Historians & Time

Time is very important to historians. It helps them put their stories in the order in which events happened. The order explains more clesrly how and why events and decisions happened. In order to do this, historians use the dates of the calendar. This study of time and dates is known as Chronolgy. This is a Greek term for “Knowledge of Time”.

Divisions of Time

Apart from days, months and years, other important divisions of time are listed in the box below.

Decade 10 Years 520-529, 1670-1679, 2000-2009
Century 100 Years 500-599, 1800-1899, 2000-2099
Age A number of decades or centuries combined Stone Age, Iron Age, Computer Age
BC The Years before the birth of Christ 896 BC, 544 BC, 101 BC
AD The Years after the birth of Christ – Anno Domini AD 125, AD 1566, AD 1921

In the Western world, the birth of Jesus Christ is used as an important dividing line in history. This is mainly due to the spread of Christianity.

We call the years before the birth of Christ (Before Christ). For example, the year 244 BC is in the 3rd century BC, which began with the year 299 BC and ended with the year 200 BC.

We call the years after the birth of Jesus Christ (Anno Domini). For example, the year 1567 is in the 16th Century which began with the year 1600 AD and ended with the year 1699 AD.

So how do you remember?

Taking the birth of Christ as Year “1”

If it’s BC, you count to the left of “1” – so the higher the number BC = it is older

If it’s AD, you count to the right of “1” – so the higher the number AD = it is newer

ad bc timeline

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