Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Era and Period

Era vs Period

In order to talk more easily about the past and the significant things that have happened during the early days of mankind, and also to have a clear understanding of history, time is divided into blocks called “periods.” It helps people understand events in sequence.

Providing a series of events or periods with a specific name and characteristic enables historians and individuals to have a systematic, easy-to-understand, and clear vision of what happened in the past and the circumstances surrounding the events.

The term “period” comes from the Greek word “periodos” which means “going around” or “cycle of time.” It was incorporated into the English language from the Old French “periode.” It is an interval of time which manifests a definite phase of development.

A period is defined as a large interval of time which has a specific characteristic and is important in history and the life of man. Without periods, history can be confusing. It is categorized according to history, cosmology, and geology.
It can be prehistorical such as the Stone Age, Copper Age, Bronze Age, and Iron Age. It can also be historical such as a country’s historical period like the Chinese dynasties. The cosmological periods start at the beginning of the universe up to the formation of the Earth, and the geological periods start at the formation of the Earth up to the present.
Geological time periods are governed by the Global Boundary Stratotype Sections and Points. Some geographical periods are called eons, epochs, ages, and eras. An era is a long period of time which is marked by the beginning and end of a significant event.

In most of Asia, an era marks the period of each emperor or king’s reign. The Christian calendar era or Anno Domini refers to the time when Jesus Christ was born. The Roman, Elizabethan, Soviet, and Victorian eras mark significant political time periods.
The term “era” comes from the Latin words “aera” and “eera” which means “counters used for calculation.” In English usage it means the starting point of an age or historical period. Eras can be long such as those concerned with history, or they can be short such as those used to refer to artistic or musical styles like the Disco era or the Classical, Baroque, and Romantic eras.


1.A period is a large interval of time with a definite characteristic while an era is a long period of time marking the start and end of an important event.
2.The word “period” comes from the Greek word “periodos” which means “cycle of time” while “era” comes from the Latin word “aera” which means “counters for calculation.”
3.While both words are sometimes used interchangeably, a period is shorter than an era although in recent times short blocks of time have also been called eras.
4.An era refers to a specific time period while a period may be used to refer to events that do not have any specific era or exact dates.

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