Eponym - History

History

In different cultures, time periods have often been named after the person who ruled during that period:

  • The ancient Greek epic The Odyssey is named after the main character, Odysseus.
  • One of the first recorded cases of eponymy occurred in the second millennium BC, when the Assyrians named each year after a high official (limmu).
  • In ancient Greece, the eponymous archon was the highest magistrate in Athens. Archons of Athens served a term of one year which took the name of that particular archon (e.g., 594 BC was named for Solon). Later historians provided yet another case of eponymy by referring to the period of Fifth-century Athens as The Age of Pericles after its most influential statesman Pericles.
  • In Ancient Rome, one of the two formal ways of indicating a year was to cite the two annual consuls who served in that year. For example, the year we know as 59 BC would have been described as "the consulship of Marcus Calpurnius Bibulus and Gaius Julius Caesar" (although that specific year was known jocularly as "the consulship of Julius and Caesar" because of the insignificance of Caesar's counterpart). Under the empire, the consuls would change as often as every two months, but only the two consuls at the beginning of the year would lend their names to that year.
  • During the Christian era, many royal households used eponymous dating by regnal years. The Roman Catholic Church, however, eventually used the Anno Domini dating scheme based on the birth of Christ on both the general public and royalty. The regnal year standard is still used with respect to statutes and law reports published in some parts of the United Kingdom and in some Commonwealth countries (England abandoned this practice in 1963): a statute signed into law in Canada between February 6, 1994 and February 5, 1995 would be dated 43 Elizabeth II, for instance.
  • Government administrations or political trends often become eponymous with a government leader. North American examples include the Nixon Era, Trudeaumania, Jeffersonian economics, Jacksonian democracy, McCarthyism, Obamacare, Obamanomics, Obamania, Kennedy's Camelot, or Reaganomics. A similar example from British political life would be Thatcherism.
  • British monarchs have become eponymous throughout the English speaking world for time periods, fashions, etc. Elizabethan, Edwardian, Georgian, and Victorian, are examples of these.

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Famous quotes containing the word history:

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