The Writings of the Historians of the Roman and Early Medieval Periods and their Relevance to the Chronology of the First Millennium AD
By Trevor Palmer
Chronology & Catastrophism Review, Volumes 2015 to 2017
Introduction: Several years ago, I wrote a three-part article on ancient writings and their relevance to chronology, which ended in 332 BC, with the conquest of Egypt by Alexander the Great. That is the event where the orthodox chronology and all the major alternative chronologies of the ancient world come together. There is general agreement that Alexander the Great conquered Egypt 332 years before the year we call AD 1, or, to put it another way, 332 years before the 44th regnal year of Augustus Caesar. Yet, even so, there are many who question whether the conquest of Egypt by Alexander the Great took place 2332 years before the year we call AD 2001, these people finding reasons to think that AD chronology may have been artificially extended.
Challenges to the conventional chronology of the Christian era have been formulated mainly on the basis of unorthodox interpretations of the findings of archaeologists, astronomical retro-calculations and/or statistical analysis. Apart from the identification of perceived gaps or anomalies, historical sources have been largely disregarded by the challengers, on the grounds that they are often incomplete and may be presenting incorrect information, either because of innocent confusion or deliberate falsification.
As with my previous article, limitations of space make it impossible to give sufficiently detailed consideration to the full range of evidence to be able to come to firm conclusions about the viability or otherwise of any particular model. Instead, as before, the focus will be on what the historical sources actually say, and the extent to which the historical evidence supports each of the various chronological models (orthodox and unorthodox) under consideration. Where a model appears to be incompatible with the historical evidence, the possibility of this evidence being unintentionially misleading or having been deliberately falsified will be considered.
Part I introduces the individual chronological models for the period under consideration and also the dating systems used during the course of it. It then examines suggestions that a false chronology may have been created by early Christians as well as the theory that the AD system we use today is different from that introduced by Dionysius Exiguus. Part II provides a detailed summary of what the sources say about the chronology of the Roman/Byzantine Empire whilst part III similarly summarises information given in the sources about the chronology of what may be termed Barbarian Europe. In both parts II and III, there are discussions of issues arising.