The Cerebus Timeline, version 4.0
by Alexx Kay
[This version is complete through the beginning of Latter Days. Next version will probably be the last!.]
Welcome to version 4.0 of the Cerebus Timeline. This document is intended to put all known events in Estarcion history into chronological order, and with their proper dates, insofar as possible.
There have been minor revisions in the early sections this time, mostly added new material.
I have added actual, specific dates for most of the stories, starting around the middle of Cerebus. These are, to a large degree, tentative, but I've tried to explain my reasoning throughout. Also, tracking individual dates has allowed me to notice several places where the story unexpectedly skips ahead by several months, and these have been noted. I realize that the calendar of Estarcion may have significant differences from our own, but for the sake of ease of use, I've assumed that it hasn't.
Comments and correction are welcomed, of course. I only revise this every few years, but I do keep track of comments for what sort of revisions I should do. This document is available on my own web site, http://world.std.com/~alexx/cerebus, and I expect it to soon be available from other Cerebus web sites. Permission is hereby granted to freely distribute this, as long as you don't charge for it. Just about every person, place and thing mentioned here is Copyright 2001 Dave Sim.
Most entries reference the source of their information. When that source is
widely available in a collection, the name of the collection is used, rather
than the original printing. (I do have a lingering fear that the pagination may
have changed between some editions; if you are aware of any such renumbering,
please let me know, so that I can include a clarifying note with this document).
The following abbreviations are used:
|C: Cerebus (Volume I)
||HS: High Society
||CS1: Church & State 1
||CS2: Church & State 2
||JS: Jaka's Story
||RS: Rick's Story
||GH: Going Home
||FV: Form & Void
||SoC: Swords of Cerebus
||CZ: Cerebus Zero
||CWTB: Cerebus World Tour Book 1995
||CJ: Cerebus Jam
||EI: Epic Illustrated |
Occasionally, I've included explanations of why I've designated the dates as I have. It should be noted that most of the information that is not directly portrayed in the story, but merely talked about, is talked about by unreliable characters. Some of them may actually be as omniscient as they claim; none of them seem scrupulously honest. It pleases me to try and make a consistent reading of facts out of this accumulation of allusions. I am fully aware that it need not bear any great resemblance to Reality as viewed by Dave Sim, or by any other reader, for that matter. Caveat lector.
Lots of spoilers are to be found here of necessity. Read at your own risk. You'll get more out of this if you've read the books first, anyway. This document is meant to enhance your re-reading experience, not to be read alongside a first reading.
"In the beginning there was the Void and the Void was Tarim." (CS2 p.1160).
Matter - Terim, The "Big Bang" (CS2 p.1168 ff.). "twenty billion and some odd hundred million years ago" (CS2 p.1156).
"nine hundred million years" ago.
Last major crater formed on the moon (CS2 p.1201).
"hundreds of thousands of years" ago.
The Ascension covenant between Terim and her adherents (almost certainly an exaggeration) (CS2 p.903).
Allegedly, the Judge takesup residence on the moon (CS2 p.1126).
Giant Redwoods explode their sodium chloride bomb (CS2 p.1131). Subsequently, about every 12,000 years (CS2 p.1132), a Great Flood occurs.
"foot-long telepathic cockroaches" (CS2 p.1156)?
Great Dinosaur Civilization invents hairspray (CS2 p.1131).[Dates before the start of the current calendar are listed as 'BZ' for "Before Zero".]
The Lord of the Swilling comes up with an excellent hangover, which he saves for a good occasion (G p.75).
5592 BZ, July 27
"Death" ascends to sovereignty of the multiverse, and creates the Judge (F p.18-19). Note that this contradicts the Judge's statement (CS2 p.1126) that he has been on the moon for "hundreds of thousands of years".
Allegedly, males start interfering with Terimism (CS2 p.903). ("Thousands and thousands of years" ago CS2 p.798).
The Judge states that the story of the beginning of the universe is "garbled... may thousands of years ago by a priest" (CS2 p.1158).
Notably, Bran's knife is "thousands upon thousands of years old" (CS2 p.1025).
"Death" ceases to take an active role (F p.19).
Cirin's "Stories for Young Girls" written (JS p.127)? Obviously, these can't have been written by the Cirin in the "current" story line, but they may well have been co-opted by her, or written by an earlier person of the same name. Then again, this dating may be entirely mythical (see M p.160).
Suenteus Po's Conquest of Iest, the Fall of the Black Tower, and the history of the Pigts:
What information we have about these interconnected events is partial, vague, and contradictory. What makes the matter even worse is that there have been numerous people named Suenteus Po, numerous invasions of Iest (F p.241), and probably several Black Tower Empires as well. The information, such as it is, is presented here, mostly in the order it was revealed in the story line:
In HS, Suenteus Po says: "This was a long time ago. It was the Pigts who caused the Mystic Cataclysm that brought the Black Tower empire to an end and wiped out most of the known magic in the world. It was almost a century before plants would grow again in the Red Marches" (HS p.62). [Aside: The request for Astoria's trial (CS2 p.909) is written in "Ancient Pigt". Could the Sepran Empire be an offshoot of the Pigts?]
