William Shepherd.

Systematic education: or Elementary instruction in the various departments of literature and science; with practical rules for studying each branch of useful knowledge (Volume 1) online

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In sacred chronology, the first and most remarkable epocha
is that of the Creation of the world, but as learned men could
not agree, as to the time when this event took place, they
have long since ceased to reckon from it. Archbishop Usher,
whose Scripture-chronology is adopted in our translation of the


Bible, fixes this event in the year 4004 before the birth of
Christ ; Dr. Playfair places it in the year B. C 4007 : but
according to the Septuagint version, it is placed 5872, B. C.
and by the Samaritan version, it is fixed to the year 4700.

The Universal Deluge forms another epoch, which, accord-
ing to the reckoning of Usher, is placed in the year 2348,
B. C. The two other chief epochas, founded on the Old
Testament, are, the call of Abraham, in the year 1921 ;
and the departure of the Israelites from Egypt, in 149', B. C

Tl^e aera of the Seleucidae, or year of the Contracts, is
reckoned from the establishment' of Seleucus, one of Alex-
ander's generals, after the death of his master, in the empire
of Babylon, and is reckoned from the year B. C. 3 1 2.

The Greeks, as we have seen, for a long time had no
epocha from which they reckoned, but afterwards they assum-
ed the commencemeift of the Olympic Games as the found-
ation of their first aera, which were instituted in honour of
JupiterJ and celebrated once in four years. The Olympic
aera begins with the year 77^, B. C. The chief epocha among
the Romans, and to which there is a perpetual reference in
their histories, is the building of the city, assumed to have
taken pljice in the year 763, B. C.

The aera of Nabonassar is reckoned from the commence-
ment of the reign of Nabonassar, the founder of the Baby-
lonish monarchy, which is placed in the year 747, B. C.
The year in this aera consisted of 12 months of 30 days each,
and five intercalary years.

In profane history, the epocha of the Argonautic expedition
is much celebrated, and has been, as we have observed, that
which Sir Isaac Newton has adopted as the foundation of his
system of chronology. This has been referred to the year
1225, B. C, but writers are not at all agreed as to the date.
The destruction of Troy forms another remarkable epocha,
and though uiucli uncertainty urevails as to the exact time
when this event actually took place, yet it is generally fixed by
chronologers and by Dr. Playfair at 1183, B. C.

The Spanish aera, reckoned from the year 38, B. C. is
founded on a division of the Roman provinces among the
Triumviri, and was pretty general in Spain and Africa, and
adopted in the dates of the principal councils and synods held
in those countries. This gave way to

The Christian sera, which was invented about the year 526,
by Dionysius Exiguus, a Roman Abbot, who reckoned the
first year of it to correspond with the 4714 of the Julian
period. Learned men differ very materially with regard to
the exact time of the birth of Christ, from which this period
is dated, and this uncertainty arises from the sera not having
been adopted until the sixth century, so that it was impossible
at that time to fix the date with accuracy. Dr. Playfair
makes the

4008th year of the World.

First year of
the Christian
aera corres- ^
pond with
the - - -












B as the Dominical letter.

195th Olympiad.

Building of Rome.

Nabonassarean aera.


Julius Caesar.

Spanish aera.

Solar cycle.

Cycle of the moon.

Paschal cycle.

Roman Indiction.


Previously to the establishment and adoption of the Chris-
tian aera, the Christians, (who had formerly computed from
the building of Rome) had made use of the Dioclesian aara,
which took its rise from the persecution by Dioclesian, in the
year 284, after the birth of Christ.

The Hegira, or Mohammedan aera, is founded upon the flight
of Mohammed from Mecca to Medina, to escape the perse-


cutlon of his enemies, which is agreed by his follo\<'ers to have
been A. D. 622. It must be observed, with respect to all those
methods of denominating time, that great care will be required
that the year be reckoned according to the method of com-
putation followed by the people who use it. Thus, in reckon-
ing from the Hegira, or in accommodating any year of this
aera, to one of the Christian aera, a person would be lead to a
mistake, who should make tliose years correspond to Julian
years, because the Mohammedans make their year consist of
lunar montlis, without adapting it to the course of the Kun ;
so that with them the beginning of each year goes backward,
oomputed with true time, at the rate of eleven days every year.
He must, therefore, deduct eleven days from every year,
which has elapsed since the coimnencement of it. ThiUy
though the first year of this aera corresponded to the year 622
of Christ, and began on the l6th of July; the year 331 of
the Hegira, does not correspond with A. D. 953, but with
942, and it began Sept. 15th, and the beginning of the year
1231, of the Hegira, answers to Dec. 2d. of the present year

