Senryu : archaic


time-stilled ballplayer
not quite archaic era
only 10 BC

senryu by M. Nakazato LaFreniere

Tucson Museum of Art plaque reads:

Shaft Tomb Tradition,
200 BCE – 300 CE
Ball Player Effigy
clay, slip
lent by Paul and Alice Baker

Did you know BCE means “Before Common Era” which correlates is the same time period as BC “Before Christ”?  So yeah, CE correlates to AD “Anno Domini”.

CE and BCE are recent inventions coming into vogue in the 17th century with the use of the vulgar era.  Johannes Kepler between 1615-1617 started using “Vulgaris Aerae” interchangably with Anno Domini in his latin works. Kepler is famous these days for his laws of interplanetary motion and his work would be the foundation for Newton’s work on gravity.

So Kepler started a trend where people referred to AD as the Vulgar Era.  Back then vulgar meant common, ordinary or of the common folk. So in the 1700s someone coined the phrase Common Era.  For a bit, it was anyone’s guess whether it would be Common Era or Vulgar Era.  (Are you tittering?  really?)

Yeah, you guessed it, the meaning of “vulgar” changed to include “coarse” or “unrefined” in the 20th century so writers started dropping the use of Vulgar Era.  In the 1800s, the Jewish community took up the use of Common Era.  The scientific community had waffled between BC and BCE/AD and CE but eventually is now settling into BC and BCE.  Fairly recently groups started using BCE and CE to avoid the religious overtone of BC and AD.

You know what bugs me?  It’s not the fact that we were almost birthed into a Vulgar Era. It’s there is no Zero year.  How can you go from 1 year BCE/BC/BVE to 1 year CE/AD/VE without having a Zero year?  So does a new century begin on 2000 or 2001?  Logically it would have to be 2001, wouldn’t it?

The thing is back then, no one had invented Zero.

The Mayans invented a zero placeholder in 350AD for their calendars but never developed the concept into a number for their calculations.  In 458 CE, the concept of zero started appearing in India with the Sanskrit word for zero, śūnya, meaning “empty” or “void” which derived from the Buddhist doctrine of “emptiness” called Śūnyata, the practice of emptying one’s mind of impressions and thoughts.

Later, in 628 CE, Brahmagupta defined the concept of zero and its operation. He created a symbol for zero by putting dots under numbers. However, Brahmagupta never claimed to invent zero as the concept had already been around India for a bit by then. The earliest recorded use of zero is in the the Bakhshali manuscript again from India which was dated to the 3rd or 4th century.  We take zero for granted these days but they probably didn’t have a zero year back then because there was no zero yet.   Weird, right?

Books on Amazon:



Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea by Charles Seife. I haven’t read this book but now I’m curious about Zero. Shaft Tombs and Figures in West Mexican Society: A Reassessment by Christopher S. Beekman and Robert B. Pickering, eds.


Tucson Museum of Art
Palice Gallery of Latin American Art, 2nd floor
140 N. Main Ave.
Tucson, Az

What is the Difference Between BCE/CE and BC/AD, and Who Came Up with These Systems?
By Melissa
Today I found out : Feed Your Brain

Who Invented Zero?
By Jessie Szalay
Live Science, September 18, 2017

Johannes Kepler

daily prompts, daily post

Note:  The ballplayer is too late to be in the archaic period which I refer to in my second line.   The following is from Archaic Period (Americas), Wikipedia

Several chronologies in the archaeology of the Americas include an Archaic Period or Archaic stage etc. It is often sub-divided, for example into “Early”, “Middle” and “Late”, or alternatively “Lower” and “Upper”, stages. The dates, and the characteristics of the period called “Archaic” vary between different parts of the Americas. Sometimes also referred to as the “Pre-Ceramic stage” or period, it followed the Lithic stage and was superseded by the Formative stage, or a Preformative stage.[1] The typical broad use of the terms is as follows:

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