(from the Oxford English Dictionary)
I. A fixed point in the reckoning of time.
1. Chron. The initial point assumed in a system of chronology; e.g. the date of the birth of Christ, of the Hegira, of the foundation of Rome, etc.; an ERA. Also, in wider sense, any date from which succeeding years are numbered. Now rare.
2. a. The beginning of a ‘new era’ or distinctive period in the history of mankind, a country, an individual, a science, etc. Phr., to make an epoch.
1673 [R. LEIGH] Transp.
In my reading of the Marx article I was attracted by his use of the word epoch. Epoch is a very descriptive word. Hearing the word epoch is different than hearing the word era, or age, or any other synonym. Each word has it own specific connoatation and subtle nuances and differences in their own meaning. As the OED says, an epoch can be "Any date from which succeeding years are numbered." This definition funtions well in the Marx article because he talks about important dates that have changed the course of history from that point forth. One example of a sentence with epoch in it is, "The February Revolution was a sudden attack, a taking of the old society by surprise, and the proclaimed this unhoped for stroke as a world-historic deed, opening the new epoch" (597). This sentence utilizes the word epoch quite and highlights the interesting aspects that make an epoch an epoch.
1 year ago