kari-no-sugata

Attempting to date the Recreance

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Here seems to be a rough order of noteworthy events starting from Urithiru:

  • Urithiru is built
  • 4500 years ago: Aharietiam, Last Desolation. End of Heraldic Epochs
  • Start of Silver Kingdom Epoch?
  • Urithiru is abandoned
  • The Recreance
  • 1173-4 years ago: start of modern calendar
  • 500 years ago: start of Hierocracy
  • 300 years ago: War of Loss, end of Hierocracy, Sunmaker unites Alethkar

However, it's really hard to date the Recreance or what occurred at the start of the modern calendar. I've been doing some quote mining:


The Way of Kings

Prologue:
"The things Szeth did hadn't been seen for millennia."
(Hmm. This is the only quote that seems to imply that Surgebinding hasn't been seen since the Last Desolation or implies that the Last Desolation and Recreance are close together)

Chapter 8 (Nearer the Flame):
"The five Vorin kingdoms? She'd thought there were four. Jah Keved, Alethkar, Kharbranth, Natanatan. United by religion, they had been strong allies during the years following the Recreance."

Chapter 19 (Starfalls):
"Dalinar released an inhaled breath. Natanatan. The Shattered Plains lay in the land that had once been Natanatan. The kingdom had fallen centuries ago."
(Fell during Hierocracy perhaps?)

Chapter 26 (Stillness):
"Those phantom commands to "unify" sounded a great deal like what the Hierocracy had said when it had tried to conquer the world five centuries before."
"The Recreance is an event so old, it might as well be in the shadowdays." (note, said by Dalinar)

Chapter 28 (Decision):
"The book describes this as a picture of a Voidbringer. The book is a copy of a text originally written in the years before the Recreance. However, the illustrations are copied from another text, even older. In fact, some think that picture was drawn only two or three generations after the Heralds departed."
(there wouldn't likely be a need for the book to contain pictures copied from an older book unless there was a big time gap between them, which further implies a bigger gap between the Last Desolation and the Recreance)

Chapter 32 (Side Carry) epigraph:
"Though The Song of the Last Summer is a fanciful tale of romance from the third century after the Recreance, it is likely a valid reference in this case."
(one of the few precise dates we have of the Recreance relative to anything)

Chapter 45 (Shadesmar):
"Because it was abandoned even before the Lost Radiants turned against mankind." (Jasnah referring to Urithru)

Chapter 52 (A Highway to the Sun):
"There are histories from the time when the Radiants lived," Renarin said. "That's not as far back as the shadowdays or the Heraldic Epochs."
(Implies that the Recreance was not nearly so old as the Heraldic Epochs)

Words of Radiance

Chapter 3 (Pattern):
"You are the only person in centuries to have the chance to interact with a Cryptic."

(Jasnah is definitely an expert historian. I would hope she would use more precise terms...)

Chapter 35 (The Multiplied Strain of Simultaneous Infusion):
"The Recreance was often seen as a failure of Vorinism as a religion. The way the Church sought to seize power in the centuries that followed was even more embarrassing."
(this implies that the Hierocracy followed on from the Recreance by centuries and that one lead to the other.)

Chapter 77 (Trust):
"the book had been written two hundred years after the Recreance, and by then facts, lore, and superstition had mixed freely. Beyond that, it was written in an old dialect of Alethi, using the protoscript, a precursor to the true women's script of modern day."
(referring to Words of Radiance, the in-world book. I suspect the male/female divide in Vorim kingdoms did not start until after the Recreance. I suspect that before then, books were written in the Dawnchant or languages derived from the Dawnchant)

"It's been centuries since that city fell. It was destroyed during Aharietiam itself, I believe."
(Referring to Stormseat. Note that Navani says 'centuries' even though Aharietiam was 4500 years ago)

Interlude 12 (Lhan):
"Kholinar had never been sacked. It was one of the few eastern cities that hadn't suffered that fate in the chaos after the Hierocracy's fall. The palace had burned once, but that fire had died out after consuming the eastern wing. Lhan swore the place still smelled of smoke, three hundred years later."
(another reference to 300 years ago and end of Hierocracy. Interesting how damaging it was)

Chapter 83 (Time's Illusion):
"It is a wonder that upon his will rested the prosperity and peace of a world for over four millennia"
(seems to basically be saying that Taln holding out for 4000+ years is what kept Desolations away)

Chapter 88 (The man who owned the winds):
"My people have the other Honorblades, and have kept them safe for millennia."

There's a lot of quotes from Eshonai's interludes that refer to things from "centuries" ago that I left out. I don't know how good record keeping they have and didn't see any that we can tie in accurately with other events.

 

I've looked around but not been able to find any WoB that help.
 
It's frustrating but we don't have too many comments from expert historians or with dates. Obviously, they don't have carbon dating or the like so it's really hard for people to verify dates - with all the chaos that has occurred, how sure can anyone be of dates of events from long ago? I guess this is why a lot of characters talk about "centuries" rather than millennia. It's also frustrating that it's not entirely clear what the "Silver Kingdoms Epoch" refers to - I suspect its the prosperous period between the Last Desolation and the Recreance, but it's hard to be certain.
 
