The Ten Year Winter of 536-546 A.D.

Tapisserie de Bayeux - Scène 32 : des hommes observent la comète de Halley

“And it came about during this year that a most dread portent took place. For the sun gave forth its light without brightness, like the moon, during this whole year, and it seemed exceedingly like the sun in eclipse, for the beams it shed were not clear nor such as it is accustomed to shed”.
Procopius (Wars, 4.14.5)

Procopius

Roughly 1500 years ago, our world was turned upsidown by a winter that witnesses say “never ended.”

Scholars writing in Europe and Asia at the time reported that the year 536 and the years following were bitterly cold. They described conditions that reminded them of an eclipse, and claim that the sun remained “small,” with ice frosting up crops even in summer. That year and the decade following were also times of great famine, plague and war.

image16

[G]eologist Dallas Abbott has a new theory.

Perhaps Halley’s comet broke up on its trip past the sun, and ejected some large pieces onto Earth. Those events, combined with a thicker-than-usual tail of debris, could have caused the weather disruptions.

Photo of Halley’s Comet via netplaces.
Based on an article by Colin Barras in New Scientist via io9.

This entry was posted in History, Science by Heretic. Bookmark the permalink.

About Heretic

I design video games for a living, write fiction, political theory and poetry for personal amusement, and train regularly in Western European 16th century swordwork. On frequent occasion I have been known to hunt for and explore abandoned graveyards, train tunnels and other interesting places wherever I may find them, but there is absolutely no truth to the rumor that I am preparing to set off a zombie apocalypse. Nothing that will stand up in court, at least. I use paranthesis with distressing frequency, have a deep passion for history, anthropology and sociological theory, and really, really, really hate mayonnaise. But I wash my hands after the writing. Promise.

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