Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Chronology
CHRONOLOGY (from the Greek χρονολογία, computation of time) is the science which treats of time. Its object is to arrange and exhibit the various events which have occurred in the history of the world in the order of their succession, and to ascertain the intervals of time between them.
The preservation of any record, however rude, of the lapse of time implies some knowledge of the celestial motions, by which alone time can be accurately measured, and some advancement in the arts of civilized life, which could only be attained by the accumulated experience of many generations. Before the invention of letters the memory of past transactions could not be preserved beyond a few years with any tolerable degree of accuracy. Events which greatly affected the physical condition of the human race, or were of a nature to make a deep impression on the minds of the rude inhabitants of the earth, might be vaguely transmitted through several ages by traditional narrative; but intervals of time, expressed by abstract numbers, and these constantly varying besides, would soon escape the memory. The invention of the art of writing afforded the means of substituting precise and permanent records for vague and evanescent tradition; but in the infancy of the world, mankind had learned neither to estimate accurately the duration of time, nor to refer passing events to any fixed epoch. Writing was practised many centuries before historians began to assign dates to the events they narrated. The masterpieces of Herodotus and Thucydides, while setting forth, each in the manner suited to the author's aim, events in the order of their succession, are stories without dates.
The earliest written annals of the Greeks, Etruscans, and
Romans are irretrievably lost. The traditions of the Druids
perished with them. A Chinese emperor has the credit of
burning “the books” extant in his day (about 220 B.C.),
and of burying alive the scholars who were acquainted
with them. And a Spanish adventurer destroyed the picture
records which were found in the pueblo of Montezuma.
Of the more formal historical writings in which the first ineffectual attempts were made in the direction of systematic chronology we have no knowledge at first-hand. Of Hellenicus, the Greek logographer, who appears to have lived through the greater part of the 5th century B.C., and who drew up a chronological list of the priestesses of Hera at Argos; of Ephorus, who lived in the 4th century B.C., and is distinguished as the first Greek who attempted the composition of a universal history; and of Timæus, who in the following century wrote an elaborate history of Sicily, in which he set the example of using the Olympiads as the basis of chronology, the works have perished, and our meagre knowledge of their contents is derived only from fragmentary citations in later writers. The same fate has befallen the works of Berosus and Manetho, Eratosthenes and Apollodorus. Berosus, a priest of Belus living at Babylon in the 3d century B.C., added to his historical account of Babylonia a chronological list of its kings, which he claimed to have compiled from genuine archives preserved in the temple. Manetho, likewise a priest, living at Sebennytus in Lower Egypt in the 3d century B.C., wrote in Greek a history of Egypt, with an account of its thirty dynasties of sovereigns, which he professed to have drawn from genuine archives in the keeping of the priests. Of these works fragments only, more or less copious and accurate, have been preserved. Eratosthenes, who in the latter half of the 2d century B.C. was keeper of the famous Alexandrian Library, not only made himself a great name by his important work on geography, but by his treatise entitled Chronographia, one of the first attempts to establish an exact scheme of general chronology, earned for himself the title of “father of chronology.” His method of procedure, however, was usually conjectural; and guess-work, however careful, acute, and plausible, is still guess-work and not testimony. Apollodorus, an Athenian who flourished in the middle of the 2d century B.C., wrote a metrical chronicle of events, ranging from the supposed period of the fall of Troy to his own day. These writers were followed by other investigators and systematizers in the same field, but their works are lost. Of the principal later writers whose works are extant, and to whom we owe what little knowledge we possess of the labours of their predecessors, mention will be made hereafter.
The absence or incompleteness of authentic records, however, is not the only source of obscurity and confusion in the chronology of remote ages. There can be no exact computation of time or placing of events without a fixed point or epoch from which the reckoning takes its start. It was long before this was apprehended. When it began to be seen, various epochs were selected by various writers; and at first each small separate community had its own epoch and method of time-reckoning. Thus in one city the reckoning was by succession of kings, in another by archons or annual magistrates, in a third by succession of priests. It seems now surprising that vague counting by generations should so long have prevailed and satisfied the wants of inquiring men, and that so simple, precise, and seemingly obvious a plan as counting by years, the largest natural division of time, did not occur to any investigator before Eratosthenes.
Precision, which was at first unattainable for want of an epoch, was afterwards no less unattainable from the multiplicity, and sometimes the variation, of epochs. But by a natural process the mischief was gradually and partially remedied. The extension of intercourse between the various small groups or societies of men, and still more their union in larger groups, made a common epoch necessary, and led to the adoption of such a starting point by each larger group. These leading epochs continued in use for many centuries. The task of the chronologer was thus simplified and reduced to a study and comparison of dates in a few leading systems.
The most important of these systems In what we call ancient times were the Babylonian, the Greek, and the Roman. The Jews had no general era, properly so called. In the history of Babylonia, the fixed point from which time was reckoned was the era of Nabonassar, 747 B.C. Among the Greeks the reckoning was by Olympiads, the point of departure being the year in which Corœbus was victor in the Olympic Games, 776 B.C. The Roman chronology started from the foundation of the city, the year of which, however, was variously given by different authors. The most generally adopted was that assigned by Varro, 753 B.C. It is noteworthy how nearly these three great epochs approach each other,—all lying near the middle of the 8th century B.C. But it is to be remembered that the beginning of an era and its adoption and use as such are not the same thing, nor are they necessarily synchronous, Of the three ancient eras above spoken of, the earliest is that of the Olympiads, next that of the foundation of Rome, and the latest the era of Nabonassar. But in order of adoption and actual usage the last is first. It is believed to have been in use from the year of its origin. It is not known when the Romans began to use their era. The Olympiads were not in current use till about the middle of the 3d century B.C., when Timæus, as already mentioned, set the example of reckoning by them. Of these and other ancient and modern eras a full account is given in the following pages.
Even after the adoption in Europe of the Christian era, a great variety of methods of dating—national, provincial, and ecclesiastical—grew up and prevailed for a long time in different countries, thus renewing in modern times the difficulties experienced in ancient times from diversities of reckoning. An acquaintance with these various methods is indispensable to the student of the charters, chronicles, and legal instruments of the Middle Ages.
In reckoning years from any fixed epoch in constant succession, the number denoting the years is necessarily always on the increase. But rude nations and illiterate people seldom attach any definite idea to large numbers. Hence it has been a practice, very extensively followed, to employ cycles or periods, consisting of a moderate number of years, and to distinguish and reckon the years by their number in the cycle. The Chinese and other nations of Asia reckon, not only the years, but also the months and days, by cycles of sixty. The Saros of the Chaldeans, the Olympiad of the Greeks, and the Roman Indiction are instances of this mode of reckoning time. Several cycles were formerly known in Europe; but most of them were invented for the purpose of adjusting the solar and lunar divisions of time, and were rather employed in the regulation of the calendar than as chronological eras. They are frequently, however, of very great use in fixing dates that have been otherwise imperfectly expressed, and consequently form important elements of chronology.
Chronology has shared with history the fruits of the novel researches and remarkable discoveries in the field of antiquity which have especially distinguished the present century. The memorabilia of early peoples and ages were set down not only in written records but in monumental inscriptions. The latter, graven on stone or metal, could resist the touch of time and the hand of the barbarian better than the former; and although at various times terrible havoc has been made among them, immense numbers are in existence to this day. In Assyria, Egypt, Persia, Greece, and Italy, the practice of monumental inscription was very general. These inscriptions have attracted the attention of learned men from very remote ages. But as contributions to history and chronology, they have within the present century risen into new and surprising importance. By Grotefend's decipherment of the cuneiform characters, the language of the Babylonian and Persian inscriptions, and by Young's decipherment of hieroglyphics, the language of the Egyptian monuments, two discoveries made within a few years of each other, new fields of vast extent and unknown richness have been opened to historical explorers. These fields are now being diligently worked by some of the greatest living scholars; and from granite block and fragile papyrus roll results are already obtained of rare value and of rarer promise. The Assyrian inscribed cylinders, disinterred but thirty years ago, are yielding up the secrets of a long-buried past, enlarging the horizon of history, and even furnishing the means of giving a precise chronology to periods where all was vague. The publication of the Assyrian Canon by Sir Henry Rawlinson in 1862, verified as it was by the subsequent discovery of a record of a solar eclipse, must mark an epoch in chronological science. Egyptian researches and interpretations have been of similar service, and have strongly tended, if not to establish the complete accuracy, at least to indicate the credibility, of Manetho's account of the Egyptian dynasties. The period through which these dynasties apparently reached was so vast, stretching so far beyond the traditionally accepted limits of man's existence on the earth, that modern chronologers, when they grew critical, could for a long time only shake their heads in profound doubt over Manetho and his vistas of shadowy kings. For Egyptian chronology the discovery by Mariette, in 1864, of the Apis Stelæ is one of the highest importance. A flood of light has been poured on some obscure pages of early Persian history by the great cuneiform inscription of Behistun, discovered in 1835 by Colonel Rawlinson, who subsequently copied and translated it.
In the article Calendar (q.v.), that part of chronology has been already treated of which relates to the measurement of time, and the principal methods explained with sufficient detail that have been employed, or are still in use, for adjusting the lunar months of the solar year, as well as the intercalations necessary for regulating the civil year according to the celestial motions. In the present article it is our purpose to give an account (without repeating what has been discussed in full in the article just named) of the different Eras and Periods that have been employed by historians, and by the different nations of the world, in recording the succession of time and events, to fix the epochs at which the eras respectively commenced, to ascertain the form and the initial day of the year made use of, and to establish their correspondence with the years of the Christian era. These elements will enable us to convert, by a simple arithmetical operation, any historical date, of which the chronological characters are given according to any era whatever, into the corresponding date in our common are of the Incarnation.
Although the Julian Period (the invention of Joseph Scaliger, in 1582) is not, properly speaking, a chronological era, yet, on account of its affording considerable facilities in the comparison of different eras with one another, and in marking without ambiguity the years before Christ, it is very generally employed by chronologers. It consists of 7980 Julian years; and the first year of the Christian era corresponded with the year 4714 of the Julian period. (See vol. iv. p. 670.)
The Olympic games, so famous in Greek history, were celebrated once every four years, between the new and full moon first following the summer solstice, on the small plain named Olympia in Elis, which was bounded on one side by the River Alpheus, on another by the small tributary stream the Cladeus, and on the other two sides by mountains. The games lasted five days. Their origin, lost in the dimness of remote antiquity, was invested by priestly legends with a sacred character. They were said to have been instituted by the Idæan Heracles, to commemorate his victory over his four brothers in a foot race. According to a tradition, possibly more authentic, they were re-established by Iphitus, king of Elis, in concert with the Spartan Lycurgus and Cleosthenes of Pisa. The practice was long afterwards adopted of designating the Olympiad, or period of four years, by the name of the victor in the contests of the stadium, and of inscribing his name in the gymnasium of Olympia. The first who received this honour was Corœbus. The games in which Corœbus was victor, and which form the principal epoch of Greek history, were celebrated about the time of the summer solstice 776 years before the common era of the Incarnation, in the 3938th year of the Julian period, and twenty-three years, according to the account of Varro, before the foundation of Rome. Before the introduction of the Metonic cycle, the Olympic year began sometimes with the full moon which followed, at other times with that which preceded the summer solstice, because the year sometimes contained 384 days instead of 354. But subsequently to its adoption, the year always commenced with the eleventh day of the moon which followed the solstice. In order to avoid troublesome computations, which it would be necessary to recommence for every year, and of which the results differ only by a few days, chronologers generally regard the 1st of July as the commencement of the Olympic year. Some authors, however, among whom are Eusebius, Jerome, and the historian Socrates, place its commencement at the 1st of September; these, however, appear to have confounded the Olympic year with the civil year of the Greeks, or the era of the Seleucidæ.
It is material to observe, that as the Olympic years and periods begin with the 1st of July, the first six months of a year of our era correspond to one Olympic year, and the last six months to another. Thus, when it is said that the first year of the Incarnation corresponds to the first of the 195th Olympiad, we are to understand that it is only with respect to the last six months of that year that the correspondence takes place. The first six months belonged to the fourth year of the 194th Olympiad. In referring dates expressed by Olympiads to our era, or the contrary, we must therefore distinguish two cases.
1st, When the event in question happened between the 1st of January and the 1st of the following July, the sum of the Olympic year and of the year before Christ is always equal to 776. The year of the era, therefore, will be found by subtracting the number of the Olympic year from 776. For example, Varro refers the foundation of Rome to the 21st of April of the third year of the sixth Olympiad, and it is required to find the year before our era. Since five Olympic periods have elapsed, the third year of the sixth Olympiad is 5 × 4 + 3 = 23; therefore, subtracting 23 from 776, we have 753, which is the year before Christ to which the foundation of Rome is referred by Varro.
2d, When the event took place between the summer solstice and the 1st of January following, the sum of the Olympic year and of the year before Christ is equal to 777. The difference therefore between 777 and the year in one of the dates will give the year in the other date. Thus, the moon was eclipsed on the 27th of August, a little before midnight, in the year 413 before our era; and it is required to find the corresponding year in the Olympic era. Subtract 413 from 777, the remainder is 364; and 364 divided by four gives 91 without a remainder; consequently the eclipse happened in the fourth year of the ninety-first Olympiad, which is the date to which it is referred by Thucydides.
If the year is after Christ, and the event took place in one of the first six months of the Olympic year, that is to say, between July and January, we must subtract 776 from the number of the Olympic year to find the corresponding year of our era; but if it took place in one of the last six months of the Olympic year, or between January and July, we must deduct 777. The computation by Olympiads seldom occurs in historical records after the middle of the 5th century of our era.
The names of the months were different in the different Grecian states. The Attic months, of which we possess the most certain knowledge, were named as follows:—
Era of the Foundation of Rome.
After the Olympiads, the era most frequently met with in ancient history is that of the foundation of Rome, which is the chronological epoch adopted by all the Roman historians. There are various opinions respecting the year of the foundation of Rome.
1st, Fabius Pictor places this event in the latter half of the first year of the eighth Olympiad, which corresponds with the 3967th of the Julian period, and with the year 747 B.C.
2d, Polybius places it in the second year of the seventh Olympiad, corresponding with 3964 of the Julian period, and 750 B.C.
3d, M. Porcius Cato places it in the first year of the seventh Olympiad, that is, in 3963 of the Julian period, and 751 B.C.
4th, Verrius Flaccus places it in the fourth year of the sixth Olympiad, that is, in the year 3962 of the Julian period, and 752 B.C.
5th, Terentius Varro places it in the third year of the sixth Olympiad, that is, in the year 3961 of the Julian period, and 753 B.C.