By the following table, the year of the" Hegira may always
be readily reduced to its corresponding year of the Christian

33 1
66 2
99 3
131 4
165 5
198 6
231 7
aSi 8
297 9
S96 12












1 15535


1254 38
1452 44
1485 45

In the use of this table, it must be remembered that 33
Arabic years, are shorter than the same number of Christian
years by one year, 66 by 2 years, &c.

To reduce a year of the Hegira to a year of Christ, add
621, the Christian date of the commencement of the Hegira,
to the given year, and then look for th^ date of the Hegira
in the preceding table. If you do not find it, take the next
lowest dale, and subtract the number corresponding with it
from the sum already obtained, and you have remaining the
exact vear of the Christian %ra.

Example 1 . To reduce the year 757 of the Hegira to its
corresponding year in the Christian sera.




J^ok for the next number, not exceeding the date of the
Hegira in the table, which will be found to be 726, the cor-
responding number of which is 22.

Therefore from 1378
Subtract 22

and you have 1356 the year sought.

Example 2. To reduce the year 1231 of the Hegira, to
the year of Christ, which answers to it.



1815 the year sought.


Another method of finding what Julian year corresponds to
a given year of the Hegira, is " to multiply the number of
the given year by 354, and divide the product by 36o : to the
quotient add 622. Thus the year answering to i231 of tlie

Hegira, is ^~|^V622=1815.

Tliis compendiuhi of chronology will, it is presumed, be
sufficient for almost all the purposes of reading history. It
remains, therefore, that we now gjve some account of what
we esteem the best method of retaining the dates connected
with facts recorded in history, which is that described by Dr.
Grey, in his


Of all things, there is tne greatest difficulty in retaining
numbers. They have been compared to grains of sand, which
will not cohere in the order in which we place them ; but, by
transmuting figures into letters, which easily cohere, in every
combination, we fix and retain numbers in the mind with the
same ease and certainty with which we remember words. As
this method is so easily learned, an^ may be of so much use in
recollecting dates, when other methods are not at hand, par-
ticularly in conversation upon the subject of history, whep
dates are often wanted, Dr. Priestley sa^s, *' I think all
persons of a liberal education inexcusable, who will not take
the small pains that is necessary to make themselves masters of
it, or who think any thing mean, or unworthy of their notice,
which is so useful and convenient." We shall therefore ex-
plain Dr. Grey's method, and give, as an exemplification, two
or three of the examples which will be found most useful to
the student in history and chronology, and which will enable
hiln to form others, ad lihitunif for himself, in the course of
his reading.

To remember any fact in history, a word is /ormed, the
beginning of which being the first syllable or syllables of the
thing sought, will, by frequent repetition, draw after it the
latter part, which is so contrived as to give the answer. Thus,


in history, the Deluge happened in the year before Christ
2348, which date is to remembered by the word Deietok,
Del standing for Deluge, and etokf as will be now shewn, for
the date, 2348.

In this art, letters stand for numbers; thus, the five vowels,
a e i u, stand for 1 , 2, 3, 4, 5 ; these combined, make diph-
thongs, as a It, o i, o u, which represent the numbers 6, 7,
and 9 : ei, as the first letters of the word, stand for eight.

Consonants being required as well as vowels, we have b, d,
standing for 1 and 2, as th first two consonants ; t, f, s, n,
for three, four, six, and nine ; I stands for Jivey p for seven,
k for eight, and i/ and z for a cypher, or 0.