I suspect that prior to the Recreance that many scholars were in fact Radiants. Maybe they clung to Dawnchant (or derived versions) while the main population was coming up with new languages. After the Recreance there was probably a general desire to separate from the taint of the Radiants, including culture and language. This is probably what lead to the Dawnchant falling out of use and eventually being forgotten.
 
There's no direct references I can see to what was significant about year 0 on the calendar people use - ie what happened 1173-4 years ago. Normally, such events are chosen as something positive but boring. Given Vorin cultural dominance I think it would be something like "founding of the modern era" (as agreed to by the five Vorin kingdoms). Or it could be "founding of Alethkar". I think it would have to be something like this... or some major event none of the characters have referred to ever (which would be weird). It could even be a direct reference to the Recreance though.
 
If that's the case then it's most likely that the Recreance was relatively close. Maybe 1200-1500 years ago, depending on exactly how much chaos/destruction occurred during the Recreance. I think this because the modern Vorin kingdoms only started after the Recreance, because the womens script only started after the Recreance and it's implied that the Hierocracy followed on from the Recreance (which wouldn't make much sense if there was a gap of 4000 years or something). Basically, they seem to be events that are naturally close together.

 

So, maybe after the Recrenace we get something like this: firstly there's general chaos, then various things like the protoscript and male/female role divide occurring. The 5 Vorin kingdoms re-form with slightly new names and the language has moved on. I'm guessing the other kingdoms turned their back on Vorinism after the Recreance. The thing connecting the 5 Vorin kingdoms was religion and the Church becomes increasingly strong over time, eventually leading to the Hierocracy.

 

So anyway, that's my best guess for now - I think the Recreance could be 1200-1500 years ago. It seems to be the last major event before we start getting modern dates. I used to think that the Recreance was actually closer to the Last Desolation but now I'm wondering otherwise. Szeth words seem to imply otherwise and given that the Shin seem to have stayed more or less the same since the Last Desolation maybe they would have more accurate dates? I guess we'll see.

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Nice work bringing all this together!  The quotes are great.

 

Where did you get that the Hierocracy started 500 years before the events of tWoK?  It doesn't jump out at me from the quotes.  The Hierocracy could have started long before that and only tried to conquer the world 500 years previous to tWoK events. 

 

Natanatan is one of the biggest riddles in my mind.  An understanding of the sequencing of those events would really help understnding the overall timeline.  What happened there? I see any of the following as possible.

  1. Plains shattered at Aharietam.  Kingdom survives somehow and functions well enough to be a strong ally following the Recreance.  Then the kingdom falls for some other reason and some survivors form New Natanatan. 
  2. Plains shattered after Aharietam.  Kingdom survives somehow and functions well enough to be a strong ally following the Recreance.  Then the kingdom falls for some other reason during the Hierocracy and some survivors form New Natanatan. 
  3. Post-Recreance plains shattering leads to kingdom failing and the formation of New Natanatan. 

The quote from Navani implies that the plains were shattered at Aharietam, which would imply option 1.  I doubt this, as Natanatan would have had to survive as a strong kingdom for a long period after the Shattering of the plains.  From what we have seen, the Shattering had to have been devastating.  If Natanatan had survived the shattering until, say, the fall of the Hierocracy, there would be newer structures.  Most notably, had there been a post-shattering Natanatan, there would be remnants of bridges.  There would probably be the remnants of a city somewhere where the effects of the Shattering would not have been so debilitating.  The other problem with the first two scenarios are how a kingdom could survive the shattering and why it would fall later. 

 

When I consider the vagueness of the histories and the cultural changes, I believe the Recreance to have been further back.  I think it was two to four millenia previous.  Consider:

  • Vorinism and the segregated gender roles seem to follow the Recreance.  The Knights are both male and female and function outside of the Vorin roles.  The interesting question for me is whether the Knights knew that the Heralds were lying and what they did about it.  Their purpose was to protect against desolations.  If they believed the Heralds, then there would be no reason to continue after Aharietam.  If not, then why quit?  I believe there is WoB that H survived Aharietam.  The knights should have been able to communicate w/H and get the truth that we had not won, the Heralds were running loose and more Desolations could come. 
  • The Silver Kingdoms were stable and used Dawnchant.  The modern language of Alethkar is different and no-one can even translate the Dawnchant any more. 
  • The modern era dates back 1173 years.  There was apparent chaos following the Recreance.  If the Recreance was 1200 years previous, we would not have a calendar dating back so close to the chaos.  Wouldn't there have to have been a stable society first before a new calendar was established?  I agree w/the OP's contention that the new calendar would have been adopted as a "positive but boring" starting point.  With Recreance, chaos, stable society, positive event that restarts calendar, 1500 seems like the latest possible time to Recreance.  But there could have been several calendar systems that began and ended since the Recreance. 
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Nice work bringing all this together!  The quotes are great.

