Thursday, April 30, 2009

Timeline of Historical Eras

As promised at RT, here's a brief time-line of major (British) historical eras, particularly the ones you find in historical fiction. Keep in mind that oftentimes the dates are a bit fluid with some eras, whereas others are more rigidly defined. Also, you'll notice that there's quite a bit of overlap.

Middle Ages (or Medieval period) -- generally from the fall of the western Roman Empire in the 5th century through the 16th century.

Renaissance -- generally 14th - 17th centuries. Considered a 'cultural movement' that began in Italy in the late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe.

Tudor era -- 1485-1603, spans the range of the Tudor dynasty, beginning with Henry VII and running through the reign of Elizabeth I (though Elizabeth's reign is also treated as a sub-era, the Elizabethan era, from 1558-1603).

Stuart period -- 1603-1714, coincides with the rule of the House of Stuart, beginning with James VI of Scotland and ended with Queen Anne. A period rife with internal and religious strife. The Restoration period took place during the Stuart era, beginning in 1660 when the English, Scottish, and Irish monarchies were all restored under Charles II.

Georgian era -- 1714-1830, coincides with the reigns of George I, II, III, and IV, and is sometimes extended to include the reign of William IV from 1830-1837. It was a period of cultural vibrancy and great social change. The Georgian era includes the sub-period of the Regency era, when George III took ill and England was ruled by the Regent, who became George IV after George III's death. The architecture style was mostly neo-classical. It was the day of Lord Byron, Jane Austen, William Wordsworth, and John Keats.

Victorian era -- 1837-1901, coincides with the rule of Queen Victoria. The Victorian era marked a long period of prosperity in England, and was characterized by a long period of peace only disrupted by the Crimean War. This was the period marked by industrialism, developments in science and photography. Gothic revival architecture became significant. It was the age of Dickens, and of Jack the Ripper.

Edwardian era -- 1901-1910, coinciding with the reign of Edward VII, though the 'extended' Edwardian era generally continues through to the beginning of WWI (The Great War, at the time), in 1914. Sometimes called the Belle Epoque, or the Gilded Age. The period was marked by an inherent imbalance in wealth and power. It's the day of E.M. Forster, Joseph Conrad, and H.G. Wells. There were motorcars, suffragists, and ocean liners (including the Titanic, which sunk in 1912). Art Nouveau took hold during this period.

Hope that helps--though I'm not promising it's perfect! If anyone sees any glaring errors, let me know!


Anonymous said...

I adore Regency era books, but some just place it in Georgian era anyways

Anonymous said...

Great Post Kristi!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Victorian Era. I have so many research books I've bought just from that era alone. I love learning about the fashions, manners, lifestyles, relationships and so on. But it seems like no matter how much you read up on it, you can never learn enough.

Charlotte Featherstone said...

Ranearia, you're like me, the Georgian period, especially the Regency really appeals to me, no only in reading, but in it's design, and fashion. I like the symmetrical, clean Neoclassical designs.

Now, does any of that appeal to you as an artist?

Barbara, I like the Victorian era, mostly the bustle dresses (cause I can be very girly)and I do enjoy reading Victorian set!

Kristina Cook/Kristi Astor said...

I would say my first love is Regency--like Charlotte, I love the sleek, clean neoclassical designs, and the clothes...oh, the clothes!

But I love the Edwardian era, too--there's something so fascinating to me about the mix of the old and the new. Britain was still desperately clinging to the old social order, even while the world was 'modernizing' around them, with motorcars and telephones, etc.

Also, just knowing that those people sat on the verge of the Great War and such huge gives me chills!

Not to mention the clothes, the hats...has everyone seen the movie Somewhere in Time?? (I know Charlotte hasn't, somehow!) Or even Titanic--LOVE those clothes.

Charlotte Featherstone said...

Sometimes I really do think I live under a rock! I've not seen Somewhere In Time, nor Gone With The Wind (although I did rent it a while a back, but never watched it)

Amanda McIntyre said...

Great post, Kristi! I love (for various reasons) so many different eras in history, but I am particularly infatuated with teh Victorian era because of being on the fringes of change socially with the industrial revolution. Its a period of such diverse classes-teh very poor and struggling and the wealthy. And it intrigues me , how these changes brought both ends of the spectrum in some ways to a middle ground.

The contradictory social norms of the day also fascinates me, especially when speaking about women and men and relationships. Truly a banquet of ideas and rules depending on who you were.(or pretended to be)

Amanda M.

Amanda McIntyre said...

As I work on my medieval novella(Winter Awakening) for for the Winters Desire anthology (Nov. '09) I am reminded again of how much I love the medieval era as well as Victorian.
The sense of wonder these people had , still immersed in the ancient beliefs, many Celt influences still butting heads with the psuedo-christian ideals--many of which, I have come to realize through research have their very roots in Celtic beliefs. (what goes around comes around, eh?)

I adore reading about and watching the various cultures, writhing and struggling to be be born. And especially love those unknown people who perhaps became well known for their fight or perhaps never did recieve the recognition for the part they played in the creation of a new culture, a new society.

Perhaps for what small part they played in their corner of the world, life changed for many.

Thats a bit how I view what I write, I guess. My heroes are generally ordinary men, not glamorized , nor wishing to be so.
They know who they are, good or bad and do not pretend to be otherwise.

And my heroines are drawn to them because of those qualities in the hero that equally compliment their own attributes. Great potential for growth!

Someday, writers will be looking back at our lives and researching the attributes of our era. ;)
I wonder what they will see;)

Amanda M

Keira of LoveRomancePassion said...

Fabulous post and very informative! :D

Samantha N said...

Yes, very informative indeed! Thanks for the info! Been wondering about where the cutoffs were, and what on earth that "Regency Era" really was. Thanks! (PS - Linked here from LoveRomancePassion's Twitter)

Kristina Cook/Kristi Astor said...

So glad folks found it helpful!

Genella deGrey said...

Great post, Kristi!

I couldn't choose just one, I love them all!

The historical costume spaz ;)

Caffey said...

This is perfect for me as a guide Kristina. I always wanted to know the differences so this is something I was looking for to help me. I've read those in Regency (love those!). Which one is the Medievals we read?

Caffey said...

Oops, I see the Medieval! I missed it in the ( ). I love the Victorian too! And of course the Regency! I don't think I read much of the other time periods or knew that I was. I have to look that up and see. Most have been the above time periods that I've found.

For you authors, do you like to write the same ones you like to read?

Amanda McIntyre said...

Hey Caffey
in answer to your question, I prefer when writing in one era, unless its for research only, not to read books of the same era for pleasure.

I usually read the opposite of what I happen to be writing --it being as much of an "escape" for me as a reader from what Im working on.
Does that make sense? LOL


Debra Stewart said...

Wonderful Historical Timeline. Very helpful. Thank you for educating us.