Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Year 259,013

 
    The above picture is what the world looked like to Greeks before Alexander the Great set off to put an end to the last vestiges of Persian power, around 320 BC. A half generation later Greek cartographers had a better grasp of  how Asia was shaped, they knew about the Persian Gulf, they had a suspicion that India stretched further to the south, and there was an argument that suggested that to the South of India there was an Island which was rumored to be very much larger than Ceylon actually is. Not until two hundred and sixty odd years ago, the 1750's, did cartographers begin to draw the world as many of us think of it today.  The second picture is a portion of a map claimed to be a copy of a Roman Road Map that shows parts of Britain, parts of Spain and parts of North Africa.  And you can look at the entire map for otherwise useful hours, wondering.    http://www.tabula-peutingeriana.de/

    What I have a problem with is conceiving of history as somehow revolving around the event of Jesus' birth.  The years Before Christ, or the years Before the Common Era run downhill.  They start sometime with the  Egyptian cuneiform,  two or three thousand years BC, or four or five thousand years ago, which would make this the year, four or five thousand and thirteen AW, or After Writing.  And I think for serious contemplation of our being, a person has to really go to somewhere like ALIT, or After Living In Trees.  And until we can conceptually manage that feat our understanding of "Now" will be somewhat cretinous, and I mean cretinous in the congenital sense.  No doubt there might well be controversy and confusion, but I'm going to go out on a limb and  call today Tuesday February the 26th, 259,013.  Which would give us about a quarter million more years of thinking than Walking Stewart thought we might have had.


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