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View Diary: It's Not a New Decade. Yes, It Is! No, It Isn't! (164 comments)

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  •  Here's the thing... (6+ / 0-)

    ...there was no Year Zero.  But there was also no Year One.  There was not Year Anything until Dionysius Exiguus decided in the year 532 that it was the year 532 (however flawed his calculations may have been.)  Faced with that, there are only two logical courses of action:

    1. Formally mark the beginning of each decade with the year that   ends in the "2."  (This makes more sense than one might think. The Sixties didn't really start until the Beatles came along in 1962.  And McGovern's royal beatdown in 1972 was the final nail in the Sixties' coffin.)

    OR

    1. Formally mark the beginning of each decade with whichever year will let us throw a bigger party that much sooner.  

    I vote for the second course of action.  If you're gonna be arbitrary anyway, at least do it with booze.

    When you punch a lot of holes through steerage, the first-class cabins sink with the rest of the ship.

    by Roddy McCorley on Fri Jan 01, 2010 at 01:44:26 PM PST

    •  Oddly enough, this isn't true either (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Matt Z, HylasBrook

      Various bishoprics in the Byzantium had been keeping track since the 2nd century, though by Dionysius' time, there was some disagreement as to the date. Dionysius' was the one that stuck, and became the chronology, possibly because of the fact that it was used by the Venerable Bede.

      But yeah, through most of Europe, secular use was of regnal calandars, "In the third year of the reign of Charles the Bald", etc. Which is what the Japanese use to this day.

      Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

      by Robobagpiper on Fri Jan 01, 2010 at 02:08:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  What's interesting is that many calendars are (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Matt Z

        numbered based on a time in the past as later generations realized that was the time at the beginning of their history.

        So Romans looked back is history and started to use Ab urbe condita (735 BCE), as the beginning year of their calendar.

        Jews decided calculated their calendar began at the creation.

        Christians (eventually) decided their calendar began the year Christ was born. (even if they got the year wrong)

        Muslims backdated their calendar to the year Muhammad fled Mecca to Medina, although this practice was started just 17 years after Muhammad's flight.

        I can't speak to Mayan Calendars.

        One of the few calendars that actually started pretty much on day 1 was the calendar of the French Revolution, although that one might have been backdated slightly.

        So yes, there would be no year zero because people went back in time to set their calendar's origin date.

        Anyhow, since there is no year zero, one could argue that the beginning of the common era had 9 years in its first decade so that going forward, all decades begin when year nnn9 flips over to nn10.

      •  Right - second century. Which means... (0+ / 0-)

        ...there was no Year Zero, or Year One.

        When you punch a lot of holes through steerage, the first-class cabins sink with the rest of the ship.

        by Roddy McCorley on Fri Jan 01, 2010 at 05:51:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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