10th century

10th century

The 10th century is the period from 901 to 1000 in accordance with the Julian calendar in the Christian/Common Era.


The tenth century is usually regarded as a low point in European history. In China it was also a period of political upheaval. In the Muslim World, however, it was a cultural zenith, especially in Spain. Also it was the zenith for the Byzantine and Bulgarian Empires.

Medievalist and historian of technology Lynn White said that "to the modern eye, it is very nearly the darkest of the Dark Ages", but concluded that ". . . if it was dark, it was the darkness of the womb." [Quoted in "The Tenth Century: How Dark the Dark Ages?", edited by Robert Sabatino Lopez. Holt, Reinhart and Winston: 1959.] Similarly, Helen Waddell wrote that the tenth century was that which "in the textbooks disputes with the seventh the bad eminence, the nadir of the human intellect." ["The Wandering Scholars". Constable and Co: London, 1927.] Even in the fifteenth century, Lorenzo Valla described it as the Century of Lead and Iron and later Cardinal Baronius as the Leaden Century.


* The beginning of the Medieval Warm Period
* The Byzantine empire reaches the height of its military and economic strength


* The Fatimid dynasty arises in eastern Algeria
* 980s - Al-Azhar University is established in Cairo by the Fatimid dynasty.
* The Christian Nubian kingdom reaches its peak of prosperity and military power (Early history of Sudan)
* The Nri Kingdom starts in Southeastern Nigeria


* Collapse of the central lowland Maya civilization. End of Classic Maya period, begin Post-Classic Maya.
* Rise of the Toltecs in Mexico
* Golden age of the Ancestral Puebloans (Pueblo II)
* The Mississippian culture begins in present day Southern United States


* Khazar kingdom is attacked and defeated by Kievan Rus (965)


* Buddhist temple construction commences at Bagan, Burma
* In 919, the first use of gunpowder in battle occurred with the Chinese Battle of Lang-shan Jiang (Wolf Mountain River), where the naval fleet of the Wen-Mu-King defeated Chien Yuan Kuan because Wen had used 'fire oil' (huo yóu, 火油) of gunpowder-fuse ignited flamethrowers to burn Chien's fleet.
* Laguna Copperplate Inscription, Kavi script, inscribed in Luzon, Philippines, dated "Saka year 822" (900)
*In 910, Parantaka I of the Chola Dynasty drove out the Pandyan from southern India into Lanka (now Sri Lanka), which he also eventually conquered.
* Coastal cities on the Malay Peninsula are the seed for the first recorded Malay kingdoms
* 993 — the Arab maritime captain Abu Himyarite from Yemen toured Guangzhou port, and was an avid visitor to China


* Viking groups settle in northern France — Norse become Normans
* Foundation of Cluny, first federated monastic order
* In 917 the Bulgarians destroyed the Byzantine army in the Battle of Anchialus, one of the bloodiest battles in the Middle Ages
* 927, official recognition of the first independent national Church in Europe, the Bulgarian Patriarchate
* Incursions of Magyar (Hungarian) cavalry throughout Western Europe (47 expeditions in Germany, Italy and France, 899970)
* Mieszko I, first duke of Poland, baptised a Christian in 966
* Collapse of Great Moravia
* The medieval Croatian state becomes a unified kingdom under Tomislav
* Twentieth century Belgian astronomer Jean Meeus asserts that the positions of the eight planets and Pluto were within the same 90° arc of the solar system on 1 February, 949. It is predicted this would next occur on 6 May, 1492.
* Swedish influence extends to the Black Sea
* Vladimir I, Prince of Kievan Rus, baptised a Christian in 988
* Reindeer become extinct in Scotland
* Lions become extinct in Europe by this date, with the last dying in Caucasus.


* Formation of the Tu'i Tonga Empire and of the Tuʻi Tonga dynasty in Tonga

ignificant people


*Ubayd Allah al-Mahdi Billah, founder of the Fatamid dynasty of Egypt in 909


*Topiltzin Ce Acatl Quetzalcoatl, semi-legendaric Toltec ruler, (exact years of his life are unknown)

Eurasia and Eastern Roman Empire

*Nicephorus II, Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire (lived 912969, reigned 963969)
*John I Tzimisces, Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire (lived 925976, reigned 969976)
*Basil II, Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire, (lived 9581025, reigned 9761025)


*Adikavi Pampa an early Kannada language poet (born in 902)
* Ranna, an early Kannada language poet from India, (born in 949)
* Huyan Zan, Chinese general (died in 1000)
*Li Cheng, Chinese landscape painter
* Tailapa II, re-established the Western Chalukya Empire of India (reigned 973-997)
* Zhang Sixun, Chinese astronomer and mechanical engineer
* Ferdowsi Persian poet
* Li Fang, Chinese scholar and encyclopedist (925-996)
* Emperor Taizu of Song, founder of the Chinese Song Dynasty (lived March 21, 927November 14, 976, reigned 960-976)
* Parantaka I, ruler of the Chola Dynasty of India (reigned 907-950)


*Harald Fairhair, king of Norway, united Norway in 872 and remained its ruler until 933. One of the most powerful lords of Europe at the time.
*Vladimir I (real name Valdemar), Prince of Kievan Rus (lived 9581015)
*Tomislav, king of Croatia,united the medieval Croatian state into the Kingdom of Croatia , crowned in 925
*Abd-ar-rahman III of Cordoba
*Simeon the Great, Emperor of Bulgaria (reigned 893927)
*Otto I the Great, Holy Roman Emperor (lived 912973, reigned 936973)
*King Edmund I of England (lived 921946, reigned 939946)
*Hugh Capet (lived 938996), first Capetian King of France
*Géza of Hungary, ruler of the Magyars (lived 940997, reigned 970997)
*Otto II, Holy Roman Emperor (lived 955983, reigned 973983)
*Theophanu, wife of Otto II, mother and Regent of Otto III, (lived 956991, reigned 983991)
*Tsar Samuil of Bulgaria (lived 9581014, reigned 9761014)
*Otto III, Holy Roman Emperor (lived 9801002, reigned 9831002)
*Erik the Red, Norwegian explorer, founded Greenland
*Leif Eiriksson, Norwegian explorer, son of Erik the Red, made the first European attempt to settle in America.
*Olav Tryggvason becomes the first king to try to Christianize Norway, dies at the Battle of Svolder in 1000.


*'Aho'eitu (early 10th century), first king of the Tuʻi Tonga

Inventions, discoveries, introductions

*List of 9th-10th centuries inventions
* Hop (plant) first mentioned in connection with beer brewing
* Zhang Sixun of China uses for the first time liquid mercury (element) instead of water to power the escapement mechanism rotating an armillary sphere, since liquid mercury does not freeze easily like water during winter, and does not rust metal parts
* Fire Arrows are invented by the Chinese, along with the use of the first blackpowder impregnated fuses for igniting the blast of double-piston flamethrowers which employed Greek Fire, an imported good from Arabia in the early part of the century.
*Construction begins on the Brihadeeswarar Temple of India, during the reign of Rajaraja Chola I
*The first pound lock is invented by the Chinese engineer Qiao Weiyo, improving the canal lock system.
*Three of the "Four Great Books of Song" are published (the last one in 1013), which were enormous Chinese encyclopedias having millions of written Chinese characters each.

Decades and years


Further reading

*Heinrich Fichtenau: "Living in the Tenth Century: Mentalities and Social Orders" (transl. Patrick J. Geary; Chicago cool London: 1991).

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