of the Western Roman Empire in AD 475 but abdicated September AD 476. The Western Roman Empire officially ceased to be.
The Huns disappeared into the masses or just returned home to the Steppes. Slavic tribes were in the area north of the Black Sea but were conquered by Turkish people who migrated there from the Steppes in 681. Their conquerors were assimilated into the Slavic nation over time.
The Eastern Roman Empire recaptured most of the territory that was lost to the Vandals. The Land of Israel became a predominantly Christian country. Churches were built on Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Galilee, and monasteries were established in many parts of the country. Jews were not permitted to hold public positions and were forbidden to enter Jerusalem except on one day of the year to mourn the destruction of the Temple.
In AD 627 the last Persian armies were defeated. The Emperor was not aware of the rise of a menace to his empire far more difficult than the armies he had just defeated. Prophet Mohammed had arisen from his grave and from this event rose the power of Islam.
Mohammed and his followers had studied the Jewish faith and accepted it completely. They were fully aware of the teachings of Christ and said he was a prophet of Allah. Mohammed and his visions of the hereafter were much more acceptable to the men of the deserts than the established Roman faiths. Heaven was an oasis with cool water and beautiful ladies rather than angels in grace. This religion spread like wildfire.
In AD 626 the emperor abandoned Syria to the Arabs but not before returning the "True Cross", on which Jesus Christ had been crucified, to Constantinople. The Jews were allowed to return to Jerusalem under Islamic rule. The only requirement was payment of special poll and land taxes. In 717 the rules changed with imposition of heavy taxes on agricultural land. This forced them out of their communes and into towns. Slowly Jews moved away and lost some of their organizational and religious cohesiveness.
Byzantium was the continuation of the Roman State preserving the civic culture until the late 600's. After the Muslim conquest of Egypt and Syria the nature of the state and culture was transformed. Byzantium became much more a Greek state with multi-ethnicity being restored. This period is also significant as the time in which Byzantine culture was spread among the Slavic and other Balkan peoples. Over time agricultural laws of the Byzantine Empire addressed the struggle of the "poor" and the "powerful". The result was a move to commune control of the productivity of the land and a method of local government much like the Jewish practiced over the centuries.
For the last two hundred years the established Christian church have been at the forefront in the fight against Communism. They cringe even today when it is pointed out the seeds for this movement was in the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Old Testament.
In 776 AD Jabir ibn Hayyan compiled alchemy rules that first used nitric acid. Most of the study of chemistry was in witches brews and attempts to convert other metals to gold for the next several centuries.
In about 800 AD the first monarchic dynasty was established in Kiev, Ukraine. Prince Vladimir sent agents to investigate the four principal faiths of the time. They selected Constantinople's Byzantine Orthodox service, and Vladimir ordered his people christened immediately using force if necessary. This was a very turbulent time for the new state of Russia. Wars were fought with Asiatic, Semitic and Caucasian tribes that made incursions into Russian territory. Wars of expansion were won to the north, west and south of Kiev. New forts and Churches were built in Moscow and Novograd. The first uprisings against the Jews took place in 1122 when people were impoverished by high interest caused by Jewish fiscal managers the Monarch had hired to look after his affairs. By popular demand the King ordered the expulsion of the Jews from all of Russia.
In 966 the Slavic rulers in Poland accepted the Roman Catholic religion. After the Tartar invasions large numbers of foreign settlers arrived with many from Germany. The first Jewish settlers that came to Poland in the 1200's where they were treated with more tolerance than in the rest of Europe.
During the 900's the Bulgarian Kingdom in the Balkans rivaled Constantinople in its commercial and intellectual life. In 1014 the Byzantine Emperor conquered Bulgaria the area but a revolt allowed the return of most of the Balkans to Bulgarian rule.
Pope Urban II asked countries in Europe to send men recover the Holy Land from the infidels. In July 1099 the knights of the First Crusade and their ragtag army captured Jerusalem. During the next few decades the Crusaders extended their power over the rest of the country. The Kingdom of the Crusaders was that of a conquering minority that ruled from fortified cities and castles. When the Crusaders opened up transportation routes from Europe travel to the Holy Land became popular. Many Jews returned to their homeland. Documents of the period indicate that 300 rabbis from France and England arrived in a group with some settling in Jerusalem.
This period was also the age of Camelot that brought us stories of the Knights of the Roundtable, Robin Hood, and the most famous magnetic item of the time in the form of the sword Excalibur that only the most righteous could pull from the stone.
In 1199 the Archbishop of Canterbury confirmed a Priest of the Jews of London with the right to defend all the Jews in England to have and to hold as long as he lived freely and quietly, honorably and fully. The truce and protection given to the Jewish people by the Roman church seemed to be compensation from the church for the occupation of the Holy Land.
The Fourth Crusade in1204 conquered Constantinople and made it a Latin principality. With the city of Rome re-established as the center of the whole church and with expansion well under way across the Northern European Plain into Poland the church in Rome was set to expand their influence throughout the known world. Land use laws that had been established by the Greek Church were quickly changed with landlords controlled by the church in power of the masses.
This made a major contribution to the future of Marxism when Karl Marx saw the results of changes in law and methods as a prime example of the beginning of "feudalism".
Genghis Khan was born near Lake Baikal in the southeastern Siberian portion of Russia just north of the Mongolian Plateau. In 1222 he plundered the region in Russia between the Volga and Dnieper rivers and almost to the Arctic Ocean. His strength as a military leader was organization, discipline, and maneuverability of his armies. At the time of his death in his empire extended from Hungary across Asia to Korea and from Siberia to Tibet. The Mongol Empire, which stretched across the Asian continent, was divided into a number of "hordes" or individual kingdoms. Russia was put under the rule of the Golden Horde. The next two centuries saw the rise of Moscow as a provincial capital and center of the Christian Orthodox Church. The Patriarch of the church became the Prince who ruled by the "grace of God". Russian icon painting became an artistic confession of the searching soul.
