Saturday, June 01, 2024

Iustinus Martyr

Today is the feast of St. Justin Martyr. From the First Apology, Chapter 45: 

And that God the Father of all would bring Christ to heaven after He had raised Him from the dead, and would keep Him there until He has subdued His enemies the devils, and until the number of those who are foreknown by Him as good and virtuous is complete, on whose account He has still delayed the consummation -- hear what was said by the prophet David. These are his words: The Lord said to My Lord, Sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies Your footstool. The Lord shall send to You the rod of power out of Jerusalem; and rule You in the midst of Your enemies. With You is the government in the day of Your power, in the beauties of Your saints: from the womb of morning have I begotten You. That which he says, He shall send to You the rod of power out of Jerusalem, is predictive of the mighty word, which His apostles, going forth from Jerusalem, preached everywhere; and though death is decreed against those who teach or at all confess the name of Christ, we everywhere both embrace and teach it. And if you also read these words in a hostile spirit, you can do no more, as I said before, than kill us; which indeed does no harm to us, but to you and all who unjustly hate us, and do not repent, brings eternal punishment by fire.

St. Justin is one of the patron saints of the blog; I first got this weblog exactly two decades ago on June 1, although I didn't post until the next day. That's a long eon in blogging, during which blogging and, more broadly, the internet have changed in many ways. In particular, I think both have mostly become both much less fun (certainly much less rough-and-tumble) and somewhat less useful for intellectual life, but that was likely inevitable. This particular blog, anyway, still mostly does what it has always done, at least for me, giving my unruly mind a place not to be so cramped, so it will certainly continue for a while, perhaps even for another long eon.

Friday, May 31, 2024

Dashed Off XIII

 Where there are demonstrative arguments, there are probable arguments.

2 Macc 15:12-14 and the intercession of saints

Measurement is not a sign but by means of signs.

objective causality & incomplete disposition to an end

possible solutions to Peirce's Puzzle about boundaries:
(1) boundaries are overlaps
(2) boundaries are (possibly vanishingly) small distinct regions
(3) boundaries are on one side
(4) boundaries are nonoverlapping superpositions (disjunctions collapsing to disjunct depending on manner of approach)
(5) boundaries don't exist

Gan (2023): If mereotopological connection is interpreted as the intersection of one set with the closure of another, all the major topological and mereotopological definitions align.

Massin on modes of location (2008)
partial-sporadic, partial-pervasive, entire-sporadic, entire pervasive

What is the alethic analogue of a boundary?
-- to give an answer, if there is an answer, would need an analogue of connection, then interior, then exterior, then boundary.

Compensatory duties are always relative to a law of compensation. (Such duties are duties of repair with respect to a specific means of measurement determined by the law.)

The only authentic reform is the reform that begins with love of good things.

"With the notion of value we are in a static order, in the order of what Aristotle called formal causality." Maritain
"Moral obligation is a constraint exercised by the intellect on the will."

"All human rights are comprehended under the formula: The human being must be treated as a person." Erhard

the aesthetic of formulas: elegance as clarity of relations in economy of form
elegance in contemplation vs elegance in use

Every permissibility requires a permitting authority, allowing for a broad sense of what might count as an authority.

the facultating power of will

The sacraments depend rigidly and constantly on God (in Thomasson's senses) and generically and historically on relevant priestly powers (including priesthood of believers for baptism and matrimony).

In concentrated learning, like acting, one must develop a process.

Most factional politics is a luxury game for the upper classes.

perceiving a historical figure in and through a fictional version

Every soul is tending toward its Ragnarok.

The human being is a transfiguring creature; it is our nature to take the world around us and make it something new, as instrument, as symbol, as reflection of ourselves, as counterpoint to ourselves.

Even heretical and schismatic sects can have true sacraments such that those who in good faith and not knowing better receive them with zeal  may be incoprorated thereby into the Catholic Church by honest desire. (This is not the same as to say that formal heretics and formal schismatics may be so; but a sect will often have people who are not themselves guilty of the heresy or schism, and, having come to it, are seeing the truth it reflects without being in a position to to see the defects in the reflection.)

Wisdom is not merely rational; it is free.

indulgences as stipendiary remissions for devotional services rendered (this is similar to some medieval accounts)

For us to say that something is a potential person, we have to be able to identify some act or process that is person-making.

slide rule as physical memory palace

Art operates not merely on formless materials but also on things that are already products of art. I set an artificial pen with artificial ink to an artificial page to produce an artificial text.

