535 AD Cataclysmic Event

Why is the global climatic cataclysm of the sixth century virtually unheard of?

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There was a sign from the sun, the like of which had never been seen and reported before. The sun became dark and its darkness lasted for 18 months.  Each day, it shone for about four hours, and still this light was only a feeble shadow.  Everyone declared that the sun would never recover its full light again.
Historiae Ecclesiasticae

Between the years 535 and 536, a series of major global climatic events that took place that could easily be described as a global cataclysm with catastrophic consequences. The above abstract is from the sixth century historian and church leader, John of Ephesus, in his historical work, Church Histories (‘Historiae Ecclesiasticae’).

John of Ephesus is not the only one that mentions this event. Procopius lived between 500 and 565 AD and he was a late antiquities scholar and one of the main historians of the 6th century. He also refers to the strange behaviour of the sun and believed that it was a bad sign and the beginning of other events.

… 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.,
History of the Wars: The Vandalic War.

And we have yet another reference from the sixth century writer, Zacharias of Mytilene, who authored a chronicle that contains a section referring to the ‘Dark Sun’ for the period of 535/536 AD.

The sun began to be darkened by day and the moon by night, while the ocean was tumultuous with spray from the 24th of March in this year till the 24th of June in the following year... And, as the winter was a severe one, so much so that from the large and unwonted quantity of snow the birds perished... there was distress... among men... from the evil things,
Zacharias of Mytilene (Chronicle, 9.19, 10.1)

Krakatoa VolcanoThese three extracts are just a representative sample of numerous accounts from all over the world, written in the same period of time. In all cases, the sun was described as getting dimmer and losing its light. Many also described it as having a bluish colour. The effects were also observed with the moon – it wasn’t as bright anymore. The reduction of the light resulted in the reduction of heat on the planet; no rain and a very long winter resulted in crop failures and for birds and other wildlife to perish, as Zacharias of Mytilene writes. Famine and plagues struck many areas and there were a huge number of deaths.

In China and Japan, the event was also recorded in great detail. Massive droughts and thousands of deaths. The water wasn’t enough for the people and the land. Hundreds of thousands of square miles became infertile. In the Beishi chronicles, the official history of the Northern Dynasties, mentions that in 536, in the province of Xi’an, 80% of the population died and the survivors ate corpses to survive.

The catastrophic event struck Korea, the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Australia.  While written records do not exist for all countries, archaeological and geological data revealed evidence of the climatic changes. Studies done on the trunks of trees, for example, showed that 536 AD had been the coldest in 1,500 years.

The important question in all of this is, why did it happen?  While there are no definite answers, one theory that has been put forward is that there was a large asteroid or comet impact which landed in the sea (if it hit land there would be evidence of a crater). Geologist Dallas Abbott is one proponent of this view and bases his view on evidence that he found studying ice cores from Greenland. However, this wouldn’t explain the dim light of the sun, and no tsunamis have been recorded for this period, which would have occurred if an asteroid landed in the ocean.

Another theory that has been put forward is a gigantic volcanic eruption – the dust thrown up into the atmosphere could have caused the dimming of the light.  One candidate is Krakatoa, located between the islands of Java and Sumatra in Indonesia. Indeed, the Book of the Ancient Kings or Pustaka Raja Purwa, written in 1869, describes an ancient volcano.

There was a furious shaking of the earth, total darkness, thunder and lighting.
… Then came forth a furious gale together with torrential rain and a deadly storm darkened the entire world.
… When the waters subsided it could be seen that the island of Java had been split into two, this creating the island of Sumatra.

However, this manuscript refers to the year 416 AD and not 535 AD.  Nevertheless, the fact that it was written in the 19th century could account for inaccuracies in the time reference.

Whether or not the answer will ever be found is unknown. It is unclear whether scientists are even continuing to pursue research on this event. One thing that is quite peculiar about this global cataclysm is that it is a very little known event. Why is it that this climatic event is not taught in schools? Why isn’t there a plethora of research examining it? Perhaps it is because it reminds us of our fragility as human beings and the fact that no matter how powerful and ‘advanced’ mankind becomes, we are still at the mercy of nature. 