The whole method is explained in the following table :






























Here it is evidentthat a and b stand for 1 ; e and ? for 2;
i and ^ for 3 ; o and y for 4 ; u and / for 5 ; and so on. -vj'

Although the letters are arbitrarily assigned, we may ob-
serve, that a u stand naturally for 6, because a stands for one,
and u for five, and 1 + 5 r: 6 ; for a similar reason, o i
stand for 7 ; and o w for 9 ; I stands for 5, being, as Dr.
Grey observes, the Roman letter for 50, p stands for 7, as
being the en)phatic letter in the word septem, seven ; and, for
a similar reason, k stands for 8, okIu, the Greek for eight.

The foregoing table being committed to memory, with the
explanations, the next thing to be done by the learner is, to
obtain the habit of forming technical wordil , to jpy cpwbjga^-

tions of figures.


I < M ;

' T'' ' '

10 325


1921 6491



az tel


aneb aufna



* The y is pronounced broad to distinguish it from the i, and where
it can be done conveniently, it is pronounced like the w, as syd^ is pro-
nounced swid, typ, twjp, &.C.


Suppose I wish to remember the date of the death of our
great Milton, and know that it happened in the year 1 674 ; I
will make use of the first four letters of the name, and add to
them the technical syllable asoif for the year, a being 1, s 6,
oi 7, and y 4 ; thus the word is MWtasoif.

Where many cyphers come together, as 1000, 1,000,000,
^ stands for 100; th for 1000; m for 1,000,000; thus u g
stands for 500; eith 8000; um 5,000,000, five million;
au gm six hundred million.

The same date or number may be expressed by different
MTords, according as vowels or consonants are used to represent
the figures, or begin the words, thus :


buf alf

ni ola


154, or 154;



bio alo

out olb.

This variety gives scope for choice in the formation of
words; so that such terminations and combinations may be
made use of, as by their singularity will be best. remembered,
or which may be most adapted to the thing by any accidental
relation or allusion,


General Epochas and JEras, Ecclesiastical and Civil,

Bef. Christ

THE CReationofthe WorldCCrofA/*] - - . 4004

The universal DELuge [D6le^oA; - - . , - 2348

The Call of Asraham [Ab flnei] - - _ - 192I

EXodus of the /srae/iVes [Ex o/fia] - - - - 149 1

The Foundation of Solomon's TEMple [T6m by be] - 1012

Cybus, or the End of the Captivity [Cyr uts] - - 536

The Destruction of Tboy [Troy a6ej7] - - - 1183

The First OLVMpiad [Olym;>0M] - - - 776

The Building of Rome [Rom ;)M/] - - - - 753


Bef. Chmt.
iERa of NABONAssar [iEuabonas^Jop] - , . 74^
The PHiLippick iEra, or the Death of Alexander

{VhWidol 324

The ^ra of CoNTRActs, or of the Seleucida, called
in the Book of Maccabees, the iEra of the Kingdom
of the GreeAs [Contriic ^a^] - - - - - 313


The DiocLEsian ^ra, or the ^ra of Martyrs [Dio-
des e/co] - - - -.- 284

The ^ra of the Hegira, or Flight of MAHOMet

[Mihom audd] - - - - 622

The ^ra of Yfizdegird, or the Persian iEra [Y6z sid'] 632

The Memorial Lines.

Cr othf Del etok Ab aneb Ex afna T6m bi/be Cyr uts.
T^roy abeit 0\ym pois Kom put & ^nabonispop.
Phih'rfo Contrac^ac? 4- D'lodks eko M.ihom audd Y^z sid.


The Regal Table of England since the Conquest, and some
of the most remarkable Princes before it.

Bef. Christ.
CASiBELanus chosen chief Commander by the Bri-
tains against the Invasion of Julius Casar [Casi-
bel W] - - - - - 52

Aft. Christ
Queen Bo a oicea, the British Heroine, being abused
by the Romans, raises an' Army, and kills 7000
[B6adfl2//)] - - - - - 67

VoRTiGern, who invited the Saxons to the Assistance
of the Britains agabst the Scots and Picts [Vor-
Ugfos'] - - - - - 446



Aft. Christ.
HENoist, the Saxon, who erected the Kingdom of

Kent, .the first of the Heptarch}' [Heiig^w/] - - 455
King Art Hur, famous for his powerful Resistance and

Victories over the Saxons [ Arth lqf\ - - - 514
EcBErt, who reduced the Heptarchy, and was first
crowned sole Monarch of England [Egbe kek] - 828
ALFREd, who founded the University of Oxford

