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|Centuries:||5th century – 6th century – 7th century|
|Decades:||500s 510s 520s – 530s – 540s 550s 560s|
|Years:||530 531 532 533 534 535 536 537 538 539|
|Categories:||Births – Deaths – Architecture
Establishments – Disestablishments
This is a list of events occurring in the 530s, ordered by year.
- December 15 – Emperor Justinian I selects a second commission to excerpt and codify the writings of the jurists on Roman law. This becomes the Digest (Pandects).
- Tribonian becomes quaestor sacri palatii and chief editor of the compilation of the old Roman lawyers writings.
- Spring – Battle of Dara: Belisarius and Hermogenes (magister officiorum) defeat a combined Persian-Arab army of 50,000 men at Dara (modern Turkey). By entrenching his infantry in a refused position in the centre line, then carrying out a cavalry envelopment to culminate a classic defensive-offensive battleplan.
- Summer – Battle of Satala: A Byzantine cavalry force (30,000 men) under command of Sittas defeats a major Persian invasion into Roman Armenia.
- King Hilderic is deposed by his cousin Gelimer after a 7-year reign. He restores arianism as the official religion of the Vandal Kingdom and puts his uncle along with supporters in prison.
- Justinian I sends an embassy to Carthage to negotiate with Hilderic. He replies: “nothing is more desirable than that a monarch should mind his own business.”
- Emperor Xiao Zhuang Di is arrested and imprisoned in a Buddhist temple at Jinyang (Shanxi). He is succeeded by Chang Guang Wang and becomes the new ruler of Northern Wei.
- Mosaic synagogue floor, from Maon (Judea) is made. It is now kept at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem (approximate date).
- Vishnu Temple at Deogarh, Uttar Pradesh (India), is built. Post-Gupta period (approximate date).
- September 22 – Pope Felix IV dies at Rome after a 4-year reign in which he has condemned semi-pelagianism. He is succeeded by Boniface II an archdeacon of German descent who becomes the 55th pope.
- October 14 – Dioscorus is elected as antipope in the Lateran Palace but he dies within a month. Thus ending the schism.
- Brendan, Irish abbot, allegedly climbs to the top of Mount Brandon, to look for the Americas (approximate date).
- April 19 – Battle of Callinicum: A Byzantine army (20,000 men) under command of Belisarius is defeated by the Persians at Ar-Raqqah (northern Syria). Emperor Justinian I negotiates an end to the hostilities and Belisarius is hailed as a hero.
- Some members of the Blue and Green chariot racing factions in Constantinople are imprisoned for murder, precipitating the Nika riots the next year.
- The building of the Hagia Sophia (Constantinople) is begun, and is completed in 537.
- The Franks under king Chlothar I march against the Thuringii with his nephew Theudebert I. The Kingdom of Thuringia comes under Frankish domination.
- Hermanafrid, last king of the Thuringii, is defeated by the Franks near the Unstrut River. During negotiations he is pushed from the town walls of Zülpich.
- King Childebert I receives pleas from his sister Clotilde, wife of king Amalaric, that she is abused by her husband. Childebert invades Septimania (Gaul).
- Childebert I defeats the Visigoths and conquers the capital Narbonne. Amalaric flees south to Barcelona, where he is assassinated by his own men.
- Clotilde returns with the Frankish army and dies on the journey home. She is buried in Paris alongside her father Clovis I.
- Theudis, sword-bearer of former king Theodoric the Great, succeeds Amalaric as new ruler of the Visigoths.
- King Kavadh I, age 82, dies after a 43-year reign. Khosrau I, his favourite son, is proclaimed successor over his elder brothers.
- The reign of Chang Guang Wang, ruler of Northern Wei, ends. Gao Huan, Chinese general, begins a rebellion and declares another member of the imperial clan, An Ding Wang, emperor.
- Ankan, age 66, succeeds his father Keitai as the 27th emperor of Japan.
- January 11 – Nika riots in Constantinople: A quarrel between supporters of different chariot teams—the Blues and the Greens—in the Hippodrome escalates into violence. For the next five days the capital is under siege. The fires that start during the tumult results in the destruction of much of the city, including the basilica. The insurrection is put down a week later by Belisarius and Mundus; up to 30,000 people are killed in the Hippodrome.
