A Modest Proposal for a new calendar

In the last dozen years we have lived through two apocalyptic date.  The first was in the year 2000 when the world was rumoured to be at risk from something or other which I now forget.  The second was 2012 when some people asserted that the world would come to an end because a Mayan calendar had run out of dates or a rogue, invisible planet would crash into Pimlico, Des Moines or Nosy Varika.

Much of this nonsense is because one of the most common of the world’s timeline is based on the supposed date of Jesus Christ.  Every one agrees that the date is nonsense and, because it is so nonsensical there was massive confusion about when the second millennium would actually start.  If the first year of the Common Era, (it was called AD in my youth) was Year 1 then the new millennium did not actually start until 2001 which made the dire predictions of the end of the world in the year 2000 both hysterical and un-mathematical.

I also wonder if the latest scare date of 21st December 2012 had anything to do with its numerical equivalents 12.21.12 in the USA or 21.12.12 in my neck of the woods.  Such dreadful symmetry.

As someone keen on history I would like to propose a new calendar.  Not one based on a story in the bible but one which will pay tribute to all of humanity.  I propose a calendar which will start with the dawn of civilisation.  Even this is tricky as there is no firm agreement when civilisation started.

So, on a whim, I’ve plumped for 3,500 years BCE.  This is when several civilisations started across the globe, from China, the Indus Valley, through Mesopotamia, Egypt and the Americas.  I’ve also done it to keep the maths simple.

The benefits of this are manifold.  My new calendar is not linked to western civilisation nor to a religion.  It gets rid of the complications of counting backwards from the present year 1 for years BCE.  Best of all it puts modern times into the long sweep of history.

Here are some familiar dates in the new calendar.

 

 

1

200

400

500

800

875

1000

1200

1500

1700

1900

1950

2000

2320

2620

2724

2747

2755

2950

2991

3010

3068

3169

3300

3327

3279

3298

3400

3456

3514

3726

3976

4000

4052

4070

4122

4250

4300

4371

4411

4476

4501

4566

4599

4611

4687

4727

4799

4810

4825

4847

4953

4992

5001

5026

5080

5088

5116

5120

5142

5151

5196

5220

5276

5289

5305

5351

5361

5370

5389

5414

5445

5463

5469

5513

Possible start of Egyptian calendar

Hakra phase of Indus Valley civilisation

First Dynasty in Egypt

Sumerian cuneiform writing

Knossos in Crete is a city of 80,000 inhabitents

Khufu completes the Great Pyramid

Mammoth becomes extinct

Stonehenge complete

The horse is domesticated

First alphabets created

Shang Dynasty in China

Hittite Empire dominant force in area

Rig Veda written

End of the Hittite Empire

Iliad and Odyssey written

First Olympic Games held

Rome said to be founded

Tiglath-Pileser III begins rise of Assyrian Empire

Foundation of Persian Empire by Cyrus the Great

Rome becomes a Republic

Greek city states defeat Persia at Marathon

Construction of the Parthenon in Athens

Alexander the Great defeats King of Persia

Start of construction of Great Pyramid of Cholula

Ashoka the Great becomes Emperor

Great Wall of China begun

Hannibal defeated by Scipio Africanus

Chola Dynasty rises to prominence in South India

Julius Caesar murdered

Death of Emperor Augustus

Rise of the Sassanian Empire in Persia

End of the Western Roman Empire

Franks under Clovis defeat the Visigoths

Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) reconquers Italy

Birth of Mohammad

Mohammad moves from Mecca to Medina. Start of Islamic Calendar

Beginning of Abbasid Caliphate

Charlemagne crowned Holy Roman Emperor

Alfred the Great becomes King of Wessex

Rollo founds Normandy

Basil II becomes Emperor of Byzantium

Leif Ericson lands in Canada

The Battle of Hastings

First Crusade. Jerusalem is captured from the Muslims

University of Oxford founded

Saladin recaptures Jerusalem

Genghis Khan dies

Ottoman Empire founded

Dante publishes The Divine Comedy

Aztecs found city of Tenochtitlan

Black Death in Europe

Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks

Christopher Columbus reached the New World

Michelangelo begins sculpting David

Foundation of Mughal Empire

Sir Francis Drake first man to lead expedition round the globe

The Spanish Armada defeated

Shakespeare dies

Mayflower arrives in America

Tasman sights New Zealand

End of English Civil War

Peter the Great sole Tsar in Russia

The South Sea Bubble

American Declaration of Independence

The French Revolution starts

Napoleon becomes Emperor of the French

Great Exhibition in London

Start of American Civil War

Death of Charles Dickens

Edison tests his first light bulb

Start of World War 1

End of World War 2

The Beatles have their first hit record

Man lands on the Moon

This year.  Happy New 5513

 

I can’t guarantee the accuracy of the dates or, sadly, my arithmetic.  But I had fun doing it and it did make me think differently about history and time.

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About Martin Lake

Martin Lake lives in the French Riviera with his wife. After studying at the University of East Anglia he worked as a teacher, trainer and company director. A serious accident shattered his arm and meant that he had to rein back his work. He decided to concentrate on writing and is now writing full-time. He writes a wide range of fiction. His main interests are historical fiction, short stories and fiction for young adults. Martin has a series of novels 'The Lost King' which are set in the years following the Norman Invasion of England. They concern Edgar Atheling, last representative of the ancient English royal dynasty and his fight to regain the throne from William the Conqueror. Martin has also published 'Artful' the further adventures of the Dodger and 'Outcasts' a novel about fall of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem. His latest novel, 'A Love Most Dangerous' is about a maid of honour who becomes the lover of Henry VIII. Martin’s work has been broadcast on radio. He won first prize in the Kenneth Grahame Society competition to write a story based on 'The Wind in the Willows.' You can get the collection, 'The Wind in the Willows Short Stories' from Amazon.
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One Response to A Modest Proposal for a new calendar

  1. I think it is a good idea. Of course we would need time to adjust. The 1900’s gave us 100 years to prepare for the 2000’s. The 5500’s would hit us like a hammer. Imagine all the mistakes on the date. By 5514 though all should be good again. Enjoyed the blog.-John

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