"THE Suenteus has been dead for over a hundred years" (HS p.435).
In CS2, Tarim says "Last time, I had twenty thousand slaves hollow [the tower] out" (CS2 p.800).
From CS2, the Judge: The Pigts had lived in the Red Marches for "several thousand years" (CS2 p.1142) since the end of the Black Tower Empire "about which little is documented, less is suspected, and almost nothing is known for sure". Suenteus Po I (dead) trains an army in the Red Marches from early spring into fall (CS2 p.1142-1147). Points east towards Iest (through New Iest/New Sepra), dies (CS2 p.1148-1149).
SP II (dead) begins "first" siege of Iest, then controlled by Pope Clovis IX (a male) of "The Eastern Church". "...it was a matter of mere days before the first siege of the city..."? (CS2 p.1150). Unfortunately, Cerebus loses interest and wanders off at this point, coming back just in time to hear the Judge wrapping up his narrative, which has somehow skipped forward about four thousand years to what appears to be a reference to the Judaic Messiah (CS2 p.1155).
From JS, Oscar: Guffins (originally Pigtish? Common in "pagan" Iest (thus pre-Tarim/Terimism)) "to a degree they were responsible for the division of the Eastern and Western Churches" (JS p.187). "It was during the darkest period of Iest's long history; the closing years of the fabled Black Tower Empire" (JS p.189) (this may have been the last time the Tower rose and fell). Oscar speaks of a Po from the Sepran (then "Western") Empire leading "first of many organized invasions" of an Iest ruled by an "insular and corrupt matriarchy". "There had never been a *successful* assault on the upper city", so Po merely invades the lower city, then blockades the upper city. This Po reigns unopposed in the Lower City for 15 years (JS p.190). Unfortunately, as is usually the case, just as we're about to hear some actual, useful data, the focus moves away, and we don't hear any more...
In Flight, p.15, we see a book which appears to be discussing Suenteus Po's siege of the Upper City. An interesting detail is that part of Po's forces appear to be Pigts. On p.16, we see part of another book containing "[A Shor]t History [o]f the [F]all [of] the [Blac]k Tower".
From Suenteus Po, later in Flight: "[The Judge] passed over the Golden Age of the Sepran Empire, dismissing it with a few phrases about being a loose-knit collection of hamlets, ports and provinces. It was, I assure you, quite nearly Vanaheim on Earth. The greatest freedom for the greatest number, government control so decentralized as to be almost non-existent. I was a Noble, living in a disputed area near the Red Marches at the time that taxation was introduced; tribute paid directly to a governing Church body in Serrea. Although I was dismissed as an hysteric, I knew the effect this would have on people's personal freedoms. Unable to convince any influential personage of the dire future in store, I resolved to raise my own army and conquer the city-state of Iest and institute the same freedoms and policies which had allowed the Sepran Empire to flourish for many, many years. His description of the raising and training of my army is accurate in every detail. He failed to mention that I had taken the name Suenteus Po in tribute to a great historian who had led the Sepran Empire away from the pitfall of centralized government several hundred years before." (F p.153).
"My death, he [The Judge] described accurately. ...it was my son, Alfred, who was to lead the asault on Iest." (F p.163).
"My son Alfred... thought himself clever that he chose to ignore the corrupt and insular matriarchy which ruled the Upper City. As I had timed and planned conquest for the right and perfect moment, it took place with clockwork efficiency and a minimal loss of life. Alfred sank happily into the opulent and coddled existence of the feted and legendary Military Hero... Commerce flourished for a time -- a short time, of course, as empires go, but a decade or so... The problem, of course, was that he had no thought or plan for any future; either his own or Iest's. The natural schism between matriarchy and patriarchy asserted itself in myriad ways in the day-to-day-life of the city state...
"Alfred retreated into Mysticism... he sought to purchase knowledge and mystical power with mere gold. Naturally enough, his ignorance brought him power sufficient only to consume what was left of his failing health.
"...Catastrophes swept the remnants of his empire." (F p.174).
"...He replaced his governors and his Statesmen with Conjurors and Mages. He declared that all who would follow him were to be called Illusionists... He conferred his name on the circle of devotees which surrounded him, and empowered them to do the same.
"By the time of his death at the age of forty-one, fully one third of the population of the Lower City was named Suenteus Po and believed themselves to function within a single, divine consciousness. Since that day, Illusionism has alternately flourished and declined across the length and breadth of Estarcion..." (F p.175).