A knowledge of these different computations is necessary, in order to reconcile the Roman historians with one another, and even any one writer with himself. Livy in general adheres to the epoch of Cato, though he sometimes follows that of Fabius Pictor. Cicero follows the account of Varro, which is also in general adopted by Pliny. Dionysius of Halicarnassus follows Cato. Modern chronologers for the most part adopt the account of Varro, which is supported by a passage in Censorinus, where it is stated that the 991st year of Rome commenced with the festival of the Palilia, in the consulship of Ulpius and Pontianus. Now this consulship corresponded with the 238th year of our era; therefore, deducting 238 from 991, we have 753 to denote the year before Christ. The Palilia commenced on the 21st of April; and all the accounts agree in regarding that day as the epoch of the foundation of Rome.
The Romans employed two sorts of years, the civil year, which was used in the transaction of public and private affairs, and the consular year, according to which the annals of their history have been composed. The civil year commenced with the calends of January, but this did not hold a fixed place in the solar year till the time of Julius Cæsar (see vol. iv. p. 666.) The installation of the consuls regulated the commencement of the consular year. The initial day of the consulate was never fixed, at least before the 7th century of Rome, but varied with the different accidents which in times of political commotion so frequently occurred to accelerate or retard the elections. Hence it happens that a consular year, generally speaking, comprehends a part not only of two Julian years, but also of two civil years. The consulate is the date employed by the Latin historians generally, and by many of the Greeks, down to the 6th century of our era.
In the era of Rome the commencement of the year is placed at the 21st of April; an event therefore which happened in the months of January, February, March, or during the first twenty days of April, in the year (for example) 500 of Rome, belongs to the civil year 501. Before the time of the Decemvirs, however, February was the last month of the year. Many authors confound the year of Rome with the civil year, supposing them both to begin on the 1st of January. Others again confound both the year of Rome and the civil year with the Julian year, which in fact became the civil year after the regulation of the calendar by Julius Cæsar. Through a like want of attention, many writers also, particularly among the moderns, have confounded the Julian and Olympic years, by making an entire Julian year correspond to an entire Olympic year, as if both had commenced at the same epoch. Much attention to these particulars is required in the comparison of ancient dates.
The Christian Era.
The Christian or vulgar era, called also the era of the Incarnation, is now almost universally employed in Christian countries, and is even used by some Eastern nations. Its epoch or commencement is the 1st of January in the fourth year of the 194th Olympiad, the 753d from the foundation of Rome, and the 4714th of the Julian period. It is usually supposed to begin with the year of the birth of Christ, but there are various opinions with regard to the year in which that event took place. This epoch was introduced in Italy in the 6th century, by Dionysius the Little, a Roman abbot, and began to be used in Gaul in the 8th, though it was not generally followed in that country till a century later. From extant charters it is known to have been in use in England before the close of the 8th century. Before its adoption the usual practice in Latin countries was to distinguish the years by their number in the cycle of Indiction.
In the Christian era the years are simply distinguished by the cardinal numbers; those before Christ being marked B.C. (Before Christ), or a.c. (Ante Christum), and those after Christ A.D. (Anno Domini). This method of reckoning time is more convenient than those which employ cycles or periods of any length whatever; but it still fails to satisfy in the simplest manner possible all the conditions that are necessary for registering the succession of events. For, since the commencement of the era is placed at an intermediate period of history, we are compelled to resort to a double manner of reckoning, backward as well as forward. Some ambiguity is also occasioned by the want of uniformity in the method of numbering the preceding years. Astronomers denote the year which preceded the first of our era by 0, and the year previous to that by 1 B.C.; but chronologers, in conformity with common notions, call the year preceding the era 1 B.C., the previous year 2 B.C., and so on. By reckoning in this manner, there is an interruption in the regular succession of the numbers; and in the years preceding the era, the leap years, instead of falling on the fourth, eighth, twelfth, &c., fall, or ought to fall, on the first, fifth, ninth, &c.
In the chronicles of the Middle Ages much uncertainty frequently arises respecting dates on account of the different epochs assumed for the commencement of the Christian year. Dionysius, the author of the era, adopted the day of the Annunciation, or the 25th of March, which preceded the birth of Christ by nine months, as the commencement of the first year of the era. This epoch therefore precedes that of the vulgar era by nine months and seven days. This manner of dating was followed in some of the Italian states, and continued to be used at Pisa even down to the year 1745. It was also adopted in some of the Papal bulls; and there are proofs of its having been employed in France about the middle of the 11th century. Some chroniclers, who adhere to the day of the Annunciation as the commencement of the year, reckon from the 25th of March following our epoch, as the Florentines in the 10th century. Gregory of Tours, and some writers of the 6th and 7th centuries, make the year commence some times with the 1st of March, and sometimes with the 1st of January. In France, under the third race of kings, it was usual to begin the year with Easter; and this practice continued at least till the middle of the 16th century, for an edict was issued by Charles IX. in the month of January 1663, ordaining that the commencement of the year should thenceforth be considered as taking place on the 1st of January. An instance is given, in L'Art de Vérifier les Dates, of a date in which the year is reckoned from the 18th of March; but it is probable that this refers to the astronomical year, and that the 18th of March was taken for the day of the vernal equinox. In Germany, about the 11th century, it was usual to commence the year at Christmas; and this practice also prevailed at Milan, Rome, and other Italian cities, in the 13th, 14th, and 15th centuries.
In England, the practice of placing the beginning of the year at Christmas was introduced in the 7th century, and traces of it are found even in the 13th. Gervase of Canterbury, who lived in the 13th century, mentions that almost all writers of his country agreed in regarding Christmas day as the first of the year, because it forms, as it were, the term at which the sun finishes and recommences his annual course. In the 12th century, however, the custom of beginning the civil year with the day of the Annunciation, or the 25th of March, began to prevail, and continued to be generally followed from that time till the reformation of the calendar in 1752. The historical year has always been reckoned by English authors to begin with the 1st of January. The liturgic year of the Church of England commences with the first Sunday of Advent.
A knowledge of the different epochs which have been chosen for the commencement of the year in different countries is indispensably necessary to the right interpretation of ancient chronicles, charters, and other documents in which the dates often appear contradictory. We may cite an example or two. It is well known that Charles the Great was crowned emperor at Rome on Christmas day in the year 800, and that he died in the year 814, according to our present manner of reckoning. But in the annals of Metz and Moissac, the coronation is stated to have taken place in the year 801, and his death in 813. In the first case the annalist supposes the year to begin with Christmas, and accordingly reckons the 25th of December and all the following days of that month to belong to 801, whereas in the common reckoning they would be referred to the year 800. In the second case the year has been supposed to begin with the 25th of March, or perhaps with Easter; consequently the first three months of the year 814, reckoning from the 1st of January, would be referred to the end of the year 813. The English Revolution is popularly called the Revolution of 1688. Had the year then begun, as it now does, with the 1st of January, it would have been the revolution of 1689, William and Mary being received as king and queen in February in the year 1689; but at that time the year was considered in England as beginning on the 25th of March. Another circumstance to which it is often necessary to pay attention in the comparison of dates, is the alteration of style which took place on the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar (see vol. iv. pp. 671 sqq.)
Era of the Creation of the World.
As the Greek and Roman methods of computing time were connected with certain pagan rites and observances, which the Christians held in abhorrence, the latter began at an early period to imitate the Jews in reckoning their years from the supposed period of the creation of the world. The chronological elements on which both Jews and Christians founded their computations for determining this period were derived from the Old Testament narratives, which have been transmitted to us through three distinct channels. These are the Hebrew text of the Scriptures, the Samaritan text, and the Greek version known as the Septuagint. In respect of chronology, the three accounts are totally irreconcilable with each other; and no conclusive reason can be given for preferring any one of them to another. We have no concurrent testimony with which to compare them; nor is it even known which of them was regarded as the most probable by the Jews themselves, when the books of the Old Testament were revised and transcribed by Ezra. The ordinary rules of probability cannot be applied to a state of things in which the duration of human life is represented as extending to nearly a thousand years.
From computations founded on loose and conflicting data it would be vain to look for knowledge or even for concord of opinion. From the very nature of the case discussion is hopeless labour. The subject is one to which the saying Quot homines tot sententiæ applies with almost literal truth. Des Vignoles, in the preface to his Chronology of Sacred History, asserts that he collected upwards of two hundred different calculations, the shortest of which reckons only 3483 years between the creation of the world and the commencement of the vulgar era, and the longest 6984. The difference amounts to thirty-five centuries. It suffices, therefore, to point out that the so-called era of the creation of the world is a purely conventional and arbitrary epoch; that, practically, it means the year 4004 B.C., this being the date which, under the sanction of Archbishop Ussher's opinion, has won its way, among its hundreds of competitors, into most general acceptance. The reader who is desirous of more detailed information on this subject may consult the first volume of the Universal History, or L'Art de Vérifier les Dates, avant J. C., p. 9.
Jewish Year and Eras.
Before the departure of the Israelites from Egypt their year commenced at the autumnal equinox; but in order to solemnize the memory of their deliverance, the month of Nisan or Abib, in which that event took place, and which falls about the time of the vernal equinox, was afterwards regarded as the beginning of the ecclesiastical or legal year. In civil affairs, and in the regulation of the jubilees and sabbatical years, the Jews still adhere to the ancient year, which begins with the month Tisri, about the time of the autumnal equinox. (On the regulation of the Jewish year, see vol. iv. p. 677.)
After their dispersion, the Jews were constrained to have recourse to the astronomical rules and cycles of the more enlightened heathen, in order that their religious festivals might be observed on the same days in all the countries through which they were scattered. For this purpose they adopted a cycle of eighty-four years, which is mentioned by several of the ancient fathers of the church, and which the early Christians borrowed from them for the regulation of Easter. This cycle seems to be neither more nor less than the Calippic period of seventy-six years, with the addition of a Greek octæteris, in order to disguise its true source, and give it an appearance of originality. In fact, the period of Calippus containing 27,759 days, and the octæteris 2922 days (see vol. iv. p. 688), the sum, which is 30,681, is exactly the number of days in eighty-four Julian years. But the addition was very far from being an improvement on the work of Calippus; for instead of a difference of only five hours and fifty-three minutes between the places of the sun and moon, which was the whole error of the Calippic period, this difference, in the period of eighty-four years, amounted to one day, six hours, and forty-one minutes. Buccherius places the commencement of this cycle in the year 162 B.C.; Prideaux in the year 291 B.C. According to the account of Prideaux, the fifth cycle must have commenced in the year 46 of our era; and it was in this year, according to St Prosperus, that the Christians began to employ the Jewish cycle of eighty-four years, which they followed, though not uniformly, for the regulation of Easter, till the time of the Council of Nice.
Soon after the Nicene council, the Jews, in imitation of the Christians, abandoned the cycle of eighty-four years, and adopted that of Meton, by which their lunisolar year is regulated at the present day. This improvement was first proposed by Rabbi Samuel, rector of the Jewish school of Sora in Mesopotamia, and was finally accomplished in the year 360 of our era by Rabbi Hillel, who introduced that form of the year which the Jews at present follow, and which, they say, is to endure till the coming of the Messiah.
Till the 15th century the Jews usually followed the era of the Seleucidæ or of Contracts. Since that time they have generally employed a mundane era, and dated from the creation of the world, which, according to their computation, took place 3760 years and about three months before the commencement of our era. No rule can be given for determining with certainty the day on which any given Jewish year begins, without entering into the minutiæ of their irregular and complicated calendar. A table comprising twelve cycles of Jewish years will be found at pp. 678, 679 of vol. iv.
Era of Constantinople.
This era, which is still used in the Greek Church, and was followed by the Russians till the time of Peter the Great, dates from the creation of the world. The Incarnation falls in the year 5509, and corresponds, as in our era, with the fourth year of the 194th Olympiad. The civil year commences with the 1st of September; the ecclesiastical year sometimes with the 21st of March, sometimes with the 1st of April. It is not certain whether the year was considered at Constantinople as beginning with September before the separation of the Eastern and Western empires.
At the commencement of our era there had elapsed 5508 years and four months of the era of Constantinople. Hence the first eight months of the Christian year 1 coincide with the Constantinopolitan year 5509, while the last four months belong to the year 5510. In order, therefore, to find the year of Christ corresponding to any given year in the era of Constantinople, we have the following rule:—If the event took place between the 1st of January and the end of August, subtract 5508 from the given year; but if it happened between the 1st of September and the end of the year, subtract 5509.
Era of Alexandria.
The chronological computation of Julius Africanus was adopted by the Christians of Alexandria, who accordingly reckoned 5500 years from the creation of Adam to the birth of Christ. But in reducing Alexandrian dates to the common era, it must be observed that Julius Africanus placed the epoch of the Incarnation three years earlier than it is placed in the usual reckoning, so that the initial day of the Christian era fell in the year 5503 of the Alexandrian era. This correspondence, however, continued only from the introduction of the era till the accession of Diocletian, when an alteration was made by dropping ten years in the Alexandrian account. Diocletian ascended the imperial throne in the year of Christ 284. According to the Alexandrian computation, this was the year 5787 of the world, and 287 of the Incarnation; but on this occasion ten years were omitted, and that year was thence forth called the year 5777 of the world, and 277 of the Incarnation. There are, consequently, two distinct eras of Alexandria, the one being used before and the other after the accession of Diocletian. It is not known for what reason the alteration was made; but it is conjectured that it was for the purpose of causing a new revolution of the cycle of nineteen years (which was introduced into the ecclesiastical computation about this time by Anatolius, bishop of Hierapolis) to commence with the first year of the reign of Diocletian. In fact, 5777 being divided by 19 leaves 1 for the year of the cycle. The Alexandrian era continued to be followed by the Copts in the 15th century, and is said to be still used in Abyssinia.
Dates expressed according to this era are reduced to the common era by subtracting 5502, up to the Alexandrian year 5786 inclusive, and after that year by subtracting 5492; but if the date belongs to one of the four last months of the Christian year, we must subtract 5503 till the year 5786, and 5493 after that year.
Mundane Era of Antioch.
The chronological reckoning of Julius Africanus formed also the basis of the era of Antioch, which was adopted by the Christians of Syria, at the instance of Panodorus, an Egyptian monk, who flourished about the beginning of the 4th century. Panodorus struck off ten years from the account of Julius Africanus with regard to the years of the world, and he placed the Incarnation three years later, referring it to the fourth year of the 194th Olympiad, as in the common era. Hence the era of Antioch differed from the original era of Alexandria by ten years; but after the alteration of the latter at the accession of Diocletian, the two eras coincided. In reckoning from the Incarnation, however, there is a difference of seven years, that epoch being placed, in the reformed era of Alexandria, seven years later than in the mundane era of Antioch or in the Christian era.
As the Syrian year began in autumn, the year of Christ corresponding to any year in the mundane era of Antioch is found by subtracting 5492 or 5493 according as the event falls between January and September or from September to January.
