Year 536 (Roman numerals: DXXXVI) was a leap year starting on Tuesday of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the "Year after the Consulship of Belisarius" (or, less frequently, "year 1289 Ab urbe condita"). The denomination 536 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.
|Ab urbe condita||1289|
|Balinese saka calendar||457–458|
|Chinese calendar||乙卯年 (Wood Rabbit)|
3232 or 3172
— to —
丙辰年 (Fire Dragon)
3233 or 3173
|- Vikram Samvat||592–593|
|- Shaka Samvat||457–458|
|- Kali Yuga||3636–3637|
|Iranian calendar||86 BP – 85 BP|
|Islamic calendar||89 BH – 88 BH|
|Minguo calendar||1376 before ROC|
|Seleucid era||847/848 AG|
|Thai solar calendar||1078–1079|
662 or 281 or −491
— to —
663 or 282 or −490
In 2018, a medieval scholar nominated 536 as "the worst year to be alive" because of a volcanic eruption, possibly in Iceland, early in the year, that caused average temperatures in Europe and China to decline and resulted in crop failures and famine for well over a year.
- Spring – Emperor Justinian I appoints his cousin Germanus as magister militum to deal with the crisis in Africa. He sends a mobile force of comitatenses (mostly cavalry) and an elite guard. Solomon returns to Constantinople.
- Summer – Gothic War: Belisarius crosses the Strait of Messina and invades Italy. He conquers the city of Rhegium and advances to Naples.
- October – Siege of Naples: Belisarius captures Naples after a month's siege, by sending troops into the city through an abandoned Roman aqueduct.
- December 9 – Belisarius enters Rome through the Asinarian Gate; the Gothic garrison (4,000 men) flee the capital. He sends an urgent request for reinforcements to Justinian I, meanwhile preparing Rome for a siege by bringing in great quantities of food and other supplies.
- Winter – Belisarius sets up his headquarters on the Pincian Hill and repairs the neglected city walls of Rome. He stations a 5,000-man garrison, of whom half are his personal bodyguard (bucellarii). To hold parts of the city, he recruits 20,000 young Romans to man the walls.
- Early in 536 – A volcanic eruption in Iceland blankets much of the Northern Hemisphere in clouds and ash, and dims the sun for 18 months.
- March – King Theodahad cedes Provence and upper Alamannia to the Franks gaining their support in the war. He sends a large Gothic army into Dalmatia. They defeat the Byzantines, Mundus is killed during the fighting at Salona, and the Byzantine army withdraws.
- Summer – Constantinianus, magister militum per Illyricum, retakes Dalmatia. The Goths abandon Salona and withdraw to the north. The Byzantines rebuild its walls and reclaim the province.
- Vitiges deposes his rival Theodahad at Ravenna and marries Matasuntha (daughter of queen Amalasuntha). He becomes king of the Ostrogoths and assembles an army to fight against Belisarius.
- March – Belisarius sails to Carthage with 1,000 men, to suppress a mutiny against Solomon. Meanwhile the capital is besieged by 9,000 rebels, including many Vandals, under Stotzas. Belisarius defeats the mutineers and hurries back to Sicily.
- April 22 – Pope Agapetus I dies in Constantinople after a reign of just ten months. He is succeeded by Silverius as the 58th pope.
- Anthimus I is deposed as patriarch of Constantinople, in favour of Menas.
- The Little Hagia Sophia in Constantinople (begun in 527) is completed.
- Extreme weather events of 535–536, thought to have been caused by an extensive veil of dust in the atmosphere, begin in the Northern Hemisphere. They continue until the following year, causing unseasonal weather and crop failure worldwide.[n 1] It is possible this was caused by the eruption of Ilopango or a volcano in Iceland.