In listening to music, our imagination is both guided and free; its restlessness is given material on which to act and a framework within which it may more easily associate.

Grammar is written language's attempt to capture the fluid order of spoken language. Spoken language is more fundamentally rhetorical and poetic than written language, in the liberal arts senses of those terms.

Liguori's interpretation of 'truly, really, substantially'
truly: rejects merely figurative presence
really: rejects imaginary presence (presence by mere representation)
substantially: rejects merely virtual presence (presence by mere spiritual power)

We may and do obviously use the term 'knowledge' figuratively in non-factive cases.

Constant conjunction in experience requires an enduring self to whom such constant conjunction would exist.

formal wave vs. mediated wave

experiment -> experimental ensemble -> network of experimental ensembles -> theories

scientific research as massive parallel computation with coincidental variation

In our experience we do not find anything even approximating the appearance of a brute fact except arbitrary freely chosen results of will. Thus whenever we find anything attributed to brute fact, by analogy we should look for the relevant act of will.

Dice and coins are random because we deliberately choose them to be signs of objects that have an irrelevance to the dynamic features of their material nature.

fire on the altar as a symbol of the Ascension

Theological modernism often gets the direction of signification wrong, taking the cognitive expression as the ontic ground.

Modern states often function by trying to buy loyalty from subjects; activism is as effective as it is because it is a method of continually raising the price for loyalty.

The features of mystical phenomena include the majesty of God, the sinful states of soul, the dangers of deception, and our responses to them; it is a mistake to think that 'the mystical phenoman' are separate from these things.

the prayer of quiet as the Sabbath in us

The soul is the enclosure for itself, through which it itself moves. It is its own interior world, in which it itself abides and dwells. This is a result of its being present to itself both actually and objectively, immediately and reflectively, by direct presence and by sign.

Sometimes mystical phenomena are described modally (by how they are received) and sometiems objectively (by how they are perceived).

In mystical experience, the same thing may be experienced in different 'rotated' ways: as object of one's powers, as subject to which one is instrument, as cooperative with one in some action, etc.

The mind has both a dualistic and a monistic relation to itself; it is both united with and opposed to itself.

Social forms of phenomenology have to combine experience of with experience in.

People studying religious experience underestimate the extent to which one kind of experience can be embedded within another.

Drug-induced phenomena are generically interesting in that they trace out potentials for experience. Some of these potentials are not particularly interesting in themselves -- one does not need drugs to know that one has a potential for experiencing moving colors. But sometimes, while the drug-induced phenomenon is not itself important, the potential is something easily missed or overlooked in everyday experience; and in other cases, the phenomenon may have importance in a given context, as in entheogenic cases.

When people claim there are unmediated experiences of a given type, they often have weird views of what counts as 'mediated'.

One of the difficulties of evanglism in the post-medieval West is the constant need to spell out what in a more traditional society would be obvious.

the liturgical as an expression of Christ's mediatorial role, at the level both of society and of sacrament

Social justice cannot be upheld without regard for social roles.

The correct thread in early modern (and not always Protestant) antipathy to 'popery' is the essential importance of ecclesial subsidiarity.

In human life, nature and artifice intertwine.

Scripture as text transcends community-individual divides.

Faith and hope are habitual states of divine objective presence. Technically thi sis true of charity as well, but it is inadequate as a description of love's union with God by God's presence in love.

"Charity, the mother and guardian of all that is good, which binds together in union the hearts of many, regards not as absent him whom it has present in the mind's eye." Gregory the Great
"Your prayers are in the place where you are not, while your holy operations are shown in the place where you are."

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Arche tou Euangeliou

Beginning of the good message of Jesus Christ, Son of God, as written in Isaiah the prophet: See, I send my messenger before your face, who will build your road, proclaimer's voice in the wilderness; ready the Lord's road, make level his rutted path.

There came John the baptizer in the wilderness, while proclaiming repentant immersion for release of sins, and there were going out to him all of the region of Judea and Jerusalem, and all were being immersed by him in the Jordan River, acknowledging their sins. And John was clothed in camel's hairs, with leather belt around the waist, while eating locusts and wild honey. And he was heralding, saying, The mightier-than-I comes after me, of whom I am not competent, having bent down, to loose the tie of his sandals. I immersed you in water, but he will immerse you in the Holy Spirit.

And it happened in those days, that Jesus came from Galilean Nazareth and was immersed in the Jordan by John. And at once ascending from the water, he gazed at the heavens splitting and the Spirit as dove descending on him. And a voice came from the skies: You are My Son, the Loved, in you I am pleased. And at once the Spirit casts him into the wilderness.