[Alfr^Aye] *_ _ _ _ 872

CANUte, the Dfl we [Can 6aii] _ - _ _ . I0l6
Edward, the CoNFESsor [Conf6s/e] - - . _ 1042

WiLliam the Co Nq. [Wil-con saw] - - Oc^ 14, 1066

William RoFus [Ruf^oiJ - - - - Sept. 9. 1087

HENRy I. [Henrflg] Jug.Q,. 1100

SxEPHen [Steph6j7J - - - - - Dec. 2. 1135

HfiNry the SECond [Hensec6i{/'] - - Oc^ 25. 1154

Richard I. [Riciem] July 6. 1189

John[Jfff/w] - - - - April 6. 1199

Hnnry the Tuird [Hetht/fls] - - - Oc^ 19- 1216

Eoward I. [Ed c?oiWJ A'or. IG. 1272

Envardus sEcundus [Edsef^/?] - - - Julyl. 1307

EDvardus TERtius [Edter^es] . - - - Jan. 15. 1326

Richardus sEcundus [Rise^y//)] - - - Jmwc 21. 1377

HEnry the Fourth [Hefo^oww] - - - Sept. 0.0. 1399
HEnry the Fifth [Hefi/aff] - - March 20. 1412

HENry the sixth [Hensi/ecTj - - - Jug. 31. 1422

EDvardus QUARtus [Edquaryai/z] - - March 4. 1460

Edward the Fifth "^ C Jpril 9- 1483

Richard III. I Lfc-h-KoAf] - - ^ J,,;,e 22. 1483

HENricus SEPtimus [Hensepy^V] - - -^tig. 22. 1485
HENricus octav. [Henoc/yn] * - - - Jpril 22. 1509
EDvardus sExtus [Edsex/os] - _ - Jan. 28. 1546
Mary [Mary /i/(] - - - July 0. 1553

ELisabeth[ElsM] Not;. 17. 1558

jAMes I. [Jamsyrf] - - . - March ii. 1602

CaroIus primus [Caroprim se/] March 27. 1625

CaroIus sEcundus [Carsec soA;] - - Jan. 30. 1648

Jamcs II. [ jf] - - - Feb. 6, 1684

WiLliam and Mary [WilsefA:] - - - Feb. 13. 1688

ANne [An pi/b] __ - - March 8. 1701

Gfiorge I. [G'eobo] . . - - - -^ug. 1. 1714

GEorge 11. [G'iosec dot] - - - - Jwne 11. 1727

GEorge III. [Geoter sy] - - - - Oc^ 25. 1760

The Memorial Lines.

Casibe lud Boadawp Vortigybs Uengful & Arlhlqf.
Egbe At/c Alfre kpe Can 6aM Conf6sye Wilcon sai^.

RufA-oi & Hcurag.

Steph bil & Heus6c Z>/^ Ric bein J aw Heth das & Ed-

Edse(yp Edtef^e* Hise toip Hefo #omw .HefiyoJque. ,.
Hensiye^ F,dqueiTfauz Esi-RoA:f Hens^p feil Henoc/yn.
Edsex /os Mary lut Eh luk Jam si/d Oaroprim se/.
Carsec sok Jam seif Wilseik An pi/b Geo bo-doi-sy.

N. B. After Canute inclusive, One Thousand is to be
added to each. It was thought unnecessary to express it, it
being a thing in which it is impossible that any one should


Chronologieal Miscellanies since the Conquest.

' Aft. Christ.

Jerusalem regained from the Turks, and Goofrey of

BuLloigne made King of it [Godbulwow] - - 1099
The iNQUTsition first erected against the Albibigenses

[Inquisffed] ]222

The Confirmation of Magna CnARxa by King Henry

III. [Chart eell 1225


Aft. Chrint.
Wat TvLer's Rebellion suppressed [Tyh7:o] - - 1381
Jack Cadk's Rebellion suppressed [Cade^^] - - 1450
The Mariner's Com pass found out [Compaf z] - 1302
GuNPOwder invented in Germany by a Monk