Thanks :)

 

Where did you get that the Hierocracy started 500 years before the events of tWoK?  It doesn't jump out at me from the quotes.  The Hierocracy could have started long before that and only tried to conquer the world 500 years previous to tWoK events.

Chapter 26 (Stillness):

"Those phantom commands to "unify" sounded a great deal like what the Hierocracy had said when it had tried to conquer the world five centuries before."

 

Depends exactly what is considered the Hierocracy. I suspect its something that developed slowly over a long time and eventually the Church became so powerful that nobody could stop it within the Vorin countries and then the Hierocracy started - ie conquest of the world in the name of the Church. So, I think we're basically thinking the same thing.

 

Vorinism and the segregated gender roles seem to follow the Recreance.  The Knights are both male and female and function outside of the Vorin roles.

As far as I can tell, Vorinism actually existed since the time of the Heralds:

WoR chapter 3 (Pattern):

"The church of this era was suspicious of the Knights Radiant, the book read. Yet it relied upon the authority granted Vorinism by the Heralds."

That's a quote from one of Jasnah's books so should be reliable. The Recreance is considered the first failure of Vorinism. AFAIK the religion itself has nothing to do with the gender divide - it's purely cultural... just it's associated with the Vorin countries.

 

 

 

If the Recreance was 1200 years previous, we would not have a calendar dating back so close to the chaos.  Wouldn't there have to have been a stable society first before a new calendar was established?  I agree w/the OP's contention that the new calendar would have been adopted as a "positive but boring" starting point.  With Recreance, chaos, stable society, positive event that restarts calendar, 1500 seems like the latest possible time to Recreance.  But there could have been several calendar systems that began and ended since the Recreance.

 

 

Yeah, there's just not enough info. I don't remember any quotes indicating exactly how chaotic things were after the Recreance which is why I chose a 300 year time range. The chaos could have been more political or economic. Or, there could have been huge destruction - one of my other ideas is that in the lead up to the Recreance the Radiants were fighting each other and this lead to near Desolation-level destruction and this is what Nalan is referring to in the Lift chapter. There might have been a sort-of "Dark Ages" after the Recreance for sure.

 

We also don't know just how stable things were at year 0 on the calendar. It might have involved some big declaration that was highly optimistic in retrospect :)

 

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We also don't know just how stable things were at year 0 on the calendar. It might have involved some big declaration that was highly optimistic in retrospect :)

Or it could have been done by later people. You know, like how BC and AD were created. Maybe the Recreance was the event that the calendar is based around.

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Or it could have been done by later people. You know, like how BC and AD were created. Maybe the Recreance was the event that the calendar is based around.

 

That's certainly possible... but as I said in the original post, normally such things are for something positive. The Recreance was a very dark day (by all accounts) for humanity and it wouldn't be very nice to be reminded of such a thing. Of course, there are cynical politicians around who would use such things to stoke fear, anger and hatred. It's not a strong argument but there's also two cases where something is tired relative to the Recreance (eg WoR written 200 years after) but it's not phrased like an official date - if the Recreance was calendar 0 then they would probably use some shorthand reference, eg "200 AR").

 

I could see it happening that calendar 0 was set retrospectively for something positive though - eg maybe some treaty signing between the 5 Vorin kingdoms was later turned into calendar 0.

 

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Okay, only posting to say that when I saw this thread topic, my first thought was "How would you date [go on date(s)] with the Recreance?"  I have clearly just been reading through the Pick-Up Lines thread over in general Brandon discussion... XD

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Okay, only posting to say that when I saw this thread topic, my first thought was "How would you date [go on date(s)] with the Recreance?"  I have clearly just been reading through the Pick-Up Lines thread over in general Brandon discussion... XD

 

Hehe. Somehow, the phrase "your Desolation or mine?" popped into my head :P

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That's certainly possible... but as I said in the original post, normally such things are for something positive. The Recreance was a very dark day (by all accounts) for humanity and it wouldn't be very nice to be reminded of such a thing. Of course, there are cynical politicians around who would use such things to stoke fear, anger and hatred. It's not a strong argument but there's also two cases where something is tired relative to the Recreance (eg WoR written 200 years after) but it's not phrased like an official date - if the Recreance was calendar 0 then they would probably use some shorthand reference, eg "200 AR").

 

I could see it happening that calendar 0 was set retrospectively for something positive though - eg maybe some treaty signing between the 5 Vorin kingdoms was later turned into calendar 0.

It might be, but on the other hand it might also be for something that just changed everything (whether or not it was positive).

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This all looks very good. I applaud this! Have an upvote.

 

As an aside, for some reason, I thought that you were trying to go out with the Recreance. You know, as in the other meaning of date. I don't even know why I came to that conclusion, I just did. And now that I think about it, it makes so little sense that I have to post it. Forgive me.

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Okay, only posting to say that when I saw this thread topic, my first thought was "How would you date [go on date(s)] with the Recreance?"  I have clearly just been reading through the Pick-Up Lines thread over in general Brandon discussion... XD

 

Presumably the Recreance could have a spren and you could date that.

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