23 Mar History according to the ancients
Since ancient times many cultures have divided the history of the world into a series of distinct ages, separated by cataclysms. The oldest documented teaching about ages of the world in the West appears in the writings of the Greek poet Hesiod, who wrote sometime in the eighth century BCE. According to Hesiod, history began with the Golden Age, when people lived without sorrow or toil; they became earth spirits, and their age ended. Next came the Silver Age, inhabited by people who refused to worship the gods and so were destroyed. The Bronze Age followed, and its people were savage warriors who ended the age by exterminating one another. The fourth age was the Age of Heroes, the setting for all the Greek heroic myths, and ended when the heroes either died in battle or went to the Elysian Fields in the far west of the world. Finally came the Iron Age of Hesiod’s own time, an age of poverty, toil, and bitter suffering. Later Greek and Roman writers suggested that the Iron Age would end with a return to the Golden Age, but Hesiod holds out no such hope; in his vision the Iron Age is fated to worsen until the gods finally abandon the world and the human race perishes. A similar scheme appears in India, where a sequence of four yugas or world-ages sets the beat for a cosmic clock. First in the sequence comes the Satya Yuga or golden age of righteousness of 1,728,000 years, then the Treta Yuga or silver age of 1,296,000 years, then the Dvapara Yuga or bronze age of 864,000 years, and finally the sinister Kali Yuga, the iron age of darkness and ignorance, lasting a mere 432,000 years. The Kali Yuga ends in catastrophe, after which the entire cycle begins again.