The following is a brief timeline of the history of Paganism. It is a work in progress and is nowhere near complete. It is currently heavily Euro-centric, but even then ignores much of what we know about Paganism from the archaeological record. This time line is currently focused on the fall and revival of Paganism in the West.
The text describing events related to Neo-Paganism will appear to be green.
The text describing events that had a harmful effect upon Paganism will appear red.
300s Emperor Constantine orders the pillaging of Pagan Temples in the Roman Empire
353 Emperor Constantius bans Pagan animal sacrifices under the penalty of death, and orders Pagan temples to be closed. The edict had much opposition and was difficult to enforce. Vandalism of Roman temples by Christians begins.
363 to 375 Emperor Julian and his next three successors lead a revival of Paganism in the Roman Empire while also tolerating Christianity.
381 Emperor Theodosius begins a war on Paganism. Visits to temples are banned, the sacred fire of Vesta is extinguished, the Olympics are banned, Pagan rituals are banned, and many holy Pagan sites throughout the Roman Empire are destroyed by force.
410 Rome is sacked by the Visigoths. Many Romans viewed it as punishment for turning away from the gods.
425 Emperor Theodosius II passed new anti-Pagan laws, which included the death penalty.
400s to 500s Paganism in the Roman Empire is forced to go underground, Pagan libraries are burnt, and it becomes official policy to hunt down and torture the remaining Pagans. Some Pagan festivals are incorporated in Christianity.
448 Suebi leadership converts.
496 Clovis I Frankish King converts, Pagan Franks follow Ragnachar.
509 Ragnachar executed by Clovis.
529 Justinian I shuts down the Neoplatonic Academy. Its last scholarch Damascius flees to Persia.
565 Diarmait mac Cerbaill dies as the last High King of Ireland that was wedded to the land.
601 Æthelberht of Kent converts to Christianity.
604 Sæberht of Essex is baptized.
604 Rædwald of East Anglia is baptized, but maintains a Pagan altar.
616 Eabald of Kent revolts against Christianity.
616 Sexred, Sigeberht, and Sæward of Essex are Pagan kings.
624 Eabald of Kent converts to Christianity.
627 Edwin of Northumbria baptized.
630 Shrine to 360 gods in the Kaaba in Mecca destroyed. Arabic Pagans forced to convert
633 Osric and Eanfrith of Bernicia crowned, and a Pagan resurgence happens.
635 Cynegils and Cwichelm of Wessex are baptized.
640 Eorcenberth of Kent orders idols destroyed.
643 Cenwalh of Wessex is crowned, and a Pagan resurgence occurs.
655 Cenwalh of Wessex returns from exile now baptized.
653 Paeda King of Mercia converts to Christianity.
653 Sigeberht the Good of Essex is baptized
660 Swithhelm of Essex, is crowned and a Pagan resurgence happens.
662 Swithhelm of Essex is baptized.
665 Sigehere of Essex leads a Pagan resurgence,
675 Æthelwealh of Sussex is baptized.
676 Centwine of Wessex is crowned, and a Pagan resurgence happens.
680 to 719 Redbad, King of the Frisians refuses baptism because of his ancestors.
685 Centwine of Wessex becomes a monk.
686 Arwald Pagan King of the Isle of Wright killed.
696 Duke Theodo I of Bavaria ask for missionaries.
723 Thor’s Oak is cut down by Christian missionary Boniface in what is now Hesse, Germany.
734 Frisians conquered by the Franks
772 Charlemagne orders the destruction of the Saxon Irminsul at Obermarsberg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.
782 At Verden, Lower Saxony, Germany, Emperor Charlemagne orders the execution 4,500 Pagans who had refused to convert by force to Christianity.
785 Widukind leader of Saxony is forced to convert by Charlemagne.
864 Boris I of Bulgraia converts from Tengriism to Christianity
950 to 998 Pagans in the mountainous region of Laconia, Greece are forcefully converted by Christian missionary Nikon the Metanoeite.
960 Harold Bluetooth King of Denmark converts
966 Baptism of Poland
975 to 995 Haakon Sigurdsson King of Norway leads a Pagan revival
988 Vladimir Grand Prince of Kiev baptized, forced conversions followed
995 to 1000 Olaf Tryggvason King of Norway use violence to convert Pagans and drowns Seithr
1000 Iceland’s Althing adopts Christianity.
1000 Battle of Svolder Olaf Tryggvason killed and a brief Pagan revival follows in Norway
1008 Olof Skötkonung King of Sweden is baptized, but does not have much an effect on Pagans.
1030s Pagan revolts in Poland
1071 Pagan revolt in Novgorod, Russia
1084 Inge King of Sweden forced to abdicate because he refused to follow the old ways.
1100s to 1200s The Northern Crusades are carried out against the Pagan areas of Estonia, Latvia, Prussia, and Lithuania.
