By 480 AD, Emperor Zeno officially dissolved the east and west co-emperorship, ruling as the first sole emperor of Rome in 85 years. As we now have entered the middle-ages, the remaining Eastern Roman Empire, where Zeno was located, was now known and referred to as the Byzantine Empire, mainly because the seat of rulership was moved from Rome to Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire. However, its citizens continued to refer to their empire as the Roman Empire and to themselves as Romans.
Also, the position of emperor was never again to be divided.
Meanwhile in the Balkans, the short-lived emperor of the former west empire (474 AD,) Julius Nepos, was murdered by his own soldiers in his villa, near Salona.
In a response to the murder, Odoacer, the chieftain of the Germanic tribes and self-proclaimed ‘King of Italy,’ prosecuted Nepo’s killers, and increased his political power by cooperating with the Roman Senate.
In Europe, the Visigoths under King Euric extended their rule from the Loire to Gibraltar. And in Ireland, the construction of the Roman Catholic church ‘Diocese of Connor’ was started to further spread the false Roman version of Christianity.
In 481 AD, King Childeric I died at Tournai after a 24-year reign of the Salian Franks in the province Gallia Belgica (modern Belgium.) He was succeeded by his 15-year-old son Clovis, who would rule until his death in 511 AD.
In Eastern Europe, the Gothic chieftain Theodoric Strabo defeated the Bulgars in Thrace, and moved with an army of 13,000 men towards Constantinople. However, after what is said to have been logistical problems, he was forced to return to Greece. In an encampment at Stabulum Diomedis, near Philippi, he allegedly fell from a horse onto a spear and died. Likely, he was murdered because he was a menace for emperor Zeno.
In 483 AD, the Byzantine general Illus and Verina, the widow of the late emperor Leo I, attempt to overthrow Emperor Zeno and place the general Leontius on the throne.
In Europe, the Ostrogoths were given status as foederati, and they controlled a large part of Macedonia and Thrace (Balkans.)
In 484 AD, the usurpers tried again and Leontius was crowned emperor at Tarsus (modern Turkey.) Empress dowager Verina sent a letter to the governors of the Diocese of the East and the Diocese of Egypt for support. Leontius was recognized in Antioch and made it his capital.
Leontius then proceeded to raise a rebellion against emperor Zeno, who also was faced with a revolt from the Ostrogoth king Theodoric the Great. Leontius sent an army into Syria, but was defeated by the Byzantine general Illus.
Meanwhile, Zeno managed to sign a peace treaty with Theodoric the Great. He appointed him to magister militum and consul. Thus, the Eastern Empire was saved by diplomatic negotiations, and the imperial army was strengthened behind the walls of Constantinople.
In Africa, where Christianity still had survived the Roman perversion and was practiced through orthodoxy, as in the early Christians and Arianism, King Huneric had recognized the Satanic/Saturnian ways of the Roman Catholic Church and passed Edict 484, a law banning Catholicism within the Vandal Kingdom. Catholic bishops were forcibly removed from their offices. Some were killed and some were banished to Corsica.
However, by infiltration of Catholic agents, Huneric symbolically died (assassinated) on December 23, and was succeeded by his nephew Gunthamund who immediately freed the Catholics of persecution and had them returned to the Vandal Kingdom.
In Europe, by late December, the Visigoth king Euric died and was succeeded by his son Alaric II.
In Asia, the Hephthalites (White Huns) invaded Persia. King Peroz I gathered an army of nearly 100,000 men and placed his brother Balash at the head of the government in Ctesiphon. At the Battle of Herat, the Persians were ambushed and defeated. Peroz I was killed and Balash was crowned king of Persia.
Around 485 AD, it was said to be the period of King Arthur’s “twelve battles,” during which he gained reputation for being invincible.
In 486 AD, Frankish forces under King Clovis I defeated the Gallo-Roman kingdom of Soissons (Gaul.) Thus, Roman rule under Syagrius ended. The land between the Somme and the Loire became a part of the Frankish Empire. Syagrius fled to the Visigoths (under King Alaric II,) but Clovis threatened with war, and he was handed over for execution.
By 488 AD, the rebellion in the East came to an end as Zeno managed to capture and execute the usurper Leontius and patrician Illus.
Zeno then ordered his ally Theodoric the Great to overthrow his rival Odoacer, the self-proclaimed ‘King of Italy’ (see 476 AD.) He marched with an Ostrogoth army to the West.
In 489 AD, the Ostrogoths led by king Theodoric the Great invaded Northern Italy. The Gepids tried to halt the advance, but Theodoric defeated them at the city of Sirmium (Pannonia.)
By August 28, Theodoric defeated the overwhelming forces of Odoacer at Soča (near Aquileia) during the ‘Battle of Isonzo.’
And by September 30, Odoacer was once again defeated by Theodoric. He retreated to the impregnable capital of Ravenna. The Ostrogoths then captured the cities of Pavia and Milan and the majority of Odoacer’s army, including his magister militum Tufa, surrendered to Theodoric.
In early spring of 490 AD, Odoacer received reinforcements from the south and marched out of Ravenna. He proceeded to defeat the Ostrogoths near Faenza and Theodoric the Great and his army was forced to retreat to Ticinum (modern Pavia,) where he built a fortified camp, which was blockaded.
During the summer, Gundobad and his Burgundians took advantage of the chaos and plundered Liguria in north-western Italy, where many Romans were taken prisoners. Meanwhile, King Alaric II of the Visigoths showed his support for Theodoric in his conquest of Italy by dispatching an army to fight Odoacer’s siege of Pavia.
