Events Timeline

Orlando includes short event entries, freestanding and embedded in author profiles, about moments and processes relevant to literary history and organized into four categories: Women writers, Writing Climate, Political Climate, and Social Climate. Explore the timelines by searching for date(s) and/or words or phrases associated with them.

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7 March 203
In the reign of the Emperor Septimius Severus , Perpetua , author of the earliest surviving text in Latin by a woman, was martyred at Carthage in North Africa.
St Augustine of Hippo established the orthodox Christian doctrine of original sin (the inescapable rottenness of all human beings from the instant of birth) in his workDe Peccatum Meritis et Remissione.
St Brigid , daughter of an Ulster chieftan, was born.
Author event in Sappho
Early 6th century BC
The date and cause of Sappho 's death are unknown.
Blain, Virginia, Patricia Clements, and Isobel Grundy, editors. The Feminist Companion to Literature in English: Women Writers from the Middle Ages to the Present. Yale University Press; Batsford, 1990.
Author event in Sappho
Early 6th century BC
Around this time Sappho composed nine books of verse amounting to probably around 12,000 lines; the surviving fragments have made her a major figure of identification in British women's writing.
Burn, Andrew R., Sappho, and Andrew R. Burn. “Introduction”. Lyrics in the Original Greek, translated by. Willis Barnstone, New York University Press, 1965, p. xvii - xxxi.
Blain, Virginia, Patricia Clements, and Isobel Grundy, editors. The Feminist Companion to Literature in English: Women Writers from the Middle Ages to the Present. Yale University Press; Batsford, 1990.
St Augustine of Canterbury landed at the Isle of Thanet, Kent, as the first Christian missionary to the English (and the first to mainland Britain whose mission outlived him).
Author event in Sappho
About 612 BC
Sappho was probably born in the late seventh century BC (Archaic period), possibly at Eresus if not at Mytilene, in either case on the Greek island of Lesbos, close to the coast of Asia...
Saint Eanswida founded a convent for women at Folkestone in Kent.
Saint Hilda became the first abbess of the double monastery of Whitby in Yorkshire.
The Synod of Whitby confirmed the connection of the English church with the Roman, as opposed to the Celtic, church.
St Ebba the Elder founded a convent at Ebchester (on the River Derwent, near Newcastle upon Tyne) and a settlement at Coldingham (on the Northumberland coast).
17 November 680
Saint Hilda , Abbess of Whitby, died after a lifetime of religious leadership whose high points included establishing a double monastery at Whitby in 657 and hosting the Synod of Whitby in 664.
St Cuthburga founded the double monastery of Wimborne in Dorset.
Between 719 and 722
A nun and future abbess called Bugga , with her mother, Eangyth (who was then abbess of the Kentish monastery to which Bugga succeeded), wrote the letter to Saint Boniface for which she is principally known.
About 730
The exquisite Kentish Vespasian Psalter was transcribed and decorated, perhaps by nuns at Minster-in-Thanet. The abbess there, Eadburh , later known as Saint Eadburh , remains somewhat obscure.
Matthew, Henry Colin Gray, Brian Harrison, and Lawrence Goldman, editors. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
Brown, Michelle P. “Writing in the Insular world”. The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain, edited by Richard Gameson, Cambridge University Press, 2011, pp. 121 -66.
A monk at Jarrow named Bede (often called the Venerable Bede) finished his Ecclesiastical History of the English People.
Later 8th century BC
This time probably saw the genesis of Homer's Iliad, though few dates are more hotly argued over, and the very existence of Homer as a person who created (traditional, formulaic, oral) epicpoems is arguable.
Between 776 and 786
A nun named Hugeburc , hailing from what is now England but living in the double monastery at Hildenheim in Bavaria, composed Latin biographies or hagiographies of Saints Wynnebald and Willibald .
776 BC
Historical records trace the first Olympic Games to this year. The ancient Games continued until 393 AD; the first modern Games were held in 1896.
The Anglo-Saxonchronicle records the first landing of Viking ships in England.
At the Council of Tours , Charlemagne , in the last year before he died, ordered sermons to be preached in local tongues instead of Latin.
A Danish or Viking Great Army landed in East Anglia and began the process of subjugating the various kingdoms of England.
11 May 868
The earliest printed book extant which bears a date, a classic Buddhist text entitled The Diamond Sutra, was printed in China on this day, as a tribute to both his parents from a man...
The first known inscription of the symbol zero was made.
By the Treaty of Wedmore, King Alfred ceded to the Danes that part of England lying north of the Roman road called Watling Street.