meep (meep) wrote,

Scales of time... also, which came first?

Up until college, I was a bit hazy as to when the Romans and the Vikings made it to Great Britain. I knew that they were there before 1066, but more than that.... not quite sure. For some reason, the Vikings felt the most ancient, so when I finally visited England I got it all straight in my head. The Museum of London and visiting York got it straight in my mind: the Romans got there (for good) by Claudius, in the 1st century AD, the Anglo Saxons came a few hundred years later (around 500-ish), and the Vikings landed later still. (And, to be specific, the English got the Danish variety.)

The reason I mention this is that it is difficult to understand dynamics, cause and effect, and all that if you don't have straight in your mind what happened when. Answering "why" is very hard, "how" is a little easier, but both are impossible if you don't know "when", "where", and "who". (Maybe "what")

What spurred this thinking was trying to remember when the last Ice Age "ended", when agriculture "began", and, most specifically, the beginning of written records which was definitely after both of those.

And I was thinking that 10,000 years ago really wasn't all that long ago.

But the real main thing was, as easy as it is to look up current consensus, it really helps to have some sense of scale in your own mind, that you don't have to keep looking things up.

I usually keep my time thoughts to orders of magnitude. I'm not looking this up.... sun is billions and so is the earth; life (single cells) is a billion? more complex life hundreds of millions, dinosaurs tens of millions, humans about a million (if you're broad in defining human), modern humans hundreds of thousands, and yet ice age... only 10,000 years ago [order of magnitude]. Trojan war, about 1500 BC [ok, probably a variety of wars, but whatever], the "Sea Peoples" and mediterranean collapse around then, too. Egypt... has some written stuff back about 3000 BC, China ... okay, now it's falling apart in my brain and needing to look things up.

What I'm saying is I totally understand why the Russians were into Universal History in the Brothers Karamazov. It really is important to get straight.

Also, I'd love to paint a ginormous timeline on a wall in my house. Just to help me "get it".
Tags: education

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