[Gnp^{/b] 1344

The Invention of Pr IN ting [Prin/y/bw] - - - 1449
Christopher CoLUMbus, a Native oi Genoa, discovers

Cuba and Hispanio/a [Colum bonf} _ _ - 1493

MARtin LuTHer begins to preach in Gerwzfl;/y against
Indulgencies, and other Errors of the Church of

Rome [MarAuih lap] 1517

The Name of PROxestants first began on Occasion of
the Protestation the Lutherans made against a De-
cree of the Chamber of Spire against them [Prot-

alen'] - _ - . 1509

The SMALCALdan League, or Agreement made be-
tween the Protestants of Germany for their mutual
Defence at Smalcdid [Smalcal/oz] - - - - 1540
The Council of TrenI began Dec. 13. [Tren-dec-

at-alfu] 1545

The MASsacre of Protestants at PARis [Maspar aloid'\ 1 572
The UNited provinces, under the Protection of WU-
lUm, Prince of Orange, throw off the Spanish
Yoke [Un-p /om] - - - - 1579

The Spanish In vasion [Sp-invwAX] - - - . 1588
The GunpowDer Treason [Powdsy/] - - - i605

The famous Rebellion at Naples, on Occasion of the
grievous Excises, headed by MassanelIo [Masa<
nelsop] - - - - - 1647

Oliver CROMwell usurps the Government of England,

under the name of Protector [Crom sli] - - - 1653
The Island jAMAica in America, taken by the Eng-
lish [Jamaica^//] . - - - 1655

CHOMWelli Mors [Crom-mor sw/c] - -. - - 1658
GiBRAltar taken by the English [Gibrapro] - - 1704


The Memorial Lines.
God-hu\ nou Chart ee^ ln(\uis ded Tylika Cade^y.
Comp atze Gunp atfo Prin afon atque Coluni bont.
Mar-luth lap Prot alen Smalcal loz Tren-dec at-alfu.
Mas-par a /oic? Un-p/dm Sp-in/e^Vl: Powd sy/ Masanelso^.
Croms/i Jamaica?/// Crom-mor smA: capta Gibra J9Z0.
N. B. A Thousand is to be added, as above, where it is not expressed.


Grecian Lawgivers, Philosophers, and principal Poets,

Bef. Christ.

Lvcurgus born [Lycwes] -___. qqQ

Draco [Dra sflfo] - - - - 624

Solou died [So Imi] - - - - - - - 559

PYTHAGoras died, aged 80 [Pyth^g/^5] - - - 506

EucLid the Geomet. fl. [Euchiatt] - - - _ 306

SocRates died [Socrinw] -__-__ ggg

Xenophoh died [Xenophf/ow] - - - 359

PLAto died [Pla^o/c] - - - - 348

Diogenes died, aged 90 [Dio^ef] - _ . _ 323

ARistotle died, aged 63 [Aris^et/] - - - - 322

Epicurus died, aged 72 [Epicudpa] - - - - 271

ARCHimedes died [Archi(/arf] - - - - - 212

Linus and Orpheus [TJinadka'] - - - - -1281

Ho Mer died [Horn wflrf] - - - - - - 912

Archilochus [Archilochu sAam] - - _ - QqQ

Sappho [Sapphs^rf] - - - - _ . _ 602

ANAcreon [Andc/oMC?] - - - - 592

^sCHylus born [^schie/] - - - - - - 525

PiNDar died, aged 80 [Piud/oz] - - - 440

SoPHOCLQ^ boru [Sophoclozoi] - - - - - 407

The Memorial Lines.
Lycnes "Diksdo Solun Pythag /^s Eucl wm Socreww.
Xenoph ihu Pla tok Dio tet Aris ted Epicu dpa.
Archi dad Linadka Homnad & Archilochu 5A;aM.
Sapphsyci 8c Auic loud Msch lei P'vaAfoz Sophoclo^of,
vol. I. 2 b





Clironologiral Tables Playfair's Blair's Tytlert Lenglct du Fresnuy
Importance of Mcdallic Scieuce to history Antiquities.