By John Black

References

AD 536: The year that winter never ended

Global Cataclysm in 535 AD

Catastrophe: An investigation into the Origins of the Modern World, David Keys, Century, London

Related Books

Comments

Please look up author Mike Baillie also emeritus professor at Queens University Belfast. He is dendrochronoligist who has written much on this. His Exodus to Arthur is an incredible book which studies this and other similar events. I cannot recommend this book enough and think it should be compulsory in schools! History is blind without his insights.

I definitely would subscribe to the volcanic theory. Either Mega-Volcano, or multiple eruptions. Wonderful to see this article, as I had read a brief blurb about this somewhere, sometime, but have completely forgot where. Completely fascinating to me!

malisa wright

Book by David Keys, "Catastrophe", (Ballantine Books, published 1999 - just now noticed that it is available as a Kindle book on Amazon) covers this topic in detail.  It's a very well-researched and extremely nteresting analysis of the possible explanations for this global catyclysm.  Having read the book when it was first published, I thought the evidence was fairly conclusive, and had not realized that the climate events of this period were considered to this day to be pretty much unexplained.

Sub-title is "An Investigation into the origins of the modern world" which is appropriate as Keys covers the significant effects of this weather changing event on civilisations around the world. 

Various options explaining the cause are considered - comet or asteroid striking the earth, along with the conclusion which points to a massive Krakatoa-like explosion which Keys  traced to Indonesia. 

Well worth the read. Plenty of info on the book on the internet.

Burke

It has been established that a comet passed over Britain in AD652, and impacted in Bolivia. There is a 6 mile debris field in the mountains of Bolivia. For years the signs had been misinterpreted, until today's testing techniques are now able to make sense of the evidence. 

Britain experienced a mass exodus at this time, and nothing grew for a decade. This was the Dark Ages. Gildas has chronicled these events, and it also explains why the ancient British language is found in parts of Brittany, where the British fled to. Gildas is also buried at a monastery in Brittany.

The article concerns a recorded event in AD 535 by various authors/historians. You are referring to a possible event in AD 652, some 117 years later. I do not see the relevant connection.

Don Knox-Heffernan

My apologies for the typo. It should read AD 562. However, that said, there sems to be quite a lot of ancient texts with differing dates, for the events in the 6th century. Europe was using the Julian calendar at the time, but what of other countries and particularly Asia. What calendars were they using, and could this explain the difference in dates of what appears to be the same catastrophic event/events, whether it was a comet, a volcanie, or both.

Don't be misled into thinking there might have been some natural cause to the devastating climate changes of the 500's. It was obviously man-caused. Yet another example of how man, the enemy of nature, has adversely affected the weather and harmed our beautiful Gaia. Damn that insatiable 6th-century human greed, which resulted in the breeding of all those methane-spewing bovines and equines which...did something or other which caused, uh, something in the weather.

I do not dispute that humans have not done a very good job in looking after the planet. However, the physical evidence shows quite clearly that there was comet strike in AD562. You, on the other hand, state that "it was obviously man-made" , when you have not one iota of evidence, to support that theory.

May I suggest enrolling in some "Recognizing Sarcasm" lessons?

Most likely it was a combination of things that happened. A comet strike, a mini ice age, volcano eruptions, and whatever else may have happend around the same time for this to happen on a mass level. What man made would have caused this, did we drop a bomb on ourselves and it blocked out the sun. Either way we have nothing to fear anymore, we have HAARP now, so nothing could possibly go wrong ;)

 

and then a commet/big storm/earthquake/... hits HAARP
lol

While we know about the climate changes during earth rotation around sun, we hardly know anything about the solar rotation around some other source. During its gigantic course in its orbit across some central source, the sun might have come across some power star which eclipsed the sun. This must have caused all catastrophes on earth. If it is! then it will happen some other time again.
TV

I have only been studying the comet strike, across Britain, and impacting in Bolivia. However, at this time, there were Global events that caused havoc. As suggested in previous posts, perhaps there was something else going on. The Dark Ages have been known through history, ever since, well, the Dark Ages. There have been different interpretations, mostly related to the beliefs of that time.  It is only in the past several decades that researchers have been looking back at ancient scripts to find answers. We know from ice cores, tree rings, and demolished structures, that something big happened. That's why the ancient texts are being looked at for clues.

