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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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a series of years, commencing from a certain point of time called an epocha: thus we say, the Christian aera; that is, the number of years elapsed since the birth of Christ. The generality of authors use the terms aera and epochs in a synonymous sense; that is, for the point of time from which any computation begins.

The ancient Jews made use of several aeras in their computation; sometimes they reckoned from the deluge, sometimes from the division of tongues; sometimes from their departure out of Egypt; and at other times from the building of the temple; and sometimes from the restoration after the Babylonish captivity: but their vulgar aera was from the creation of the world, which falls in with the year of the Julian period 953; and consequently they supposed the world created 294 years sooner than according to our computation. But when the Jews became subject to the Syro-Macedonian kings, they were obliged to make use of the aera of the Seleucidae in all their contracts, which from thence was called the aera of contracts. This aera begins with the year of the world 3692, of the Julian Period 4402, and before Christ 312. The aera in general use among the Christians is that from the birth of Jesus Christ, concerning the true time of which chronologers differ; some place it two years, others four, and again others five, before the vulgar aera, which is fixed for the year of the world 4004: but Archbishop Usher, and after him the generality of modern chronologers, place it in the year of the world 4000.

The ancient Heathens used several aeras:

1. The aera of the first olympiad is placed in the year of the world

3228, and before the vulgar aera of Jesus Christ 776.

2. The taking of Troy by the Greeks, in the year of the world 2820, and before Jesus Christ 1884.

3. The voyage undertaken for the purpose of bringing away the golden fleece, in the year of the world 2760.

4. The foundation of Rome, in 2856.

5. The aera of Nabonassar, in 3257.

6. The aera of Alexander the Great, or his last victory over Darius, in

3674, and before Jesus Christ 330.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Aera'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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