... now with 35% more arrogance!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Age of Aries

The post on the B/X Blackrazor blog about the Age of Aquarius got me thinking about a more practical subject: fantasy chronologies. Take these three bits of information from his post:

  1. The ages (based on precession of the equinoxes) are named after astrological signs;
  2. They are arranged in reverse order (Age of Aquarius follows Age of Pisces;)
  3. The ages are about 2100 years long each.

Next, we pick an arbitrary start point for the Age of Pisces: 200 BC. This jibes somewhat with JB's belief that the Age of Aquarius started in the early 20th century. But more importantly, we can now take a look backwards at the previous ages:

  • Age of Aries (2300 BC to 200 BC): most of the Bronze Age stuff we're familiar with takes place here.
  • Age of Taurus (4400 BC to 2300 BC): the time of Uruk, megalith builders, the start of the Minoan civilization, and the Egyptian Old Kingdom.
  • Age of Gemini (6500 BC to 4400 BC): Copper Age in Middle East, Stone Age everywhere else.
  • Age of Cancer (8600 BC to 6500 BC): Stone Age, all the way down...

You could take these rough cultural associations, with or without anachronistic medieval technology, plus any associations you may have with pop astrology or just the symbols themselves (Ram, Bull, Twins, Crab) and create your own easy-to-remember chronology for your fantasy world. The Age of the Ram seems like a good symbol for individualistic, head-strong heroes carving out their own kingdoms or trade routes. Figure there's a short period of strife and instability in between each age, so your campaign world would have memories of recent "Dark Times" and visible ruins of the Empire of the Bull, but only vague legends of the distance Age of the Twins or Age of the Crab. Perhaps the Age of the Crab would be the zenith of an aquatic empire, ruled by mermen or any other aquatic species you'd like.


  1. this could work nicely in a deep time setting like Barsoom or Vance's Dying Earth or some of HPLs things, where you're liable to run across stuff or characters kept in suspension for x thousand years. From the Age of Scorpio could be like From the Time of the Dinosaurs, only you'd expect it to be vengeful and sexual.

    1. I'm thinking that, for a deep time setting, you'd want to increase the length of ancient non-human ages to 27,300 years (or thereabouts.)

    2. I like the baker's dozen logic of that, like the year-and-a-day that's common in fairy tales. It takes equinoxes 93,000 Martian years (175,000 Earth years) to precess on Mars; I wonder how long it takes on Jupiter. Or on the destroyed planet that left behind the asteroid belt..?