Periodization is a Useful Concept to Apply When

Periodization is a Useful Concept to Apply When.

Categorizing the past into named blocks of time

is the process or study of categorizing the past into discrete, quantified, and named blocks of time for the purpose of report or analysis.[1]
This is usually done in society to understand current and historical processes, and the causality that might have linked those events.

Periodizations tin provide a user-friendly partitioning of time, wherein events within the flow might consist of relatively similar characteristics. Still, determining the precise beginning and ending of whatever ‘catamenia’ is often arbitrary, since it has changed over time and over the course of history. Systems of periodization are more than or less capricious, yet it provides a framework to assistance united states of america understand them. Periodizing labels are continually challenged and redefined, simply once established, period “brands” are then user-friendly that many are hard to change.



The practice of dividing history into ages or periods is every bit early as the development of writing, and tin can be traced to the Sumerian period. The
Sumerian King List, dating to the 2nd millennium BC—and for most parts it is not considered historically accurate—is “periodized” into dynastic regnal eras. The classical division into a Gold Age, Silverish Historic period, Bronze Historic period, Heroic Historic period, and Fe Age goes dorsum to Hesiod in the 8th – seventh century BC.

One Biblical periodization scheme normally used in the Middle Ages was Saint Paul’south theological division of history into three ages: the kickoff before the historic period of Moses (under nature); the second under Mosaic law (under law); the third in the age of Christ (under grace). But maybe the nearly widely discussed periodization scheme of the Middle Ages was the Six Ages of the Earth, written by the early on 5th century Advert,[3]
where every historic period was a chiliad years counting from Adam to the nowadays, with the nowadays fourth dimension (in the Centre Ages) being the sixth and final age.



Periodizing blocks might overlap, conflict or contradict one some other. Some have a cultural usage (the “Golden Age”), others refer to prominent historical events (‘the Interwar period), while others are divers by decimal numbering systems (‘the 1960s’, ‘the 17th century’). Other periods are named from influential individuals (the ‘Napoleonic Era’, the ‘Victorian Era’, and the ‘Porfiriato’).

Some of these usages will also be geographically specific. This is especially true of periodizing labels derived from individuals or ruling dynasties, such every bit the Jacksonian Era in America, the Meiji Era in Nippon, or the Merovingian Catamenia in France. Cultural terms may also take a express reach. Thus the concept of the “Romantic period” is largely meaningless outside the Western globe of Europe and European-influenced cultures. Likewise, ‘the 1960s’, though technically applicative to anywhere in the world co-ordinate to Common Era numbering, has a sure fix of specific cultural connotations in sure countries. For this reason, it may be possible to say such things every bit “The 1960s never occurred in Spain”. This would mean that the sexual revolution, counterculture, youth rebellion and then on never developed during that decade in Spain’s bourgeois Roman Catholic culture and nether Francisco Franco’due south authoritarian authorities. The historian Arthur Marwick mentions that “the 1960s’ began in the late 1950s and ended in the early on 1970s”. This was because the cultural and economical conditions that define the meaning of the period covers more than the adventitious fact of a 10-year block beginning with the number half-dozen. This extended usage is termed the ‘long 1960s’. This usage derives from other historians who have adopted labels such as “the long 19th century” (1789–1914) to reconcile arbitrary decimal chronology with meaningful cultural and social phases. Eric Hobsbawm has too argued for what he calls “the short twentieth century”, encompassing the period from the First World War through to the finish of the Cold War.

Periodizing terms oft have negative or positive connotations that may touch on their usage. This includes
Victorian, which often negatively suggests sexual repression and class disharmonize. Other labels such equally
have strongly positive characteristics. Every bit a consequence, these terms sometimes extend in pregnant. Thus the
English Renaissance
is often used for a period largely identical to the
Elizabethan Flow
or reign of Elizabeth I, and begins some 200 years later than the Italian Renaissance. Still the
Carolingian Renaissance
is said to have occurred during the reign of the Frankish king Charlemagne, and his immediate successors. Other examples, neither of which constituted a “rebirth” in the sense of revival, are the
American Renaissance
of the 1820s–1860s, referring mainly to literature, and the
Harlem Renaissance
of the 1920s, referring mainly to literature merely too to music and the visual arts.

The conception of a ‘rebirth’ of Classical Latin learning is first credited to the Italian poet Petrarch (1304–1374), the begetter of Renaissance Humanism, only the conception of a rebirth has been in mutual use since Petrarch’s time. The dominant usage of the word
refers to the cultural changes that occurred in Italy that culminated in the High Renaissance around 1500–1530. This concept applies dominantly to the visual arts, and the piece of work of Michelangelo, Raphael, and Leonardo da Vinci. Secondarily information technology is applied to other arts, just it is questionable whether information technology is useful to describe a stage in economic, social and political history. Many professional historians now refer to the historical periods ordinarily known as the Renaissance and the Reformation equally the offset of the Early Modern Catamenia, which extends much later. There is a gradual change in the courses taught and books published to correspond to the change in flow nomenclature, which in part reflects differences betwixt social history and cultural history. The new nomenclature suggests a broader geographical coverage and a growing attention to the relationships between Europe and the wider globe.

