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The word era (from Latin aera , plural to aes , actually "duration of a currency", originally "ore" as a raw material for coins) generally stands for an age or a calendar .


One speaks of a new era when a significant event or a discovery or invention changes the previous life or the living conditions of many or even all people permanently . It usually includes a positive or neutral assessment of this age.

The end of an era is often spoken of when a person leaves office or dies , who played a key role in shaping politics , economics , music , etc. during their lifetime .

In geological history , the term era is used for a unit of geological ages (see era (geology) ).

Time calculation

In the era we mean by era one emanating from a certain fixed day annual count. The day on which an era begins is called an epoch .

  • For example, the Jewish era Anno Mundi of the Jewish calendar begins on October 7, 3761 BC. BC , the assumed day of the creation of the world .
  • The Christian calendar Anno Domini or Anno Salutis of the Julian or Gregorian calendar begins on January 1, 1 AD.
  • Much more important for ancient historiography, however, are the era dates that were used in ancient Greece and Rome. For Rome, the most important example of this is the era ab urbe condita ( since the city was founded ). On the basis of this era, it can be calculated that the city of Rome was in 753 BC. Was supposedly founded.
  • The official census in Rome and later after the elevation to the capital by Emperor Constantine in Constantinople was the designation of the years after the highest officials in office that year, the consuls . After the office was held for the last time in 541 by the Emperor Justinian and then abolished, the following years were counted according to his consulate, the so-called post - consulates .
  • Other ancient cities also used their own city ​​arrows , which were calculated from a date in the city's history.
  • The Greek astronomer Claudius Ptolemy called his period of chronological records as the Nabonassar era (Anno Nabonassar) .
  • Especially in the East Asian cultural area ( China , Japan , Korea and Vietnam ) a new era was proclaimed with each new ruler, which had its own era name that corresponded to a government motto , and which began with the year 1. Sometimes a ruler had a new era declared several times during his reign. In Japan this system is still in use and currently the Reiwa era ("Beautiful Harmony") is in effect .

Web links

Wiktionary: era  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Age  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Epoch  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Period  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ↑. Ernst Kornemann: World history of the Mediterranean area from Philip II of Macedonia to Muhammad Unabridged special edition, edited by Hermann Bengtson. CH Beck Verlag, Munich 1967, p. 917