535 AD — The "Dark Ages" Begin – Scientific Growth Stops !

Volcano Krakatoa Explodes, plunging the Whole Planet into Darkness !
[ Another idea being put forth, is that a small meteorite impacted in the volcano's caldera. ]

[ Also See ...   1691 – Salem, Massachusetts exorcises its "witches." Ergot Poisoning implicated in the bizarre behavior. ]



" Catastrophe ! " ( 5–15–2000, 8:00 p.m. )

For many years, humans forgot their glorious past and huddled in a state of ignorance and fear. Scientists have uncovered evidence from around the world that the early Dark Ages may have been triggered by an actual event that occurred around 535 A.D. Science writer David Keys believes that the cause was a natural phenomenon of cataclysmic proportions. Determined to discover the exact nature of this natural catastrophe, and to understand its political, economic and social repercussions, he embarks on a scientific odyssey that ranges from Greenland to the Antarctica; from the Americas to the Far East. At the center of a stunningly complex chain of events seems to be "a loud bang" — according to Keys a volcanic explosion equal to "two thousand million Hiroshima size bombs { 2 Billion - 2,000,000,000 }." The subsequent environmental calamity, he believes, affected human civilization from Mongolia to Constantinople, precipitating plague, famine, death, great migration, the fall of the great Mexican city of Teotihuacan, the Anglo-Saxon victory over the Celts, and may even have played a role in the rise of Islam.
Catastrophe !   { PBS Script Part 1 }       Catastrophe !   { PBS Script Part 2 }

Krakatoa Island, Indonesia

The volcano Krakatoa is located on Rakata, an island in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra, Indonesia. Its eruption in 1883 was one of the most catastrophic ever witnessed in recorded history. Until recently, its only known previous eruption was a moderate one in 1680. On the afternoon of Aug. 26, 1883, the first of a series of increasingly violent explosions occurred. A black cloud of ash rose 17 miles (27 kilometers) above Krakatoa. On the morning of the next day, tremendous explosions were heard 2,200 miles (3,540 kilometers) away in Australia. Ash was propelled to a height of 50 miles (80 kilometers), blocking the sun and plunging the surrounding region into darkness for two and a half days.

The drifting dust caused spectacular red sunsets throughout the following year. Pressure waves in the atmosphere were recorded around the Earth, and tsunamis, or tidal waves, reached as far away as Hawaii and South America. The greatest wave reached a height of 120 feet (36 meters) and took 36,000 lives in the coastal towns of nearby Java and Sumatra. Near the volcano masses of floating pumice produced from lava cooled in the sea were thick enough to halt traveling ships. Everything on the nearby islands was buried under a thick layer of sterile ash. Plant and animal life did not begin to reestablish itself to any degree for five years. The volcano was quiet until 1927, when sporadic weaker eruptions began. These tremors have continued into the 1990s.

535 AD

  • The nobles were returning from the middle east "HOLY WARS".
  • Pope John II died.
  • There were days of darkness.
  • The plague swept around the world three times in about ten years.
  • There were seven years of crop failures.
  • Nations changed their religions.
  • Empires Fell.
  • In places great drought destroyed the land.
  • In other places floods brought chaos.
  • Tree rings didn't show normal growth for fifteen years.

[ This might help you understand why people got so upset when the year 1,000 came around. ]

Procopius, as quoted by Stothers and Rampino[3], says of 536 AD that ...

"during this year a most dread portent took place. For the sun gave forth its light without brightness ... and it seemed exceedingly like the sun in eclipse, for the beams it shed were not clear."

John Lydus says ...

"The sun became dim ... for nearly the whole year ... so that the fruits were killed at an unseasonable time."

Michael the Syrian says ...

"the sun became dark and its darkness lasted for eighteen months. Each day it shone for about four hours, and still this light was only a feeble shadow ... the fruits did not ripen and the wine tasted like sour grapes." ( To counter this, sugar of lead was used to sweeten the wine. — Tommy C — )

Rampino[2] et al quotes a report from Cassiodorus stating ...

