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guy

Worst year AD 536 from Icelandic volcano

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One shouldn't underestimate the impact of cataclysmic environmental events on world history. In this article, the Icelandic volcano of AD 536 and its impact on the ancient world, especially the Byzantine empire are discussed :

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The Byzantine historian Procopius recorded at the time “For the sun gave forth its light without brightness, like the moon, during the whole year.”

A strange and unsettling fog, which even deprived the world of the sun’s warmth, plunged Europe, the Middle East, and parts of Asia into darkness — both day and night — for a year and a half, starting in 536, causing untold misery across the globe.

 

There is a lot of evidence for this environmental disruption: ice core samples from around the globe, tree ring studies, and particles chemically similar to the Icelandic volcano found in Greenland ice core as well as in European lakes and bogs.

 

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From core samples taken from the ice around the globe, scientists are now able to determine that temperatures in the summer of 536 fell 1.5°C to 2.5°C, paving the way for the coldest decade in the past 2,300 years and ushering in famine and misery of every kind in human society.

Snow fell during that summer even in China, while crops failed all around the globe, causing mass starvation and want.

 

https://greekreporter.com/2021/04/26/536-worst-year-ever-to-be-alive-in-history/

 

Summary. With these new discoveries, we are learning to appreciate the impact of the environment and disease on human history.

 

guy also known as gaius

Edited by guy

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I can't imagine what that must have been like for the people.  Am I reading correctly, that this was one reason it is referred to as the Dark Ages? because it WAS dark?  I've never read about this before.  Thanks for sharing.

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What you have to appreciate is the scale of eruption necessary to cause significant effects. Remember all those recent eruptions (they're quite common when you think about it)? I've even seen articles linking one eruption (I think it was alaskan) to 'the fall of the republic'. Never mind the Roman Republic never fell - it simply changed format and carried on with nominated leaders we call 'emperors' - but the eruption, however powerful, doesn't seem to have affected the Roman world to any great degree. The Romans of that time don't mention the sort of effects we see from 536. But volcanoes are dramatic and people love to pin the blame on them. That said, the 536 event does look likely. What a blast that must have been.

PS - that 'Dark Age' thing? That's because of the lack of recorded history from that era, nothing external. It really only applies to Britain anyway and isn't entirely true, just that we don't have much surviving from that era.

Edited by caldrail

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