Millennium

Millennium

Overview
A millennium is a period of time equal to one thousand years (1,000)—from the Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 phrase , thousand, and , year—often but not necessarily related numerically to a particular dating system
Calendar
A calendar is a system of organizing days for social, religious, commercial, or administrative purposes. This is done by giving names to periods of time, typically days, weeks, months, and years. The name given to each day is known as a date. Periods in a calendar are usually, though not...

.

For example, a millennium could start at the beginning of the year 289 and finish at the beginning of the year 1289.

Sometimes, it is used specifically for periods of one thousand years that begin at the starting point (initial reference point) of the calendar in consideration (typically the year "1"), or in later years which are whole number multiples of a thousand years after it.
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Encyclopedia
A millennium is a period of time equal to one thousand years (1,000)—from the Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 phrase , thousand, and , year—often but not necessarily related numerically to a particular dating system
Calendar
A calendar is a system of organizing days for social, religious, commercial, or administrative purposes. This is done by giving names to periods of time, typically days, weeks, months, and years. The name given to each day is known as a date. Periods in a calendar are usually, though not...

.

For example, a millennium could start at the beginning of the year 289 and finish at the beginning of the year 1289.

Sometimes, it is used specifically for periods of one thousand years that begin at the starting point (initial reference point) of the calendar in consideration (typically the year "1"), or in later years which are whole number multiples of a thousand years after it. The term can also refer to an interval of time beginning on any date. Frequently in the latter case (and sometimes also in the former) it may have religious or theological implications (see millenarianism
Millenarianism
Millenarianism is the belief by a religious, social, or political group or movement in a coming major transformation of society, after which all things will be changed, based on a one-thousand-year cycle. The term is more generically used to refer to any belief centered around 1000 year intervals...

). Sometimes in religious use, such an interval called a "millennium" might be interpreted less precisely, i.e., not always being exactly 1000 years long.

Ordinal


The original method of counting years was ordinal
Ordinal number
In set theory, an ordinal number, or just ordinal, is the order type of a well-ordered set. They are usually identified with hereditarily transitive sets. Ordinals are an extension of the natural numbers different from integers and from cardinals...

, whether 1st year A.D. or regnal 10th year of King Henry VIII
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

. This ordinal numbering is still present in the names of the millennia and centuries, for example 1st Millennium or the 20th century, and sometimes in the names of decades, e.g. 1st decade of the 21st century.

Ranges


A change from ordinals to cardinals is incomplete and might not ever be completed; the main issues arise from the content of the various year ranges. Similar issues affect the contents of centuries. Decades are usually referred to by their leading numbers and are therefore immune to this controversy: the decade called 1990s would by its naming not include 2000. Similarly the 100 years comprising the 1900s share 99 years in common with the twentieth century, but do not include 2000.

Those following ordinal year names naturally choose
  • 2001–2100 as the current century
  • 2001–3000 as the current millennium

Those following cardinal year names equally naturally choose
  • 2000–2099 as the current century
  • 2000–2999 as the current millennium

Debate over millennium celebrations


The common Western calendar, i.e. the Gregorian calendar
Gregorian calendar
The Gregorian calendar, also known as the Western calendar, or Christian calendar, is the internationally accepted civil calendar. It was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII, after whom the calendar was named, by a decree signed on 24 February 1582, a papal bull known by its opening words Inter...

, has been defined with counting origin 1. Thus each period of 1,000 years concludes with a year number with three zeroes, e.g. the first thousand years in the Western calendar included the year 1000. However, there are two viewpoints about how millennia should be thought of in practice, one which relies on the formal operation of the calendar and one which appeals to other notions that attract popular sentiment.
A number of countries
Date and time notation by country
Different conventions exist around the world for date and time representation, both written and spoken.- Differences :Differences can exist in:*The calendar that is used.*The order in which the year, month and day are represented....

 have legally adopted ISO 8601
ISO 8601
ISO 8601 Data elements and interchange formats – Information interchange – Representation of dates and times is an international standard covering the exchange of date and time-related data. It was issued by the International Organization for Standardization and was first published in 1988...