"The sun ... seems to have lost its wonted light, and appears of a bluish colour. We marvel to see no shadows of our bodies at noon, to feel the mighty vigour of the sun's heat wasted into feebleness, and the phenomena which accompany an eclipse prolonged through almost a whole year. We have had ... a summer without heat ... the crops have been chilled by north winds ... the rain is denied ..."

The drinking water was so polluted at that time, wine and beer were consumed in large quantities. In fact, lead pipes were used to supply the basement vats to the upper dinning chambers in most great houses of Europe. Wine is acidic and leached the lead out, and into the bodies of the ruling class. They went crazy. Mercury was used for all manners of "medical" treatments causing toxic poisoning. Lead oxide was also a popular form of face powder up until Victorian times. Yeow!Diego Mulligan

543 AD - There was an extraordinary universal plague through the world, which swept away the noblest third part of the human race.

"Now tree-ring data, published by Professor Mike Baillie of Queens University of Belfast, has brought catastrophes almost into modern times. The tree rings show that in the mid 530s -- just about the time civilisation on Earth suffered a sharp setback -- there was a sudden decline in the rate of tree growth which lasted about 15 years. Clearly, something dramatic had happened.
Comment:  The scientific literature hints of dust-veil events in more recent times: (1) the white-sky phenomenon of 1912; and (2) the "dry fog" of 1783.

After Ashoka's death in 232 BC, the Mauryan Empire started to decline and the country was invaded by different tribes until the 4th century when Gupta Empire was established. It brought peace and prosperity back and is considered as"THE GOLDEN AGE" in Indian history. Hinduism was revived and Buddhism started declining. In 535 AD, Huns (tribe from Central Asia) invaded Northern India and The Gupta Empire was defeated. The Huns were later defeated by Harshavardhan and by the year 612 AD he recovered back almost the entire area which at one time was under the Gupta Empire from Huns. After Harshavardhan's death, his Empire started disintegrating.

Huneric died in 484 AD, and was followed in the Kingship by Gunthamund (484-496 AD), Thrasamund (496-523 AD), Hilderic (523-530 AD), and the last Vandal King Gelimir (530-535 AD). A vigorous and warlike people under Gaiseric, the Vandals gradually became soft with the riches of their conquests and absorbed in the religious and internal politics of the former Roman North African province in which they were always a minority of the population.


In 535 AD, Huns (tribe from Central Asia) invaded Northern India and The Gupta Empire was defeated.

Gupta empire (320-535 AD)

    1. Initially one of the petty kingdoms in India.
    2. Centered along the Ganges valley.
    3. Eventually conquered all of northern India.
    4. Internally weakened towards the end of the empire.
    5. Fell to the Huns in a series of invasions but regained some control after the Huns left.
    6. For political reasons, the Gupta Hindus persecuted the Buddhists, essentially driving them out of India.
    7. Major epics of Indian culture were written.
      a. Mahabharata (epic battle story)
      b. Ramayana (incarnation of the god Vishnu as the warrior Rama)

Sicily Under Barbarian Attacks (440AD - 535 AD)

In the Byzantine Era (330-1204 AD), the island suffered pirate raids and the rule of the Persians and the Saracenes while the universal earthquake in 535 AD altered the shape of Kalymnos.

Falconry was introduced to Europe and Great Britain (Scotland) during the time when the nobles were returning from the middle east "HOLY WARS". This was about 535 AD.

It might be the case that parchment and vellum became much cheaper during the collapse of the Roman era after 535 AD.

Catastrophe! Part II
535AD has come and gone- the world has been hit by a catastrophe.
Now comes bizarre weather - the sun is darkened, skies are turbulent, rain is red and snow falls yellow.
There is frost and famine.
Seasons are blurred.
In some places great drought destroys the land. In others floods bring chaos.
The world will never be the same.

Pope John II died in 535 and was buried in St. Peter's.

