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The best-known person in the history of Afghanistan is a poet
In 1248, Jalal al-Din ("Rumi") loses his closest friend. Grief stirs him to write poetry.
The best-known person in Morocco's history makes and then publishes a book about a 30-year journey that takes him from Hangzhou to Timbuktu.
In 1354, Ibn Battuta returns to Morocco after traveling halfway around the world and back.
Hulagu Khan and the largest army ever assembled attack and then destroy the capital of this caliphate, and bringing and end to this bringing an end to its 558-year reign.
In 1258, Hulagu Khan’s soldiers destroy Baghdad after the Abbasid Caliph surrenders on February 10.
This calamity ends up kiling one of every two Europeans..
In 1347, The Black Death ravages Europe.
Born in poverty near Samarkand, this military leader born in Uzbekistan launches a brutal war of conquest in Asia that kills 18 million in 20 years.
In 1383, Timur launches a war of conquest in central Asia.
This poet laureate of Rome writes epic poems in Latin, but he is remembered for the hundreds of Italian love sonnets, unpublished in his lifetime, dedicated to a woman he met when he was 23.
In 1374, Petrarca dies, leaving behind hundreds of unpublished sonnets dedicated to Laura.
The population of this city reaches one million in the year 1200, making it the largest city in the world.
In 1200, the population of Lin’an (Hangzhou) reaches one million, making it the largest city in the world.
One of Europe's best-known medieval labyrinths appears on the stone floor of this "high point of French Gothic architecture," which takes workers 54 years to build.
In 1250, Chartres Cathedral is finished, 54 years after construction begins.
This author from Firenze writes a book about ten young people who go to a country villa to avoid the Bubonic Plague.
In 1352, Bocaccio finishes "The Decameron."
His frescos in the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua and the San Francesco Basilica in Assisi help make this artist the world’s best-known painter born before 1300.
In 1297, Giotto paints frescos in the San Francesco Basilica in Assisi.
The largest city in Christendom is captured and destroyed in this military campaign, whose leaders take back home with them a 1000-year-old sculpture of four horses.
In 1204, soldiers in the 4th Crusade sack Christian Constantinople.
After establishing the Yuan Dynasty in Beijing, Kublai Khan's soldiers capture and destroy the capital of this dynasty, bringing an end to its 319-year reign.
In 1276, Kublai Khan’s soldiers capture Lin’an and destroy the Southern Song Dynasty.
This author from Firenze is 38 and living in forced exile in Rome when he writes an epic poem imagining what he would see if he and his favorite writer could visit hell together and if he and the love of his life could visit heaven together.
In 1308, Dante begins writing "La Commedia."
Between 30 and 60 million are killed over the course of a century in a series of wars of conquest first launched by this military leader.
In 1220, Temujin ("Genghis Khan")'s army compells Bukhara and Samarkand (in modern Uzbekistan) to surrender.
Road distances in France are calculated from point 0 on in the forecourt of this building, whose spire and roof were destroyed by a fire 674 years after their construction.
In 1345, Notre Dame Cathedral is finished 182 years after construction begins in Paris.