In the table below, the ‘c.’ after a year is an abbreviation of the Latin word ‘circa’ meaning ‘approximately’. (The ‘c.’ is placed after the year so the numeric years will sort properly.) I use ‘cc.’ to indicate very approximately. For example, if a source says ‘the latter part of the 13th century’, I use the year ‘1275cc.’ so the entry is sorted to a reasonable place in the timeline.

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Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) An Italian Dominican friar, philosopher, Catholic priest, and Doctor of the Church. An immensely influential philosopher, theologian, and jurist in the tradition of scholasticism. His influence on Western thought is considerable, and much of modern philosophy developed or opposed his ideas, particularly in the areas of ethics, natural law, metaphysics, and political theory.

Joan of Arc (c. 1412 – 1431) Considered a heroine of France for her role during the Hundred Years’ War, and canonized as a saint. Wikipedia

Robert de Boron (late 12th century to early 13th century). Notable as the reputed author of the poems Joseph d’Arimathie and Merlin. Although little is known of him apart from the poems he allegedly wrote, his works and subsequent prose redactions of them had a strong influence on later incarnations of the Arthurian legend and its prose cycles, particularly through their Christian back story for the Holy Grail. Wikipedia

Chrétien de Troyes (c. 1135 – c. 1185) A French poet and trouvère (troubador) known for his writing on Arthurian subjects, and for first writing of Lancelot, Percival and the Holy Grail. Chrétien’s works represent some of the best-regarded of medieval literature.

Dante Alighieri (c. 1265 – 1321), was an Italian poet, writer and philosopher. His Divine Comedy, originally called Comedìa and later christened Divina by Giovanni Boccaccio, is widely considered one of the most important poems of the Middle Ages and the greatest literary work in the Italian language.

Genghis Khan (c. 1158–1227) Wikipedia

Guido of Arezzo (c. 991–992 – after 1033) was an Italian music theorist credited with inventing Western musical staff notation. Wikipedia

Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179) A German Benedictine abbess and polymath active as a writer, composer, philosopher, mystic and visionary during the High Middle Ages. She has been considered by many in Europe to be the founder of scientific natural history in Germany. Wikipedia

Ramon Llull (c. 1232 – c. 1315/16) A philosopher, theologian, poet, missionary, and Christian apologist from the Kingdom of Majorca. He invented a philosophical system known as the Art, conceived as a type of universal logic to prove the truth of Christian doctrine to all faiths and nationalities. The Art consists of a set of general principles and combinatorial operations. Wikipedia

Maimonides (1138–1204) A medieval Sephardic Jewish philosopher who became one of the most prolific and influential Torah scholars of the Middle Ages. In his time, he was also a preeminent astronomer and physician, serving as the personal physician of Saladin. Wikipedia

Ramon Llull Wikipedia

Saladin (1137–1193) A Sunni Muslim Kurd who became the first sultan of both Egypt and Syria, founding the Ayyubid dynasty. Saladin led the Muslim military campaign against the Crusader states in the Levant (created during the First Crusade). At the height of his power, his sultanate spanned Egypt, Syria, Upper Mesopotamia) western Arabia, Yemen, parts of western North Africa, and Nubia. Saladin died in Damascus in 1193, having given away much of his personal wealth to his subjects.

Wolfram von Eschenbach (c. 1160/80–c. 1220) was a German knight, poet and composer, regarded as one of the greatest epic poets of medieval German literature. He is also the author of Parzival. Wolfram is best known today for his Parzival, sometimes regarded as the greatest of all German Arthurian romances. Based on Chrétien de Troyes’ Perceval, le Conte du Graal, it is the first extant work in German to have as its subject the Holy Grail (in Wolfram’s interpretation a gemstone).


The Great Schism/The East-West Schism 1054. The break between the Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church, the culmination of theological and political differences which had developed during the preceding centuries between Eastern and Western Christianity. Wikipedia

The Norman Conquest 1066. The military conquest of England by William, duke of Normandy, brought about by his decisive victory at the Battle of Hastings. It ultimately resulted in profound political, administrative, and social changes in the British Isles. Wikipedia

The First Crusade (1096–1099) The first of a series of religious wars, or Crusades, initiated, supported and at times directed by the Latin Church in the medieval period. The objective was the recovery of the Holy Land from Islamic rule. Wikipedia

The Second Crusade (1147–1150) The second major crusade launched from Europe. The Second Crusade was started in response to the fall of the County of Edessa in 1144 to the forces of Zengi. The county had been founded during the First Crusade. While it was the first Crusader state to be founded, it was also the first to fall. Wikipedia

The Third Crusade (1189–1192) An attempt by three European monarchs of Western Christianity (Philip II of France, Richard I of England and Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor) to reconquer the Holy Land following the capture of Jerusalem by Saladin in 1187. Wikipedia

The Albigensian Crusade (1209–1229) A 20-year military campaign initiated by Pope Innocent III to eliminate Catharism in Languedoc, in southern France. Wikipedia

Magna Carta Signed in 1215, a royal decree by King John to make peace between the unpopular king and a group of rebel barons. It promised the protection of church rights, protection for the barons from illegal imprisonment, access to swift justice, and limitations on feudal payments to the Crown, to be implemented through a council of 25 barons. Neither side stood behind their commitments, and the charter was annulled by Pope Innocent III, leading to the First Barons’ War.

The Hundred Years War (1337–1453) was a series of conflicts between the kingdoms of England and France during the Late Middle Ages. It originated from disputed claims to the French throne between the English royal House of Plantagenet and the French royal House of Valois. Over time, the war grew into a broader power struggle involving factions from across Western Europe, fueled by emerging nationalism on both sides. Wikipedia

Black Death (c. 1346 – c. 1353) Also known as the Pestilence, the Great Mortality or the Plague) it was a bubonic plague pandemic occurring in Afro-Eurasia. It is the most fatal pandemic recorded in human history, causing the death of 75–200 million people in Eurasia and North Africa.

Gutenberg’s Printing Press 1439. Gutenberg invents the printing press.


Cologne Cathedral Wikipedia

Bourges Cathedral Wikipedia

Chartres Cathedral Wikipedia

Lincoln Cathedral Wikipedia

Notre-Dame de Paris Considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture. Its pioneering use of the rib vault and flying buttress, its enormous and colorful rose windows, as well as the naturalism and abundance of its sculptural decoration set it apart from the earlier Romanesque style. Major components that make Notre Dame stand out include its large historic organ and its immense church bells. Wikipedia

Reimes Cathedral Wikipedia

Strasbourg Cathedral Wikipedia

Winchester Cathedral Wikipedia

Literary Works

1320 Dante’s Divine Comedy completed.

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Late 14th century.