Era of Nabonassar
This era is famous in astronomy, having been generally followed by Hipparchus and Ptolemy. It is believed to have been in use from the very time of its origin; for the observations of eclipses which were collected in Chaldea by Callisthenes, the general of Alexander, and transmitted by him to Aristotle, were for the greater part referred to the commencement of the reign of Nabonassar, founder of the kingdom of the Babylonians. It is the basis of the famous Canon of Kings, also called Mathematical Canon, preserved to us in the works of Ptolemy, which, before the recent astonishing discoveries at Nineveh, was the sole authentic monument of Assyrian and Babylonian history known to us. The epoch from which it is reckoned is precisely determined by numerous celestial phenomena recorded by Ptolemy, and corresponds to Wednesday at mid-day, the 26th of February of the year 747 before Christ. The year was in all respects the same as the ancient Egyptian year. On account of the difference in the length of the Julian and Babylonian years, the conversion of dates according to the era of Nabonassar into years before Christ is attended with considerable trouble. The surest way is to follow a comparative table. Frequently the year cannot be fixed with certainty, unless we know also the month and the day.
The Greeks of Alexandria formerly employed the era of Nabonassar, with a year of 365 days; but soon after the reformation of the calendar by Julius Cæsar, they adopted, like other Roman provincials, the Julian intercalation. At this time the first of Thoth had receded to the 29th of August. In the year 136 of our era, the first of Thoth in the ancient Egyptian year corresponded with the 20th of July, between which and the 29th of August there are forty days. The adoption of the Julian year must therefore have taken place about 160 years before the year 136 of our era (the difference between the Egyptian and Julian years being one day in four years), that is to say, about the year 25 B.C. In fact, the first of Thoth corresponded with the 29th of August in the Julian calendar, in the years 25, 24, 23, and 22 B.C.
Era of the Seleucidæ, or Macedonian Era.
The era of the Seleucidæ dates from the time of the occupation of Babylon by Seleucus Nicator, 311 years before Christ, in the year of Rome 442, and twelve years after the death of Alexander the Great. It was adopted not only in the monarchy of the Seleucidæ but in general in all the Greek countries bordering on the Levant, was followed by the Jews till the 15th century, and is said to be used by some Arabians even at the present day. By the Jews it was called the Era of Contracts, because the Syrian governors compelled them to make use of it in civil contracts; the writers of the books of Maccabees call it the Era of Kings. But notwithstanding its general prevalence in the East for many centuries, authors using it differ much with regard to their manner of expressing dates, in consequence of the different epochs adopted for the commencement of the year. Among the Syrian Greeks the year began with the mouth Elul, which corresponds to our September. The Nestorians and Jacobites at the present day suppose it to begin with the following month, or October. The author of the first book of Maccabees makes the era commence with the month Nisan, or April; and the author of the second book with the first Tishrin, or October. Albategni, a celebrated Arabian astronomer, dates from the 1st of October. Some of the Arabian writers, as Alfergani, date from the 1st of September. At Tyre the year was counted from the 19th of our October, at Gaza from the 28th of the same month, and at Damascus from the vernal equinox. These discrepancies render it extremely difficult to determine the exact correspondence of Macedonian dates with those of other eras; and the difficulty is rendered still greater by the want of uniformity in respect of the length of the year. Some authors who follow the Macedonian era, use the Egyptian or vague year of 365 days; Albategni adopts the Julian year of 36514 days.
According to the computation most generally followed, the year 312 of the era of the Seleucidæ began on the 1st of September in the Julian year preceding the first of our era. Hence, to reduce a Macedonian date to the common era, subtract 311 years and four months.
The names of the Syrian and Macedonian months, and their correspondence with the Roman months, are as follows:—
Era of Alexander.
Some of the Greek historians have assumed as a chronological epoch the death of Alexander the Great, which took place in the year 325 B.C. The form of the year is the same as in the preceding era. This era has not been much followed; but it requires to be noticed in order that it may not be confounded with the era of the Seleucidæ.
Era of Tyre.
The era of Tyre is reckoned from the 19th of October, or the beginning of the Macedonian month Hyperberetæus, in the year 126 B.C. In order, therefore, to reduce it to the common era, subtract 125; and when the date is B.C., subtract it from 126. Dates expressed according to this era occur only on a few medals, and in the acts of certain councils.
Cæsarean Era of Antioch.
This era was established to commemorate the victory obtained by Julius Cæsar on the plains of Pharsalia, on the 9th of August in the year 48 B.C., and the 706th of Rome. The Syrians computed it from their month Tishrin I.; but the Greeks threw it back to the month Gorpiæus of the preceding year. Hence there is a difference of eleven months between the epochs assumed by the Syrians and the Greeks. According to the computation of the Greeks, the year of the Cæsarean era began in the autumn of the year preceding the commencement of the Christian era; and, according to the Syrians, the 49th year began in the autumn of the first year of the Incarnation. It is followed by Evagrius in his Ecclesiastical History.
The Julian era commences with the 1st of January, forty-five years B.C. It was designed to commemorate the reformation of the Roman calendar by Julius Cæsar.
Era of Spain, or of the Cæsars.
The conquest of Spain by Augustus, which was completed in the thirty-ninth year B.C., gave rise to this era, which began with the first day of the following year, and was long used in Spain and Portugal, and generally in all the Roman provinces subdued by the Visigoths, both in Africa and the South of France. Several of the councils of Carthage, and also that of Aries, are dated according to this era. After the 9th century it became usual to join with it in public acts the year of the Incarnation. It was followed in Catalonia till the year 1180, in the kingdom of Aragon till 1350, in Valencia till 1358, and in Castile till 1382. In Portugal it is said to have been in use so late as the year 1415, or 1422, though it would seem that after the establishment of the Portuguese monarchy, no other era was used in the public acts of that country than that of the Incarnation. As the era of Spain commenced with the 1st of January, and the months and days of the year are those of the Julian calendar, any date is reduced to the common era by subtracting thirty-eight from the number of the year.
Era of Actium, and Era of Augustus.
This era was established to commemorate the battle of Actium, which was fought on the 3d of September, in the year 31 B.C., and in the 15th of the Julian era. By the Romans the era of Actium was considered as commencing on the 1st of January of the 16th of the Julian era, which is the 30th B.C. The Egyptians, who used this era till the time of Diocletian, dated its commencement from the beginning of their month Thoth, or the 29th of August; and the Eastern Greeks from the 2d of September. By the latter it was also called the era of Antioch, and it continued to be used till the 9th century. It must not be confounded with the Cæsarean era of Antioch, which began seventeen years earlier. Many of the medals struck by the city of Antioch in honour of Angustus are dated according to this era.
Besides the era of Actium, there was also an Augustan era, which commenced four years later, or 27 B.C., the year in which Augustus prevailed on the senate and people of Rome to decree him the title of Augustus, and to confirm him in the supreme power of the empire.
Era of Diocletian, or Era of Martyrs.
It has been already stated that the Alexandrians, at the accession of the Emperor Diocletian, made an alteration in their mundane era, by striking off ten years from their reckoning. At the same time they established a new era, which is still followed by the Abyssinians and Copts. It commences with the 29th of August (the first day of the Egyptian year) of the year 284 of our era, which was the first of the reign of Diocletian. The denomination of Era of Martyrs, subsequently given to it in commemoration of the persecution of the Christians, would seem to imply that its commencement ought to be referred to the year 303 of our era, for it was in that year that Diocletian issued his famous edict; but the practice of dating from the accession of Diocletian has prevailed. The ancient Egyptian year consisted of 365 days; but after the introduction of the Julian calendar, the astronomers of Alexandria adopted an intercalary year, and added six additional days instead of five to the end of the last month of every fourth year. The year thus became exactly similar to the Julian year. The Egyptian intercalary year, however, does not correspond to the Julian leap year, but is the year immediately preceding; and the intercalation takes place at the end of the year, or on the 29th of August. Hence the first three years of the Egyptian intercalary period commence on the 29th of our August, and the fourth commences on the 30th of that month. Before the end of that year the Julian intercalation takes place, and the beginning of the following Egyptian year is restored to the 29th of August. Hence to reduce a date according to this era to our own reckoning, it is necessary, for common years, to add 283 years and 240 days; but if the date belongs to the first three months of the year following the intercalation, or, which is the same thing, if in the third year of the Julian cycle it falls between the 30th of August and the end of the year, we must add 283 years and 241 days. The Ethiopians do not reckon the years from the beginning of the era in a consecutive series, but employ a period of 532 years, after the expiration of which they again begin with 1. This is the Dionysian or Great Paschal Period, and is formed by the multiplication of the numbers 28 and 19, that is, of the solar and lunar cycles, into each other.
The following are the names of the Ethiopian or Abyssinian months, with the days on which they begin in the Julian calendar, or old style;—
|Masearam.||29th August.||||Magabit.||25th February.|
|Tikmith.||28th September.||||Miazia||27th March.|
|Hadar||28th October.||||Gimbot||26th April.|
|Tacsam||27th November.||||Sene||26th May.|
|Tir||27th December.||||Hamle||25th June.|
|Yacatit||26th January.||||Nahasse||25th July.|
The additional or epagomenal days begin on the 24th of August. In intercalary years the first seven months commence one day later. The Egyptian months, followed by the modern Copts, agree with the above in every respect excepting the names.
The cycle of Indiction, already explained at p. 670 of vol. iv., was very generally followed in the Roman empire for some centuries before the adoption of the Christian era. Three Indictions may be distinguished; but they differ only in regard to the commencement of the year.
1. The Constantinopolitan Indiction, like the Greek year, commenced with the month of September. This was followed in the Eastern empire, and in some instances also in France.
2. The Imperial or Constantinian Indiction is so called because its establishment is attributed to Constantine. This was also called the Cæsarean Indiction. It commences on the 24th of September. It is not unfrequently met with in the ancient chronicles of France and England.
3. The Roman or Pontifical Indiction began on the 25th of December or 1st of January, according as the Christian year was held to commence on the one or other of these days. It is often employed in papal bulls, especially after the time of Gregory VII., and traces of its use are found in early French authors.
Era of the Armenians.
The epoch of the Armenian era is that of the Council of Tiben, in which the Armenians consummated their schism from the Greek Church by condemning the acts of the Council of Chalcedon; and it corresponds to Tuesday, the 9th of July of the year 552 of the Incarnation. In their civil affairs the Armenians follow the ancient vague year of the Egyptians; but their ecclesiastical year, which begins on the 11th of August, is regulated in the same manner as the Julian year, every fourth year consisting of 366 days, so that Easter and the other festivals are retained at the same place in the seasons as well as in the civil year. The Armenians also make use of the mundane era of Constantinople, and sometimes conjoin both methods of computation in the same documents. In their correspondence and transactions with Europeans, they generally follow the era of the Incarnation, and adopt the Julian year.
To reduce the civil dates of the Armenians to the Christian era, proceed as follows. Since the epoch is the 9th of July, there were 176 days from the beginning of the Armenian era to the end of the year 552 of our era; and since 552 was a leap year, the year 553 began a Julian intercalary period. Multiply, therefore, the number of Armenian years elapsed by 365; add the number of days from the commencement of the current year to the given date; subtract 176 from the sum, and the remainder will be the number of days from the 1st of January 553 to the given date. This number of days being reduced to Julian years, add the result to 552, and the sum gives the day in the Julian year, or old style.
In the ecclesiastical reckoning the year begins on the 11th of August. To reduce a date expressed in this reckoning to the Julian date, add 551 years, and the days elapsed from the 1st of January to the 10th of August, both inclusive, of the year 552,—that is to say (since 552 is a leap year), 223 days. In leap years, one day must be subtracted if the date falls between the 1st of March and 10th of August.
The following are the Armenian ecclesiastical months with their correspondence with those of the Julian calendar:—
To complete the year, five complementary days are added in common years, and six in leap years.
The Mahometan Era, or Era of the Hegira.
The era in use among the Turks, Arabs, and other Mahometan nations is that of the Hegira or Hejra, the flight of the prophet from Mecca to Medina, 622 A.D. Its commencement, however, does not, as is sometimes stated, coincide with the very day of the flight, but precedes it by sixty-eight days. The prophet, after leaving Mecca, to escape the pursuit of his enemies, the Koreishites, hid himself with his friend Abubekr in a cave near Mecca, and there lay for three days. The departure from the cave and setting out on the way to Medina is assigned to the ninth day of the third month, Rabia I.—corresponding to the 22d of September of the year 622 A.D. The era begins from the first day of the month of Moharram preceding the flight, or first day of that Arabian year, which coincides with Friday, July 16, 622 A.D. It is necessary to remember that by astronomers and by some historians the era is assigned to the preceding day, July 15. It is stated by D'Herbelot that the era of the Hegira was instituted by Omar, the second caliph, in imitation of the Christian era of the martyrs. (For details of the Mahometan year, names and length of months, and for the method of reduction of Mahometan dates to Christian, see vol. iv. pp. 679–681).
Era of Yezdegird, or Persian or Gelalæan Era.
This era commences with the elevation of Yezdegird III. to the throne of Persia, on the 16th of June in the year of our era 632. Till the year 1079 the Persian year resembled that of the ancient Egyptians, consisting of 365 days without intercalation; but at that time the Persian calendar was reformed by Gelal-ed-din Malek Shah, sultan of Khorasau, and a method of intercalation adopted which, though less convenient, is considerably more accurate than the Julian. The intercalary period is 33 years,—one day being added to the common year seven times successively at the end of four years, and the eighth intercalation being deferred till the end of the fifth year (see vol. iv. p. 667). This era was at one period universally adopted in Persia, and it still continues to be followed by the Parsees of India. The months consist of thirty days each, and each day is distinguished by a different name. According to Alfergani, the names of the Persian months are as follows:—
The five additional days (in intercalary years six) are named Musteraca.
As it does not appear that the above-mentioned rule of intercalation was ever regularly followed, it is impossible to assign exactly the days on which the different years begin. In some provinces of India the Parsees begin the year with September, in others they begin it with October. We have stated that the era began with the 16th June 632. But the vague year, which was followed till 1079, anticipated the Julian year by one day every four years. In 447 years the anticipation would amount to about 112 days, and the beginning of the year would in consequence be thrown back to near the beginning of the Julian year 632. To the year of the Persian era, therefore, add 631, and the sum will be the year of our era in which the Persian year begins.
From the time of the Emperor Yaou, upwards of 2000 years B.C., the Chinese had two different years,—a civil year, which was regulated by the moon, and an astronomical year, which was solar. The civil year consisted in general of twelve months or lunations, but occasionally a thirteenth was added, in order to preserve its correspondence with the solar year. Even at that early period the solar or astronomical year consisted of 36514 days, like our Julian year; and it was arranged in the same manner, a day being intercalated every fourth year.
