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Among the ancient Greek historians and scholars, a common method of indicating the passage of years was based on the Olympic Games, first held in 776 BC. The modern Olympic Games (or Summer Olympic Games beginning 1896) do not continue the four year periods from ancient Greece: the 669th Olympiad would have begun in the summer of 1897, but the modern Olympics were first held in 1896.

The Olympic Games provided the various independent city-states with a mutually recognizable system of dates. Another common system was the indiction cycle (15 indictions made up an agricultural tax cycle in Roman Egypt, an indiction being a year in duration).

Sometimes one or both consuls might not be appointed until November or December of the previous year, and news of the appointment may not have reached parts of the Roman empire for several months into the current year; thus we find the occasional inscription where the year is defined as "after the consulate" of a pair of consuls.

The use of consular dating ended in AD 541 when the emperor Justinian I discontinued appointing consuls.

The earliest attested limmu eponyms are from the Assyrian trading colony at Karum Kanesh in Anatolia, dating to the very beginning of the 2nd millennium BC, and they continued in use until the end of the Neo-Assyrian Period, ca. Assyrian scribes compiled limmu lists, including an unbroken sequence of almost 250 eponyms from the early 1st millennium BC.

Thus depending on whether the calendar year is taken as starting on 1 Tishri or on 1 Nisan (respectively the start of the Jewish civil and ecclesiastical years) the Seleucid era begins either in 311 BC (the Jewish reckoning) or in 312 BC (the Greek reckoning: October–September).The rule for computing the indiction from the AD year number, which he had just invented, was stated by Dionysius Exiguus: add 3 and divide by 15; the remainder is the indiction, with 0 understood to be the fifteenth indiction.The Seleucid era was used in much of the Middle East from the 4th century BC to the 6th century AD, and continued until the 10th century AD among Oriental Christians.Astronomers have identified this eclipse as one that took place on 15 June, 763 BC, which has allowed absolute dates of 892 to 648 BC to be assigned to that sequence of eponyms.This list of absolute dates has allowed many of the events of the Neo-Assyrian Period to be dated to a specific year, avoiding the chronological debates that characterize earlier periods of Mesopotamian history.

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