, also used in other contexts
ISO 8601 usage
On the Internet, the World Wide Web Consortium uses ISO 8601 in defining a profile of the standard that restricts the supported date and time formats to reduce the chance of error and the complexity of software....

, which uses the astronomical calendar
Astronomical year numbering
Astronomical year numbering is based on AD/CE year numbering, but follows normal decimal integer numbering more strictly. Thus, it has a year 0, the years before that are designated with negative numbers and the years after that are designated with positive numbers...

 in which year counting starts at 0. Thus, when using this calendar, the millennium starts at x000 and ends at x999. There was a popular debate leading up to the celebrations of the year 2000 as to whether the beginning of that year should be understood (and celebrated) as the beginning of a new millennium. Historically, there has been debate around the turn of previous decades, centuries, and millennia.
The issue is tied to the convention of using ordinal number
Ordinal number
In set theory, an ordinal number, or just ordinal, is the order type of a well-ordered set. They are usually identified with hereditarily transitive sets. Ordinals are an extension of the natural numbers different from integers and from cardinals...

s to count millennia (as in "the third millennium"), as opposed to using cardinal number
Cardinal number
In mathematics, cardinal numbers, or cardinals for short, are a generalization of the natural numbers used to measure the cardinality of sets. The cardinality of a finite set is a natural number – the number of elements in the set. The transfinite cardinal numbers describe the sizes of infinite...

s (as in "the two thousands"), which is unambiguous as it does not depend on which year counting starts. The first convention is common in English speaking countries, but the latter is favored in for example Sweden ("tvåtusentalet", which could be translated literally as the "two thousands period").

Arbitrariness of the selection of the Year One



As a side-note to the debate on timing of the "turning of the millennium", the arbitrariness of the era itself can be raised. Mathematically, the choice of the zero point on any timeline is an arbitrary one. (However, once chosen, it must be abided.)

The Gregorian calendar is a secularized, de facto
De facto
De facto is a Latin expression that means "concerning fact." In law, it often means "in practice but not necessarily ordained by law" or "in practice or actuality, but not officially established." It is commonly used in contrast to de jure when referring to matters of law, governance, or...

standard, based on a significant Christian event, the purported date of the birth of Jesus Christ
Chronology of Jesus
The chronology of Jesus aims to establish a historical order for some of the events of the life of Jesus in the four canonical gospels. The Christian gospels were primarily written as theological documents rather than historical chronicles and their authors showed little interest in an absolute...

. Thus, the foundation of the calendar may not be as relevant to non-Christians. The calendar is one among many other calendars that are still in use and have been used, historically. Adjustments and errors in the calendar (such as Dionysius Exiguus
Dionysius Exiguus
Dionysius Exiguus was a 6th-century monk born in Scythia Minor, modern Dobruja shared by Romania and Bulgaria. He was a member of the Scythian monks community concentrated in Tomis, the major city of Scythia Minor...

's incorrect calculation of the year 1 AD) make the particular dates we use today arbitrary.

However, everyone can utilize the current, very common calendar, referring to its years as either being year of the "Christian Era" or the "Common Era", or the years earlier than this one as being either before the "Christian Era" or before the "Common Era", abbreviated BCE..

Viewpoint 1: x001–y000


Those holding that the arrival of new millennium should be celebrated in the transition from 2000 to 2001 (i.e. December 31, 2000), argued that since the Gregorian Calendar has no year zero, the millennia should be counted from 1 AD. Thus the first period of one thousand complete years runs from the beginning of 1 AD to the end of 1000 AD, and the beginning of the second millennium took place at the beginning of 1001. The second millennium thus ends at the end of the year 2000.
Then again, those who defend the opposite idea state that the new millennium started with the year 2000 (because of the changes made to the Gregorian calendar in 1582, or because the first millennium started in 1 AD. and ended in 999 AD, being the only millennium (along with the last millennium b.c.) not with 1000 years, but with 999 years).






































