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Background to 700 | Anglo-Saxon world

Background to 700

During the fourth century Christianity had become the official religion of the ancient Roman Empire, which stretched from Italy to Britain and Germany, to North Africa, Turkey, Palestine and Syria.

In the fifth century the Empire collapsed. Pagan people raided, invaded, settled and formed new kingdoms: the Ostrogoths and Lombards in Italy; the Franks in Gaul; the Visigoths in Spain and Portugal, and the Anglo-Saxons in England.

The Eastern Empire continued under the Byzantine emperors based in Constantinople. Rome remained a focus as the seat of the Pope, head of the western Church.

During the seventh century, conquests carried Islam to the eastern and southern shores of the Mediterranean, where Christianity and Judaism continued to be tolerated.

Other ancient religions - Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Taoism and Zoroastrianism - were established further east, spread and interacted.

 



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