Lesson 01. Introduction

by William C. Michael

Welcome to World Chronology! In this course we will memorize an outline of events in world history and learn a little about each one of them. Please understand that I am not saying that these are the most important events to happen in history, but the most important events to memorize. If we memorize these events, we will be able to use our knowledge of history to help us in all subjects we study and throughout life.

What is Chronology?

The study of History has two important parts: Chronology and Geography. Geography is the study of the places on earth where events take place. If we are learning about the Romans, for example, we need to learn about the place where the Romans lived, what the weather was like, how they traveled, how their neighbors were, and so on. That’s Geography. Chronology is the study of times of events in world history. The word comes from the Greek word for time, which is chronos. We wish to know when events happened, when different people lived, and how these events relate to one another. It’s important to know, for example, whether the Greeks had airplanes when they fought in the Trojan War or whether they rode on horses and fought on foot. If we know when the airplane was invented, we can know that people before that time never used them. Chronology is very useful.

How do We Measure Time?

If I asked you how old you are, you’d count how many years you have lived since you were born and answer, “I am so many years old.”. That’s an easy way to measure time. If I asked you when you were born, it would be a little more difficult. You could say, “I was born so many years ago.” That, too, would be pretty easy. You could measure every event from the day of your birth, but other people probably don’t want to measure time from the day of your birth.

To have an easy way for all men to measure time in history, we have to pick one event in history and measure all events from that date. The date that we use is the birth of Jesus Christ. Every event that happened before Jesus Christ was born, we measure how many years it happened “before Christ”. We shorten this with the initials B.C.. Every event that happened after Jesus Christ was born, we measure in what year of Our Lord’s life it happened. We use a Latin phrase, Anno Domini, to say this, which simply means “in the year of Our Lord” and is shortened with the initials A.D. Thus, if an event happened 200 years before Christ’s birth, we say that it happened in 200 B.C.. If an event happened in the 200th year of Our Lord’s life (since He lives in heaven), we say that it happened in 200 A.D. or A.D. 200.

Chronology Timeline

Now, you can look at the timeline that we will study in this course. You can view and print a copy here:

• World Chronology Timeline

On the timeline, you will see 100 events listed. To the right of each event you will see the date that we will memorize in this course. You will see that each date is labeled B.C. or A.D. Now, you should understand what that means.

The Four Divisions of World History

On the timeline, you should find the following four events which are not numbered:

• Ancient World (4000 BC – 750 BC)
• Classical World (750 BC – 500 AD)
• Medieval World (500 AD – 1500 AD)
• Modern World (1500 AD – present)

Mark each of these events on your timeline because these are the four divisions of world history. Then Ancient World begins at the creation of the world and ends when Homer writes the Iliad and the Odyssey. The Classical World begins when Homer writes the Iliad and the Odyssey and ends with the fall of the Roman Empire. The Medieval World begins with the fall of the Roman Empire and ends after Columbus discovers America. The Modern World begins when Columbus discovers America and continues today. Be sure that you can name and date the four divisions of world history and explain what events mark the beginning and end of each.

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