With respect to the comet, a six mile long debris field has been known about for generations. Thousands of 6ft diameter craters form a line several hundred feet wide, and over 6 miles long.. They have been a mystery. The destruction of Tiahuanaco, and in particular, Pumapuku, has also been a mystery. Now, all the puzzle pieces are coming together. Was Pumapunku destroyed by the comet? Was it the same event that destroyed Wroxeter, in England, and totally destroyed the Marble Palace in Wales?

I don't have answers, just many questions. I know a lot of researchers are now comparing notes, consulting historical "experts", studying ice cores, tree rings, and many other definitive indicators, and slowly the pieces are fitting together. Does it make sense? Yes. Is it proof of a comet, or "something"? Not yet, and not for some time. But the evidence suggests that something in the 6th century caused Global destruction. The answer will come. 

Totally agree with you, we have to start filling in the gaps in our history and stop ignoring or discounting facts because they don't fit the conventional theory and thinking, Having been born and lived in South Wales i've always been fascinated by its "Dark Age" history eg why are most sites smashed to pieces and buried 2' under the soil ? ( Caemead ) to name one. The history of the Welsh flag ( Dragons having symbolic association in certain cultures with comets ) The vitrification of stone Hill Forts in Scotland ? I think the track of the tail was NE to SW also their is good evidence by marine geophysicist Dallas Abbott. of comet strikes in Australia circa mid 6th century & this http://astrogeo.oxfordjournals.org/content/45/1/1.23.full The more publicity & discussion this topic gets the better maybe then we can get to the truth and i can learn about the real history of Wales. I'd be interested to hear if you find anything more about the South America sites.

Look up the meaning of the phrase "Dark Ages". Many make the erroneous assumption that this actually refers to a physical state ie., absence or dimunition of light. It is not meant in that sense.

Don Knox-Heffernan

From your comments it appears that you have misread, where in the above article and the comments that followed has it been stated that the "Dark Ages" were called that because they were dark ? The terminology has been correctly used in the comments to denote a certain period in history where very little information exists (for whatever reason) for a devastating event, there was no "erroneous assumption".The article has correctly used certain historical quotations to show what the climate was like at that time and it just happened to be at times....dark, not everywhere only in certain areas and if it was volcanic then that should clearly show in the dendrochronological records. With regards to the UK what little evidence their is appears to favour a close pass of a comet however for other areas of the globe it could have had interaction with the tectonic plates as you have suggested.

Lyndon, thanks for the link. When evidence of different types, i.e. physical, tree-ring, ice core, etc., all point in the same direction, to a common point in time, I am baffled why so many do not just accept the theory, and wish to take a closer look, to satisfy their own skepticism. Instead, they jump on the ridicule wagon, to try and humiliate those of us that simply look at things, with our eyes wide open.

After Pumapunka, it was Caermead, that gave me the evidence I was looking for. No one can explain how building stones, weighing many tons, at Pumapunku, can be displaed by several hundred feet. In Britain, which has been invaded many times, we see the evidence of siege weapons, in partly demolished walls. Siege weapons are used to breach walls, to allow the invaders in. That is all. They do don continue the diege, to totally destroy the castle. The invaders wish to occupy, not demolish. Henry VIII went a bit further, in demolishing churches, and monasteries, but the structures are still recognizeable.

At Caermead, however, the white Marble Palace is shattered into thousands of pieces. This is not the work of an enemy. We can find similar destruction of marble at Herculaneum, and Pompeii. Pyroclastic flows will shatter marble, like tempered glass. That is what I see at Caermead, and the vitrified stones of the hillforts. But there are no volcanoes in Britain. Only a comet or fragment, exploding in the atmosphere, could possibly mimc the pyroclastic effect.

The comet also appears to be the source of the Welsh Dragon. Both the original graphic, and the oral description, from ancient texts, is just what we would expect from a 6th century narrative, of a never-before-seen heavenly event. Alan Wilson describes the dragon, and displays the graphic, in The Holy Kingdom, (by Adrian Gilbert).

The more I research ancient history, the more I realize that there was, and is, a deliberate effort, to deny any evidence, that suggests an alternative to the accepted historical timeline. The Flat Earth prophets are still around.

