Of Hellanicus, the Greek logographer, who appears to have lived through the greater part of the 5th century B.C., and who drew up a chronological list of the priestesses of Here at Argos; of Ephorus, who lived in the 4th century B.C., and is distinguished as the first Greek who attempted the composition of a universal history; and of Timaeus, who in the following century wrote an elaborate history of Sicily, in which he set the example of using the Olympiads as the basis of chronology, the works have perished and our meagre knowledge of their contents is derived only from fragmentary citations in later writers.
In the history of Babylonia, the fixed point from which time was reckoned was the era of Nabonassar, 747 B.C. Among the Greeks the reckoning was by Olympiads, the point of departure being the year in which Coroebus was victor in the Olympic Games, 776 B.C. The Roman chronology started from the foundation of the city, the year of which, however, was variously given by different authors.
Of the three ancient eras above spoken of, the earliest is that of the Olympiads, next that of the foundation of Rome, and the latest the era of Nabonassar.
The Olympiads were not in current use till about the middle of the 3rd century B.C., when Timaeus, as already mentioned, set the example of reckoning by them.
In referring dates expressed by Olympiads to our era, or the contrary, we must therefore distinguish two cases.
The computation by Olympiads seldom occurs in historical records after the middle of the 5th century of our era.
- After the Olympiads, the -era most frequently met with in ancient history is that of the foundation of Rome, which is the chronological epoch adopted by all the Roman historians.
He compiled chronological lists of the archons and Olympiads, and made a collection of Attic inscriptions, the first of its kind in Greece.
Boeckh places his life between the 10th and 95th Olympiads (49 6 -39 6 B.C.).
His reckonings by Olympiads are generally wrong, the error arising chiefly from carelessness.
They followed the order of the olympiads and archons, and their work was supported by the authority of original documents, monuments and inscriptions.