The 6th Century in Europe: Christian Missionary Work in the Turmoil of the Emerging Middle Ages

This article is Part 2 of our Centuries series. This article will begin by examining the various kingdoms to rise up and replace the Western Roman Empire and effort by the Catholic Church to convert the Germanic people who now ruled there. 

Our focus will then turn to the Byzantine attempts to restore imperial rule in the West before looking to their struggles against the Avars and Persians, as well as developments elsewhere in the Byzantine Empire. 

Demonstration of a Sample Page

Vienna Dioscorides

Sea Onion

Drimia maritima is a type of squill sometimes referred to as sea onion that is indigenous to the Mediterranean region and has been used historically for the production of both medicines and poisons. When this manuscript was made in Constantinople ca. 512, its medical uses had already been long established by Pythagoras and Hippocrates.

The plant is a perennial bulb producing long, leathery leaves in the spring (pictured here), which die by the fall and give way to a tall raceme of flowers. This miniature is a wonderful example of the natural realism achieved by classical artists and is accompanied by a dense field of neatly-written notes in Greek with additional names in Hebrew and Arabic added by a later hand.