And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tested by the Adversary. And he was with the beasts and the messengers were attending to him.

[Mark 1:1-13, my very, very rough translation. Mark famously shifts back and forth between past tense and present tense; some of the more complicated syntax is my crude attempt to accommodate this in a readable form. He also uses the conjunction kai for almost everything, and in most of his sentences; I've translated it variously as 'and', 'while', and 'with'. He also famously has the quirk of using euthys (straightway, immediately, at once) a lot; he doesn't always seem to mean it chronologically, so perhaps we should take it as his figurative way of indicating that two events are closely tied together in some way or other -- perhaps less like 'at once' and more like 'Connected with this,...'.

The passage has several -angel- words, although interestingly they all do slightly different duty: euangeliou (of the good tiding, i.e., the gospel), ton angelon (the messenger, i.e., the prophet), hoi angeloi (the messengers, i.e., the angels). 

The fact that the comment at the beginning is attributed to Isaiah and not to the textually closer Malachi is sometimes dismissed by commentators as an error of memory, but when we go back and look at how these texts are reflected in this next several paragraphs, the textual interrelations seem to me to be far too complex to make this plausible; the author is not slipping but doing it deliberately. That is, the comment attributed to Isaiah is not a straight quotation but an interpretation, which seems (probably correctly even as a purely textual matter) to recognize Isaiah 40:3 as an allusion to Exodus 23:20ff. and as extended and interpreted by Malachi 3:1. All three passages seem to have some influence on the paragraphs to follow, which is not at all what you would expect from a simple error in memory. And it's a little odd that commentators never remember that the way people, across multiple cultures, read prophecy is by interpreting it in light of other prophecy. It's also worth reflecting that conjoining of multiple prophecies fits exactly with Mark's overall narrative style, with kai and euthys perpetually linking things together into unities of all different kinds.]

Standing Admonition

It is impossible to say, who would have been able to have reasoned out that whole system, which we call Natural Religion, in its genuine simplicity, clear of superstition: but there is certainly no ground to affirm that the generality could. If they could, there is no sort of probability that they would. Admitting there were, they would highly want a standing admonition to remind them of it, and inculcate it upon them. 

 And further, were they as much disposed to attend to religion, as the better sort of men are; yet even upon this supposition, there would be various occasions for supernatural instruction and assistance, and the greatest advantages might be afforded by them. So that to say revelation is a thing superfluous, what there was no need of, and what can be of no service, is, I think, to talk quite wildly and at random. Nor would it be more extravagant to affirm, that mankind is so entirely at ease in the present state, and life so completely happy, that it is a contradiction to suppose our condition capable of being, in any respect, better.

[Joseph Butler, The Analogy of Religion, Part II, Chapter 1.] 

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Links of Note

 * Joseph Lawler, If You Build It, Will They Come?, at "The New Atlantis", on Austin's interstate highway expansion.

* Nicholas Colgrove & Daniel Rodger, No, Pregnancy Is Not a Disease (PDF). The authors are criticizing a paper by Anna Smajdor and Joona Räsänen that I criticized here.

* Marij van Strien, Was physics ever deterministic? The historical basis of determinism and the image of classical physics

* Matthew Shelton, Divine Madness in Plato's Phaedrus (PDF)

* Jim Graves, The 3 Painted Churches of Hawaii, at "National Catholic Register"

* Nicholas D. Smith & Catherine McKeen, Like-Mindedness: Plato's Solution to the Problem of Faction (PDF)

* Alexej Lochmatow, Virtue as a Lens: Exploring Science, Scholarship, and Politics under Soviet Domination, at "History of Knowledge"

* Hein van den Berg, Explanation, teleology, and analogy in natural history and comparative anatomy around 1800: Kant and Cuvier (PDF)

* John Psmith reviews Einstein's Unification, by Jeroen van Donge, at "Mr. and Mrs. Psmith's Bookshelf"

* Savas L. Tsohatzidis, Speaker meaning, sentence meaning, and metaphorSpeaker meaning, sentence meaning, and metaphor (PDF)

* Nathaniel Gan, What Kind of Non-Realism is Fictionalism?