Illustration of years with a 00–01 demarcation
2 BC 1 BC 1 AD 2 3 4 5 ... 998 999 1000 1001 1002 1003 ... 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 ... 2998 2999 3000 3001 3002 3003
First one thousand years (millennium) Second millennium Third millennium Fourth millennium

Arthur C. Clarke
Arthur C. Clarke
Sir Arthur Charles Clarke, CBE, FRAS was a British science fiction author, inventor, and futurist, famous for his short stories and novels, among them 2001: A Space Odyssey, and as a host and commentator in the British television series Mysterious World. For many years, Robert A. Heinlein,...

 gave this analogy
Analogy
Analogy is a cognitive process of transferring information or meaning from a particular subject to another particular subject , and a linguistic expression corresponding to such a process...

 (from a statement received by Reuters
Reuters
Reuters is a news agency headquartered in New York City. Until 2008 the Reuters news agency formed part of a British independent company, Reuters Group plc, which was also a provider of financial market data...

): "If the scale on your grocer's weighing machine began at 1 instead of 0, would you be happy when he claimed he'd sold you 10 kg of tea?" This statement illustrates the common confusion about the calendar.
If one counts from the beginning of AD 1 to the ending of AD 1000, one would have counted 1000 years. The next 1000 years (millennium) would begin on the first day of 1001. So the calendar has not 'cheated' anyone out of a year. Clarke made reference to this viewpoint in his book 3001: The Final Odyssey
3001: The Final Odyssey
3001: The Final Odyssey is a science fiction novel by Sir Arthur C. Clarke. It is the fourth and final book in Clarke's Space Odyssey series.-Plot summary:...

 referring to the Millennium Celebrations on January 31st 2000.
In other words, the argument is based on the fact that the last year of the first two thousand years in the Gregorian Calendar was 2000, not 1999.

Viewpoint 2: x000–x999


The "year 2000" has also been a popular phrase referring to an often utopia
Utopia
Utopia is an ideal community or society possessing a perfect socio-politico-legal system. The word was imported from Greek by Sir Thomas More for his 1516 book Utopia, describing a fictional island in the Atlantic Ocean. The term has been used to describe both intentional communities that attempt...

n future, or a year when stories in such a future were set, adding to its cultural significance. There was also media and public interest in the Y2K bug. Thus, the populist argument was that the new millennium should begin when the zeroes "rolled over" to 2000, i.e. the day after December 31, 1999. People felt that the change of hundred digit in the year number, and the zeros rolling over, created a sense that a new century had begun. This is similar to the common demarcation of decades by their most significant digits, e.g. naming the period 1980 to 1989 as the 1980s or "the eighties". Similarly, it would be valid to celebrate the year 2000 as a cultural event in its own right, and name the period 2000 to 2999 as "the 2000s".

Most historians agree that Dionysius nominated Christ's birth as December 25 of the year before AD 1. This corresponded with the belief that the birth year itself was considered too holy to mention. It also corresponds to the notion that AD 1 was "the first year of his life", as distinguished from being the year after his first birthday. Similarly in 1000 AD the church actively discouraged any mention of that year and in modern times it labelled 2000 AD as the "Jubilee Year 2000" marking the 2000th anniversary of the birth of Christ. The AD system counts years with origin 1. Some assume a preceding Year 0 for the start of the first Christian millennium in order to start the millennia in year numbers multiple of 1000.



































Illustration of years with a 99–00 demarcation using 0 (ISO 8601
ISO 8601
ISO 8601 Data elements and interchange formats – Information interchange – Representation of dates and times is an international standard covering the exchange of date and time-related data. It was issued by the International Organization for Standardization and was first published in 1988...

 and astronomical numbering system)
−1
 0   1   2   3   4   5   ...   998   999  1000 1001 1002 ... 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 ... 2998 2999 3000 3001 3002
First millennium (1000 years) Second millennium Third millennium



































Illustration of years with a 99–00 demarcation (starting AD 1)
1 BC 1 AD  2   3   4   5   ...   998   999  1000 1001 1002 ... 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 ... 2998 2999 3000 3001 3002
First millennium (999 years only) Second millennium Third millennium

Popular approach


The majority popular approach was to treat the end of 1999 as the end of a millennium, and to hold millennium celebrations at midnight between December 31, 1999 and January 1, 2000, as per viewpoint 2. The cultural and psychological significance of the events listed above combined to cause celebrations to be observed one year earlier than the formal Gregorian date. This does not, of course, establish that insistence on the formal Gregorian date is "incorrect", though some view it as pedantic (as in the comment of Douglas Adams mentioned below).
Some event organisers hedged their bets by calling their 1999 celebrations things like "Click" referring to the odometer
Odometer
An odometer or odograph is an instrument that indicates distance traveled by a vehicle, such as a bicycle or automobile. The device may be electronic, mechanical, or a combination of the two. The word derives from the Greek words hodós and métron...

