The World 500 CE

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Map Code: Ax00917

The Western Roman Empire came to an end in 476 when the Ostrogoth, Odoacer, deposed Romulus Augustulus. Theoderic the Great killed Odoacer in 493, replacing him as king of Italy and the Ostrogoths. Justinian’s attempts to restore the old Roman Empire from his base in Constantinople were ultimately thwarted by a devastating plague pandemic (541–42). On his eastern frontiers, Justinian fought inconclusive wars with the Sassanids who, to their east, were first defeated by (483), then vanquished, the Hephthalites, a confederation of peoles from Central Asia. India was enjoying a Golden Age, with the Gupta and Vakataka dynasties renowned for their art, architecture and scientific achievements. China also achieved notable advances, including the invention of the stirrup, but was war-torn, and divided between northern and southern dynasties. The Maya were at their zenith in Yucatan. The Christian kingdom of Axum dominated the Horn of Africa.

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