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Monday, May 27, 2024

Many Worlds and Determinism

 There is an interesting article in Scientific American, Does Quantum Mechanics Rule Out Free Will?, which is, as is unsurprising, concerned with an argument that quantum mechanics (the many-worlds interpretation of it, to be exact) is deterministic, which at least some people quoted in it take to rule out free will. The matter is actually quite complicated. For one thing, physicists use 'deterministic' in a different sense than it is used when discussing free will. For physicists, 'determinism' is a feature of a model such that from the values of the relevant variables in one state you can determine the values in all the other states in the model. 'Determinism' in free will discussions describes a reality in which the connection of cause to effect is accurately and completely described by a strong modality from a logical system in which the strong modality is implied by a null modality. There are a lot of differences here. For instance, the physics-determinism is not directional (e.g., it doesn't matter whether the states are past or future), whereas causal determinism as we find it in free will discussions is directional (it is the cause to effect direction that is controversial, whereas necessity in the effect to cause direction is quite commonly accepted as a form of conditional necessity). But the most obvious is that physics-determinism is a feature of a model, and causal determinism is a purported feature of the world. The issue, of course, is that you can have a deterministic model of a process that is strictly indeterministic. It will just be sometimes possibly wrong, even if only very rarely; and all our deterministic models, even our best, are in fact sometimes wrong, even if only very rarely, because they are all necessarily idealized and do not in all circumstances account for all variables with perfect precision. Moving from one sense of determinism to another is something one does by a vague and imperfect feeling of analogy between the two, and not because anything in the physics-determinism directly implies causal determinism.

The  matter gets even more complicated if we go down a level and consider the many-worlds theory itself. Very crudely and roughly, a central, and unresolved, issue in interpreting the mathematics for quantum mechanics lies in the fact that the Schrodinger wave equation gives us very accurate descriptions of quantum mechanical processes and their outcomes, but that the same equation also gives us answers to which those outcomes do not correspond. In a sense, the wave equation is too generous; it gives us all the possibilities that fit the experimental results and also possibilities that don't. Different interpretations of quantum mechanics try to explain this in different ways, and there are endlessly many different ways. But three core answers keep popping up in different versions, because it seems that one of the three has to be true:

(1) The wave equation is missing something important, and there is some other fact that weeds out the unobtained possibilities.

(2) The wave equation is correct in identifying the possible outcomes, but the real process itself indeterministically 'selects' one of them as the real outcome.

(3) All of the outcomes of the wave equation are in some way real.

This is very crude, but allowing for a lot of nuance in actual development of theories, all of these have had major physicists championing them, and all of them have advantages, and all of them have very serious disadvantages. Historically, the most popular among physicists has been (2), but in recent decades (3), originally dismissed by most physicsts as absurd, has had increasing respect, in part because it makes easier a number of things physicists think important. (3)-based interpretations, of which there are different versions, are generally called 'many worlds' theories, or sometimes 'multiverse' theories.

The whole thing is fascinating from a philosophy of physics point of view. It reminds me in many ways of the problem of the direction of time. The problem of temporal direction is that almost all the major equations of physics make no distinction between past and future, backward or forward in time, but we quite clearly do experience time in a way that makes its direction important. (The second law of thermodynamics is the major exception, but even that is not completely straightforward, since some of the most important explanations of what it means based on probabilities also would not obviously be affected by direction, and you have to get quite precise about what is meant by 'direction' to start seeing why physicists take the increase of entropy to be, in some sense, in one direction.) In both cases, the problem of how to interpret physics can be seen as coming down to figuring out what to do with the failure of fit between the impartiality of the mathematics used by physicists to describe the world and the partiality of the world physicists actually encounter in experiment.

In any case, on a many worlds interpretation, all of the results of the wave equation happen. This raises the obvious next question: Why don't we see them in experiment? And the many worlds interpretation answers this by saying, "They happen in a different universe." There are different ways of making sense of this. The usual way it is described is that at every quantum interaction, the universe 'splits' into one universe for each result from the wave equation. We don't have to puzzle about what we are missing, or how the world selects which result to follow; nothing essential is missing and all of the results follow. Different versions of the many worlds have somewhat different views of this 'splitting' (and also how literally to take the idea that universes split off from each other). 