-like rolling over of the nines to zeros.
A second approach was to adopt two different views on the millennium problem and celebrate the new millennium twice.

Popular culture

  • Stephen Jay Gould
    Stephen Jay Gould
    Stephen Jay Gould was an American paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and historian of science. He was also one of the most influential and widely read writers of popular science of his generation....

     noted in his essay Dousing Diminutive Dennis' Debate (or DDDD = 2000) (Dinosaur in a Haystack
    Dinosaur in a Haystack
    Dinosaur in a Haystack is the seventh volume of collected essays by the Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould. The essays were culled from his monthly column "The View of Life" in Natural History magazine, to which Gould contributed for 27 years...

    ) that celebrations and media announcements marked the turn into the twentieth century along the boundary of 1900 and 1901, citing, among other examples, the New York Times's headline "Twentieth Century's Triumphant Entry" on January 1, 1901. Gould also included comments on adjustments to the calendar, such as those by Dionysius Exiguus
    Dionysius Exiguus
    Dionysius Exiguus was a 6th-century monk born in Scythia Minor, modern Dobruja shared by Romania and Bulgaria. He was a member of the Scythian monks community concentrated in Tomis, the major city of Scythia Minor...

     (the eponymous "Diminutive Dennis"), the timing of celebrations over different transitional periods, and the "high" versus "pop" culture interpretation of the transition. Further of his essays on this topic are collected in Questioning the Millennium: A Rationalist's Guide to a Precisely Arbitrary Countdown.

  • In an episode of the American television series, Seinfeld
    Seinfeld
    Seinfeld is an American television sitcom that originally aired on NBC from July 5, 1989, to May 14, 1998, lasting nine seasons, and is now in syndication. It was created by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, the latter starring as a fictionalized version of himself...

    , titled "The Millennium", Jerry Seinfeld states, "Since there was no year zero, the millennium doesn't begin until the year two-thousand and one."

  • The action of the book The Headless Bust: A Melancholy Meditation on the False Millennium, by Edward Gorey
    Edward Gorey
    Edward St. John Gorey was an American writer and artist noted for his macabre illustrated books.-Early life:...

    , takes place on December 31, 1999, and it refers to the next coming year as the start of the new Millennium, despite the fact that the title of the book calls it the "False Millennium."


See also

  • List of calendars
  • Decade
    Decade
    A decade is a period of 10 years. The word is derived from the Ancient Greek dekas which means ten. This etymology is sometime confused with the Latin decas and dies , which is not correct....

  • Century
    Century
    A century is one hundred consecutive years. Centuries are numbered ordinally in English and many other languages .-Start and end in the Gregorian Calendar:...

  • Millennialism
    Millennialism
    Millennialism , or chiliasm in Greek, is a belief held by some Christian denominations that there will be a Golden Age or Paradise on Earth in which "Christ will reign" for 1000 years prior to the final judgment and future eternal state...

  • Millennium bug
  • Millennium Dome
    Millennium Dome
    The Millennium Dome, colloquially referred to simply as The Dome or even The O2 Arena, is the original name of a large dome-shaped building, originally used to house the Millennium Experience, a major exhibition celebrating the beginning of the third millennium...

  • Millenarianism
    Millenarianism
    Millenarianism is the belief by a religious, social, or political group or movement in a coming major transformation of society, after which all things will be changed, based on a one-thousand-year cycle. The term is more generically used to refer to any belief centered around 1000 year intervals...

  • Third millennium
  • White House Millennium Council
    White House Millennium Council
    The White House Millennium Council was an American organization established by Executive Order 13072 in 1998 by President Bill Clinton to commemorate the millennium...

  • Y2K

External links