According to the missionary Gaubil, the Chinese divided the day into 100 ke, each ke into 100 minutes, and each minute into 100 seconds. This practice continued to prevail till the 17th century, when, at the instance of the Jesuit Schall, president of the tribunal of mathematics, they adopted the European method of dividing the day into twenty-four hours, each hour into sixty minutes, and each minute into sixty seconds. The civil day commences at midnight and ends at the midnight following.
Since the accession of the emperors of the Han dynasty, 206 B.C., the civil year of the Chinese has begun with the first day of that moon in the course of which the sun enters into the sign of the zodiac which corresponds with our sign Pisces. From the same period also, they have employed, in the adjustment of their solar and lunar years, a period of nineteen years, twelve of which are common, containing twelve lunations each, and the remaining seven intercalary, containing thirteen lunations. It is not, however, precisely known how they distributed their months of thirty and twenty-nine days, or, as they termed them, great and small moons. This, with other matters appertaining to the calendar, was probably left to be regulated from time to time by the mathematical tribunal.
The Chinese divide the time of a complete revolution of the sun with regard to the solstitial points into twelve equal portions, each corresponding to thirty days, ten hours, thirty minutes. Each of these periods, which is denominated a tsëĕ, is subdivided into two equal portions called chung-ki and tsie-ki, the chung-ki denoting the first half of the tsëĕ, and the tsie-ki the latter half. Though the tsëĕ are thus strictly portions of solar time, yet, what is remarkable, though not peculiar to China, they give their name to the lunar months, each month or lunation having the name of the chung-ki or sign at which the sun arrives during that month. As the tsëĕ is longer than a synodic revolution of the moon, the sun cannot arrive twice at a chung-ki during the same lunation; and as there are only twelve tsëĕ, the year can contain only twelve months having different names. It must happen sometimes that in the course of a lunation the sun enters into no new sign; in this case the month is intercalary, and is called by the same name as the preceding month.
For chronological purposes, the Chinese, in common with some other nations of the east of Asia, employ cycles of sixty, by means of which they reckon their days, moons, and years. The days are distributed in the calendar into cycles of sixty, in the same manner as ours are distributed into weeks, or cycles of seven. Each day of the cycle has a particular name, and as it is a usual practice, in mentioning dates, to give the name of the day along with that of the moon and the year, this arrangement affords great facilities in verifying the epochs of Chinese chronology. The order of the days in the cycle is never interrupted by any intercalation that may be necessary for adjusting the months or years. The moons of the civil year are also distinguished by their place in the cycle of sixty; and as the intercalary moons are not reckoned, for the reason before stated, namely, that during one of these lunations the sun enters into no new sign, there are only twelve regular moons in a year, so that the cycle is renewed every five years. Thus the first moon of the year 1873 being the first of a new cycle, the first moon of every sixth year, reckoned backwards or forwards from that date, as 1868, 1863, &c., or 1877, 1882, &c., will also commence a new lunar cycle of sixty moons. In regard to the years, the arrangement is exactly the same. Each has a distinct number or name which marks its place in the cycle, and as this is generally given in referring to dates, along with the other chronological characters of the year, the ambiguity which arises from following a fluctuating or uncertain epoch is entirely obviated. The present cycle began in the year 1864 of our era; the year 1876 is consequently the 13th of the current cycle.
The cycle of sixty is formed of two subordinate cycles or series of characters, one of ten and the other of twelve, which are joined together so as to afford sixty different combinations. The names of the characters in the cycle of ten, which are called celestial signs, are—
|1. Keă; 2. Yĭh; 3. Ping; 4. Ting; 5. Woo;|
|6. Ke; 7. Kăng; 8. Sin; 9. Jin; 10. Kwei;|
and in the series of 12, denominated terrestrial signs,
|1. Tsze; 2. Chow; 3. Yin; 4. Maou; 5. Shin; 6. Sze;|
|7. Woo; 8. We; 9. Shin; 10. Yew; 11. Seŭh; 12. Hae.|
The name of the first year, or of the first day, in the sexagenary cycle is formed by combining the first words in each of the above series; the second is formed by combining the second of each series, and so on to the tenth. For the next year the first word of the first series is combined with the eleventh of the second, then the second of the first series with the twelfth of the second, after this the third of the first series with the first of the second, and so on till the sixtieth combination, when the last of the first series concurs with the last of the second. Thus Keă-tsze is the name of the first year, Yĭh-chow that of the second, Keă-seuh that of the eleventh, Yĭh-hae that of the twelfth, Ping-tsze that of the thirteenth, and so on. The order of proceeding is obvious.
In the Chinese history translated into the Tatar dialect by order of the emperor Kang-he, who died in 1721, the characters of the cycle begin to appear at the year 2357 B.C. From this it has been inferred that the Chinese empire was established previous to that epoch; but it is obviously so easy to extend the cycles backwards indefinitely, that the inference can have very little weight. The characters given to that year 2357 B.C. are Keă-shin, which denote the 41st of the cycle. We must, therefore, suppose the cycle to have begun 2397 B.C., or forty years before the reign of Yaou. This is the epoch assumed by the authors of L'Art de Vérifier les Dates. The mathematical tribunal has, however, from time immemorial counted the first year of the first cycle from the eighty-first of Yaou, that is to say, from the year 2277 B.C.
Since the year 163 B.C. the Chinese writers have adopted the practice of dating the year from the accession of the reigning emperor. An emperor, on succeeding to the throne, gives a name to the years of his reign. He ordains, for example, that they shall be called Ta-te. In consequence of this edict, the following year is called the first of Ta-te, and the succeeding years the second, third, fourth, &c., of Ta-te, and so on, till it pleases the same emperor or his successor to ordain that the years shall be called by some other appellation. The periods thus formed are called by the Chinese Nien-hao. According to this method of dating the years a new era commences with every reign; and the year corresponding to a Chinese date can only be found when we have before us a catalogue of the Nien-hao, with their relation to the years of our era.
The Chinese chronology is discussed with ample detail by Freret, in the Memoirs of the Academy of Inscriptions, tom. xviii.; and an abridgment of his memoir is given in L'Art de Vérifier les Dates (tom. ii. p. 284, et seq.; ed. in 4to, 1818), from which the preceding account is principally taken.
The method of dividing and reckoning time followed by the various nations of India resembles in its general features that of the Chinese, but is rendered still more complex by the intermixture of Mahometan with Hindu customs. Like the Chinese, the Hindus have a solar year, which is generally followed in the transaction of public business, especially since the introduction of European power; and they have also a lunar year, which regulates their religious festivals, and which they follow in their domestic arrangements. Their solar year, or rather sidereal year, is measured by the time in which the sun returns to the same star, and is consequently longer than our astronomical year, by the whole quantity of the precession of the equinoxes. It is reckoned by the Hindus at 365 days, 6 hours, 12 minutes, 30 seconds, and consequently exceeds a Gregorian year by one day in sixty years. The Indian zodiac is divided into twelve solar and twenty-eight lunar signs; and the year begins with the sun's arrival at the first degree of the first sign. The month is the time the sun takes to pass through one sign; and as each sign contains the same number of degrees, the months vary somewhat in length, according as the sun is nearer the apogee or the perigee. The longest month may contain 31 days, 14 hours, 39 minutes, and the shortest only 29 days, 8 hours, 21 minutes. The civil months, however, depend solely on the moon; though, with the same perversion of ingenuity which we have already remarked with regard to the Chinese, and of which it would be difficult to find an example except in the east of Asia, they derive their names from the solar signs of the zodiac. The first civil month commences with the day after the full moon of that lunation in the course of which the sun enters the first Hindu sign, and so on with the others. When the sun enters into no new sign during the course of a lunation, the month is intercalary, and is called by the name of that which precedes or follows it, which some prefix to distinguish it from the regular month. In some provinces of India, as in Bengal, the civil mouth commences with the day after the new moon; but in the upper or northern provinces, it begins, as we have stated, with the day after the full moon. From the manner in which they are reckoned, it is evident that the Hindu months, both solar and lunar, neither consist of an entire number of days, nor are regulated by any cycle, but depend solely on the motion of the sun and moon. The time of their commencement is different on every different meridian; and a Hindu has no means of knowing beforehand on what day any month begins, excepting by consulting his almanac. The civil day in all parts of India begins at sunrise.
The Hindu eras have been the subject of much controversy. According to the dreams of Indian mythology, the duration of the world is limited to four yugs or ages, three of which have already passed, and the fourth, which is the kali-yug, is the last and most deteriorated. It is this only which has any reference to authentic chronology. It forms the principal era of India, and comprehends several others in common use, as the era of Vicramaditya, the era of Salivahana, the Bengalee era, and the cycle of sixty years.
The Kali-yug commenced in the year 3101 B.C. The year is sidereal, and begins when the sun enters the first sign of the Hindu zodiac, which at present happens about the 11th of April. Owing to the precession of the equinoxes the beginning of the year advances in the seasons at the rate of about one day in sixty years.
The Era of Vicramaditya is reckoned from the year 57 B.C., which corresponds to 3044 of the Kali-yug. This era, the years of which are called Samvat, prevails chiefly in the higher or northern provinces of India, and in Guzerat. Its name is derived from, that of a sovereign of Malwa, who, by defeating Saka, king of Delhi, acquired possession of the principal throne of India. Whether the year from which it is reckoned was that of the accession or death of this prince is uncertain. The years are reckoned in the same manner as those of the Kali-yug; and it may be remarked of the Indian eras in general that, though some of them profess to be counted from the deaths of their kings, or other historical events, they all commence at the time the sun reaches the same point in his annual course through the zodiac.
The Era of Salivahana is the year 78 A.D., which corresponds to 3179 of the Kali-yug, and 135 of the Vicramaditya. The name is derived from Salivahan, who is said to have reigned many years over the kingdom of Narsinga, and to have been a liberal encourager of the arts and sciences. It is generally used in records or writings of importance, but is most prevalent in the southern provinces of Hindustan. The years are called Saka.
The Fuslee Era, from the near coincidence of its dates with those of the Hegira, seems to have been imposed on the natives of India by their Mahometan conquerors. It is principally used in revenue transactions, and is pretty generally known over India. There are several eras of this name; but the most common is that which is reckoned from the year 590 A.D. At Madras the commencement of the Fuslee year is fixed on the 12th of July. In Bengal it begins in September, or with the full moon preceding the autumnal equinox.
The Bengalee Era is also supposed to be derived from the Hegira; but the year is measured by solar time, and therefore differs entirely from the Mahometan year, which is purely lunar. At the present time the Bengalee epoch is about nine years later than the Hegira,—the year 1245 of the Hegira having commenced in July 1829, and the Bengalee year 1236 in April 1829. The sidereal year exceeds the lunar year by 10 days 2112 hours nearly; consequently, by reckoning backwards, it will be found that the dates of the Bengalee era and of the Hegira coincided about the middle of the 16th century. History is silent on the subject; but it seems probable, that though the epoch of the Hegira was partially adopted in India, the Hindus pertinaciously resisted all attempts to disturb their ancient methods of reckoning the subdivisions of the year.
Besides the Indian eras here enumerated, there are some others which are less generally known, or which are followed only in particular provinces. The cycle of sixty years is also sometimes used, particularly in connection with the era of Vicramaditya. According to the Bengal account, the first cycle began 3185 years B.C.; and the year 1876 of our era is consequently the twenty-first of the eighty-fifth cycle. In the Telinga account the first cycle began 3114 B.C.; and the year 1876 is the tenth of the eighty-fourth cycle.
Fuller information regarding Indian chronology will be found in Prinsep's Essays on Indian Antiquities (1858), vol. ii., Warren's Kala Sankalita (1825), and Burnett's Elements of South Indian Palæography (1874).
Principal Works on Chronology.
To meet the wants of those who may desire to enter more fully into chronological studies, we subjoin a list of the leading works on the subject. In addition to the early Greek writings already named, there are the forty books (some fifteen only extant in their entirety) of universal history compiled (about 8 B.C.) by Diodorus Siculus, and arranged in the form of annals; the Pentabiblos of Julius Africanus (about 220-230 A.D.); the treatise of Censorinus entitled De die natali, written 238 A.D.; the Chronicon, in two books, of Eusebius Pamphili, bishop of Cæsarea (about 325 A.D.), distinguished as the first book of a purely chronological character which has come down to us; and three important works forming parts of the Corpus Scriptorum Historiæ Byzantinæ, namely, the Chronographia of Georgius Syncellus (800 A.D.), the Chronographia of Johannes Malalas (9th century), and the Chronicon Paschale.
Among the very numerous modern works on Chronology, the most important are the following, which are arranged in the order of their publication:—
1583. De Emendatione Temporum, by Joseph Scaliger, in which were laid the foundations of modern chronological science.
1603. Opus Chronologicum, by Sethus Calvisius.
1627. De Doctrina Temporum, by Petavius (Denis Fetau), with its continuation published in 1630, and an abridgment entitled Rationarium Temporum, in 1633–1634.
1650. Annales Veteris et Novi Testamenti, by Archbishop Ussher, whose dates have by some means gained a place in the authorized version of the Bible.
1651. Regia Epitome Historiæ Sacræ et Profanæ, by Philippe Labbe, of which a French version was also published.
1669. Institutionum Chronologicarum libri duo, by Bishop Beveridge.
1672. Chronicus Canon Ægyptiacus, Ebraicus, et Græcus, by Sir John Marsham.
1687. L'Antiquité des Temps rétablie et défendue, by Paul Pezron, with its Defense, 1691.
1701. De Veteribus Græcorum Romanorumque Cyclis, by Henry Dodwell.
1728. The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms amended, by Sir Isaac Newton, remarkable as an attempt to construct a system on new bases, independent of the Greek chronologers.
1738. Chronologie de I'histoire sainte, by Alphonse des Vignollos.
1744. Tablettes chronologiques de I'histoire universelle, by N. Lenglet-Dufresnoy.
1750. The first edition in one vol. 4to of L'Art de Vérifier les Dates, which in its third edition (1818–1831) appeared in 38 vols. 8vo., a colossal monument of the learning and labours of various members of the Benedictine Congregation of Saint-Maur.
1752. Chronological Antiquities, by John Jackson.
1754. Chronology and History of the World, by John Blair; new edition, much enlarged, 1857.
1784. A System of Chronology, by Playfair.
1799. Handbuch der Geschichte der Staaten des Alterthums, by A. H. L. Heeren.
1803. Handbuch der alten Geschichte, Geographie, und Chronologie, by G. G. Bredow, with his Historische Tabellen.
1809–1814. New Analysis of Chronology, by William Hales.
1819. Annales Veterum Regnorum, by C. G. Zumpt.
1821. Tableaux historiques, chronologiques, et géographiques, by Buret de Longchamps.
1824–1834. Fasti Hellenici, and 1845–1850, Fasti Romani, by H. Fynes Clinton. Epitomes of these elaborate works were published, 1851–1853.
1825–1826. Handbuch der mathematischen und technischen Chronologie, by Christian Ludwig Ideler; and his Lehrbuch der Chronologie, 1831.