- February 23 – Emperor Justinian I orders the building of a new Orthodox Christian basilica in Constantinople – the Hagia Sophia. He chooses Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles as architects. The material for the construction is brought from all over the empire – such as Hellenistic columns from the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, and large stones from quarries in porphyry from Egypt. More than 10,000 people are employed.
- September – Justinian I signs a peace treaty, the "Eternal Peace", with the Persian king Khosrau I, ending the Iberian War. Both sides agree to return all occupied territories and Justinian makes a one-off payment of 110 centenaria (11,000 pounds of gold), as a contribution to the defense of the Caucasus passes.
- The Franks under command of king Childebert I and his brother Chlothar I, invade the kingdom of Burgundy. They defeat the Burgundians under king Godomar near Autun (modern France).
- An Ding Wang commits suicide and is succeeded by Xiao Wu Di as Chinese emperor of Northern Wei.
- Silla conquers the city-state of Geumgwan Gaya (Korea) during the Three Kingdoms Period.
Arts and sciences
- First year in which the Anno Domini calendar is used for numbering the years.
- Spring – Vandalic War: Anti-Vandal revolt in Tripolitania and Sardinia; Gelimer, king of the Vandals, dispatches the bulk of Vandal fleet (120 ships and 5,000 men) under his brother Tzazo to Sardinia. Byzantine forces from Cyrenaica occupy Leptis Magna and Tripolis.
- Summer – Emperor Justinian I holds a war council in Constantinople. He and his advisers, including John of Cappadocia, warn him against launching an expedition to North Africa. Because of the supply-lines (1,000 miles into Vandal waters) and the huge drain of the imperial treasury. Justinian appoints Belisarius to command the Byzantine army.
- June 21 – A Byzantine expeditionary fleet under Belisarius sails in 500 transports escorted by 92 war vessels (dromons) manned by 20,000 seamen from Constantinople to attack the Vandals in Africa, via Greece and Sicily. The fleet carries 10,000 infantry, about half Byzantine and half foederati, and 5,000 cavalry, consisting of 3,000 Byzantine horseman, 1,000 foreign allies (Huns and Heruli) and 1,500 of Belisarius' retainers (bucellarii). On the flagship Belisarius is accompanied by his military secretary Procopius and his wife Antonina.
- September – Belisarius arrives at Sicily, which he uses as a staging area, with the permission of the Ostrogoth queen Amalasuntha, daughter of Theodoric the Great and regent of Italy. The Ostrogoths help him with supplies and the fleet is prepared for the final attack.
- September 9 – The Byzantine army lands at Caput Vada (modern Tunisia). Belisarius marches his army northwards, towards Carthage (over 140 miles), following the coast, accompanied by the fleet and shadowed by Gelimer. During the march, the Vandal towns fall without a fight.
- September 13 – Battle of Ad Decimum: Gelimer attempts to ambush the Byzantines in a defile at the "10th milestone" from Carthage, due to inadequate coordination and the alertness of Belisarius, the attack is repulsed and the Vandals are scattered into the desert. Belisarius enters the capital and orders his soldiers not to kill or enslave the population. The fleet is stationed in the Lake of Tunis.
- December 15 – Battle of Tricamarum: Gelimer assembles an army of about 50,000 men at Bulla Regia (Numidia), and advances towards Carthage. Belisarius moves out to meet the Vandals, he leads the Byzantine cavalry (5,000 men) into battle. Without waiting for his infantry to come up, he charges, despite odds of almost 10-to-1, and throws Gelimer in confusion. Belisarius captures the Vandal camp by storm. Tzazo is killed in an all-cavalry fight, and Gelimer is forced to seek refuge in the mountains of Tunis with the Berbers.
- December 16 – The Digesta or Pandectae, a collection of jurist writings and other sources, is completed (see Corpus Juris Civilis).
- January 2 – Pope John II becomes the 56th pope of Rome and the first to adopt a regnal name upon elevation to the papacy (his birth name, Mercurius, being of pagan origin).
- January 1 – Decimus Theodorius Paulinus is appointed consul (the last to hold this office in the West).
