Ancient greece dating system
Two storms, separated by 2,000 years, resulted in the loss and recovery of one of the most amazing mechanical devices made in the ancient world.The first storm, around 65 BC, wrecked a Roman vessel taking home loot from Asia Minor.
In addition to sculptures and other art works, an amorphous lump of bronze, later described as the Antikythera Mechanism, was found.Each period of four years (called an “Olympiad”) was numbered consecutively, starting with Olympiad I, which was agreed to have begun in the year that we designate as 776 B. An individual year could then be specified as year one, two, three, or four of a certain Olympiad.As Thucydides’ failure to give an Olympiad date for the opening of the Peloponnesian War implies, this system of reference seems not yet to have been in use at the time when he wrote.To do so, of course, a reader would have needed a list that recorded in chronological order the names of the holders of the office being used as a standard of reference. Making correspondences between different local systems for indicating years, as Thucydides did, required research.He expected his readers to use the chronological fixed point of the first year of the war to calculate the date of other important events in his history, most notably the Thirty Years’ Peace between Athens and Sparta that he says (1.87.6; 2.2.1) had been negotiated fourteen years earlier. The only non-local Greek system for indicating the dates of years was based on the celebration of the Olympic Games, which took place every four years.
The term Ancient, or Archaic, Greece refers to the time three centuries before the classical age, between 800 B. Archaic Greece saw advances in art, poetry and technology, but most of all it was the age in which the polis, or city-state, was invented.