1833. The Chronology of History, by Sir Harris Nicolas.
1852. Fasti Temporis Catholici, by Edward Greswell; and by the same author, 1854, Origines Kalendariæ Italicæ; and 1862, Origines Kalendariæ Hellenicæ.
1865. Fasti Sacri, a key to the chronology of the New Testament, by Thomas Lewin.
1869. Manual of Ancient History, by G. Rawlinson.
1872. Encyclopædia of Chronology, by B. B. Woodward and W. L. R. Cates.
1875. Handbook of Rules and Tables for verifying dates with the Christian Era, by E. A. Bond.
1875. The Assyrian Eponym Canon, by George Smith.
Chronological tables, however unattractive to minds whose inclinations or occupations do not lie in the direction of them, are of much value and real interest for those who have knowledge and occasion to make a right use of them. To the historical student they not only serve as a storehouse of individual facts with dates, but by the orderly juxtaposition and sequence of these they indicate relations. They are maps on which are delineated or suggested the lines of the main currents in the ocean of human history. When the student, engaged on any special series of events, desires to find their place and surroundings in world-history, he has but to turn to such tables, and a glance or two will inform him.
In the preparation of the subjoined table great pains have been taken to bring it as closely as possible into agreement with the results of recent historical and chronological determinations. Events and dates of purely legendary character, once accepted as historical facts with unquestioning acquiescence, have no place in it; and the whole has been subjected to a searching examination and comparison with the best sources of information. The conflict of the authorities makes absolute certainty in many cases unattainable. The reader will therefore remember in using the table, that, as differences and authorities cannot be given, the dates are necessarily in some cases approximate or probable only.
2234. b.c. Alleged beginning of Chaldæan astronomical observations sent by Callisthenes to Aristotle; the earliest extant is of 720 b.c.
2200 (circa). The Hia dynasty in China founded.
2000 (circa). Cuneiform writing probably in use (deciphered by Grotefend, 1802 a.d.)
1582. Beginning of chronology of Arundelian (Parian) marbles. (Brought to England, 1627 a.d.)
1500 (circa). Date of the oldest papyri extant.
1273. Rise of Assyrian empire, according to Rawlinson.
1150 (circa). Cylinder inscription of Tiglath-Pileser, king of Assyria (deciphered, 1857 a.d.)
1100 (circa). The Chow dynasty in China founded.
1055. David king of Israel.
1012. Building of Solomon's Temple.
989–959. Capture of Jerusalem by Shishank (Shishak), king of Egypt, in this period.
909 b.c. Commencement of Assyrian canon, which terminates 640 b.c. (Discovered and published by Rawlinson, 1862 a.d.)
900. Erection of North-West Palace of Nimroud, according to Layard.
884 (?). Legislation of Lycurgus at Sparta.
776. Olympiad of Corœbus. The first authentic date in Greek history.
770. Invasion of Palestine by Pul, king of Assyria.
753. Foundation of Rome, according to Varro.
747. Babylon independent under Nabonassar.
743–723. First Messenian war.
727. Religious reformation under Hezekiah, king of Judah.
721. Samaria taken by Sargon, king of Assyria. Overthrow of the kingdom of Israel. Captivity of the ten tribes.
711 (circa). Invasion of Judah by Sennacherib.
685–668. Second Messenian war, under Aristomenes.
684. Archonship at Athens made annual.
667–625. Reign of Assur-bani-pal, king of Assyria.
659. Foundation of Byzantium by Megarians.
640. Religious reformation under Josiah, king of Judah.
632. Invasion of Assyria by Scyths.
625 (606 ?). Fall of Nineveh. Babylon independent under Nabopolassar.
624. Legislation of Draco, archon at Athens.
610. Battle of Megiddo. Death of Josiah.
598. Siege and capture of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. Second captivity.
594. Legislation of Solon, archon at Athens.
588. The Pythian games begin to be celebrated every five years.
585. Death of Periander, tyrant of Corinth forty years. Eclipse of the sun, predicted by Thales (?).
579. Tyre taken by Nebuchadnezzar.
569. Nebuchadnezzar's conquest of Egypt.
560. Pisistratus tyrant of Athens (died, 527).
559. Anacreon begins to be known (still living in 529).
556. Birth of Simonides (died, 467).
554 (?). Conquest of Lydia and capture of Crœsus by Cyrus, king of Persia.
549. Death of Phalaris tyrant of Agrigentum.
540–510 (?). Pythagoras flourished.
538. Babylon taken by Cyrus. The Jews soon after return to Judea.
536. The Jews, under Zerubbabel, begin to rebuild the Temple.
535. Thespis first exhibits tragedy.
532. Polycrates tyrant of Samos (put to death, 522).
529. Death of Cyrus. Accession of Cambyses.
525. Battle of Pelusium. Conquest of Egypt by Cambyses. Birth of Æschylus (died, 456).
521–485. Reign of Darius Hystaspis, king of Persia. Inscription of Behistun (translated by Rawlinson, 1846 a.d.)
520. Decree of Darius for rebuilding the Temple at Jerusalem.
518. Birth of Pindar (died, 439).
510. The Pisistratidæ expelled from Athens. Democratic Government restored.
508. First treaty between Rome and Carthage.
507, 506. Conquest of Thrace, Pseonia, and Macedonia by Darius.
500. Burning of Sardis by the lonians and Athenians.
497. Battle of Lake Regillus. First authentic date in Roman history.
495. Birth of Sophocles (died, 406).
492. First Persian expedition, under Mardonius, against Greece.
490. Second Persian expedition, under Datis and Artaphernes. Victory of Miltiades at Marathon.
485. Accession of Xerxes, king of Persia. Gelon, tyrant of Syracuse.
484. Recovery of Egypt by the Persians. Birth of Herodotus (died, after 409).
483. Ostracism of Aristides the Just by the Athenians.
481. Expedition of Xerxes to Greece.
480. Battle of Thermopylæ,—fall of Leonidas. Battle of Salamis,—victory of Themistocles. Occupation of Athens by Xerxes. First Carthaginian invasion of Sicily. Defeat of Carthaginians by Gelon at Himera. Birth of Euripides (died, 406).
480–450. Anaxagoras teaches philosophy at Athens.
479. Occupation of Athens by Mardonius. Battles of Platæa and Mycale. Siege of Sestos. Departure of Xerxes from Greece.
477. Beginning of Athenian supremacy.
471. Ostracism of Themistocles. Birth of Thucydides (died, after 403 ?).
470. Victory of Cimon over the Persians at the Eurymedon.
469. Pericles begins to take part in public affairs at Athens.
468. Birth of Socrates. Destruction of Mycenæ by the Argives.
466. Flight of Themistocles to Persia. Siege of Naxos. Battles at the Eurymedon.
465. Death of Xerxes.
464 B.C. Revolt of the Helots at Sparta. Third (fourth?) Messenian war, which lasts ten years.
460. Revolt of Egypt (suppressed, 455). Births of Democritus and Hippocrates (both died, 357).
459. Gorgias flourished.
458. Birth of Lysias the orator (died, 378).
457. Battles of Tanagra. Return of the Jews under Ezra.
456. The long walls of Athens completed.
451. The first Decemvirate at Rome. Laws of the Twelve Tables.
448. Tyranny of the second Decemvirate. Secession of the Plebs. Abdication of the Decemvirs. Cirrhæan (first Sacred) war about the temple of Delphi.
447. Battle of Coronea.
445. Thirty years' truce between Athens and Sparta concluded.
444. Pericles becomes supreme at Athens. Birth of Xenophon about this time (died, 359).
443–433. The Parthenon at Athens built by Phidias.
442. New constitution at Rome,—censors and military tribunes appointed instead of consuls.
440–439. Siege and reduction of Samos by Pericles.
436. Birth of Isocrates (died, 338).
431. Peloponnesian war began; lasting twenty-seven years. Potidæa besieged by Athenians (reduced, 429). Death of Pericles. Influence of Cleon. Birth of Plato (died, 347).
430. The Plague at Athens.
428. Revolt of Mytilene.
427. Reduction of Mytilene. First Athenian expedition to Sicily. First comedy of Aristophanes exhibited. Siege of Platæa.
423. Alcibiades begins to act in public affairs.
418. Battle of Mantinea.
415. Expedition to Sicily under Nicias:—Siege of Syracuse, 414; surrender of Nicias, 413.
412. First treaties between Sparta and Persia. Constitution of the Four Hundred at Athens. Intrigues of Alcibiades with the Persians.
409. Second invasion of Sicily by the Carthaginians.
407. Foundation of Rhodes.
406. Battle of Arginusæ. Condemnation of the ten generals. Dionysus, tyrant of Syracuse; reigns thirty-eight years.
405. Battle of Ægospotami.
404. Athens taken by Lysander. End of Peloponnesian war. Government of the Thirty Tyrants. Spartan supremacy. Death of Alcibiades.
403. Restoration of democratic government at Athens by Thrasybulus.
402. Birth of Phocion (died, 317).
401. Expedition of Cyrus the younger. Battle of Cunaxa. Death of Cyrus. Retreat of the ten thousand Greeks.
401–384. Ctesias flourished.
399. Prosecution and death of Socrates.
398. Campaign and peace of Dercyllidas.
396. First campaign of Agesilaus in Asia.
394. Corinthian war begins.
393. The long walls of Athens restored.
392. Veii stormed by Camillas.
389 (circa). Birth of Æschines (died, 314).
387. Peace of Antalcidas. Greek cities in Asia subjected to Persia. End of Corinthian war. Rome burnt bv the Gauls.
384. Birth of Aristotle (died, 322).
382. Seizure of the Cadmea at Thebes by Phœbidas. Olynthian war (ends, 379). Birth of Demosthenes (died, 322).
380 (circa). Death of Aristophanes.
379. Recovery of the Cadmea by Pelopidas.
376. Victory of Chabrias over the Spartans in sea–fight off Naxos.
372. Peace between Athens and Sparta.
371. Victory of Epaminondas over the Spartans at Leuctra. Foundation of Megalopolis.
370. Jason of Pheræ assassinated.
367. Embassy of Pelopidas to Persia. Aristotle goes to Athens, and remains with Plato twenty years.
364. Licinian laws passed at Rome. Institution of prætorship and curule ædileship. Plebeian consul elected, 363.
362. Battle of Mantinea,—victory and death of Epaminondas.
359. Philip, king of Macedonia.
358. Beginning of Social war. Sieges of Chios and Byzantium. Amphipolis taken by Philip.
357. Phocian (or Sacred) war begins. Delphi seized by Phocians. Expedition of Dion to Sicily.
356. Birth of Alexander the Great. Temple of Ephesus burnt. Expulsion of Dionysius from Syracuse by Dion.
355. End of Social war. Independence of Rhodes, Cos, Chios, and Byzantium acknowledged by Athens.
352. Demosthenes delivers his first Philippic.
349–347. Olynthian war. Olynthus taken by Philip.
346. Surrender of Phocis to Philip. End of the Sacred war. Philip admitted to Amphictyonic Council. Dionysius recovers the tyranny.
343 B.C. Conquest of Syracuse by Timoleon. Expulsion of Dionysius. Embassy of Demosthenes with others to Philip.
342–341. Philip's expedition to Thrace.
341. Birth of Epicurus (died, 270).
340. First Samnite war begins. Perinthus and Byzantium besieged by Philip. Victory of Timoleon over the Carthaginians at the Crimisus.
338. Philip, general of the Amphictyonic League. Battle of Chæronea. Greece subjugated.
337–335. The Latin war. Supremacy of Rome over Latium.
336. Murder of Philip. Accession of Alexander. Accession of Darius Codomannus.
335. Alexander destroys Thebes; is chosen generalissimo of the Greeks.
334. Battle of the Granicus.
333. Battle of Issus.
332. Siege and capture of Tyre. Conquest of Egypt. Foundation of Alexandria.
331. Battle of Arbela. Subjugation of Persia.
330. Murder of Darius.
327–325. Campaigns of Alexander in India. Voyage of Nearchus from the Indus to the Euphrates.
323. Death of Alexander at Babylon. Second Samnite war; lasts twenty-one years.
321. First war among the “successors of Alexander.’ The Romans surrender to the Samnites and pass under the yoke at the Caudine Forks.
315. Thebes rebuilt by Cassander.
313. Samnite victory at Lautulæ.
312. Battle of Gaza. Victory of Ptolemy and Seleucus over Demetrius Poliorcetes. Pyrrhus, king of Epirus. The Appian way and aqueducts constructed (?).
304. Siege of Rhodes by Demetrius.
301. Battle of Ipsus. Final division of Alexander's dominions.
300 (circa). Chandragupta (Sandracottus) reigns in India; he makes a treaty with Seleucus. Foundation of Antioch by Seleucus.
299. Athens besieged and taken by Demetrius.
293–290. Third Samnite war.
295. Battle of Sentinum.
287. Birth of Archimedes (died, 212).
286. The Hortensian law passed at Rome; plebiscita declared binding on the whole people.
284 (circa). Alexandrian library founded by Ptolemy Soter.
280. Achæan League established. Invasion of Italy by Pyrrhus. Birth of Chrysippus (died, 207).
275. Irruption ot the Gauls into Greece. First plebeian censor at Rome.
274. Battle of Beneventum. Pyrrhus defeated,—leaves Italy.
269. Silver money first coined at Rome
268. Berosus flourished.
265. Rome supreme over all Italy.
264. First Punic war begins. Chronology of Parian marbles ends.
260. First Roman fleet launched. Victory of Duilius off Mylæ.
260–230 (circa). Reign of Asoka in India.
256. Victory of Regulus at Ecnomus. Invasion of Africa.
255. Defeat and capture of Regulus by Carthaginians. Evacuation of Africa.
250 (circa). Parthia becomes an independent kingdom under Arsaces.
247. The Thsin dynasty in China founded.
241. Defeat of Carthaginians by Catulus at the Ægates Insulæ. End of the first Punic war. Attalus, king of Pergamus.
240. The plays of Livius Andronicus exhibited (the first) at Rome.
238. Date of the Decree of Canopus: tablet of San (discovered by Lepsius, 1866 A.D.)
237. Conquest of Spain attempted by the Carthaginians. Seizure of Sardinia and Corsica by the Romans.
235. The gate of Janus shut.
234. Birth of Cato Major (died, 149).
227. Cleomenic war begins.
226. Reforms of Cleomenes at Sparta.
225–220. The Gauls driven from Cisalpine Gaul.
219. Siege of Saguntum by Hannibal. Beginning of second Punic war.
218. March of Hannibal from Spain into Italy. Passage of the Pyrenees and the Alps. Battles of the Ticinus and the Trebia.
217. Hannibal's passage of the Apennines. Battle of Lake Trasimenus. The two Scipios sent to Spain.
216. Battle of Cannæ. Alliance of Hannibal with Philip II. of Macedonia.
214–212. Siege and capture of Syracuse by Marcellus.
