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Byzantine Creation Era

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[[Image:Creation of Monreale creation Adam.jpg|right|thumb|230px| Icon Byzantine mosaic of the Creation of [[Adam and Eve|Adam]] ([[w:Monreale|Monreale]] Cathedral, Sicily, XII c.)]][[Image:God the Geometer.jpg|right|thumb|230px|Creation of the world. ([[w:Bible moralisée|Bible moralisée]], medieval manuscript, XIII c.)]]The '''Byzantine Creation Era''', also ''' ''"Creation Era of Constantinople,"'' ''' or ''' ''"Era of the World"'' ''' (Greek: ''' ''Έτη Γενέσεως Κόσμου κατά 'Ρωμαίους'' '''<ref>Pavel Kuzenkov. ''How Old is The World? The Byzantine Era and its Rivals''. Institute for World History, Moscow, Russia. In: Elizabeth Jeffreys, Fiona K. Haarer, Judith Gilliland. '''[ Proceedings of the 21st International Congress of Byzantine Studies: London, 21-26 August, 2006: Vol. 3, Abstracts of Communications].''' Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2006. pp. 23-24.</ref> also ''' ''Έτος Κτίσεως Κόσμου'' ''' or ''' ''Έτος Κόσμου'' ''') was the Calendar officially used by the Eastern [[Orthodox Church]] from ca. AD 691 to 1728 in the [[Church of Constantinople|Ecumenical Patriarchate]], by the [[Byzantine Empire]]<ref group="note">i.e. '''Eastern Roman Empire'''. The term Byzantine was invented by the German historian Hieronymus Wolf in 1557 but was popularized by French scholars during the 18th century to refer to the Eastern Roman Empire. The citizens of the empire considered themselves ''Romaioi'' ("Romans"), their emperor was the "Roman Emperor", and their empire the ''Basileia ton Romaion'' ("Empire of the Romans"). The Latin West designated the empire as "Romania", and the Muslims as "Rum[[Rüm]]".</ref> from AD 988 to 1453, and in Holy [[Church of Russia|Russia]] from ca. AD 988 to 1700.  Derived from the [[Septuagint]] version of the Bible, it placed the date of creation at 5,509 years before the [[Incarnation]], and was characterized by a certain tendency which had already been a tradition amongst Hebrews and Jews to number the years ''from the foundation of the world'' (Latin: ''' ''[[w:Anno Mundi|Annus Mundi]] / Ab Origine Mundi'' ''' ('''AM''')).<ref group="note">Significantly, this same phrase - ''"from the foundation of the world"'' (Greek: ''Apo Kataboles Kosmou'') - occurs repeatedly in the [[New Testament]], in '''Matthew 25:34''', '''Luke 11:50''', '''Hebrews 4:3''', '''9:26''', and '''Revelation 13:8, 17:8''', perhaps reflecting on the Byzantine desire in this case to fix such an era or convenient starting point for historical computation in a calendar based on the [[Holy Scripture|Scriptures]].</ref> Its year one, the supposed date of creation, was [[September 1]], 5509 BC to [[August 31]], 5508 BC.
We do it is not know known who invented this era and when, however it appears for the first time in the treatise of a certain “[[monk]] and [[Presbyter|priest]]”, Georgios (AD 638-39), who mentions all the main variants of the ''"World Era"'' (''Ére Mondiale'') in his work.<ref>Fr. Diekamp, ''“Der Mönch und Presbyter Georgios, ein unbekannter Schriftsteller des 7. Jahrhunderts,”'' BZ 9 (1900) 14–51.</ref><ref>Pavel Kuzenkov (Moscow). ''[ How old is the World? The Byzantine era κατα Ρωμαίους and its rivals]''. 21st International Congress of Byzantine Studies, London 2006. p.3.</ref>. Georgios makes it clear that the main advantage of the Byzantine era is the common starting point of the astronomical [[w:Metonic cycle|lunar]] and [[w:Solar cycle (calendar)|solar]] cycles, and of the cycle of [[Indiction|indictions]], the usual dating system in Byzantium since the sixth century. He also already regards it as the most convenient for the [[Pascha|Easter]] [[w:Computus|computus]]. Complex calculations of the 19-year lunar and 28-year solar cycles within this world era allowed scholars to discover the cosmic significance of certain historical dates, such as the [[Nativity|birth of Christ]] or the [[Crucifixion]].<ref>Prof. Dr. [ Marcus Louis Rautman]. ''"Time."'' In [ ''Daily Life in the Byzantine Empire'']. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2006. pp.7</ref>
This date underwent minor revisions before being finalized in the mid-7th century A.D., although its precursors were developed circa AD 412 (see [[Byzantine_Creation_Era#Alexandrian_Era|''Alexandrian Era'']]). By the second half of the 7th century the ''Creation Era'' was known in the far West of Europe, in Britain.<ref>Pavel Kuzenkov (Moscow). ''[ How old is the World? The Byzantine era κατα Ρωμαίους and its rivals]''. 21st International Congress of Byzantine Studies, London 2006. p.4. (PL XC, 598, 877 (Pseudo‐Beda)).</ref> By the late 10th century around AD 988, when the era appears in use on offical government records, a unified system was widely recognized across the Eastern Roman world.