The technicalities are quite extensive, and more than a few of them beyond me. But this is already enough to see that we should be cautious. What exactly is this splitting? How do quantum interactions relate to free will choices or indeed any other apparently macroscopic event within a single universe? We don't know. There are several different versions of many worlds interpretations, and making very small adjustments in the interpretation can give you very different ideas about what it might mean for a universe or world-history to split into two. 'Free will' is obviously not a term in any scientifically respectable many worlds interpretation, and therefore no such interpretation says anything about it at all. It's even been disputed whether the quantum interactions are properly seen as causal interactions. Physicists have been worried from the beginning that these interpretations effectively dead-end experimental inquiry, because any experiment has to occur in a universe, and therefore there is apparently no experiment one could ever do that could confirm or disconfirm the existence of these other universes, or confirm or disconfirm anything about their particular nature or relation to this universe. (So far the only semi-promising attempts of physics to work out what kind of experiment you could even do that would shed even indirect light on the matter all involve things we currently cannot do and in fact do not currently even know to be possible in the way they would need to be done.) Perhaps more immediately relevant to the free will discussion, many worlds interpretations have also tended to struggle with the role of probability in quantum mechanics. In particular, quantum mechanics requires not just any use of probabilities but a very particular kind that makes sense of some very odd quantum experiments and involves principles, like the Born rule, that characterize how they work; but it has always been difficult to find a many worlds interpretation that definitely fits with those principles. Despite the fact that it simplifies a number of things in physics, it's not surprising that physicists have been reluctant to accept it; its two major problems seem to be that it doesn't seem to be something we could establish by any experiment physicists could do and it's still unclear whether it is actually consistent with the experiments they have done. These problems would look very bad for the interpretation under most circumstances; it's only the fact that all other known interpretations have their own very serious problems that make these problems seem less bad here.

The discussion in the article is occasioned by a particular paper, Eddy Chen's Strong Determinism (PDF). It's a fascinating paper. I don't like some of the ways he sets up the account of determinism used in it, which seems like an unholy amalgam of the two different senses of determinism I mentioned at the beginning of this post; it follows from it that most deterministic theories in physics are not deterministic in the sense used here (since they don't specify anything about which possible worlds they apply to), and it also seems that, depending on how your theories are allowed to gerrymander possible worlds, that you could get strong determinism in Chen's sense even dealing with situations that would usually be called indeterministic in free will discussions. I could perhaps just be missing something, but I'm already wary on these grounds. I also don't like shifting back and forth between the actual world and possible worlds; it can be done, but there are endlessly many ways to get something wrong without realizing it. In any case, one (but only one) of the several things that he considers is how his account of strong determinism relates to Everett's version of the many worlds interpretation. (Chen himself does not seem to have any particular commitment to this interpretation.) It is not strongly deterministic in Chen's sense, but he argues that you can have a version of it, with certain additional assumptions beyond the standard Everett interpretation, that is strongly deterministic, and that such a version makes certain things more tractable in such a way that you could have very simple laws covering all the major phenomena physics want to explain. The point of the argument is not to consider whether the world is strongly deterministic but whether strong determinism in his sense requires you to give up on simple laws of nature, and Chen's argument (which, without having gone through every step, seems reasonably plausible) is that it does not, although you need a particular kind of strongly deterministic theory to make it work; and there's a secondary conclusion that, perhaps surprisingly, quantum mechanics is more hospitable to that particular kind of theory than classical mechanics is. That's an interesting, but much less provocative, result than one would have expected from the Scientific American article.

Sunday, May 26, 2024

The Third Age on a Historical Timeline

The Lord of the Rings involves huge historical epochs, and it is difficult to keep a sense of them. So I thought I would rough out what the timeline of the Third Age would look like if it were instead in our own timeline. You could do it from the present moment, but I went from 1955, the year The Return of the King was published. I've put in a few battles, dynasties, and empires in a very rough way for comparison. The only real institutions in our history that consistently work on anything like the scales of time we see in the Second Age and the Third Age are things like the Chinese Empire, the Roman Empire (including the Byzantines), Ancient Egypt, the Japanese Imperial House, and the Catholic Church. Almost everything else starts looking very brief.

Incidentally, I suspect it's not an accident that the Founding of the Shire occurs roughly around the time that we get the foundations of Post-Roman Britain (what we might think in legendary terms as 'Arthurian times' and historically as the development of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms that eventually became 'England'). The hobbits have an English-length culture as well as an English-like culture.


