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CHRONOLOGY

historian. But the excavations that have given us a knowledge of the Mycenaean Age have proved conclusively, not alone that civilization existed in Greece in an early day, but that this civilization was closely linked with the civilization of Egypt. Not only have antiquities been found in Crete that point to Egyptian inspiration, but quite recently Professor Petrie has found at Tel el-Amarna Mycenaean pottery. The latter find has a peculiar significance, since the date of the Tel el-Amarna collection is definitely fixed between the years 1400 and 1370 B.C.

It is demonstrated, then, that as early as the beginning of the 14th century B.C. the Mycenaean civilization was in touch with the ancient civilization of Egypt. One must not infer from this, however, that the two civilizations met on anything like an equality. Indeed, in the wonderful Tel-el-Amarna collection there is a suggestive absence of literary documents from the Aegean that demands a word of notice. The Tel el-Amarna collection, it will be recalled, consists of the royal archives of King Amenophis IV. of the XVIIIth Egyptian dynasty, who in the latter years of his reign chose to be known as Akhenaton, “the glory of the solar disk.” This monarch had retired from Thebes and established his court on the site now known as Tel el-Amarna, where he founded the city which existed only during the brief period of thirty years ending with the death of the monarch about 1370 B.C. The date of the documents found in the royal library is, therefore, fixed within very narrow limits. The documents in question consist chiefly of letters, and constitute one of the most important of archaeological finds. These letters came to the king from almost every part of western Asia, including Palestine and Phoenicia, Babylonia and Asia Minor. Strangely enough, all the letters are written in the Babylonian character, and most of them are in the Babylonian language. They afford, therefore, most striking evidence of a widespread diffusion of Babylonian culture. Incidentally they prove, to the utter confusion of a certain school of Bible critics, that the art of writing was familiarly known in Canaan, and that Egypt and western Asia were in full literary connexion with one another, long before the time of the Exodus. Hence all the elaborate arguments based on the supposition that Moses probably could not write fall to the ground. On the other hand, the absence of letters from Mycenae among the tablets of Tel el-Amarna must be regarded as at least suggestive. Seemingly the widespread Babylonian culture had not reached the Aegean peoples; yet these peoples cannot have been wholly ignorant of things with which commercial intercourse brought them in contact. The point is of no very great significance, however, since no one has pretended that the Western civilization compared with the Eastern in point of antiquity; and in any event, no amount of negative evidence weighs a grain in the balance against the positive evidence of the Cretan inscriptions.

The researches of the archaeologist are, in short, tending to reconstruct the primitive classical history; and here, as in the Orient, it is evident that historians of the earlier day were constantly blinded by a misconception as to the antiquity of civilization. Such a fruitage as that of Greek culture of the age of Pericles does not come to maturity without a long period of preparation. Here, as elsewhere, the laws of evolution hold, permitting no sudden stupendous leaps. But it required the arduous labours of the archaeologist to prove a proposition that, once proven, seems self-evident.  (H. S. Wi.) 

Eras and Periods.

In the article Calendar (q.v.), that part of chronology is treated which relates to the measurement of time, and the principal methods are explained 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. But it is necessary to notice here 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 the Christian era.

Julian Period.—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.

Olympiads.—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 Idaean 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 Coroebus. The games in which Coroebus 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 Seleucidae.

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.

2nd. 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