- March – King Gelimer surrenders to Belisarius, after spending a winter in the mountains of Numidia. He and large numbers of captured Vandals are transported to Constantinople. The Vandal Kingdom ends, and the African provinces return to the Byzantine Empire.
- April – Belisarius leaves a small force in Africa under the Byzantine general Solomon to continue the subjugation of the province. He is appointed to governor (Exarch) and pacifies with success the Moorish tribes. Malta becomes a Byzantine province (until 870).
- Summer – Belisarius arrives in Constantinople and is permitted by emperor Justinian I to celebrate a triumph, the first non-imperial triumph for over 500 years. In the procession are paraded the spoils of the Temple of Jerusalem and the Vandal treasure.
- Justinian I commemorates the victory against the Vandals by stamping medals in his honor with the inscription "Gloria Romanorum" (approximate date).
- November 16 – A second and final revision of the Codex Justinianus is published.
- Toledo becomes the capital of the Visigothic Kingdom that controls the Iberian Peninsula. King Theudis expands Visigoth rule in the southern regions (Hispania Baetica).
- The Frankish kings Childebert I and Chlothar I overthrow Godomar, king of the Burgundians, and end the Kingdom of Burgundy.
- Cynric becomes king of Wessex (this according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle).
- October 2 – King Athalaric dies of tuberculosis, age 18, having dissipated his youth in drink and debauchery. His mother, Amalasuntha, proposes to her cousin Theodahad, the kingdom's largest landowner and her father's last male heir, that he share the throne with her but that he will be king of the Ostrogoths in name only. Theodahad has secret conversations with the Byzantine ambassador and promises to turn over Tuscany in exchange for a large som of money, the rank of senator, and permission to live at Constantinople.
- Gothic War: Emperor Justinian I appoints Belisarius commander-in-chief (stratēgos autokratōr) and sends a Byzantine expeditionary force of only 8,000 soldiers (half are heavy East Roman cavalry) to begin the reconquest of Italy.
- Summer – Belisarius lands in Sicily and meets little opposition, save for the Gothic garrison of Palermo. Laying siege to the citadel, he blockades the harbour with his ships. Mundus invades Dalmatia and captures its capital, Salona.
- Justinian I issues the Lex Julia and declares that a wife has no right to bring criminal charges of adultery against a husband. This makes divorce almost impossible in the Byzantine Empire.
- December 31 – Belisarius completes the conquest of Sicily, defeating the Gothic garrison of Palermo (Panormos), and ending his consulship for the year.
- April 30 – King Theodahad revenges himself upon queen Amalasuntha. He has her taken from the capital of Ravenna to a small island on Lake Bolsena, where she is strangled in her bath.
- The Byzantine city of Justiniana Prima is founded and becomes later an bishop's seat of the Central Balkans.
- Spring – Solomon defeats the Moorish rebels at Mount Mammes and Mount Bourgaon. He secures Byzacena (modern Tunisia) and establishes fortifications along the Numidian border.
- April – Justinian I reorganises the province in an African prefecture, centered in Carthage. Restoring frontier defences, and returns property to the Catholic Church.
- The Northern Wei Dynasty ends: The northern region of China is during a civil war split into the Eastern Wei and the Western Wei. The first ruler is Wen Di, he creates his son Fei Di crown prince.
- Significant to the history of agriculture, Chinese author Jia Sixia writes the treatise "Chimin Yaoshu" in this year, and although it quotes 160 previous Chinese agronomy books, it is the oldest existent Chinese agriculture treatise. In over 100,000 written Chinese characters, the book covers land preparation, seeding, cultivation, orchard management, forestry, animal husbandry, trade, and culinary uses for crops.
- Reports of the eruption of Krakatoa (Java), which possibly lead to several years of climate change (see Climate changes of 535–536), are recorded in the Javanese Book of Kings.
- May 8 – Pope John II dies in Rome after a 2-year reign and is succeeded by Agapetus I as the 57th pope. He is send on an embassy to Constantinople.
- Byzantine troops drive the extremist Monophysite party out of Alexandria and establish Theodosius I as patriarch of the Eastern Orthodox Church.