History is a mixed bag as it describes Marco Polo and his service to the Tartars. He reported that he spent seventeen years working for Genghis Khan and was in prison while writing his famous travel log. He was not the first European to travel to China along the Silk Road and some scholars doubt that he reached China. The stability of peace in the region after the Tartars allowed increased travel and trade, and fact or fiction, the book was important to promote trade.
"King John of England agreed, in 1215, to the demands of his barons and authorized that handwritten copies of Magna Carta be prepared on parchment, affixed with his seal, and publicly read throughout the realm. Thus he bound not only himself but his "heirs, for ever" to grant "to all freemen of our kingdom" the rights and liberties the great charter described. With Magna Carta, King John placed himself and England's future sovereigns and magistrates within the rule of law."
Magna Carta never had standing in law within the United Kingdom. The country does not have constitution or a bill of rights. This country is ruled by a Monarch that approves any new government (currently a given) and the Prime Minister rules with his self appointed ministers until a new election of the Parliament. The Parliament's main power is to bring down the government and force a new election. The House of Lords is a combination of Lords in name and retired political figures selected by the Prime Minister. They have minimum power.
Man has always observed the power of electricity during thunderstorms and observed that rubbing certain unlike materials could cause a spark.
My early life was spent very close to nature in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Rubbing a cats back and feeling static was a given. My daddy was working in Detroit in 1943 and it became my obligation to raise the tobacco crop that year. The final step of the process was to take down the cured tobacco that hung in the barn in order to grade it for the market. Tobacco needs to be damp or "in case" otherwise it will crumble. All I could do at the time was play and wait for damp weather. I remember it was almost Christmas and the air was cold and dry. While I was the man of the house I was still a boy and loved to use an oak board to slide down a steep incline where the ground was covered with pine needles. I have a vivid memory that sparks flew from my board as I was traveling "at the speed of light" in the early evening. I was not curious as to the cause but was worried that a fire might start in the woods.
At some point in history man was amused and maybe afraid of the power of a magnet in nature. The loadstone is a natural mixture of iron and iron oxide formed in the bowels of the earth at some time during the creation and is a fairly strong magnet.
History records that the Chinese were the first to float the loadstone on wood for purposes of navigation. The first mention of the magnetic material was by Lucretius in 50 BC. History records that in 1263 Piemede Maricourt, a French soldier, used a crude compass to map a loadstone field for mining purposes. The first book on the subject of magnets was written at the time by a Frenchman, Peter Periginus in 1269 and is now stored in the Vatican library.
The Serbs attacked Albania and Kosovo in 1347 capturing and laying claim to this area as their homeland where they established a Church. The mountain men of Albania were able to win back their lands in spite of the Turks who defeated the Serbs. The Ottoman Empire wanted this area for a springboard for the invasion of Italy.
This area that was the trigger point for World Wars I and II was being policed by NATO and Russian soldiers in the year 2000 after an attempt of the Serbs to once again take full control of Kosovo and their sacred Church.
This Balkans area had been a hot bed for centuries and once again there were peasant revolts and attacks from Mongols and Serbs continued until they finally succumbed to the invasion of the Ottoman Turks in the late 1200's.
The Black plague that began in Europe in 1348 would ultimately kill twenty-five million people. Soon after it began a rumor was circulated blaming these deaths on an international conspiracy of Jewry to poison Christendom.
Many Jews who lived on the shores of Lake Geneva were arrested and tortured.
The Crusades and the Holy Inquisition led to the persecutions of Jews in the countries of Western Europe many found protection and tolerance they sought in north central Europe, Ukraine, and Poland.
In the early 1400's Lithuania was in control of a large territory from the Baltic through White Russia. The Mongols still controlled much of the Ukraine and the Turks controlled the Black Sea portion of Ukraine and Russia territory from the Caucasus to the Caspian Sea.
In 1451 Johannes Gutenberg used a mechanical press to print an old German poem. While this was an important event in history the underlying technology for paper, ink and typeset was developed by the Chinese much earlier.
This simple device was to enable mass communications and the ability to keep records that had been under the control of the church. Martin Luther was challenging the church in Rome and the Renaissance was in first gear. By 1500 over 10 million copies of 35,000 books had been printed in Europe.
Gutenberg could not have foreseen in his wildest imagination what the print press would do with his mechanical device. Today the use of the electromagnetic spectrum is about to make the mechanical printing press obsolete.
On May 29, 1453 Constantinople fell to Mohammed II. Emperor Constantine XI offered desperate resistance but was overwhelmed. The body of the last of the Roman emperors was never recovered. The city was thoroughly sacked with its literary treasures dispersed or destroyed. The Eastern Roman Empire ceased to exist.
Israel was backwater province ruled from Damascus. Ports were destroyed for fear of crusades, and overland commerce was interrupted. Jerusalem was abandoned and the small Jewish community that remained was poverty-stricken. At the time of the Ottoman conquest of Israel only 1,000 Jewish families remained.
The Ottoman Empire under the influence of Islam controlled the trade routes with India and China. Columbus was wrong in his calculation on the distance to China but the Spanish rulers knew that Portugal was in the process of finding a route around the horn of Africa so they funded Columbus to sail west across the ocean to China in 1492.