Ancient history dating methods
The new system changed days, weeks, and months completely and made the date when France switched from a monarchy to a republic the beginning of the new year 1 of the French Republican calendar.People, however, don’t seem to like too many changes to their dating system—especially ones like having 25% fewer weekends.Just as in an individual’s life, some birthdates may be so important that the whole culture chooses them as the reference point for its dating system. We are all quite familiar with the BC/AD dating system.It uses Christ’s birth year as the zero point—all other years are based upon that one.Unfortunately, it was difficult in the sixth century AD for the originator of that system, Dionysius Exiguus, to determine the exact year when Christ was born.The things he had to go on were the brief clues in the Gospels that relate Jesus’ birth or later age to events in Roman history, and the official Roman records of those events, neither of which were very precise.Dating systems often reflect the people and entities most significant to a culture.But systems that attempt to force change on a society instead of reflecting foundational values, may be going against their purpose.
For example, we think of our age in reference to the year we were born, and while we may give names to wedding anniversaries (silver, gold, etc.), we determine them by counting from the year of the marriage.Indeed, the root of the word anniversary is the Latin for “year.” Just as important years are widely used reference points in the lives of individuals, so they are for entire cultures. Although it is 2015 today in the United States, such a number might indicate a far different year in other cultures throughout history.The next question might be, what qualifies as a year significant enough to base an entire dating system upon it?Muslims a few years later, after his death, began to emphasize the significance of his flight (known as the Hegira) from Mecca to Medina.If he had not fled, it is likely that he would have been killed by the majority in Mecca that opposed his message, and the religion of Islam would have been stillborn.