By August 11, Theodoric and his ally Alaric II defeated the forces of Odoacer, on the Adda River, near Milan. Theodoric then proceeded to lay siege to Ravenna.
In 491 AD, Emperor Zeno, age 66, died of natural causes after a 17-year reign. He had no sons to succeed him and Anastasius, the palace official and favored friend of empress Ariadne, was elevated to the throne. Anastasius married Ariadne shortly after his accession. However, his reign was disturbed by religious distractions and a civil war started by Longinus, the brother of late emperor Zeno.
In Europe, by July, Odoacer made a night assault with his Heruli guardsmen, engaging Theodoric the Great. Both sides suffered heavy losses, but in the end, Theodoric repulsed the attack, forcing Odoacer back into Ravenna.
In 492 AD, the Isaurians began a revolt against Emperor Anastasius, fueled by Longinus, which became known as the Isaurian War. The rebels were defeated by the Eastern Roman Army and driven into the mountains, from where they continued with guerilla warfare against the Roman Forces until 497 AD.
In Europe, King Theoderic the Great conquered Rimini, and used his Ostrogoth fleet to blockade the harbors 6 miles from the capital of Ravenna. Important provisions, food and supplies were cut off, and the inhabitants began to starve to death.
In 493 AD, Odoacer surrendered Ravenna after a 3-year siege. He agreed to a mediated peace with Theodoric the Great, who steadily had consolidated his rule and provided security for the local population. Theodoric managed to transform Italy from being the center of a fractured Roman Empire to a successful and independent part of the Ostrogothic Kingdom.
On March 15, Odoacer was invited to a banquet organized in order to celebrate the peace treaty. During the festivities, Odoacer was killed by Theodoric and his body was skillfully sliced in half in full view of his guests. A massacre of Odoacer’s soldiers and supporters followed.
After his success in taking Italy, Theodoric the Great allied himself with the Franks and married Audofleda, sister of Clovis I. He also married off his own female relatives to princes or kings of the Burgundians, Vandals and Visigoths, establishing a political alliance with the Germanic kingdoms in the West.
Meanwhile, Clovis I married the Burgundian princess Clotilde, age 18. She was brought up in the Roman Catholic faith and was the daughter of King Chilperic II.
In Brittania around 495 AD, Cerdic of Wessex and his son, Cynric, landed somewhere on the south coast, likely near the Hampshire-Dorset border. Their followers established the beginnings of the Kingdom of Wessex.
In Rome, the Roman Catholic Church and the Papacy continued to slowly undermine emperors, kings and the state as Pope Gelasius I gained support from Italian bishops with his assertion that the spiritual power of the papacy is superior to the emperor’s temporal authority. Like his predecessors, the pope also opposed the Byzantine emperor Anastasius’ efforts to establish Miaphysite doctrine. The rift between the real power in Rome, as in the Vatican and the Roman Catholic Church, and that of the Emperor and churches in Constantinople grew deeper.
In 496 AD, King Clovis I defeated the Alamanni at Zülpich (Germany.) Gibuld, the last king of the Alamanni, was killed in battle and the territory was incorporated into the Frankish Kingdom.
By December 25, symbolically, Clovis I, two years after marrying the Catholic Clotilde, was baptized into the Catholic faith at Rheims, by Saint Remigius. The conversion strengthened the bonds between his Gallo-Roman subjects, led by their Catholic bishops – and the Roman Catholic Saturnian influence once again grew stronger among the royal bloodlines throughout Europe.
In 497 AD, Emperor Anastasius I gave his formal recognition to the Ostrogoth king Theodoric the Great, as his representative (viceroy) in Italy. He sent the imperial standard to Ravenna. Theodoric respected the agreement and allowed Roman citizens within the Ostrogothic Kingdom to be subject to Roman law.
In 498 AD, Emperor Anastasius I abolishes the tax on traders throughout the Eastern Roman Empire, and then proceeded to reform the monetary system, using Greek numerals instead of Roman.
In 500 AD, a coalition of Franks and Burgundians defeated the forces of Gundobad. King Clovis I pursued him to Avignon, where he surrendered and promises to pay a yearly tribute
In Africa, Thrasamund, the new King of the Vandals, married the widowed sister, Amalafrida, of Theodoric the Great. She brought a large dowry and an elite Gothic force of 5,000 soldiers.
In Italy, the Arian Baptistry and the Basilica of Sant’ Apollinare Nuovo (Ravenna) was both built by Theodoric the Great.
In 501 AD, King Gundobad broke his promise of tribute to Clovis and regained his military power. He besieged his brother Godegisel at the city of Vienne (Burgundy,) where he had him killed along with the bishops.
In Central America, the Mayans were at their peak in economic prosperity. However, the civilization at Teotihuacan began to slowly decline and its people were migrating to the new greatest Mayan city, Tikal. They brought ideas about weaponry and new ritual practices.
In 503 AD, Emperor Anastasius I sent a Byzantine army of 52,000 men to Armenia, but was defeated. The Romans attempted an unsuccessful siege of the Persian-held city Amida, on the Tigris.
Within the area of Palestine, Mundhir III, king of the Lakhmids (Arab Christians of southern Iraq and eastern Arabia,) raided Palaestina Salutaris and Arabia Petraea, capturing a large number of Romans.
In eastern Europe, King Ernakh, the third son of Attila the Hun, died after a 34-year reign. He was succeeded by his two sons Utigur and Kutrigur, who shared the power with the unified Bulgars.
In 504 AD, the war with the Sassanid Persia continued as Emperor Anastasius I gained the upper hand in Armenia. King Kavadh I handed over the fortress-city of Amida, and agreed to an armistice with the Byzantine Empire.