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Chronology (from Greek ฯฯฮฟฮฝฮฟฮปฮฟฮณฮฏฮฑ - chronologia, from ฯฯฯฮฝฮฟฯ - chronos, "time" + ฮปฯฮณฮฟฯ - logos, amongst others "the study of") or general chronology is the science of locating events in time, and is part of the discipline of history.
- 1 Definition
- 2 Calendar and era
- 3 Prehistoric chronologies
- 4 History of chronology
- 5 See also
- 6 Notes and references
- 7 Further reading
- 8 External links
A chronology may be either relativeโthat is, locating related events relative to each otherโor absoluteโlocating these events to specific dates in a chronological era. Even this distinction may be blurred by use of different calendars. In Judeo-Christian cultures, historical dates in an absolute chronology are understood to be referred to the Christian era, in combination with the proleptic Julian calendar (originally) and the Gregorian calendar respectively.
Chronology is the science of locating historical events in time, 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 eraCalendarsvย โขย dย โขย e(list) Wide use Astronomicalยท Gregorianยท Islamicยท ISOCalendar Types Lunisolarยท Solarยท LunarSelected use Assyrianยท Armenianยท Atticยท Aztec(Tonalpohualliโ Xiuhpohualli) ยท Babylonianยท Bahรก'รญยท Bengaliยท Berberยท Bikram Samwatยท Buddhistยท Celticยท Chineseยท Copticยท Egyptianยท Ethiopianยท Calendrier Rรฉpublicainยท Germanicยท Hebrewยท Hellenicยท Hinduยท Indianยท Iranianยท Irishยท Japaneseยท Javaneseยท Jucheยท Julianยท Koreanยท Lithuanianยท Malayalamยท Maya(Tzolk'inโ Haab') ยท Minguoยท Nanakshahiยท Nepal Sambatยท Pawukonยท Pentecontad calendarยท Rapa Nuiยท Romanยท Sovietยท Tamilยท Thai (Lunarโ Solar) ยท Tibetanยท Burmese. Vietnameseยท Xhosaยท ZoroastrianCalendar Types Runicยท Mesoamerican(Long Countโ Calendar Round) Christian variants Julian calendarยท Calendar of saintsยท Eastern Orthodox liturgical calendarยท Liturgical yearRarely used Darian calendarยท Discordian calendarDisplay types and applications Perpetual calendarยท Wall calendarยท Economic calendar
- Main article: Calendar
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
- Main article: Ab urbe condita
Ab Urbe condita is Latin for "from the founding of the City (Rome)", 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.)
- Main article: Astronomical year numbering
Dionysius Exiguusโ 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 in order 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 the year 1 (AD) precedes but does not exactly coincide with the year 1 BC. Astronomers never proposed 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).
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. Compare the American technique of 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.
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.
History of chronologyPlease help improve this sectionby expanding it.
Further information might be found on the talk pageor at requests for expansion. (May 2008)
Several legendary sources tend to assign unrealistically long lifespans to pre-historical heroes and monarchs (e.g Egypt, Hebrews, Japanese), if the number of years there reported are understood as years of more than 340 days. One potent explanation for this has been that there have been more than one harvest during the actual year, and memories evolving to legends tend to count each growth period as separate year.
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.
See alsoTime Portal
- List of timelines, specific chronologies
- WikiTimeScale, interactive wiki with graphically displayed chronology of historic events
- Dionysius Exiguus' Easter table
- Lunar cycle
- Millennium question
- Paschal full moon
- Solar cycle
Aspects and examples of non-chronological story-telling:
Notes and references
- ^ Richards, E. G. (1998). Mapping Time: The Calendar and History. Oxford University Press, 12-13. ISBN 0-19-286205-7.ย
- ^ Literally translated as "From the city having been founded".
- ^ Greene, Kevin (November 2007). Archaeologyย : An Introduction. University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, Chapter 4. Retrieved on 2008-01-04.ย
- M. Aitken, Science-Based Dating in Archaeology. London: Thames and Hudson, 1990.
- E. J. Bickerman, The Chronology of the Ancient World. London: Thames and Hudson, 1980.
- O. Neugebauer, A History of Ancient Mathematical Astronomy Springer-Verlag, 1975.
- E. G. Richards, Mapping Time: The Calendar and History. Oxford University Press, 1998.
External linksLook up chronology in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
- Chronology 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica
- Christian Chronology
- Regnal Chronologies
- Dating Methods from pastperfect.info at the Internet Archive. Accessed 2008-01-04.
- Dating the Past
- Pragmatic Bayesians: a decade of integrating radiocarbon dates in chronological models from the University of Sheffield at the Internet Archive. Accessed 2008-01-04.
- ย "General Chronology". Catholic Encyclopedia. (1913). New York: Robert Appleton Company.ย
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