The following is an excerpt from FRANK LESSER | September 1, 2012 | Nytimes.com |
385 million B.C. During the Middle Devonian Period of the Paleozoic Era, a prehistoric fern adds a new growth ring to its trunk, creating the world’s first timeline. A trilobite third-grade teacher immediately assigns it to her class as busywork.
1760 B.C. A historical survey of oxen pricing is stamped onto a clay tablet by Urglat the Chronicler, chief scribe in Hammurabi’s court. Archaeologists debate whether the indentations below are damage from the later Hittite invasion or the cuneiform inscription “P.S. Urglat rulz!!! LOL!”
16th to 11th centuries B.C. The tombs in the Valley of the Kings serve as the first timeline of ancient Egypt’s rulers, until historians realize it’s less messy to chronologically arrange the pharaohs’ names instead of their desiccated corpses.
1077 B.C. An 80-foot obelisk is erected during the reign of Ramses XI with the dates of the reigns of previous pharaohs, but no one is tall enough to read more than two Ramseses back.
Circa 500 B.C. The Book of Genesis chronologically details the genealogy of mankind and is an immediate best seller. As a result, “listing things in order” becomes the most popular form of early entertainment, narrowly beating out adult circumcision.
Year Zero Jesus is born, conveniently dividing the calendar into B.C. and A.D. Though he went on to alter the course of human history, for timeline fans this is arguably his greatest accomplishment.
Sometime between A.D. 270 and 391 The library of Alexandria burns. No one knows the exact date because the timeline makers perished in the fire.
Circa 13th century Because of Renaissance artists’ better understanding of perspective, the first timeline containing an actual line is created.
Mid 14th century “The Dark Ages” narrowly beats out “History’s Awkward Middle School Years” as the name for the cultural void of the previous several centuries. Interestingly, the people who lived during the Dark Ages simply called it “Now.”
1492 Christopher Columbus discovers the New World, creating one of the most important timeline events in history, mostly because the year rhymes with “sailed the ocean blue.”
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