- Anthimus I becomes patriarch of Constantinople from (535–536).
- A Christian basilica is completed at Leptis Magna in North Africa.
- The weather is reported to be unusually cold and dark in multiple parts of the world; see climate changes of 535–536.
- Spring – Emperor Justinian I appoints his cousin Germanus as magister militum to deal with the crisis in Africa. He sends a mobile force of comitatenses (mostly cavalry) and an elite guard. Solomon returns to Constantinople.
- Summer – Gothic War: Belisarius crosses the Strait of Messina and invades Italy. He conquers the city of Rhegium and advances to Naples.
- October – Siege of Naples: Belisarius captures Naples after a month's siege by sending troops into the city through an abandoned Roman aqueduct.
- December 9 – Belisarius enters Rome through the Asinarian Gate; the Gothic garrison (4,000 men) flee the capital. He sends an urgent request for reinforcements to Justinian I, meanwhile preparing Rome for a siege by bringing in great quantities of food and other supplies.
- Winter – Belisarius sets up his headquarters on the Pincian Hill and repairs the neglected city walls of Rome. He stations a 5,000-man garrison, of whom half are his personal bodyguard (bucellarii). To hold parts of the city, he recruits 20,000 young Romans to man the walls.
- March – King Theodahad cedes Provence and upper Alamannia to the Franks gaining their support in the war. He sends a large Gothic army into Dalmatia. They defeat the Byzantines, Mundus is killed during the fightings at Salona, and the Byzantine army withdraws.
- Summer – Constantinianus, magister militum per Illyricum, retakes Dalmatia. The Goths abandon Salona and withdraw to the north. The Byzantines rebuild its walls and reclaim the province.
- Vitiges deposes his rival Theodahad at Ravenna and marries Matasuntha (daughter of queen Amalasuntha). He becomes king of the Ostrogoths and assembles an army to fight against Belisarius.
- March – Belisarius sails to Carthage with 1,000 men to suppress a mutiny against Solomon. Meanwhile the capital is besieged by 9,000 rebels, including many Vandals, under Stotzas. Belisarius defeats the mutineers and hurries back to Sicily.
- April 22 – Pope Agapetus I dies in Constantinople after a reign of just ten months. He is succeeded by Silverius as the 58th pope.
- Anthimus I is deposed as patriarch of Constantinople in favour of Menas.
- The Little Hagia Sophia in Constantinople (begun in 527) is completed.
- Extreme weather events, thought to have been caused by an extensive veil of dust in the atmosphere, begin in the Northern Hemisphere. They continue until the following year, causing unseasonal weather and crop failure worldwide.
- March 2 – Siege of Rome: The Ostrogoth army (45,000 men) under king Vitiges begin the siege of the capital. Belisarius conducts a delaying action outside the Flaminian Gate, he and a detachment of his bucellarii are almost cut off.
- Vitiges set up seven camps, overlooking the main gates and access routes to the city, in order to starve it out. He blocks the Roman aqueducts that are supplying Rome with water, necessary both for drinking and for operating the corn mills.
- March 21 – Vitiges attempts to assault the northern and eastern city walls with four siege towers, but is repulsed at the Praenestine Gate, known as the Vivarium, by the defenders under the Byzantine generals Bessas and Peranius.
- April – The Goths capture the Portus Claudii at Ostia, the harbor is left unguarded by the Romans. Belisarius is forced to unload his supplies at Antium (modern Anzio), he sends urgent messages for reinforcements to Constantinople.
- April 9 – Belisarius receives his promised reinforcements, 1,600 cavalry, mostly of Hunnic or Slavic origin and expert bowmen. He starts, despite of shortages, raids against the Gothic camps and Vitiges is forced into a stalemate.
- June – In Rome, famine brings the city to despair, Belisarius sends his secretary Procopius to Naples for more reinforcements and supplies. Vitiges arranges a three-month armistice for Gothic envoys to travel to Constantinople.
- November – Belisarius brings his long-awaited reinforcements, namely 3,000 Isaurians and 1,800 cavalry embarked in Ostia, along with a supply convoy, safely to Rome. The Goths are forced to abandon the Portus Claudii.