1955 => The War of the Ring ends with the destruction of the One Ring; the end of the THIRD AGE. [T.A. 3019]

1954 => The War of the Ring begins

1952 => Gollum is captured and taken to Barad-dur

[End of World War II]

1937 => Bilbo's Birthday Party; Frodo inherits the One Ring.[T.A. 3001 = S.R. 1401]

[Beginning of World War II]

1926 => Birth of Pippin Took [T.A. 2990 = S.R. 1390]

[End of World War I]

1918 => Birth of Merry Brandybuck [T.A. 2982 = S.R. 1382]

1916 => Birth of Sam Gamgee and Fatty Bolger; Theoden becomes King of Rohan. [T.A. 2980 =  S.R.1980]

[Beginning of World War I]

1904 => Birth of Frodo Baggins. [T.A. 2968 = S.R. 1368]

1889 => The last formal meeting of the White Council.

1885 => Gandalf and Balin visit Bilbo in the Shire.

1877 => Bilbo meets Gollum and discovers the One Ring; the Death of Smaug; the Battle of the Five Armies; the re-founding of the Kingdom of Erebor. [T.A. 2941]

1867 => Birth of Aragorn. [T.A. 2931]

[American Civil War]

1826 => Birth of Bilbo Baggins. [T.A. 2890 = S.R. 1290]

1815 => Birth of Gimli. [T.A. 2879]

[Rise and Fall of the Napoleonic Empire]

1788 => The White Tree of Gondor dies.

1787 => The White Council meets to discuss the problem of Dol Guldur.

[American Revolution]

1735 => With the Battle of Azanulbizar (also known as the Battle of the Mines of Moria), the War of the Dwarves and the Orcs ends; death of Azog.

1729 => The War of the Dwarves and the Orcs begins.

[Collapse of the Safavid Empire]

1706 => Smaug comes to Erebor and destroys both City of Dale and the Kingdom of Erebor.

1695 => Saruman is given the keys of Orthanc and takes up residence there.

1682 => Birth of Thorin II Oakenshield. [T.A. 2746]

[Jamestown established in Virginia]

[Battle of Lepanto]

1526 => Thror becomes King under the Mountain in Erebor; his brother Gror becomes Lord of the Iron Hills.

[Conquest of the New World begins]

[Rise of the Safavid Empire]

[Fall of Constantinople]

1399 => The Council of the Wise (White Council) is formed. A fisherman named Deagol rediscovers the One Ring, and is murdered for it by Smeagol, who becomes Gollum.

[Rise of the Mongol Empire]

[Crusades Begin]

[Battle of Manzikert]

[Norman Conquest]

986  => The Witch King kills King Earnur of Gondor, ending the line of the Kings of Gondor. Mardil Voronwe becomes the first Ruling Steward of Gondor [T.A. 2050]

938 => The Nazgul capture Minas Ithil and it becomes Minas Morgul; Minas Anor is renamed Minas Tirith.

935 => The Kingdom of Erebor is founded and the Arkenstone is discovered.

[Unification of England]

926 => Durin's Bane wakes in Moria and King Durin IV is killed; the Dwarves begin to flee Moria.

921 => The Host of the West is formed, as King Earnur of Gondor, Cirdan of Lindon, and the remaining forces of Arnor; the Witch Kingdom of Angmar is destroyed; due to the sudden arrival of a force from Rivendell led by Glorfindel, the Witch King is forced to flee.

920 => The Witch King takes Fornost and destroys the Kingdom of Arnor.

[Rise of the Carlovingian Empire]

[Aethelwealh Becomes First Christian King of Sussex]

[Aethelberht Becomes First King of Kent]

[Traditional Date for Wehha Becoming First King of East Anglia]

[Traditional Date for Creoda Becoming First King of Mercia]

537 => The Shire is founded. [T.A. 1601 = S.R. 1]

[Aescwine Becomes First King of Essex]

[Cerdic Becomes First King of Wessex]

[Age of Justinian]

236 => The Witch King founds the Kingdom of Angmar.


[Birth of Christ]

[Rise of the Roman Empire]

64 => (approximately) The Wizards (Istari) arrive in Middle Earth.

[Punic Wars][End of Zhou Dynasty]

[Rise of the Parthian Empire]

[Rise of the Macedonian Empire]

[Peloponnesian War]

[Persian War]

[Rise of the Persian Empire; Collapse of the Babylonian Empire]

[Collapse of the Assyrian Empire; Rise of the Babylonian Empire]

[Traditional Beginning of the Imperial House of Japan]

823 => Arwen is born [T.A. 241]

[Rise of the Assyrian Empire]

1062 => Disaster of the Gladden Fields; the Death of Isildur; the One Ring is lost.


1065 => Gil-Galad and Elendil are slain; the Last Alliance defeats Sauron. Isildur takes the Ring. The end of the SECOND AGE.

[Beginning of Zhou Dynasty]