William,I think it can be healthy to question why & what people believe as long as it does not lead to ridicule & we also apply the same criteria we use to judge others by to our own beliefs, but they don't. Ego plays a big part, independent investigation of truth with an open mind is what is needed, but most academics don't want to stand out from the crowd & commit academic suicide or start with "their" theory and try to fit the facts around it discounting any ancient chronicler's testimony as myth or fantasy if it doesn't fit with "their" theory. This quote was on a website i was on recently "Real human history is clouded by Academic elitists' miss-information" and i agree with you that " there was, and is, a deliberate effort, to deny any evidence, that suggests an alternative to the accepted historical timeline".
With regards to Caermead i definitely intend to visit the site next time i'm in South Wales, crazy to think i lived in the area for 30 years completely oblivious to what was around me but then i wasn't searching at that time for the evidence, although the area always felt special. Intesting you mention "The Holy Kingdom" just purchased another copy to reread this winter. My own line of search came after reading "Exodus to Arthur" by Mike Baillie, i think the internet has made a huge difference and helps to knock down alot of the entrenched misguided beliefs by bringing information to the masses as long as you ignore some of the rubbish thats on it.
Best wishes in your continuing quest for the truth.

Lyndon, Helping to promote the truth about history, particularly British, and North American, is my goal. It was over 30 years ago, after years of interest, and reading, that I realized, that what we learned in school, was just what we were intended to know, and accept as fact. There was a great variation between what we learned, and the enormous amount of evidence that was just ignored, or perhaps more correctly, deliberately concealed.

Yes, I too, lived in South Wales close to many historical sites, that gained much greater significance, to me, only after I had left the area.

Please email me. [email protected]

I don't believe it's a mystery. There was an eruption of a super-valcano in 536 that devastated much of the earth. Matter of fact, it's attributed to the decline of the Mongols who depended on horses. Much of the grasslands of the steppes died.

Volcano or comet? it all depends on the evedence/proof thats available, sometimes having a belief that something happened is not enough unless you also have proof. For certain areas of the globe it still is a mystery and it all depends whose scientific paper you read. It's quite possible that the 536 AD event was from a volcano some Dendrochronologists are starting to favour that view.
http://cosmictusk.com/baillie-540-ad-event-likely-volcano-not-cosmic-sev... but they are still having problems attaching that event to a particular volcano.
However while that might be true for that particular time period it does not explain the other documented devastating events for the remainder of the 6th century as stated in the previous comments. Look at this one https://sites.google.com/site/bemsha10/intro which favours a comet circa 552 AD. So as you can see its not settled and certainly needs more research--so many questions remain unanswered.

There is no question that in the 6th century, there was a  catastrophe on a global scale. It is my understanding, that  the location of the super volcano.has not been found, though  a few candidates have been suggested. In the absence of a volcano, other possibilities were considered, and  that's when evidence of a comet started to be noted. If the comet passed over Britain, and impacted in Bolivia, as it is now theorized, then before Britain, it would have passed over Mongolia. You are quite correct, that it caused the decline of the Mongols, (Avars), and they were then easily defeated by the Turks. That was probably a great benefit to both Asia, and Europe. The comet theory fits the evidence better than a volcano. A volcano would emit ash that would block the sun, and all
areas of the Earth would be equally affected. A comet would cause 100% scorched Earth, under it's path, with
lessening destruction moving away from the path. That appears to be what happened here.

In support of the comet theory, ancient scripts describe the comet. Sources are Gildas, St.Teilo, St. David, and there are Korean, Chinese, and Japanese texts, all with their own interpretation, but with a "fire from the sky" description. The Welsh Dragon is thought to have originated from this event, and was called "Maen Mellt" in Welsh. This translates to  "stone lightning".  Although the destruction of the 6th century is well known in scientific circles, and was assumed to be caused by a super volcano, it is only in recent years, when no volcano eruption of that magnitude could be found, that the ancient texts were once again read, with a more open mind.

I would add that it is plausible the event was a combination of both comet/asteroid and volcanic activity. One being caused by the other. I would imagine that if a massive missile hurtled into the planet, that that would cause huge disturbance to the tectonic plates and the underlying fluid magma upon which they 'float'. It could have even resulted in a whole series of eruptions rather than just one giant eruption. That would explain more readily why the resulting effects were so widespread across the planet, north to south, east to west. Pure speculation and conjecture but still entirely feasible.