211. Defeat and death of the two Scipios in Spain. Capua recovered by Rome. Conquest of Judea by Antiochus.
211–205. First Macedonian war.
207. Battle of the Metaurus; Hasdrabal defeated and slain by the Romans. First gold coinage at Rome.
204. Scipio conducts the war in Africa. Siege of Utica.
202 B.C. Defeat of Hannibal at Zama.
201. Treaty of peace; end of second Punic war.
200–197. Second Macedonian war.
198. Flamininus proclaims liberty to the Greeks.
197. Battle of Cynoscephelæ. Philip defeated by Flamininus.
192. Philopœmen prætor of the Achæan League.
192–190. War between the Romans and Antiochus the Great. Battle of Magnesia.
188. The laws and discipline of Lycurgus abolished by Philopœmen.
184. Death of Plautus.
179. Perseus king of Macedonia.
172–168. Third Macedonian war:—battle of Pydna, victory of Æmilius Paulus over Perseus; Macedonia made a Roman province, 142.
168. Jerusalem taken by Antiochus Epiphanes.
167. Revolt of Judas Maccabæus. His occupation of Jerusalem (except the citadel), 165.
166. First comedy of Terence performed at Rome.
160–145. Hipparchus flourishes.
159. Death of Terence.
149. Third Punic war begins.
149–133. Lusitanian war,—Viriathus commands the Lusitanians; fall of Numantia, 133.
146. Rome declares war against the Achæan League. Carthage taken and destroyed by Scipio, Corinth by Mummius. Province of Africa constituted.
138. Birth of Sulla (died, 78).
134–132. Servile war in Sicily.
133. Laws of Tiberius Gracchus passed at Rome, Gracchus murdered. Kingdom of Pergamus bequeathed to Rome.
121. Reforms of Caius Gracchus. Gracchus murdered.
116. Birth of Varro (died, 28).
113. The Cimbri and Teutones invade Gaul.
111–106. Jugurthine war, conducted by Metellus and Marius.
109–101. War of Rome with the Cimbri and Teutones.
106. Birth of Pompey and of Cicero.
102. Victory of Marius over the Teutones at Aquæ Sextiæ (Aix).
101. Victory of Marius over the Cimbri at Vercellæ. End of the war.
100. Birth of C. Julius Cæsar.
90. Birth of Lucretius (died, 55).
90–88. The Social (Italian) war.
88. First Mithridatic war. Civil war of Marius and Sulla. Sulla occupies Rome, 87. Marius retakes Rome. Proscription.
86. Death of Marius. Athens stormed by Sulla. Birth of Sallust (died, 34)
84. Sulla makes peace with Mithridates.
83. War with Marian party in Italy.
82. Victory at the Colline Gate. Occupation of Rome. Dictatorship. Proscription.
79. Retirement of Sulla (dies, 78).
79–72. Civil war of Sertorius in Spain; and of Lepidus and Catulus in Italy.
74–65. Third Mithridatic war:—73–72. Victories of Lucullus.
73–71. Servile war in Italy. Spartacus defeated by Crassus.
70. Consulship of Pompey and Crassus. Birth of Virgil (died, 19).
69. Victory of Lucullus over Tigranes.
67. First appearance of Cæsar. Pompey reduces the pirates.
66. Lucullus recalled. Pompey sent into Asia; ends the war.
64. Pompey reduces Syria to a province:—Jerusalem taken, 63.
63. Birth of Augustus. Second conspiracy of Catiline. Orations of Cicero.
60. Pompey, Cæsar, and Crassus form the first Triumvirate.
59. Birth of Livy (died, 17 A.D.)
58. The Gallic war begins.
55, 54. Cæsar invades Britain. Crassus in the east; defeated and killed by the Parthians, 53.
52–51. Cæsar's war with Vercingetorix. Murder of Claudius by Milo.
51. Subjugation of Gaul completed.
49. Civil war between Cæsar and Pompey. Pompey driven from Italy. The Pompeians defeated in Spain. Cæsar dictator.
48. Battle of Pharsalia. Murder of Pompey in Egypt. Cæsar and Cleopatra.
47. Cæsar dictator again. War in Egypt. Partial destruction of the Alexandrian library. Cæsar defeats Pharnaces at Zela (Veni, vidi, vici).
46. African war. Battle of Thapsus. Death of Cato. Reformation of the calendar by Cæsar. His triumphs.
45. War in Spain. Battle of Munda;—defeat of the Pompeians. Cæsar Pater Patriæ, Imperator for life, Dictator.
44. Assassination of Cæsar. Flight of Brutus and Cassius. Antony master of Rome. Corinth and Carthage rebuilt.
43. Battle of Mutina. Second triumvirate—C. Octavius, M. Antony, M. Lepidus. Cicero put to death. Birth of Ovid (died. 18 A.D.)
42 B.C. Battles of Philippi. Deaths of Brutus and Cassius. The triumviri masters of the Roman world.
41. Meeting of Antony and Cleopatra at Tarsus.
40. Herod made king of the Jews.
36. Sextus Pompeius driven from Sicily (put to death, 35). Lepidus deprived of power.
32. War between Octavius and Antony.
31. Battle of Actium. Establishment of the Roman empire.
30. Deaths of Antony and Cleopatra.
29. The Gate of Janus shut.
27. Cæsar is made emperor for ten years and receives the title Augustus.
25. The Gate of Janus shut.
18. Imperial dignity reconferred; again, 8 B.C., 3, and 12 A.D.
17–7. Temple at Jerusalem rebuilt by Herod.
15. Victories of Drusus over the Rhæti.
12. Invasion of Germany by Drusus.
11–9. Campaigns of Tiberius in Pannonia and Dalmatia.
4. Birth of Christ, according to Ussher's system. Death of Herod.
4–6 A.D. Campaigns of Tiberius in Germany.
9. Destruction of Varus and three legions by Germans under Hermann (Arminius).
14. Death of Augustus. Accession of Tiberius.
14–16. Campaigns of Germanicus in Germany.
23. Influence of Sejanus.
25 or 26. Pontius Pilate, governor of Judea.
27. Tiberius retires to Capreæ.
33. The Crucifixion, according to Eusebius; 29, according to Lactantius, Augustine, Origen, and other authorities.
37. Accession of Caligula. Birth of Josephus.
41. Claudius emperor.
43. Expedition of Claudius to Britain. Successes of Aulus Plautius.
47. London founded by A. Plautius.
50. Defeat and capture of Caractacus. Taken prisoner to Rome.
54. Nero emperor.
61. Insurrection of the Britons under Boadicea. Victory of Suetonius Paulinus.
64. Rome on fire six days. Persecution of Christians.
65 (?). Deaths of St Peter and St Paul. Death of Seneca.
66. Jewish war begins, conducted by Vespasian.
68. Galba emperor.
69. Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian, emperors.
70. Fall of Jerusalem, taken by Titus.
71. The Gate of Janus closed. Triumph of Vespasian and Titus. The philosophers expelled from Rome between 71–75.
78. Agricola commands in Britain.
79. Titus emperor. Herculanæum and Pompeii destroyed by eruption of Vesuvius. Death of Pliny the Elder.
80. Advance of Agricola to the Tay.
81. Domitian emperor.
84. Agricola defeats the Caledonians, and sails round Britain.
86. Dacian war begins.
90. The philosophers again expelled from Rome.
95. Persecution of Christians. St John banished to Patmos.
96. Nerva emperor.
98. Trajan. Plutarch flourishes.
103–107. Subjugation of Dacia, &c.
114–117. Trajan's expedition to the East.
117. Hadrian emperor. Conquests of Trajan abandoned. The Euphrates made the eastern frontier of the empire.
120. Hadrian visits Gaul and Britain. Hadrian's wall built, 121.
130. Birth of Galen (died, 200).
132–135. Second Jewish war,—Barchochebas leader of the Jews.
138. Antoninus Pius emperor. The empire at peace.
139. Conquests of Lollius Urbicus in Britain. Wall of Antoninus (Graham's Dyke) built.
161. Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus joint emperors.
163. Persecution of Christians.
166. Martyrdom of Polycarp.
167–178. War with the Marcomanni, Quadi, &c.
169. Death of Verus. M. Aurelius sole emperor.
183. Successes of Ulpius Marcellus in Britain. Commodus takes the name Britannicus, 184.
185. Birth of Origen (died, 253).
190–214. Tertullian flourished.
193. Pertinax emperor, murdered. Didius Julianus buys the empire. His rivals, Pescennius Niger and Septimius Severus.
194. Severus emperor alone.
196. Capture of Byzantium after three years' siege by Severus.
197. The Quartodeciman controversy.
198. Caracalla named Augustus.
202. Persecution of Christians.
208. Expedition of Severus to Britain:—invasion of Caledonia, 209; his wall completed, 210.
211. Death of Severus at York. Caracalla and Geta emperors. Geta murdered, 212.
214. First contact of the Romans with the Alamanni, German tribes on the upper Rhine.
217. Macrinus emperor. 218. Elagabalus emperor.
222. Alexander Severus emperor.
226. Dissolution of Parthian empire. Foundation of the new Persian monarchy (kingdom of the Sassanidæ) by Ardshir.
231. Persian war begins.
233. Triumph of Severus; murdered and succeeded by Maximin, 235.
236. Persecution of Christians.
238. The Gordiani, Pupienus and Balbinus (jointly), and Gordianus III. emperors.
242. Gordianus defeats Sapor, king of Persia.
244. Gordianus murdered and succeeded by Philip the Arabian.
249. Decius emperor. 250. His edict for persecution of Christians published. First invasion of the empire by the Goths. Death of Decius and his son in the campaign of 251.
251. Gallus emperor.
252. Pestilence begins, and lasts fifteen years.
253. Irruption of Goths and Burgundians into Mœsia and Pannonia. First appearance of the Franks in Gaul about this time.
254. Valerian emperor. His son Gallienus associated with him. Persecution of Christians.
258. Trapezus taken by Goths.
259. Sapor ravages Syria. Valerian taken prisoner.
260. Gallienus sole emperor. The Thirty Tyrants, between 260 and 268.
262. The Goths in Macedonia and Asia Minor. They destroy the temple of Ephesus. Antioch taken by Sapor.
263. The Franks invade Gaul.
267. The Heruli invade Greece, and are repulsed by Dexippus.
268. Claudius emperor. 269. He defeats the Goths in Mœsia.
270. Aurelian emperor. Victories over the Goths and the Alamanni.
272. Expedition of Aurelian to Palmyra.
273. Capture of Palmyra and of Queen Zenobia.
275. Tacitus emperor. 276. Probus emperor.
277. Probus drives the Alamanni from Gaul.
282. Carus emperor. Expedition to the East.
284. Diocletian emperor. 286. Maximian joint emperor with him. Revolt of Carausius in Britain.
289. Victory of Carausius over Maximian.
292. Constantius and Galerius named Cæsars. Division of the empire.
296. Britain recovered by Constantius.
297. Siege of Alexandria by Diocletian. Persian war.
298. Constantius defeats the Alamanni near Langres. Defeat of Narses.
303. Persecution of Christians by Diocletian.
305. Abdication of Diocletian and Maximian. Constantius and Galerius emperors. Beginning of monasticism in Egypt under St Antony.
306. Death of Constantius at York. Proclamation of Constantine (the Great).
307. Revolt of Maxentius. Six emperors. Elevation of Licinius.
311. Edict of Nicomedia to stop the persecution.
312. Defeat and death of Maxentius.
313. Defeat and death of Maximian. Edict of Milan, by Constantine and Licinius, for general religious toleration.
314. War between the two emperors.
323. Constantine sole emperor.
324. Foundation of Constantinople; dedicated as capital of the empire, 330 (or 334).
325. First General Council of the Church meets at Nicæa.
326. Athanasius, patriarch of Alexandria. Controversy with Arius.
336. Death of Arius.
337. Constantine II., Constans, and Constantius II. joint emperors. 338. Death of Eusebius.
347. Synod of Sardica.
348. Ulfilas bishop of the Goths (died, 388).
350–353. Revolt of Magnentius. Defeated by Constantius.
357. Victory of Julian over the Alamanni at Argentoratum (Strasburg).
361. Julian emperor; his edict recalling the banished bishops and granting general toleration published, 362.
363. Persian war. Julian killed. Jovian emperor.
364. Valentinian and Valens joint emperors. Final division of the empire.
367–369. Theodosius in Britain; aids against Picts and Scots.
370. The Saxons land on coasts of Gaul.
373. Death of Athanasius.
375. War with the Quadi. Gratian emperor of the West, with Valentinian II. Invasion of the Huns.
376. Valens allows the Goths to settle in Thrace.
378. Constantinople threatened by Goths.
379. Theodosius the Great emperor of the East.
381. Second General Council, held at Constantinople. Pagan rites prohibited.
382. Alaric king of the Goths.
383. Revolt of Maximus in Britain.
390. Final suppression of Paganism. Massacre at Thessalonica. Death of Gregory of Nazianzus.
393. Honorius emperor of the West.
394. Theodosius master of the whole Roman world.
395. Death of Theodosius. Arcadius emperor of the East. The Huns invade the eastern provinces. Augustine made bishop of Hippo (died, 430). Alaric in Greece. Stilicho attains chief power under Honorius.
396. The Britons ask aid of Honorius against Picts and Scots.
397. Deaths of Martin of Tours and Ambrose of Milan.
398. Chrysostom bishop of Constantinople (died, 407).
400. Alaric ravages Italy.
403. Battle of Pollentia,—defeat of Alaric by Stilicho.
406. The Vandals, Alani, and Suevi invade Gaul.
408. Theodosius II. emperor of the East. Stilicho slain at Ravenna.
409. The Vandals, Alani, and Suevi invade Spain.
410. Sack of Rome by Alaric. Death of Alaric. Pelagius begins to preach about this time.
411. The Roman legions recalled from Britain; final withdrawal, about 418.
414. Marriage of Ataulphus, king of the Goths, to Placidia, daughter of Theodosius the Great. Persecution of Christians in Persia begins; lasts thirty years.
420. Death of St Jerome.
423. Death of Honorius at Ravenna.
425. Administration of Aetius begins, lasting about thirty years.
428. Nestorius patriarch of Constantinople (banished, 435).
429. The Vandals under Genseric invade Africa. Death of Theodore bishop of Mopsuestia.
431. Third General Council held at Ephesus.
433. Attila king of the Huns.
438. Theodosian Code published.
439. The Vandals surprise Carthage.
440. Leo I. (the Great) bishop of Rome.
442. Treaty of peace between Valentinian and Genseric. Attila in Thrace and Macedonia.
446. Message of the Britons to Aetius for aid against the Saxons.
447. Attila ravages the Eastern empire. Theodosius concludes treaty with Attila.
449. The Robber-Council of Ephesus. Landing of the English in Britain.
450. Death of Theodosius II.
451. Invasion of Gaul by Attila. Victory of Aetius at Châlons. Fourth General Council held at Chalcedon. Monophysite controversy begins.