===Alexandrian Era===
The ''' ''"Alexandrian Era"'' ''' (Greek: ''' ''Κόσμου ετη ἔτη κατ’ ΑλεξανδρειςἈλεξανδρεῖς'' ''') developed in AD 412, was the precursor to the ''Byzantine Era''. After the initial attempts by [[Hippolytus of Rome|Hippolytus]], [[Clement of Alexandria]] and others<ref group="note">The ''' ''Era of Antioch'' ''' (5492 BC) and ''' ''Era of Alexandria'' ''' (5502 BC) were originally two different formations, differing by 10 years. They were both much in use by the early Christian writers attached to the Churches of [[Church of Alexandria|Alexandria]] and [[Church of Antioch|Antioch]]. However after the year AD 284 the two eras coincided, settling on 5492 BC. There are, consequently, two distinct eras of Alexandria, the one being used before and the other after the accession of Diocletian. (''"Epoch: Era of Antioch and Era of Alexandra."'' In: ''' ''[ The Popular Encyclopedia: being a general dictionary of arts, sciences, literature, biography, history, and political economy].'' '''(Vol. 3, Part 1). Glasgow: Blackie and Son, 1841. p.73.)</ref>, the Alexandrian computation of the date of creation was worked out to be [[March 25|25 March]] 5493 BC.<ref>Elias J. Bickerman. ''Chronology of the Ancient World''. 2nd edition. Cornell University Press. 1980. p.73.</ref>.
The Alexandrine monk [[w:Panodorus of Alexandria|Panodoros]] reckoned 5904 years from [[Adam and Eve|Adam]] to the year AD 412. His years began with [[August 29]], corresponding to the [[w:Thout|First of Thoth]], or the [[w:Egyptian calendar|Egyptian]] new year.<ref>Rev. Philip Schaff (1819-1893), Ed. ''"Era."'' '''[[w:Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge|Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge]]'''. New Edition, 13 Vols., 1908-14. [ Vol. 4, pp.163].</ref> Bishop [[w:Annianus of Alexandria|Annianos of Alexandria]] however, preferred the Annunciation style as New Year's Day, the 25th of March, and shifted the Panodoros era by about six months, to begin on 25 March. This created the ''Alexandrian Era'', whose first day was the first day of the proleptic<ref group="note">A calendar obtained by extension earlier in time than its invention or implementation is called the "proleptic" version of the calendar</ref> Alexandrian civil year in progress, 29 August, 5493 BC, with the ecclesiatical year beginning on 25 March, 5493 BC.
St. [[Hippolytus of Rome]] (ca.170-235) maintained on Scriptural grounds that the Lord's birth took place in 5500 AM, and held that the birth of Christ took place on a passover day, deducing that its month-date was [[March 25|25 March]]<ref name="OGG">George Ogg. ''Hippolytus and the Introduction of the Christian Era.'' in '''Vigiliae Christianae''', Vol.16, No.1 (Mar., 1962), pp.4-6.</ref> (see ''[[Byzantine_Creation_Era#Alexandrian_Era|Alexandrian Era]]''). He gave the following intervals:
:"...from Adam to the flood 2242 years, thence to Abraham 1141 years, thence to the Exodus 430 years, thence to the passover of [[Joshua ]] 41 years, thence to the passover of Hezekiah 864 years, thence to the passover of Josiah 114 years, thence to the passover of Ezra 107 years, and thence to the birth of Christ 563 years."<ref name="OGG"/>.
