Thursday, May 11, 2006

B.C. - Backwards Confusion

I started dusting off an old project this week at Reading Your Way Through History. I've been putting together timelines since one of my best teachers ever introduced the idea to me in 7th grade (I've since made family history timelines, an American History timeline while I was teaching in a small Catholic school and quite a few others). Putting together good books, art, music, etc. to help our family, and possibly others, enjoy a living books introduction to our cultural heritage and to the pleasure of learning history is a thrill for me. It sure is nice to work on the web where you don't have to worry about not leaving enough room to add more content later!

So I have to share with you something funny. Today, I put the BC part of the reading list onto the new blog (link above). I had never organized it under century headings before, just put it basically in order. So I have to admit a few things. First, even the AD "centuries" vs. "year numbers" is something I stumble over frequently and have to pay careful attention to to get it right. But BC is kind of crazy. I can handle going backwards okay for the most part, and I certainly understand the concepts involved, but when I was combining BC century headings (for example the year 156 BC falls in the 2nd century BC) with looking at people's life spans (for example, Eratosthenes lived from 287-192 BC and I generally "date" people by the year they died, but I initially placed him in the 3rd century) and trying to decide where to put them, my head got frequently tangled up in the problem. It does seem rather appropriate to have the Birth of Christ clearing up all of that calendar confusion.

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