1136 (The People's Chronology)
The Holy Roman Emperor Lothair II invades southern Italy in response to last year's appeal from John II Comnenus and conquers Apulia from Sicily's Roger II.
William X, duke of Aquitaine and Gascony, invades Normandy and ravages the country.
Norway's Harald IV is assassinated at age 33 (approximate) after a 6-year reign marked since 1134 by savage fighting with his fellow king, Magnus IV (the Blind). His assassin is Sigurd Slembi, who claims, as did the late Harald, to be a son of the late Magnus III Barefoot. Harald is succeeded by his only legitimate son, an infant who will reign until 1161 as Inge I Haraldsson with his half brother Sigurd II Slembi, but Sigurd and Magnus IV (the Blind) will struggle to overthrow him (see Eystein, 1142).
The English princess Matilda asserts her right to the throne of her late father (see 1135; 1138).
Novgorod asserts its independence from Kiev. Far more important commercially than Kiev, it will accept protection from neighboring princes but retain its independence until 1478.
Fire destroys London Bridge as it has in the past. Construction of a stone bridge will begin in 1176 (see 1209).
German nun Hildegard von Bingen, 38, becomes abbess of a Benedictine monastery at Disibodensberg upon the death of her mentor, the recluse Jutta of Spanheim, to whom she was sent at age 8 by her parents (they had promised their tenth child to the Church). Hildegard began having visions in childhood, they intensified later, and she took the veil at age 15 (see 1148).
William of Corbeil, archbishop of Canterbury, dies at Canterbury, Kent, November 21 at an age somewhere between 56 and 76. He will be succeeded in 1138 by the French-born abbot Theobald, now about 46.
Nonfiction: Historia Calamitatus Mearum (The Story of My Troubles) by Pierre Abelard describes his love affair with Héloïse (see 1121; 1140).
Architecture, Real Estate
The French church of Saint-Dénis is completed to designs by the abbé Suger, 45, whose mostly romanesque structure includes some pointed arches and high clerestory windows that mark the beginning of Gothic architecture. When he became abbot in 1122, Suger inherited a gloomy church in need of repair. Instead of renovating it, he decided to embellish it; hiring stonemasons, artists, and craftsmen from all over France, he has obtained enamels, pearls, precious stones, rare vases, and textiles for decorating the church; he initiates the idea of the rose window, and to critics who call the great church an exercise in vanity, Suger replies that people can only come to understand absolute beauty, which is God, through the effect of precious and beautiful things on the senses. "The dull mind rises to truth through that which is material."