—an axe age, a sword age
—shields are riven—
a wind age, a wolf age—
before the world goes headlong..
The Eddas
The Dark Age is the first of the three ages of Rise of Kings and ranges aproximately from 888 AD - 1100 AD, starting with the permanent breakup of the Frankish empire into West, Middle and East Francia and ending with the beginning of the Crusades, the importance of castles, and the rise of the feudal system.

In Rise of Kings, the Dark Age allows for early and quite broad economic and military development, with most buildings and units and a few techs available, though Dark Age military units and fortifications such as the tower and fort do not stand much of a chance against a Castle Age army. Factions such as the Norse and Byzantium are often at their peak during the Dark Age.

Dark Age timelineEdit

Although the Roman empire by the 9th century was as good as gone, its spiritual successor, Byzantium, was still alive and well, ensconced behind stout walls and treacherous seas on the Bosphorus, and vastly rich, given its control of the trade routes into Europe from the Middle East and distant China. There was competition, however: to the north lay the Russian states, which were growing in strength which each day, and to the south the Muslims, although disunited, would be soon reunited once more under the rule of several able caliphs.

All this, however, was nothing compared to the state of affairs in Europe and Asia. There, the many barbarian tribes that had split the Roman empire apart were beginning to coalesce into different kingdoms and while they may have remained small, weak and disunited, they were already showing signs of being potential competitors. Chief of these was the so-called Carolignian Empire, which covered most of Northern Europe and stretched south across the Alps into northern Italy. In Asia, the Tang still continued to rule China and remained the most eminent power in the Far East, although it was increasingly coming under the strain of having to fend off incursions by Turkic tribes, which were now making their presence felt in both continents.

9th CenturyEdit

  • 800: Charlemagne crowned Holy Roman Emperor at Rome by Leo; rise of native Muslim Aghlabid empire in present-day Tunisia.
  • 802: Egbert, a refugee at Charlemagne's court, installed as King of Wessex in England.
  • 809: Sardinia a part of Aghlabid Empire.
  • 810: Krum of Bulgaria defeated and killed Emperor Nikephoros of Byzantium.
  • 812–813: Baghdad devastated during Abbasid civil war.
  • 814: Charlemagne died.
  • 819: Emergence of Ziyadid dynasty in Yemen.
  • 827-901: Aghlabid Empire invaded Italy and Southern France.
  • 828: Egbert first king of England.
  • 836: Abbasid capital moved to Samarra, Iraq.
  • 843: Louis the Pious died, causing the disintegration of the Carolingian Empire. His title of Holy Roman Emperor since then was not invoked frequently until 962.
  • 846: Aghlabid invaders sacked Rome.
  • 862: Rurik the Varangian established the Rurikid dynasty at Novgorod, Russia.
  • 852: Boris first Christian king of Bulgaria, until 884.
  • 858: Canals in Northern China flood, devastating crops and drowning many.
  • 865-904: Russian fleets threaten Constantinople on 2 separate occasions.
  • 873: Famine struck Tang China.
  • 874-881: Huangchao Rebellion terrorised China.
  • 877: Egyptian Tulunid Empire invaded Syria.

10th CenturyEdit

  • 905: Abbasids retook Fertile Crescent.
  • 907: A military governer, Zhu Wen deposed Emperor Ai of Tang in China and styled himself Emperor Taizu of later Liang Dynasty. China became a nation divided.
  • 908: Emergence of Liao in north-east China.
  • 909: Fatimid dynasty established in North Africa.
  • 912: Rollo (also known as Rolf the Ganger) first duke of Normandy in northern France.
  • 913: Prince Igor became Prince of Kiev.
  • 919: Henry the Fowler elected King of Germany.
  • 928: Persian Samanids crushed Alid dynasty but then lost northern Iran to Ziyarids.
  • 928–969: "Macedonian Renaissance" of Byzantium: Byzantines dominant in several cities in southern Italy and the Middle East.
  • 929: Hamdanids dominant in Syria and Iraq; Abdurrahman III dominant in Andalus.
  • 932: Buyids seceded from Ziyarids and conquered Western Iran. Norse colonists in Iceland established the Althing, today Europe's oldest legislative council.
  • 936: Henry the Fowler was succeeded by his son, Otto I.
  • 945: Igor slain in battle.
  • 955: Olga of Kiev, Igor's widow baptised as first prominent Christian ruler.
  • 957: Battle of Arbaq — Muizz ad-Dawla crushed a rebel army in Iraq.
  • 959: Hasanwahid dynasty dominant in Kordestan.
  • 960: Emergence of Song dynasty in China.
  • 962: Otto I of Germany crowned Holy Roman Emperor; Ghaznavids active in eastern Iran, Afghanistan and Punjab.
  • 972: Cairo made Fatimid capital.
  • 978: Prince Vladimir unites Russia.
  • 987: Hugh Capet founded Capetian dynasty in France. Norse colonisation of Greenland, the first colonisation of the Western Hemisphere by Europeans to be historically recorded.
  • 988: Vladimir converted to Christianity.
  • 999: Turkic Kara Khans defeated Samanids.

11th CenturyEdit

  • 1000: Spontaneous celebrations in Rome, as people were relieved to discover that the world had not ended yet at the onset of the new year. This event would mark the beginning of the end of the Dark Age.
  • 1000s: Kara Khans became Selcuk vassals. Gunpowder began making appearance as a weapon in China by this time.
  • 1001–1024: Ghazanavid empire invaded northwest India.
  • 1015: Vladimir died, breaking up the Kievan realm.
  • 1016: Cnut king of Denmark, Norway and England.
  • 1031: Umayyad overthrown in Andalus, causing 1st Taifa period.
  • 1036: Jaroslav the Lawgiver reunited Kievan Rus.
  • 1037: St Sophia Cathedral of Kiev completed under Jaroslav's patronage.
  • 1040: Almoravids dominant in Maurentania.
  • 1043: A Russian fleet threatened Constantinople.
  • 1050–1057: Nomadic Banu Hilal tribe migrated to Libya, Tunis.
  • 1054: Jaroslav died, spitting Kievan Rus again.
  • 1066: Harold Godwinsson killed in battle at Hastings, leaving William the Bastard the sole ruler of England. William would then thereafter be known with the epithet of "William I the Conqueror".
  • 1070: A bishop from France completed construction of the White Tower of London on commission from William.
  • 1071: Selcuk dominant in Middle East. Battle of Melasgird.
  • 1076: Almoravids overthrew Kingdom of Ghana.
  • 1084: Robert Guiscard sacked Rome.
  • 1085: Toledo in Castillian hands.
  • c1086-90: Almoravids dominant in Andalus.
  • 1087-1099: See of Pope Urban II.
  • 1095: Urban II declared 1st Crusade at Clermont.
  • 1096: Massacre of People's Crusade in Asia Minor.
  • 1097: First Crusade in Syria
  • 1099: Godfrey of Boullion took Jerusalem.