- December – Belisarius sends John "the Sanguinary" with a force of 2,000 men towards Picenum, to plunder the east coast of Italy. He arrives at Ariminum (Rimini), where he is welcomed by the local Roman population.
- December 27 – The construction of the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople (begun in 532) is completed.
- Battle of Camlann: King Arthur fight his last battle against the forces of his rebellious son (or nephew) Mordred and is mortally wounded (This according to the 10th-century Annales Cambriae).
- Spring – At the Battle of Scalas Veteres in Africa, Byzantine troops under Germanus, crush a large-scale mutiny. Stotzas, leader of the rebellion, flees with a handful of followers to Mauretania.
- Eastern Wei send an advance guard of three army columns through the Tong Pass to attack Western Wei. The Western army under Yu-Wen Tai defeat one of the columns while the others retreat. Yu-Wen follows up, but runs into the main Eastern army (200,000 men). The Westerners are push back through the pass and the Eastern army emerge from the mountains. Unexpectedly they are charged in the flank by 10,000 Western cavalry, and 6,000 Easterners are killed and 70,000 captured.
- John Cottistis starts a short-lived rebellion against Justinian I. He is declared emperor at Dara, but is four days later killed by conspiring soldiers.
- The Aqua Virgo aqueduct is destroyed by the Goths, they try to use the underground channel as a secret route to invade Rome.
- March 29 – Pope Vigilius succeeds Silverius as the 59th pope, when the latter is deposed by Belisarius at the order of Justinian I.
- March 12 – Siege of Rome: King Vitiges ends his siege (after 374 days) and abandons Rome. He retreats with his Gothic army northeast along the Via Flaminia.
- Belisarius attacks the Goths when they have crossed the Milvian Bridge. After fierce resistance, Vitiges routs in panic, and many are slain or drowned in the river.
- Gothic War: Vitiges strengthens the garrisons of various towns and besieges Ariminum. Byzantine forces under the Armenian general Narses arrive at Picenum.
- April – Belisarius secures Liguria, Mediolanum (modern Milan) and Ariminum, but disagreements, especially with Narses, leads to disunity in the Byzantine army.
- Summer – King Theudebert I sends a small Frankish force across the Alps, and defeats the Goths and Byzantines at the River Po. Belisarius retreats to Tuscany.
- Sittas, Byzantine general, suppresses a revolt in Armenia in protest against heavy taxation. During the campaign he is killed by Artabanes, leader of the revolt.
- King Cynlas Goch of Rhos abandons his wife in favour of his sister-in-law, a nun who he drags from her convent (approximate date).
- Gabrán mac Domangairt becomes king of Dál Riata (Scotland).
- The Third Council of Orléans takes place and prohibits rural labor on Sunday.
- Buddhism is introduced formally into Japan (by some accounts; see also 552).
- March – Gothic War: The Goths and the Burgundians recapture Mediolanum (modern Milan), after many months of siege, the city reaching the point of starvation. The Byzantine garrison (1,000 men) surrenders and is spared, but the inhabitants are massacred, (according to Procopius 300,000 people are murdered) and the city itself is destroyed.
- Belisarius, still besieging Ravenna, negotiates a treaty with Theodebert I (whose forces are suffering from dysentery) and the Franks retreat to Gaul. The Byzantine fleet controls the Adriatic Sea and blockade the port of the capital from supplies.
- Emperor Justinian I becomes alarmed by renewed barbarian incursions across the Danube frontier from the Slavs, the Bulgars, the Gepids, and the Avars.
- November 29 – Antioch is struck by an earthquake.
- Isidore of Seville, History of the Goths, chapter 40. Translation by Guido Donini and Gorden B. Ford, Isidore of Seville's History of the Goths, Vandals, and Suevi, second revised edition (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1970), p. 19.
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- Bury (1923), Ch. XIX, p. 185
- Procopius, De Bello Gothico I.XXIII
- Procopius, De Bello Gothico I.XXVII
- Bury (1923), Ch. XIX, p. 188
- Procopius, De Bello Gothico II.VI
- Procopius, De Bello Gothico II.V
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- Procopius, De Bello Gothico II.IX
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