The term Middle Ages also derives from Petrarch. He was comparing his own catamenia to the Aboriginal or Classical world, seeing his time equally a time of rebirth afterwards a dark intermediate menstruum, the Centre Ages. The idea that the Centre Ages was a middle phase betwixt two other big scale periodizing concepts, Aboriginal and Modern, still persists. Information technology can exist sub-divided into the Early, Loftier and Tardily Eye Ages. The term Dark Ages is no longer in common use among modern scholars because of the difficulty of using it neutrally, though some writers have attempted to retain information technology and divest information technology of its negative connotations. The term “Heart Ages” and particularly the adjective
tin can also have a negative ring in vernacular utilize, but does not deport over into academic terminology. Notwithstanding, other terms, such equally Gothic compages, used to refer to a style typical of the High Middle Ages have largely lost the negative connotations they initially had, acquiring new meanings over time (see Gothic architecture and Goth subculture).

The Gothic and the Baroque were both named during subsequent stylistic periods when the preceding manner was unpopular. The word “Gothic” was practical every bit a pejorative term to all things Northern European and, hence, barbarian, probably outset by Giorgio Vasari. He coined the term “Gothic” in an endeavor to depict (particularly architecture) what he constitute objectionable. The give-and-take
baroque—derived from like words in Portuguese, Spanish, or French—literally refers to an irregular or misshapen pearl. Its first use outside the field of jewellery manufacture was in the early on 18th century, every bit a criticism of music that was viewed equally over-complicated and rough. Later, the term was as well used to draw architecture and art.[4]
The Bizarre menstruum was outset designated as such in the 19th century, and is generally considered to take begun around 1600 in all media. Music history places the cease of the period in the year 1750 with the death of J. S. Bach, while art historians consider the main period to take ended significantly before in almost areas.

Iii-age system


The usual method for periodization of the afar prehistoric past, in archeology is to rely on changes in material civilization and technology, such as the Rock Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age and their sub-divisions besides based on dissimilar styles of material remains. Despite the development over recent decades of the ability through radiocarbon dating and other scientific methods to requite actual dates for many sites or artefacts, these long-established schemes seem likely to remain in utilize. In many cases neighbouring cultures with writing have left some history of cultures without it, which may be used. The arrangement farther underwent subdivisions, including the 1865 partitioning of the Rock Age into Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic periods by John Lubbock.[five]



Some events or short periods of change have such a desperate effect on the cultures they touch on that they form a natural break in history. These are often marked past the widespread employ of both
mail service-
phrases centered on the consequence, as in
postal service-Reformation, or
post-colonial. Both pre-war and post-war are still understood to refer to Earth War II, though at some future point the phrases volition demand to exist altered to make that clear.

World history


Case of periodizations in history

Several major periods historians may use are:

  1. Prehistory
  2. Aboriginal History
  3. Late artifact
  4. Post-classical
  5. Early on modernistic
  6. Tardily modern
  7. Mod history[6]
    (sometimes the nineteenth century and modern are combined)[6]
  8. Gimmicky history

is synonymous with the Heart Ages of Western Europe, the term
is non necessarily a fellow member of the traditional tripartite periodization of Western European history into ‘classical’, ‘middle’ and ‘modern’.

Some popularized periodizations using the terms long or short past historians are:

  • Long eighteenth century
  • Long nineteenth century
  • Short twentieth century

See also


  • Listing of time periods
  • List of archaeological periods
  • Regnal year
  • Geological era
  • Cosmological epoch
  • Japanese era proper noun
  • Logarithmic timeline
  • Chronological dating
  • 2nd Hundred Years’ State of war





  1. ^

    Adam Rabinowitz.
    Information technology’southward nearly time: historical periodization and Linked Ancient Globe Data. Institute for the Written report of the Ancient World Papers, 2014.

  2. ^

    “Definition of periodization |”.
    . Retrieved

  3. ^

    Alexander, David C. (2008).
    Augustine’s Early Theology of the Church: Emergence and Implications, 386–391. Peter Lang. p. 219. ISBN978-one-4331-0103-8.

  4. ^

    Pasiscla, Claude Five., “Baroque” in Grove Music Online, Oxford Music Online. Accessed Feb 2014.

  5. ^

    “John Lubbock’s “Pre-Historic Times” is Published (1865)”. History of Information. Retrieved
    27 Dec

  6. ^



    Stearns, Peter Northward. (2017). “Periodization in World History: Challenges and Opportunities”. In R. Charles Weller (ed.).
    21st-Century Narratives of World History: Global and Multidisciplinary Perspectives. Palgrave. ISBN978-three-319-62077-0.



  • Lawrence Besserman, ed.,
    The Claiming of Periodization: Old Paradigms and New Perspectives, 1996, ISBN 0-8153-2103-1. See Chapter 1 for an overview of the postmodernist position on periodization.
  • Bentley, J. H. 1996. Cross-Cultural Interaction and Periodization in World History.
    American Historical Review
    (June): 749–770.
  • Grinin, L. 2007. Periodization of History: A theoretic-mathematical analysis. In:
    History & Mathematics. Moscow: KomKniga/URSS. pp. x–38. ISBN 978-5-484-01001-one.

External links


  • Quotations related to Periodization at Wikiquote
  • Björn Hammarfelt. 2019. “Discipline” in
    ISKO Encyclopedia of Knowledge Organization, eds. Birger Hjørland and Claudio Gnoli.

Periodization is a Useful Concept to Apply When