452. Invasion of Italy by Attila. Foundation of Venice.
453. Death of Attila. Dissolution of his empire.
455. Sack of Rome by Genseric. Intercession of Leo.
457. Hengist founds kingdom of Kent.
461–467. Rule of Ricimer. Severus nominal emperor.
462–472. Conquests of the Visigoths in Spain and Gaul.
465. Great fire at Constantinople.
475. Romulus Augustulus emperor of the West (banished, 476).
476. Odoacer, king of Italy. End of Western empire.
477. Death of Genseric. Landing of Ælla and South Saxons in Britain.
480. Earthquakes at Constantinople, lasted forty days.
482. Clovis, king of the Franks. The Henoticon of Zeno published.
486. Victory of Clovis over Syagrius at Soissons.
487. Theodoric, king of the Ostrogoths, threatens Constantinople.
489–493. Conquest of Italy by Theodoric.
491. Storming of Anderida by Ælla; kingdom of the South Saxons established.
493. Odoacer slain. Theodoric king of Italy.
495. Landing of Cerdic and West Saxons in Britain.
496. Victory of Clovis over Alamanni at Tolbiac. His baptism.
500. Missions of the Nestorians began early in this century.
502–505. Persian war. Siege and recovery of Armida.
507. Victory of Clovis over the Visigoths.
510. Paris made the seat of the Frankish monarchy.
511. Death of Clovis. Partition of his kingdom.
525. Bœtius put to death by Theodoric.
525–526. Antioch destroyed by earthquake.
527. Justinian emperor. First edition of his Code published, 529.
528. The Benedictine Order founded.
529. Belisarius general of the Eastern armies; defeats the Persians at Dara. Edicts of Justinian against the philosophers, heretics, and pagans.
531. Chosroes king of Persia. Plague begins, which ravages the empire fifty years.
532. The Pandects promulgated by Justinian. Sedition (the Nika) at Constantinople, suppressed by Belisarius.
533–534. Belisarius conquers Gelimer; end of Vandal dominion in Africa.
535–540. The Gothic war.
535. Belisarius takes Rome.
537–538. Siege of Rome by Vitiges.
539. Destruction of Milan by the Goths. The Franks in Italy.
540. Ravenna taken by Belisarius. Antioch taken and plundered by Chosroes.
541. Totila king of the Ostrogoths. Abolition of the consulate by Justinian.
542. Earthquake and plague at Constantinople.
545. Rome besieged by Totila. Peace between Justinian and Chosroes.
546. Rome taken by Totila (recovered by Belisarius, 547). Controversy about the “Three Chapters” begins about this time.
547. Kingdom of Bernicia founded by Ida.
549. Rome again taken by Totila.
550. The empire invaded by Slaves and Huns.
551–2. Reform of the calendar by the Armenians; their era fixed. The silkworm introduced into Europe.
552. Death of Totila. Conquest of Rome by Narses.
553. Fifth General Council held at Constantinople. Defeat and death of Teias, last king of the Goths.
554. Defeat of the Franks and Alamanni by Narses.
556. Great earthquake at Constantinople.
558. Clotaire sole king of the Franks till his death in 561. Embassy of the Avars to Constantinople.
562. Peace for fifty years concluded between Justinian and Chosroes.
565. Deaths of Belisarius and Justinian. Justinus II. emperor. Ethelbert king of Kent.
566–567. The Lombards in alliance with the Avars destroy the kingdom of the Gepidæ in Pannonia.
568–571. Conquest of Italy by the Lombards. Exarchate of Ravenna established.
570 or 571. Birth of Mahomet.
572. War begins between the empire and Persia.
576. Tiberius defeats Chosroes at Melitene.
579. Death of Chosroes.
586. Recared, king of the Goths in Spain, converted to the Catholic faith.
590. Gregory I., the Great, bishop of Rome.
591. Maurice emperor of the East restores Chosroes II. to the throne of Persia.
593. Kingdom of Northumbria founded by Ethelfrith.
597. Arrival of Augustine in England (died, 605).
599. Reform of church service by Gregory the Great.
602. Supremacy of the bishop of Rome acknowledged by Phocas, emperor of the East. Canterbury, seat of archbishopric.
604. See of London founded.
610. Mahomet begins to preach at Mecca. Heraclius emperor of the East.
614. Damascus and Jerusalem taken by the Persians.
615. Death of St Columban.
616. Invasion of Egypt by Persians.
622. Flight of Mahomet from Mecca to Medina (the Hegira). First of six expeditions of Heraclius against the Persians.
623. Battle of Beder, first victory of Mahomet.
626. Siege of Constantinople by Persians and Avars.
628. Death of Chosroes II. Treaty of peace between Heraclius and Siroes.
629. Visit of Heraclius to Jerusalem.
632. Death of Mahomet. Abu-Bekr succeeds.
634. Victory of Khaled at Ajnadin. Capture of Damascus. Omar third caliph. Aidan bishop of Lindisfarne.
636. Battles of Yermouk and Cadesia. Foundation of Bussorah.
637. Caliph Omar takes Jerusalem. Mosque of Omar founded.
638. Conquest of Syria completed by Amron.
639–640. Invasion of Egypt and capture of Alexandria. Ecthesis of Heraclius published and condemned by the bishop of Rome. Monothelite controversy.
641. Death of Heraclius.
642. Theodoras pope of Rome; the first called “sovereign pontiff.”
647. First invasion of Africa by the Saracens.
648. Capture of Cyprus.
651. Yezdegerd, last king of Persia, killed by Turks. Death of Aidan, bishop of Lindisfarne.
653 Conquest of Rhodes by Moawiyah; the Colossus destroyed. The Pope, Martin I., goes to Constantinople and is imprisoned by the emperor Constans II.
654. Siege of Constantinople by Moawiyah.
655. Penda, king of Mercia, defeated and killed by Oswy of Northumbria. Conversion of Mercia.
658. The emperor, Constans II. makes peace with Moawiyah.
663. Constans II. received by Pope Vitalian at Rome.
664. Council of Whitby. Cædmon, the great English poet. Wilfrid archbishop of York.
667. Siege of Constantinople by Yezid.
668. Theodore archbishop of Canterbury.
670. Kairwan founded.
672. Siege of Constantinople by Sofien ben Aouf; the attack repeated yearly for seven years; “Greek fire” used.
678. Wilfrid driven from his see; preaches to the Frisians.
680. Sixth General Council held at Constantinople.
685. Justinian II. emperor of the East.
687. Death of Cuthbert, bishop of Lindisfarne.
688. Ina king of Wessex. Pepin d'Héristal (mayor of the palace) sole ruler of France (died, 714). Bulgarian war.
690. Death of Archbishop Theodore.
692–698. Carthage reduced, pillaged, and burnt by Saracens.
697. Doge of Venice first elected for life.
699 (690 ?). Death of Benedict Biscop.
709. Death of Wilfrid.
710. First invasion of Spain by the Saracens; conquest by Tarik; fall of Roderic, 711–713.
714. Charles Martel rules France as mayor of the palace. Toledo taken by Tarik.
716. Leo the Isaurian emperor. Siege of Constantinople by Saracens. The Bulgarians conclude a commercial treaty with Theodosius III.
718. Mission of Boniface in Germany.
719. Narbonne taken by Saracens.
721. Invasion of France by Saracens.
723. Conquest of Sardinia by Saracens.
726. Death of Ina king of Wessex. First edict of Leo III. (The Iconoclast) against image-worship. Siege of Nicæa by the Saracens.
728. Ravenna taken by the Lombards (retaken by Eutychius, 729).
732. Battle of Tours, victory of Charles Martel over the Saracens.
735. Death of the Venerable Bede.
740. Great earthquake at Constantinople, in Thrace, and in Bithynia.
741. Death of Charles Martel.
744. Abbey of Fulda founded by Boniface.
746. Great earthquake in Syria. The plague for three years in Italy, Greece, and Asia Minor.
747. The plague at Constantinople.
750. The dynasty of the Ommiades (caliphs) overthrown; the Abbasides succeed.
751. The Exarchate of Ravenna conquered by the Lombards under Astolphus. End of the dominion of the Eastern emperors in Central Italy.
752. The Merovingian line ends with deposition of Childeric III. Pepin (Le Bref), founder of Carlovingian line, is crowned at Soissons by Boniface. Stephen II. pope of Rome.
754. Council of Constantinople condemns images, pictures, and the crucifix, and proscribes the art of painting.
755. Grant of Exarchate of Ravenna and the Pentapolis to the Pope, by Pepin. Beginning of the temporal power. Siege of Rome by Astolphus. Death of Boniface, apostle of Germany.
756. Cordova made seat of western caliphate by Abdelrahman I.
757. Rout of the Bulgarians by the emperor Constantine V.
763. Foundation of Baghdad, seat of the caliphate. Winter of 763–764, the Bosphorus and the Euxine frozen.
766. The imperial fleet destroyed by storm on the Euxine.
768. Charles the Great (Charlemagne) and Carloman kings of the Franks. Charles alone, 772.
770. Charles marries the daughter of Desiderius, last king of the Lombards.
771. Charles repudiates his wife and marries Hildegarda.
774. Overthrow of the Lombard kingdom by Charles the Great.
778. His expedition to Spain; battle of Roncesvalles.
780. Image-worship re-established by the empress Irene.
782. Massacre of the Saxons by Charles.
785. Haroun Alraschid caliph of Baghdad.
787. Seventh General Council, second of Nicæa, re-establishes image-worship. First landing of Northmen (Danes) in England.
794. Charles holds a great council at Frankfort.
797–802. Irene sole empress.
800. Charles the Great crowned emperor of the Romans by Pope Leo III. Extinction of supremacy of Byzantine emperors at Rome. Egbert, king of the West Saxons.
801. Death of Paulus Diaconus.
802. The Athanasian Creed authoritatively imposed by Charles.
803. Limits of the two empires settled by treaty between Charles and Nicephorus. Massacre of the Barmecides by Haroun Alraschid.
804. Death of Alcuin (born about 735).
809. Death of Haroun Alraschid.
814. Death of Charles the Great. Louis le Débonnaire emperor of the Romans and king of France.
816–837. Eginhard, historian of Charles the Great, flourished.
816. Coronation of Louis and his wife Hermengarda by the Pope at Rheims.
822. Louis does public penance at Diet of Attigny.
823. Conquest of Crete and foundation of Candia by Saracens. Ebbo missionary to the Northmen about this time.
826. Anschar, apostle of the North, begins teaching in Denmark.
827. Egbert overlord of all the English kingdoms. Collection made of the capitularies of Charles the Great and Louis. The Almagest of Ptolemy translated into Arabic by command of Caliph Almamun.
831. The doctrine of transubstantiation maintained by Paschasius Radbert. Controverted by Rabanus Maurus.
833. Louis does public penance at Soissons.
835. Festival of All Saints instituted about this time.
836. Ethelwulf king of Wessex.
840. Lothaire emperor. Charles II. (the Bald) king of France.
841. Rouen pillaged by Northmen.
842. Piast chosen duke of Poland. Final establishment of image worship by council of Constantinople.
843. The Picts subdued by Kenneth M‘Alpin. Treaty of Verdun. Division of dominions of Louis among his three sons.
845. Persecution of Paulicians by Empress Theodora. Paris threatened by Northmen.
846, 847. Rome threatened by the Saracens.
849. Birth of Alfred the Great. Persecution of Gottschalk by Hincmar.
850–870. Joannes Scotus Erigena flourished.
851. Great victory of Ethelwulf over the Northmen at Ockley.
855. Louis (of Bavaria) emperor.
857. Photius patriarch of Constantinople.
860. Foundation of kingdom of Navarre about this time.
862. Reputed foundation of Russian monarchy by Rurik. Photius excommunicated by the Pope.
862–868. Preaching of Methodius and Cyrillus in Moravia.
865. First expedition of Russians to Constantinople. South Italy ravaged by Saracens. The forged Decretals (Isidorian) adopted by Pope Nicholas I. about this time.
867. Photius excommunicates the Pope. Basilius I. emperor of the East.
868. Photius deposed by council at Rome.
869–870. Eighth General Council, held at Constantinople.
871. Alfred king of Wessex.
874. Norwegian settlement in Iceland.
875. Charles (the Bald) crowned emperor at Rome.
877. Louis II. (the Stammerer) king of France. Syracuse taken by Saracens.
878. The Danes defeated by Alfred. Peace of Wedmore.
880. Methodius permitted by the Pope to celebrate divine service in the vernacular tongue (Slavonian).
881. Albategni begins his astronomical observations about this time and continues them till 918. Charles III. (the Fat) emperor (deposed 887).
885. The Northmen under Rolf overrun Neustria (settled there by treaty with Charles the Simple, 912).
886. Siege of Paris by the Northmen. Leo VI. (the Philosopher) emperor of the East.
891. Death of Photius in exile.
894. Siege of Rome by Arnulph, king of Germany, who is crowned emperor, 896.
896. Exhumation of the body of Pope Formosus by order of Stephen VI.; trial, condemnation, and degradation of Formosus; his body thrown into the Tiber; the proceedings quashed by John IX., 898.
898. Charles (the Simple) king of France.
899. Louis IV. emperor,—last of the Carlovingian line.
900. Palermo sacked by Saracens.
901. Edward the Elder king of Wessex.
904. Thessalonica taken by Saracens. Second expedition of Russians to Constantinople.
907. End of the Tang dynasty in China.
908. Theodora mistress of Rome; she occupies the castle of St Angelo.
909. Abu Obeidallah, first of the Fatimite caliphs of Egypt.
910. The congregation of Cluny founded.
911. Conrad, duke of Franconia, elected emperor.
913. Constantine VII. (Porphyrogenitus) emperor of the East.
915. Berenger, king of Italy, crowned emperor by Pope John X.
917. Defeat of Byzantine army by Bulgarians at Achelous.
918. Henry the Fowler, duke of Saxony, elected king of Germany.
925. Athelstan king of the West Saxons.
926 (circa). Laws of Howel Dda sanctioned by Pope Anastasius.
929. Mecca pillaged by the Karmathians.
934. Victory of Henry the Fowler over Hungarians at Merseburg.
936. Louis IV. (D'Outremer), king of France. Otto I., king of Germany.
937. Victory of Athelstan at Brunanburh.
940. Edmund king of Wessex.
941. Third expedition of Russians to Constantinople.
943. Dunstan made abbot of Glastonbury, and chief minister to Edmund.
946. Edred king of Wessex. First embassy of Liutprand to Constantinople.
951. Otto I. proclaimed king of Italy; Berenger driven away.
954. Lothaire king of France.
955. Victory of Otto over Hungarians in Bavaria. Edwig king of Wessex.
956. Banishment of Dunstan. Death of Hugh the Great, count of Paris.
958. Edgar king of Mercia; crowned at Bath, 973, and rowed by eight vassal kings on the Dee.
959. Dunstan archbishop of Canterbury. Italy ravaged by Berenger. Hugh Capet declared duke of France by Lothaire.
960. The Sung dynasty in China founded.
962. Otto I. crowned emperor of the Romans by Pope John XII.
963. Deposition of the Pope by Otto. Nicephorus Phocas emperor of the East.
963–975. Eastern conquests of Nicephorus Phocas and John Zimisces.