In the Byzantine Era (330-1204 AD), the island suffered pirate raids and the rule of the Persians and the Saracenes while the universal earthquake in 535 AD altered the shape of Kalymnos.

The Vandal kingdom in Africa was destroyed in 535 AD by forces of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I.

Sometime between 527 and 535 AD, Buddhism became the state religion in Silla for many of the same reasons that Koguryo accepted the religion centuries earlier. Buddhism provided the ideological underpinning for national unity and solidarity in the newly centralized Silla state.

According to historian David Keys, the last time global climate change transformed our planet was back in the sixth century AD, the heart of the Dark Ages. Today climate change is at least partially driven by human agency. But 1,500 years ago it was triggered by a massive volcanic eruption (535 AD) in Southeast Asia (Krakatoa being the likeliest culprit), setting in motion a chain of events which included plague, barbarian migrations and revolution.
It seems that the disease had long been endemic among wild rodent populations in East Africa, but it was the climatic disaster following 535 AD which enabled the disease to spread outside its normal territory.

In particular, there was the bubonic plague, which appeared in Constantinople in 542, for the first time in Europe, and then travelled round the empire in search of victims, returning to the capital for a new crop in 558. The plague ended a period of economic growth and initiated one of overstrained resources.

The following Councils protested and imposed penalties against usurpations at the time of the Merovingians: Clermont I, 535 AD, c. V; Orleans IV, 541 AD, c. 25; Orleans V, 549 AD, c. 14; Paris III, 557 AD, c. 2; Tours II, 567 AD, c. 24, 25. - After the 10th century, the following popes and councils protested and formulated laws against rulers disposing of the Church's temporalities:

Krakatau erupted in 1883, in one of the largest eruptions in recent time. Krakatau is an island volcano along the Indonesian arc, between the much larger islands of Sumatra and Java (each of which has many volcanoes also along the arc). There is a very fine book about the Krakatau eruption by Tom Simkin and Richard Fiske, so if you really want to know about the eruption you should go to the nearest bookstore or library to find that.

Here are some highlights from their summary of effects.

Pictures of Krakatau

African dust may sicken some in U.S.

Star Tribune - Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2000

St Petersburg Times

Clouds of dust from drought­stricken plains of North Africa could be making people sick in the United States.

A small group of scientists studying the movement of dust from Africa to the United States and the Caribbean has found living bacteria, fungi and what appear to be viruses in the first samples of dust taken over the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The finding strongly demonstrates a need for further study, they say, because it shows that African dust is a potential transport for a variety of disease-causing organisms.

Among other things, the dust could play a role in triggering asthma in the United States and in Caribbean nations.

A marine geologist says the dust also is linked to the demise of certain Caribbean corals and might be linked to the presence of mercury in the Florida Everglades, Red Tide and disease in some amphibians.

More Reasons to Live In a "Magic Tortoise" Home

No 54, 7 October 2000

We're not sure if or when it will happen, but we've a good idea what the consequences will be. A giant wave will sweep across the Atlantic at the speed of a jet airliner and a mighty wall of water 50 metres high will hit the coast of North America, surging up to 20 kilometres inland and engulfing everything in its path. Simon Day of the Benfield Greig Hazard Research Centre at University College London has discovered that a huge chunk of the volcano Cumbre Vieja, which forms the southern part of La Palma, one of the Canary Islands, is unstable. Day predicts that if half a trillion tonnes of rock slides into the ocean it will create a tsunami wave far larger than any seen in history. The good news is that Cumbre Vieja will not collapse spontaneously. It would take an eruption to increase the likelihood of this happening. The bad news is that once every few decades, the volcano erupts...

Also See ...   1691 – Salem, Massachusetts exorcises its "witches."
Ergot Poisoning   implicated in the bizarre behavior.

Living Without War

Tommy's History of Western Technology

Using Hydroponics to Understand the Earth's Life Processes
On the Atomic Level

The Tortoise Shell Hydroponic Reference Center

The Tortoise Shell Life Science Puzzle Box - Front Page

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