1123 Sigurd the Crusader leads a crusade against Pagans in Smaland, Sweden.
1124 Pomerania forced to convert.
1147 Wendish Crusade
1150 First Swedish Crusade to Christianize Finland.
1159 John of Salisbury in Policraticus writes of the belief in a figure called Herodias who is associated with the moon being the leader of night meetings where witches come together to hold rituals.
1230 to 1280 Prussian Crusade
1300s to 1700s a series of witchcraft trials sweep through Europe leading to an estimated 40,000 to 100,000 deaths. How the trials relate to Paganism is debated.
1387 Christianization of Lithuania begins
1400s Gemistus Pletho of the Byzantine Empire advocates for the return of public worship of the Olympian gods and also reintroduces Neo-Platonism to Europe.
1413 The Duchy of Samogitia in what is now western Lithuania becomes the last area in Europe to have its officials reject Paganism.
1487 Malleus Maleficarum is published in the Germanies. It cites the widely held belief that witches rode at night with the Pagan goddesses Diana and Herodias.
1492 Christianity is first introduced to the Americas and the African Diaspora soon begins.
7th February 1497 Paintings of Botticelli depicting Pagan themes destroyed. Bonfire of the Vanities.
1507 Dr. Johann Georg Faust first appears in records.
1531 De Occulta Philosophia Libri Tres by Heinrich Agrippa is published. It was heavily influenced by Neo-Platonism, and includes information on the Pentagram.
1564 Monas Hieroglyphica published by John Dee.
1575 Benandanti investigated in Friuli, Italy
1582 De Heptarchia Mystica published by John Dee
1720 Norway makes an effort to convert the Sami people from Paganism. Sacred drums and holy sites are destroyed.
1740s William Stukeley proclaims himself to be a druid and claims that druids were monotheists and had built Stonehenge.
1749 Del Congresso Notturno delle Lamie by Girolamo Tartarotti suggests that the stereotype of witches derived from Pagan worshippers of Diana.
1750s Sir Francis Dashwood’s Hellfire Club conducts rituals worshipping Bacchus, Venus, Dionysius, and other Greco-Roman deities.
1770s Iola Morganwag uses forged documents to claim that he was the last in line of Druids that had survived since ancient times. His actions and those of others lead to the growth of Celtic Nationalism.
1780s to 1860s The Romantic Movement emerges in Europe. Its members loved nature and were influenced by folklore and mythology. Several of the Romanticists including Thomas Love Peacock, Thomas Jefferson Hogg, Edward Calvert, and Algernon Swineburne wrote poetry praising the old gods, built altars to Pan, and began to identify as Pagan.
1785 the Bhagavad Gita is first translated into English and soon influences many in the Romantic movement.
1800s Tiveden and the Skaga Stave Church and Trollkyrka
1828 Karl Ernest Jacke claims that the witch trials were designed to wipe out surviving Pagan followers, who had devolved into actual devil worship after the condemnation of the church.
1847 The Principles of Nature, Her Divine Revelations, and a Voice to Mankind by Andrew Jackson Davis is published. He dictated in a trance in 1845.
1848 The Fox sisters make contact with a spirit.
1854 & 1855 Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie by Eliphas Levi published with Baphomet image
1862 La Sorcière by Jules Michelet claims that witches were rebelling against the oppressive and anti-feminist believes of the church and feudal society.
September 1863, Dummy the witch of Sible Hedingham is lynched in England.
1875 The Theosophical Society is established by Helena Blatvasky, and seeks to create a universal brotherhood through the study of Western philosophy and Eastern Religion.
1887 The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn is established with aims similar to Theosophical Society.
1890 The Golden Bough by James Frazer is published.
1899 Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches by folklorist by folklorist Charles Godfrey Leland.
1901 Archaeologist Arthur Evans develops the theory of the unity of all goddesses and equated them with the Venus figurines.
1903 writer Edmund Chambers developed the idea of a great earth mother who had once been worshipped throughout Europe. Another scholar Jane Harrison simultaneously developed the idea of a great earth mother worshiped in a triple form.
1904 Aleister Crowley transcribes The Book of the Law while in Egypt and proclaims the establishment of the “new age” of the Æon of Horus.
1910 Rider-Waite tarot deck first published
1921 The Witch-Cult in Western Europe by Margaret Murray is published and the Witch-Cult Hypothesis is further popularized.
1924 Rosicrucian Order Crotona Fellowship aka “New Forest Coven” established inspired by Murray’s work
1939 Gerald Gardner is imitated into the New Forest Coven, and believes it to be ancient.
1948 The White Goddess by Robert Graves is published.
1954 Witchcraft Today by Gerald Gardner is published and leads to the spread of Wicca.
1960s Interest in Paganism and new age philosophy explodes.
1979 The Spiral Dance by Starhawk is published and highly influences the goddess movement.
1980s The Satanic Panic occurs
2005 to 2011 3,000 people killed by lynch mobs following the spread Christianity in Tanzania for allegedly being witches