800 CE

World About A. D. 800.—The end of this century finds three great empires in Europe and eastern Asia: the Mohammedan or Saracenic Empire, the Eastern or Byzantine Empire, and the Frankish Empire of Charlemagne. The Mohammedan Empire had spread itself out to central Asia and to Spain, and had already passed the zenith of its greatness. The dynasty of the Ommiades of Damascus had given place to that of the Abassides in the east, though a branch from it had set up an independent Califate at Cordova, in Spain. The Abbaside Haroun-al-Rashid, whose praises are sung by eastern poets, had his capital at Bagdad, on the Tigris, a city which had been founded by his predecessor in 762.

Charlemagne had consolidated and extended the Frankish Empire, received the ambassadors sent from the court of Bagdad to salute him, and had been crowned by the Pope at Rome. Irene, the mother of the Byzantine emperor, Constantine VI., had conceived the bold plan of uniting the east and west of Europe in one great empire, by marrying the Frankish emperor, a scheme which was frustrated by her overthrow and her banishment to the Isle Lesbos in the Ægean Sea (802).

Britain, so far as occupied by the Angles and Saxons, was divided into seven (or eight) little kingdoms, known as the Saxon Heptarchy.

ABOUT A.D. 800