One of the most obvious contrivances to reduce History
into a short compass, and to make an entire coin-se of it easy
of apprehension, and at the same time to observe a proper
distinction between the parts of it, has been by Chronological
Tables. These would indeed be of great use, if they con-
sisted of nothing more than an enumeration of the capital
events in history, brought together promiscuously, as it were,
without any distinction of kingdoms, regard being only had to
the order of time in which the events happened, because wc
thereby see the principal things that history exhibits, and from
the dates annexed to each article, can readily form an idea of
the interval of time between each of them. Sucli is the Chronicle
prefixed to Sir Isaac Newton's Chronology ; and such also is the
large table, or series of remarkable events in Dr. Plajfair's
Chronology. This table, which extends from the Creation of
the world to the year 17B2 inclusive, is by no means the most
valuable part of the volume, which as a whole may b
considered as a treasury of chronological knowledge, more
ample and judicious than any that has even yet appeared. It


Unites the advantages of many diflferent systems, and selects
from them what is most valuable, while at the same time it
combines them with so nmch skill, as justly to claim the praise
of originality. The author is various without being perplexed,
extensive without being superficial, and accurate without
being tedious.

To return to chronological tables : besides a distinct view
of the succession of events in diflferent histories, it is an
advantage to have in separate columns, an account of great
men in arts, or arms, which each age has produced : and
likewise in other columns, a variety of dates corresponding to
the most important aeras, to save the reader the trouble of re-
ducing the different methods of computation to one another.
These advantages are combined in Dr. John Blair's tables,
which, however, diflFer according to the period of which they
treat: to take, as an example, the fi^fth century before Christ:
the first four columns give the corresponding years of the Julian
period, the aeras of Nabonassar, the Olympiads, the
building of Rome, and of the years before Christ: the next five
columns point out the reigning kings of Persia, Macedon, and
Lacedemon, and High Priests of the Jews : then follow co-
lumns containing the names and descriptions of illustrious
men : remarkable events and the names of Statesmen,
Warriors, &c.

Dr. Blair, in speaking of his own work, says, " The ancient
Chronology has been digested in the tables, according to the
Hebrew text, and agreeably to the system of Archbishop
Usher ; though it is proper to observe, that we do not assume
the earlier dates of years, as if they could be demonstrated
mathematically. For as we only prefer them, from their being
more generally received than any other, amidst a vast uncer-
tainty of no less than three hundred diflferent opinions, about the
exact year of the creation, we therefore choose to decline any
controversy upon points, where tKe data are so few, and the
range of hypothesis is so unlimited. And we may be the easier
satisfied on this head, if we consider, that neither religion nor

2 B 2


history, are fundamentally concerned, in precisely fixing the
times of such remote antiquity.

The tables of Dr. Blair reach to 1753 inclusive, and
blank spaces are left, that the student may continue them to
the beginning of the present century, and by the aid of another
leaf, properly ruled, he may, and the exercise will be highly
useful, bring them down to the present eventful period. The
author has given three indices, one of the Emperors, Kings,
High Priests, Caliphs, Popes, Men of Learning, Statesmen,
Warriors, See. in an alphabetical order, with references to the
preceding plates : the other two are alphabetical indices to the
remarkable events before and after the Christian aera, witli
constant references likewise to the plates.

As however the Chronology of Playfair, and the Tables of
Blair, are scarce and expensive works, we can recommend as
a succedaneum, the chronological table attached to the second
volume of Ty tier's Elements of General History. The plan
of this table is as follows. In order to give a distinct view of
the succession of princes in the chief empires or kingdoms,
without employing different columns, the series of the sove-
reigns of the several nations is distmguished by their being
printed in different typographical characters.

To the foregoing works in Chronology we may add a work
which, in the course of our reading, we have found extremely
useful, viz. " Tablettes Chronologiques de I'Histoire Univer-
selle, &c. 8cc. Par M. L'Abbe Lenglet du Fresnoy," in two
volumes; the first contains Ancient, and the second, Modem
history. The edition which we have been accustomed to
make use of, was corrected and revised by J. L. Barbeau de
la Bruyere, in 177^. To the first volume are prefixed, (1) A
preliminary discourse on the method of studying History (2)

Online LibraryWilliam ShepherdSystematic education: or Elementary instruction in the various departments of literature and science; with practical rules for studying each branch of useful knowledge (Volume 1) → online text (page 30 of 44)