In his ''Commentary on Daniel'', one of his earlier writings, he proceeds to set out additional reasons for accepting the date of 5500 AM:
The prophet cited by St. Hilary was the [[w:Woman with seven sons|mother of the Maccabean martyrs]], who said to one of her tortured sons, ''"I beseech you, my child, to look at heaven and earth and see everything in them, and know that God made them out of nothing; so also He made the race of man in this way"''<ref>''The [[Orthodox Study Bible]]'' ([[Septuagint]]). St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology. Elk Grove, California, 2008. (2 Maccabees 7:28), p.653.</ref> (2 Maccabees 7:28).<ref name="REARDON">Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon. ''Creation and the Patriarchal Histories: Orthodox Christian Reflections on the Book of Genesis''. Conciliar Press, 2008. pp.34-35.</ref> This text from [[II Maccabees]] was the standard biblical proof text for the Christian Church in respect to [[w:Ex nihilo|creation from nothingness]]. We find the thesis in late Judaism, from which it passed into the Christian faith as an essential teaching.<ref name="REARDON"/>
In addition the traditional Jewish understanding of the creation "days" of Genesis is that they are literal as well, as virtually all the Rabbis have understood in commentaries from Talmudic, Midrashic and Rabbinic sources.<ref>Paul James-Griffiths. ''[ Creation days and Orthodox Jewish Tradition]''. March 2004.</ref><ref>[[w:Abraham ibn Ezra|Ibn Ezra]], Abraham ben Meïr, (1092-1167). ''Ibn Ezra's Commentary on the Pentateuch: Genesis (Bereshit)''. Vol.1 (Genesis). Transl. and annotated by H. Norman Strickman & Arthur M. Silver. Menorah Pub. Co., New York, N.Y., 1988.</ref>. In addition, there are remarkable similarities between Indian creation myths and the book of Genesis which lends credence to the view that the book of Genesis is referring to actual historical events.<ref>[ Indian creation myths and similarities to the book of Genesis]</ref>
===[[Hours]] of the Liturgical Day===
The Fathers were well aware of the discrepancy of some hundreds of years between the Greek and Hebrew [[Old Testament]] chronology,<ref group="note">Note that according to Dr. Wacholder, [[Josephus|Josephus']] chronology for the antediluvian period (pre-flood) conforms with the [[Septuagint|LXX]], but for the Noachites (post-flood) he used the Hebrew text. He chose this method to resolve the problem of the two chronological systems. (Dr. Ben Zion Wacholder. ''Biblical Chronology in the Hellenistic World Chronicles.'' In '''The Harvard Theological Review''', Vol.61, No.3 (Jul., 1968)).</ref> and it did not bother them; they did not quibble over years or worry that the standard calendar was precise "to the very year"; it is sufficient that what is involved is beyond any doubt a matter of some few thousands of years, involving the lifetimes of specific men, and it can in no way be interpreted as millions of years or whole ages and races of men.<ref>Fr. [[Seraphim Rose]]. ''GENESIS, CREATION and EARLY MAN: The Orthodox Christian Vision''. St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, Platina, CA, 2000. pp.602-603.</ref>
To this day, traditional Orthodox Christians will use the Byzantine calculation of the ''World Era'' in conjunction with the [[w:Anno Domini|Anno Domini]] (AD) year. Both dates appear on Orthodox cornerstones, ecclesiastical calendars and formal documents. The ecclesiastical new year is still observed on [[September 1]] (or on the Gregorian Calendar's [[September 14]] for those churches which follow the [[Julian Calendar]]). September 2009 2010 marked the beginning of the year 7518 7519 of this era.
==See also==
* [[Evolution]]
* [[Gaussian Formulae]]
* [[Coptic Calendar]]
==External Linkslinks==
* [[w:Anno Mundi|Anno Mundi]].
[[el:Έτος Κόσμου]]
[[ro:Cronologia Creaţiei în Imperiul Bizantin]]

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