Don Knox-Heffernan

Tsurugi's picture

Good conversation here.

I would just like to add another possibility, which is that the cause of the apparent dimming of the sun and moon need not have been located on earth. A large cloud of spaceborne particulate debris--perhaps the remnants of the tail of an immense comet or something similar--could conceivably create the same dimming effect if the earth passed through it.

It is true that an extraterrestrial source may cause a global event, including the triggering of volcanic activity. In April, 1815, the Tamboro eruption in Indonesia caused the "year without summer". We know that significant volcanic activity can have a devatating effect on the entire planet. 

I focused on Britain, and Bolivia for two reasons. The devastation in Britain was caused by tremendous heat. I am looking for the heat source. The impact field in Bolivia is 6 miles long, and in a direct line with Britain. Gildas wrote that "Brittanae is burning from sea to sea", and "Brittanae is a wasteland".. The best guess from many researchers, is that Gildas wrote this about, but not later than AD540.

So, if AD 535 is the correct date for the extraterrestrial event, and that event caused severe volcanic activity, were there other events that may have also been caused by the first event.

In the following years, there were crop failures, and famine.
There was a pandemic of bubonicc plague in Constantinople, the whole Byzantine Empire, and Africa.
The Avars invaded Europe.
There was famine in Korea, China, ans Japan. At this time, all three countries were at war with each other.
There was famine in Mesoamerica.
There were many other similar situations of famine, war, and collapse of countries. Are they all related to a single event?

A similar catastrophe, which caused the collapse of the Middle East cultures, occured about BC1170. Many civilizations failed at that time. We wonder about many North and South American civilizations that suddenly disappeared. 

The potential loss of life in the next Global event, due to our present populations, will be staggering. When we study ancient civilizations, the question is always present, "What caused this culture to end"?

 

Tsurugi's picture

"It is true that an extraterrestrial source may cause a global event, including the triggering of volcanic activity."

Certainly that is true, but I am not certain how it applies to what I was talking about...? While I definitely agree that volcanic activity can be triggered by events caused by extraterrestial sources, I don't think that the earth passing through a spaceborne cloud of particulate material would trigger any volcanic activity. I was only suggesting that if such a thing were to happen, it could conceivably result in drastically reduced amounts of sunlight(and lunar light) on earth, for as long as we remained within the confines of the cloud(really, a mini-nebulae).

The reason I find this possibility interesting is it does not involve any change in earth's evironmental factors(aside from the reduced heat, of course). There is no impactor entering the atmosphere and striking the surface of the planet, throwing up tons of dust and triggering a series of volcanic events which throw up more dust, resulting in global cooling, and so on. The dust is all in space.

 

Still, I think your work on the events in Britain and Bolivia is very interesting, and I'd like to help, if possible. While reading your description of the events, a few things came to mind that may be of some use.

Primarily, what I thought of was that the description sounded very much like something that might be caused by an oblique impactor. Have you looked into that possibility? The "burning of Brittanae" could have been caused by the impactor's very low passage over that land while heated to meteoric entry temperatures. The extremely low angle of flight for an impactor with an oblique entry means it spends a lot more time moving through the atmosphere than do impactors with more direct angles of entry. The nearly-horizontal flight path also means that just prior to actual impact, the impactor will cross a considerable distance at extremely low altitudes, causing massive shockwave destruction and leaving huge firestorms in its wake if it is flying over land.

But the huge distance from Britain to Bolivia--not to mention the curve of the earth itself--appears to rule out the possibility that the impactor that hit in Bolivia also passed so close by overhead in Britiain. If we want to attribute the burning of Britain and the impact in Bolivia to the same event, it would have to be a result of either a splitting, or a skipping, of the impactor....both are considered common for oblique entry objects.

 

A pic of an oblique impact crater on Mars:

 

The "butterfly wing" ejecta pattern is characteristic of an oblique impact. Also note the smaller, secondary scoop at the bottom of the main impact crater....this is the continued path of what remained of the impactor mass after impact....meaning some of the object survived the impact and continued on its course(though no doubt vastly reduced in size).

 

An oblique impact crater on the moon.

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