Chronology

Chronology
Joseph Scaliger's De emendatione temporum (1583) began the modern science of chronology[1]

Chronology (from Latin chronologia, from Ancient Greek χρόνος, chronos, "time"; and -λογία, -logia) is the science of arranging events in their order of occurrence in time, such as the use of a timeline or sequence of events. It is also "the determination of the actual temporal sequence of past events".[2]

Chronology is part of periodization. It is also part of the discipline of history, including earth history, the earth sciences, and study of the geologic time scale (see Prehistoric chronologies below).

Contents

Related fields

Chronology is the science of locating historical events in time, basically a time line and is distinct from, but relies upon chronometry or timekeeping, and historiography, which examines the writing of history and the use of historical methods. Radiocarbon dating estimates the age of formerly living things by measuring the proportion of carbon-14 isotope in their carbon content. Dendrochronology estimates the age of trees by correlation of the various growth rings in their wood to known year-by-year reference sequences in the region to reflect year-to-year climatic variation. Dendrochronology is used in turn as a calibration reference for radiocarbon dating curves.

Calendar and era

The familiar terms calendar and era (within the meaning of a coherent system of numbered calendar years) concern two complementary fundamental concepts of chronology. For example during eight centuries the calendar belonging to the Christian era, which era was taken in use in the eighth century by Bede, was the Julian calendar, but after the year 1582 it was the Gregorian calendar. Dionysius Exiguus (about the year 500) was the founder of that era, which is nowadays the most widespread dating system on earth.

Ab Urbe condita era

Ab Urbe condita is Latin for "from the founding of the City (Rome)",[3] traditionally set in 753 BC. It was used to identify the Roman year by a few Roman historians. Modern historians use it much more frequently than the Romans themselves did; the dominant method of identifying Roman years was to name the two consuls who held office that year. Before the advent of the modern critical edition of historical Roman works, AUC was indiscriminately added to them by earlier editors, making it appear more widely used than it actually was.

It was used systematically for the first time only about the year 400, by the Iberian historian Orosius. Pope Boniface IV, in about the year 600, seems to have been the first who made a connection between these this era and Anno Domini. (AD 1 = AUC 754.)

Astronomical era

Dionysius Exiguus’ Anno Domini era (which contains only calendar years AD) was extended by Bede to the complete Christian era (which contains, in addition all calendar years BC, but no year zero). Ten centuries after Bede, the French astronomers Philippe de la Hire (in the year 1702) and Jacques Cassini (in the year 1740), purely to simplify certain calculations, put the Julian Dating System (proposed in the year 1583 by Joseph Scaliger) and with it an astronomical era into use, which contains a leap year zero, which precedes the year 1 (AD) but does not exactly coincide with the year 1 BC. Astronomers never preposed seriously to replace our era with their astronomical era (which for that matter coincides exactly with the Christian era where it concerns the calendar years after the year 4).

Prehistoric chronologies

While of critical importance to the historian, methods of determining chronology are used in most disciplines of science, especially astronomy, geology, paleontology and archaeology.

In the absence of written history, with its chronicles and king lists, late 19th century archaeologists found that they could develop relative chronologies based on pottery techniques and styles. In the field of Egyptology, William Flinders Petrie pioneered sequence dating to penetrate pre-dynastic Neolithic times, using groups of contemporary artefacts deposited together at a single time in graves and working backwards methodically from the earliest historical phases of Egypt. This method of dating is known as seriation.

Known wares discovered at strata in sometimes quite distant sites, the product of trade, helped extend the network of chronologies. Some cultures have retained the name applied to them in reference to characteristic forms, for lack of an idea of what they called themselves: "The Beaker People" in northern Europe during the 3rd millennium BCE, for example. The study of the means of placing pottery and other cultural artifacts into some kind of order proceeds in two phases, classification and typology: Classification creates categories for the purposes of description, and typology seeks to identify and analyse changes that allow artifacts to be placed into sequences.[4]

Laboratory techniques developed particularly after mid-20th century helped constantly revise and refine the chronologies developed for specific cultural areas. Unrelated dating methods help reinforce a chronology, an axiom of corroborative evidence. Ideally, archaeological materials used for dating a site should complement each other and provide a means of cross-checking. Conclusions drawn from just one unsupported technique are usually regarded as unreliable.

Chronological analysis

Several legendary sources tend to assign unrealistically long lifespans to pre-historical heroes and monarchs (e.g., Egyptian, Chinese, Hebrews, Japanese), if the number of years there reported are understood as years of more than 340 days. Though chronologies formulated before the 1960s are subject to serious skepticism today, more recent results are more robust than readily appears to journalists and enthusiastic amateurs. Bayesian inference can be applied in the analysis of chronological information, including radiocarbon-derived dates.

See also

Examples
  • List of timelines – specific chronologies
  • Timeline of world history – overall historical chronology
Christian chronology
General
Fiction writing

Aspects and examples of non-chronological story-telling:

Notes

  1. ^ Richards, E. G. (1998). Mapping Time: The Calendar and History. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 12–13. ISBN 0-19-286205-7. 
  2. ^ Memidex/WordNet, "chronology," memidex.com (accessed September 25, 2010).
  3. ^ Literally translated as "From the city having been founded".
  4. ^ Greene, Kevin (November 2007). Archaeology : An Introduction. University of Newcastle Upon Tyne. Chapter 4. http://www.staff.ncl.ac.uk/kevin.greene/wintro/chap4.htm. Retrieved 2008-01-04. 

