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Dating Methods in Fantasy?

Discussion in 'World Building' started by HeartThief13, Sep 22, 2015.

  1. HeartThief13

    HeartThief13 New Member

    I have a book series I've been working on and I recently realized that I should have a dating system for my book series, but I don't quite understand how to go about creating a dating method. Do I need to start from year 0? And if I start at year 0, considering the fact that the oldest part of the series definitely didn't go all the way back to 0, where should I start the first year and what should go into the consideration of that dating? Then, once I figure that out, I have a big gap between the book that goes back the furthest and the next book...how would I figure out how many years were between that?
    Does anyone have any tips or suggestions? Has anyone ever done this before? I also, when I've figured out the dating method, I'm planning to make a timeline to keep my events in an order that I can look back on as references.
    Thank you so much!
  2. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

    Dang, I thought this was going to be a thread about romance and courtships. XD

    As far as timelines go, you might want to consider any huge world-altering events that might effect people's view of time, like the great battles that marked the ends of the first three Ages of the Sun in Lord of the Rings. Tolkien restarted the numbers at the beginning of each new Age. Or in our world, the birth of Christ that became the point between B.C. and A.D. (or B.C.E. and C.E. if you prefer).
    HeartThief13 likes this.
  3. HeartThief13

    HeartThief13 New Member

    Haha, sorry about confusing you like that! And that's a good idea...I'd have to figure out the "ages", but I think I can figure that out fairly well.
    Ireth likes this.
  4. Scribe Lord

    Scribe Lord Minstrel

    I came here thinking the same thing.

    In our world there have been a number of different dating systems, some of which are still in use. The Gregorian Calendar which sets its '0' mark at the birth of Christ is obviously the most commonly used and has basically become world-wide at this point. The Islamic Calendar begins with Mohamed's flight from Mecca to Medina. The Romans had a dating system which began with the founding of Rome. Some cultures begin their Calendar from a mythological starting point.

    Honestly, I would suggest taking the culture that your story takes place in and finding a point that has major significance for that culture. Then mark that date as '0' and work from there.
    HeartThief13 and Ireth like this.
  5. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

    Another example is how in ancient Egypt the dating system began with the reign of a ruler and it always started over again with the next ruler. So it was a sort of "X year of Ramesses II" sort of thing.
    HeartThief13 likes this.
  6. Ban

    Ban Sir Laserface Article Team

    Don't worry a thread about courtship has now been made!

    On to the Original post. Ã have two calendars and they both start from very specific and important events. One starts with the creation of the first city of the Giants (They fill in the role of the greeks and romans in my world) and the second starts at the inauguration of the first emperor of the currently most powerful nation. Once you have the start it should be much easier.
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  7. johnsonjoshuak

    johnsonjoshuak Troubadour

    I think that you need a calendar for each society/culture and/or nation. One of my nations, for example, measures time since its founding, another measures by each ruler, and another measures time since the collapse of a larger nation group that splintered into smaller city states.

    So as Ireth said, find a major event and measure from there.
    HeartThief13 likes this.
  8. ArenRax

    ArenRax Sage

    I like using the era and year system.
    Usually I have seen that there usually is a year 0. In elder scrolls year 0 is when humans arrived in Tamriel
    (I think I am not positive so try looking at the elder scrolls wiki.) and then there is the eras that came before that year 0.
    HeartThief13 likes this.
  9. Gryphos

    Gryphos Auror

    In my world I've decided to use a dating system based on lunar cycles. Each lunar cycle (in this world) is 30 days, and there are twelve cycles in a year. So if a person was giving the date they'd say something like 'the 4th of the 7th cycle' or more often just 'the 4th of the 7th'.

    As for years, the story takes place in year 121, which was 121 years after a super duper amazing event which was officially decreed the beginning of the new calendar.
    HeartThief13 likes this.
  10. HeartThief13

    HeartThief13 New Member

    Thank you guys so much! I think I've got a better idea of where to work from now. :)

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