Inspirarium - Historical Eras
History can be safely divided into three separate periods: the Classical Era, the Medieval Era, and the Modern Era, each of which has several subsets known as "Ages". While these tend to be Euro-centric designations, the three eras are generally represented at approximately the same time throughout the world.
The Classical Era is the period from the origin of civilizations in the Bronze Age through the fall of the Western Roman Empire. This is the period of ancient empires; when Egypt ruled the Nile Delta, when Babylon spread along the Tigris and Euphrates. This is the period of time when the first civilizations flourished in China and India - the famed, semi-mythic Xia Dynasty and the Indus Valley Civilizations of which we still know little. It was during the Classical Era that Brutus betrayed Caesar, and when Alexander the Great rode from Greece to India. Great thinkers came from this time, from Plato to Hypatia of Alexandria through Marcus Aurelius. Famous plays were written by the likes of Sophocles and Euripides; great battles waged by Scipio and Cyrus and Cao Cao. If you’ve ever dreamed of riding a war chariot through the African desert, watching the gladiatorial games in Rome, or balancing an ancient legacy during the Three Kingdoms, this period is for you.
Subsets: Rise of Civilizations, Egyptian Empire, Classical Greece, Persian Empire, Roman Republic & Empire, Pax Romana, early Indian Empires, early Chinese Dynasties, Three Kingdoms of China.
The Medieval Era goes from the fall of Rome through the beginning of industrialization, and is a period of great change in how the world works. The western portion of the world began to polarize over the concept of religion rather than empire, and as a result much of the emphasis of global politic was on who you worshipped, not on how you ruled. Christendom and Islam went to war for almost six hundred straight years; two major schisms rocked Europe, while the division between Shi’a and Sunni was forged and continues to this day. China moved through a period of much division into a new resurgence, before being divided and conquered by their northern neighbour. Similarly, empires arose on the American continent for the first time, before they were destroyed by European invaders with gunpowder, war horses, and disease. This is when Thomas Aquinas and Confucius thought, when Martin Luther and Muhammad changed the face of religion; this is when Elizabeth I and Saladin ruled, where Henry V and Montezuma made famous wars. This is the time of Genghis Khan and his sons, the era of Marco Polo, and the Age of Discovery. If you ever wanted to be a Viking raiding the English countryside, a French knight riding with Charlemagne, an agent of the Ottomans establishing a new world power, or to meet Kublai Khan, this period is for you.
Subsets: The Dark Ages, Islamic Expansion, The Middle Ages, the Viking Era, the Reconquista, the Northern & Southern Dynasties, the Reformation, the Crusades, the Age of Exploration, the Renaissance, the Mongol Empire, the Hundred Years War.
The Modern Era is the period from the introduction of the steam engine until the modern era. This covers a massive swath of alterations in the way the world works, including the post-American shift from religious allegiance to political allegiance, culminating in the World Wars of the 20th century. Technology changes as well; gunpowder weapons dominate war, information exchange becomes rapid and eventually instant, and long distance travel becomes a matter of days and hours instead of weeks and months. This is where the thinking of James Watt, Albert Einstein, and Marie Curie changes the way everything is considered; where leaders like Washington, Victoria, and Mao grab and hold onto different forms of political power that have lasted through this day. This is the fall of European empires and the rise of republics. This is the Napoleonic Wars, the Council of Vienna, the partition of Africa and the destruction of Imperial China. If you've ever wanted to march with the Mughals or witness the Council of Vienna, sail with the Royal Navy or be a buccaneer out of Tortuga, load a musket at Blenheim or perhaps watch the Trinity Test, then this period is for you.
Subsets: The Industrial Revolution, the American Revolution, the Latin American Independence Period, the French Revolution, the Napoleonic Period, the Partition of Africa, the British Empire, Manifest Destiny, the World Wars, the Great Depression, the Space Age.