Home / Funny / Viral / 22-Foot-Long Scroll Features Timeline Of Perceived World History Up Until Its Origin In 19th Century


In the end, world history is just one big narrative—a timeline of events that rise and swell and move through every nation and community on the planet. The specifics of this narrative, however, may differ depending on one's modern viewpoint. Sebastian C. Adams saw this from the viewpoint of a white Christian man in the 19th century who had worn many hats in his lifetime. Over the years, he worked as a minister, writer, schoolteacher, clerk, politician, and more. He assembled the twisted, colourful histories that the author saw fit into his 22-foot-long timeline into a Chronological Chart of Ancient, Modern, and Biblical History.

These histories begin with Adam and Eve in the Bible and are illustrated by John Alsop Paine. Their progeny radiate outward from their progenitors in coiled strands, making their remarkable ages visible as they move through time. There are artefacts from the Stone Age and sculptures of classical thinkers. Assyrian lamassu emerged from the sands as the Stone Age gave way to the Iron Age. 

Following the paths of Greece, Egypt, and Babylon, we see the ancient world transform and grow into civilisation right before our eyes. Purple is the colour of the Roman Empire; many European nations' rainbow hues then form stringy veins that extend many more feet into modernity. 

The timeline ends in 1883 and is followed by portraits of European sovereigns and American presidents, along with a list of "eminent men not elsewhere mentioned on the chart."

The scroll was created by a minister and educator, and it is a reflection of its day as well as a cutting-edge teaching tool. With these nations occupying most of the map and a Christian cosmology defining its beginning, it is largely Eurocentric. The Near East plays a major role in this biblical beginning, and Paine, who studied archaeology in the area and taught in Istanbul, does a good job of illustrating it.

There are several copies of the map that have been printed, one of which is kept at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. To make it easier to browse the jumbled timeline, that copy is displayed on a scroll. The timeline was well-liked in schools, and other booklet formats were also employed. Although it isn't in use today, it offers an intriguing look into one historical viewpoint on earlier eras.

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