References

  • Hegewisch, D. H., & Marsh, J. (1837). Introduction to historical chronology. Burlington [Vt.]: C. Goodrich.
  • B. E. Tumanian, “Measurement of Time in Ancient and Medieval Armenia,” Journal for the History of Astronomy 5, 1974, pp. 91–98.
  • Kazarian, K. A., “History of Chronology by B. E. Tumanian,” Journal for the History of Astronomy, 4, 1973, p. 137
  • Porter, T. M., "The Dynamics of Progress: Time, Method, and Measure". The American Historical Review, 1991.

Further reading

  • Whitrow, G. J. (1990). Time in history views of time from prehistory to the present day. Oxford [u.a.]: Oxford Univ. Press.
  • Aitken, M. (1990). Science-Based Dating in Archaeology. London: Thames and Hudson.
  • Bickerman, E. J. (1980). The Chronology of the Ancient World. London: Thames and Hudson.
  • Neugebauer, O. (1975). A History of Ancient Mathematical Astronomy Springer-Verlag.
  • Richards, E. G. (1998). Mapping Time: The Calendar and History. Oxford University Press.
  • Williams, N., & Storey, R. L. (1966). Chronology of the modern world: 1763 to the present time. London: Barrie & Rockliffe.
  • Steinberg, S. H. (1967). Historical tables: 58 B.C.-A.D. 1965. London: Macmillan.
  • Keller, H. R. (1934). The dictionary of dates. New York: The Macmillan company.
  • Freeman-Grenville, G. S. P. (1975). Chronology of world history: a calendar of principal events from 3000 BC to AD 1973. London: Collings.
  • Langer, W. L., & Gatzke, H. W. (1963). An encyclopedia of world history, ancient, medieval and modern, chronologically arranged. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
  • Poole, R. L., & Poole, A. L. (1934). Studies in chronology and history. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • Weeks, J. E. (1701). The gentleman's hour glass; or, An introduction to chronology; being a plain and compendious analysis of time. Dublin: James Hoey.
  • Smith, T. (1818). An introduction to chronology. New York: Samuel Wood.
  • Hodgson, J., Hinton, J., & Wallis, J. (1747). An introduction to chronology:: containing an account of time; also of the most remarkable cycles, epoch's, era's, periods, and moveable feasts. To which is added, a brief account of the several methods proposed for the alteration of the style, the reforming the calendar, and fixing the true time of the celebration of Easter. London: Printed for J. Hinton, at the King's Arms in St Paul's Church-yard.

External links


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Chronology — Chro*nol o*gy, n.; pl. {Chronologies}. [Gr. ?; ? time + ? discourse: cf. F. chronologie.] The science which treats of measuring time by regular divisions or periods, and which assigns to events or transactions their proper dates. [1913 Webster]… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • chronology — index calendar (record of yearly periods), journal, order (arrangement), register, time Burton s Legal Thesaurus. W …   Law dictionary

  • chronology — 1590s, from Mod.L. chronologia; see CHRONO (Cf. chrono ) + LOGY (Cf. logy). Related: Chronologer (1570s) …   Etymology dictionary

  • chronology — ► NOUN (pl. chronologies) 1) the study of records to establish the dates of past events. 2) the arrangement of events or dates in the order of their occurrence. DERIVATIVES chronologist noun. ORIGIN from Greek khronos time …   English terms dictionary

  • chronology — [krə näl′ə jē] n. pl. chronologies [ CHRONO + LOGY] 1. the science of measuring time in fixed periods and of dating events and epochs and arranging them in the order of occurrence 2. the arrangement of events, dates, etc. in the order of… …   English World dictionary

  • chronology — /kreuh nol euh jee/, n., pl. chronologies. 1. the sequential order in which past events occur. 2. a statement of this order. 3. the science of arranging time in periods and ascertaining the dates and historical order of past events. 4. a… …   Universalium

  • CHRONOLOGY — GENERAL The human notion of time involves the simultaneous and successive occurrence of events; the science of chronology ascertains their proper sequence. The human idea of time also involves measuring; chronology, therefore, attempts to… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Chronology —    Is the arrangement of facts and events in the order of time. The writers of the Bible themselves do not adopt any standard era according to which they date events. Sometimes the years are reckoned, e.g., from the time of the Exodus (Num. 1:1;… …   Easton's Bible Dictionary

  • CHRONOLOGY —    Dating in ancient history remains uncertain and conjectural. It rests on a system of relative chronologies that take into consideration the stratigraphic sequence of archaeological sites, written sources appearing in such contexts, references… …   Historical Dictionary of Mesopotamia

  • chronology — [[t]krənɒ̱ləʤi[/t]] chronologies 1) N UNCOUNT: oft N of n The chronology of a series of past events is the times at which they happened in the order in which they happened. She gave him a factual account of the chronology of her brief liaison. 2) …   English dictionary


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.