964. Revolt at Rome,—return of John XII. Rome taken by Otto.
965. Second embassy of Liutprand to Constantinople; his imprisonment by Phocas.
967. Magdeburg made seat of archbishopric by Otto I.
969. John I. (Zimisces) emperor of the East.
970. Settlement of Paulicians at Philippopolis.
973. Otto II. emperor of the Romans.
974. Pope Benedict VI. strangled at Rome.
975. Edward the Martyr king of England (murdered, 979).
976. Basilius II. (Bulgaroktonos) emperor of the East.
979. Ethelred the Unready king of England.
980 (circa). Birth of Avicenna (died, 1036). Crescentius master of Rome.
983. Otto III. king of Germany. Greenland colonized from Iceland.
986. Louis V. (le Fainéant) king of France, last of the Carlovingian line.
987. Hugh Capet, founder of Capetian line, king of France.
988. Death of Dunstan. The Greek ritual introduced into Russia.
990 (circa). Invention of the balance–clock attributed to Gerbert (afterwards Pope Sylvester II.)
993. Earliest instance on record of canonization of a saint.
996. Robert the Wise king of France. Otto III. crowned emperor at Rome.
998. France laid under interdict. Crescentius besieged in Rome and put to death by Otto III.
999. Sylvester II. (Gerbert) pope.
1000. The emperor Otto III. makes a pilgrimage to the tomb of St Adalbert at Gnesne, founds archbishopric of Gnesne, and erects Poland into a kingdom for Duke Boleslas. The Pope, Sylvester II., erects Hungary into a kingdom for Duke Stephen, apostle of Hungary.
1001. First invasion of India by Mahmud of Ghazni. Insurrection at Rome against Otto III.
1002. Henry II. king of Germany. Massacre of the Danes in England.
1003. John XVII. pope, three months. John XVIII. pope (abdicates, 1009).
1009. Sergius IV. pope.
1010. Conquest of Ghor by Mahmud in fourth invasion of India.
1012. Benedict VIII. pope.
1013. Submission of all England to Sweyn, king of Denmark.
1014. Battle of Clontarf—defeat of Danes by Brian Boroimhe. Henry II. crowned emperor.
1016. Edmund Ironside king of England. First appearance of the Normans in Italy.
1017. Canute king of England. Bulgaria made a province of the empire. Canouj taken by Mahmud.
1020. Death of Firdusi, the Persian poet.
1024. Conrad II. emperor. John XIX. (XX.) pope. Twelfth expedition of Mahmud to India; capture of Somnauth.
1025 (circa). Invention of musical notation by Guido Aretino.
1027. Birth of William of Normandy. Pilgrimage of Canute to Rome.
1029. Foundation of Aversa by the Normans.
1030. Death of Mahmud of Ghazni.
1031. Henry I. king of France. Fall of the caliphate of Cordova.
1033. Benedict IX. pope.
1035. Death of Sancho the Great of Navarre; division of his states. Foundation of the kingdoms of Castile and Aragon.
1038. The Turkmans defeat the Ghaznivides and conquer Persia. Foundation of the Seljukian dynasty.
1039. Henry III. emperor. Macbeth murders Duncan, king of Scots, and succeeds him. Conquest of Persia by Togrul Beg.
1040–1043. Conquest of Apulia by the Normans.
1042. Edward the Confessor king of England. Restoration of English line.
1043. Fourth expedition of Russians against Constantinople.
1044. Silvester III. pope three months. Gregory VI. buys the papacy.
1046. Council of Sutri; the consent of the emperor declared essential to the election of the pope; the emperor deposes three popes, appoints Clement II., and is crowned by him.
1047. Victory of William of Normandy over the baronage at Val-ès-dunes.
1048. Damasus II. pope three weeks, said to be the first pope crowned. Invasion of the Eastern empire by the Seljukian Turks.
1049. Leo IX. pope. Intrigues of Hildebrand at his election. League of the pope and the two emperors against the Normans in Sicily.
1050. Condemnation of Berengar at councils of Rome and Vercelli. Hildebrand created cardinal.
1052. Visit of William the Norman to England. Death of Earl Godwine, The Pope and the emperor celebrate Christmas at Worms.
1053. The Pope taken prisoner by Robert Guiscard, at the battle of Civitella (June 16). Open rupture of Greek and Latin churches.
1054. Macbeth defeated by Earl Siward at Dunsinane (slain, 1056). Michael Cerularius, patriarch of Constantinople, assumes the title of Universal Patriarch. The Pope and the Patriarch excommunicate each other.
1055. Victor II. pope. Togrul Beg takes Baghdad, and rescues the caliph from his enemies.
1056. Henry IV. emperor.
1057. Malcolm III. (Canmore) king of Scotland. Stephen IX. pope.
1058. Nicholas II. pope. Peter Damiani created cardinal (died, 1072).
1059. Election of the Pope vested in the College of Cardinals by bull of Nicholas II. Robert Guiscard made duke of Apulia and gonfaloniere of the church.
1060. Philip I. king of France.
1060–1090. Conquest of Sicily by the Normans under Count Roger.
1061. Alexander II. pope. Honorius II. anti-pope.
1062. Lanfranc abbot of Caen.
1063. Death of Togrul Beg.
1066. Harold II. king of England. His victory over Harold Hardrada and Tostig at Stamford Bridge, Sept. 25. Victory of William the Norman at Senlac (Hastings), Oct. 14. Norman conquest of England begins.
1068–71. Siege and capture of Bari by the Normans. End of Byzantine dominion in Italy.
1070. Lanfranc archbishop of Canterbury.
1071. Alp Arslan, Seljuk sultan, defeats and takes prisoner the emperor Romanus IV. at Manzikert.
1072. Palermo taken by Robert Guiscard. Malek Shah sultan of Persia.
1073. Gregory VII. (Hildebrand) pope.
1074–1084. Conquest of Asia Minor by the Turks.
1075. Disputes about investitures begin.
1076. Jerusalem taken by the Turks. Earthquake in England. Matilda countess of Tuscany (the Great Countess). Henry IV. deposes the Pope at Council of Worms. The Pope, at Council of Rome, deposes Henry and absolves his subjects from allegiance, the first sentence of the kind. Henry is again excommunicated, 1078 and 1080.
1077. Submission of the emperor to the Pope at Canossa. London burnt. Secret gift of Tuscany|her states by Countess Matilda to the Holy See.
1079. The New Forest formed by William the Conqueror. Birth of Abelard. Reform of the Calendar ordered by Malek Shah.
1080. The duchy of Swabia given to Frederick of Hohenstauffen by the emperor Henry IV. Interdict laid on Poland, and title of king suppressed by the Pope. Anti–pope Clement III. set up by the emperor. Victory of the emperor over his rival Rudolf of Swabia.
1081. Capture and sack of Constantinople by Alexius Comnenus, April 1. Alexius crowned emperor, April 2. Battle of Durazzo,—defeat of the emperor Alexius by Robert Guiscard.
1082. Siege of Rome by the Emperor Henry begins; the city taken, 1084.
1084. Gregory VII. besieged in Sant-Angelo by the emperor; delivered, and Rome pillaged by Robert Guiscard. Carthusian order founded by Bruno.
1085. Toledo taken from the Arabs by Alphonso VI. of Castile. Death of Robert Guiscard. Death of Gregory VII.
1086. Domesday Book completed. Victor III. pope. The Moors under Josef ben Taxfyn enter Spain to aid the Saracens. Battle of Zalaca,—defeat of Alphonso VI.
1087. William II. (Rufus) king of England.
1088. Urban II. pope. The Almoravides predominant in Spain.
1089. Death of Lanfranc (born about 1005).
1091. Birth of St Bernard. Mantua taken by the emperor.
1092. Death of Sultan Malek Shah, and division of the Seljukian empire. Foundation of the order of Knights Hospitallers (knights of St John of Jerusalem, knights of Malta), about this time (?). Roscelin found guilty of heresy at Council of Soissons.
1093. Anselm archbishop of Canterbury.
1095. Council of Clermont. Preaching of Peter the Hermit. The first crusade proclaimed. Excommunication of Philip king of France and his wife Bertrada by the Pope.
1097. Siege of Nicæa. Battle of Dorylæum. Edessa taken by crusaders and erected into a principality. Westminster Hall built about this time.
1098. Siege and capture of Antioch, which is made a principality for Bohemond. The Cistercian order founded. Edgar king of Scotland.
1099. Pascal II. pope. Siege and capture of Jerusalem by crusaders. Godfrey of Bouillon elected king. Battle of Ascalon.
1100. William the Red slain in the New Forest. Henry I. king of England. Woollen manufacture introduced in England by the Flemings about this time. Knights of St John settled in England.
1101. Invasion of England by Robert duke of Normandy. Roger II. (Guiscard), the Great, count of Sicily.
1102. Disputes between Henry I. and Archbishop Anselm about investitures. The emperor excommunicated by Pope Pascal II. Preaching of Peter Bruys against prevalent superstitions, for about twenty years, probably between 1100 and 1130.
1105. Invasion of Normandy by Henry I. The emperor Henry IV. dethroned by his son Henry V.; excommunicated and deprived of imperial dress.
1106. Henry V. emperor. Battle of Tinchebrai; Henry I. of England defeats and captures Robert of Normandy, and conquers the duchy.
1107. Alexander I. king of Scotland. Bohemond invades the Eastern empire.
1108. Louis VI. (le Gros) king of France. Treaty of peace between Alexius and Bohemond.
1109. Tripoli in Syria taken by crusaders and erected into a county.
1110. Marriage of Maud daughter of Henry I. to the emperor Henry V. Treaty between the emperor and the Pope respecting investitures concluded at Milan.
1111. The emperor arrests the Pope; obtains a bull respecting investitures; releases the Pope, and is crowned by him at Rome. The emperor received at Canossa by the Countess Matilda; names her his vice-regent in Lombardy.
1112. Council of Vienne; excommunicates the emperor.
1113. Bernard becomes a monk of Cîteaux. Peace of Gisors.
1114. Thurstan, archbishop of York, refuses consecration from archbishop of Canterbury.
1115. Bernard founds Clairvaux. Death of Matilda countess of Tuscany.
1116. March of the emperor into Italy to take possession of states of the countess. Council of the Lateran revokes the privilege of investitures conceded to the emperor.
1117–1120. Henry I. in Normandy. War with France and the earls of Anjou and Flanders.
1118. Order of Knights Templars founded. Gelasius II. pope, January 19. His seizure by the Frangipani, January 24. Appointment of anti-pope Gregory VIII. by the emperor. John II. Comnenus emperor of the East. Abelard teaches at Paris.
1119. Calixtus II. pope. Cistercian order re-constituted by Stephen Harding.
1120. Wreck of the White Ship, and death of William, son of Henry I. Premonstratensian order founded by St Norbert.
1121. Council of Soissons compels Abelard to burn his book on the Trinity.
1122. Concordat of Worms. The dispute about investitures settled by the emperor's renunciation. Abelard founds the Paraclete.
1123. Ninth General Council (first of the Lateran). Confirmation of the settlement between the Pope and the emperor.
1124. The emperor invades France, but retires before Louis VI. Honorius II. pope. David I. king of Scotland.
1125. Lothaire II. king of Germany; opposed by Conrad, duke of Swabia, and Frederick, duke of Franconia.
1126. Visit of David of Scotland to Henry I.
1127. Roger, the great Count, recognized as duke of Apulia and Calabria. He carries on war with the Pope and is excommunicated, but obtains investiture the next year. Marriage of Geoffrey of Anjou with Maud, daughter of Henry I.
1128. Death of William of Normandy, count of Flanders.
1129. Henry of Blois made bishop of Winchester. Earthquake in England.
1130. Innocent II. pope. Anacletus II. anti-pope. Roger II., count of Sicily, receives title of king from Anacletus, and makes Palermo his capital. Abbey-church of Cluny consecrated by Innocent II. Conference between Innocent and Lothaire at Liége; St Bernard present. Heloise becomes abbess of the Paraclete.
1131. Death of Baldwin II., king of Jerusalem; Fulk of Anjou, his son-in-law, succeeds.
1133. Innocent II. re-established at Rome by Lothaire. Lothaire crowned emperor by the Pope, who is again expelled by Anacletus. Count Roger takes the title of king of Sicily.
1134. Death of Alphonso I., king of Navarre and Aragon, and separation of the kingdoms. Arnold of Brescia begins to preach about this time.
1135. Death of Robert II., duke of Normandy, in Cardiff Castle. Stephen (of Blois) king of England.
1137. Louis VII. (le Jeune) king of France, married to Eleanor of Guienne before his accession. King Roger driven out of Italy by Lothaire. Death of Lothaire. Pandects of Justinian discovered at Amalfi. Birth of Saladin.
1138. Conrad III. emperor. Roger king of Sicily takes the Pope prisoner, and compels him to confirm him in his kingdom. Death of Anacletus, and end of the schism. David, king of Scotland, invades England, and is defeated at the battle of the Standard (Northallerton). Civil war in England between adherents of Stephen and Maud.
1139. Portugal erected into a kingdom for Count Alphonso Henriquez. Malachy, bishop of Connaught, visits Clairvaux and Rome. Tenth General Council (second of the Lateran). Arnold of Brescia condemned and banished from Italy. Henry of Blois, bishop of Winchester, papal legate in England.
1140. Council of Sens, Bernard gets Abelard condemned. Abelard appeals to the Pope. Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin introduced.
1141. Interdict laid on France by Innocent II. King Stephen taken prisoner by Robert of Gloucester at the battle of Lincoln. Maud received as “Lady of England.” Winchester burnt.
1142. Maud besieged in Oxford by Stephen. Death of Abelard. Henry the Lion duke of Saxony.
1143. Manuel Comnenus emperor of the East. Celestine II. pope. On submission of Louis VII. the interdict on France is raised.
1144. Lucius II. pope; he concludes a treaty with Roger of Sicily. The primacy of the church of Toledo confirmed by the Pope.
1145. Maud withdraws from England. Conquests of Noureddin, sultan of Aleppo. Eugenius III. pope.
1146. Second Crusade proclaimed by the Pope; preached by St Bernard. Invasion of Greece by king Roger; Thebes and Corinth plundered. Assembly at Vezelai; Louis VII. takes the cross.