"In my subsequent incarnation, I was born to a gold miner and his wife in Rivershire Province, twenty years after Alfred's death." (F p.175).
"At an early age... I grew adept at carving these symbols [on gold coins]... soon families were coming from neighboring villages to have my design added to their coins... A devout Tarimite, I carved His name in ancient Pigtish rune letters on each coin brought to me. Healers and apothecaries began using the coins in their treatments of family ailments. Miracles were spoken of in hushed whispers and soon more people came from the larger villages and then from the City itself... Priests of the Eastern Church grew jealous... They took their case to Suenteus Po III, informing him that I was building a kingdom within Iest...
"When they came to arrest me, I knew this had all transpired before many times; as if I was an actor in a play. I remembered my life as Suenteus Po I. As they read the indictment I had the curious sensation that I was imprisoning myself.
"As they led me away, there was a flurry of resistance and some blood was spilt. I told my defenders to stand back; not to make it any worse than it already was. They complied..." (F p.194).
"I was brought before Suenteus Po III... He informed me that arrangements would be made to transfer me to the custody of the Guardians of the Upper City...
"I wash my hands of you, he said, and I was led away.
"That night I was led before Great Andrena. There is no need for me to relate our conversation; the course of the Trial. You experienced it yourself when you tried Astoria as the Pope." (F p.195).
"I was taken to a courtyard in a small prison attached to the Council Building. The charges against me were read again and then the fagots were lighted and I was burned as a heretic.
"...In each succeeding life I've led... I have sought a simple and uneventful existence." (F p.196).
Iest is the "ancient and ancestral home" of the Pigts (F p.183).
There is a Pigtish prophecy about a "giant of stone" who would "'rise up' and lead them out of isolation and exile..." (F p.236).
An off-hand comment by the Roach in Women (W p.94) may be related to previous invasions of Iest: "It has all changed now. The Upper City will be invaded ...by the Lower. Not the other way around."
Astoria mentions "a brief period in the history of Iest's Upper City when the singular philosophies of the T'Capmin writer Kevil took hold. To me, this was the only period of enlightenment in the sordid history of Cirinism" with daughters having an active role in government (W p.98). Whatever her historical sources are, their validity is denied by the Cirinists (W p.98-99).
When part of the mountain crushes the Regency, it is remarked upon as being "the first time in history" (W p.124) that the mountain's fall has damaged the Upper City.
"No one's ever conquered Isshuria. The Pigts couldn't do it. The Black Tower Empire couldn't do it. The Sepran Empire tried three times. They couldn't do it." (FV p.623). During the BTE's attempt ("Dating back hundreds of years"), they dug extensive catacombs in the foothills of The Gods' Fence (FV p.635).
Arnold the Isshurian (EI #16, p.42-43). "Between the years when the Black Tower crumpled to ruins and prior to the invention of the continuous action loom."
First known coins minted "more than fourteen centuries before" 1415 (F p.40).
"Tarim" dies (possibly the Messiah from "Talking to Tarim").
His birth (or death) may mark the beginning of the current calendar, as he claims to have invented coins (CS2 p.801), which date to close to the year zero (see above).
"one hundred years after his death"
Sacred texts of the Tarimic Disciplines set down (HS p.434).
Pigts lose their "god-king" (C p.112). Probably the same event (or closely related to it) as the "shaman-king's" vision in M p.182-190, which happened "a thousand years" ago.
Eye in the Pyramid founded (C p.328).
Aardvark at "Regency Hotel" (which at the time might still have been the elf's grove) (HS p.72). The Elf might also have been referring to whatever happened at this time when she said, "We haven't had an aardvark Prime Minister since... since... HEY! That's right! That's before there were Prime Ministers!!" (HS p.286).
King Andros' defense of the mountain pass (C p.502)
The Duke of Akshun rescues his brother from the Onliu (C p.502)
"Several hundred years before" The Exodus Inward is predicted (C p.333).
"Grace District has been run by a Hereditary Matriarchy for hundreds of years." (Letters, issue 56).
Iestans have been devout Tarimites "fer centuries" (CS1 p.555).
"a few centuries ago" Magic flourished in the world, followed by a magical cataclysm (CWTB, Magiking, p.5).
Theyr visits the Kingdom of Felda, writes Discourses (article in issue 16).
Suenteus Po born at some time around this date. C p.421 would place his birth year at 1231. On the other hand, F p.126 would place his birth at 1175. On the third hand, a text piece (by Michael Loubert) in issue 19 says that Po "lived about one hundred fifty years before Cerebus". I've based various dates in his life relative to his being born in 1200, as a compromise.
Conniptins begin to be pushed north by the Hsifan (C p.174).
Suenteus Po turns purple (R p. 81, but see entry for ~1200).
Suenteus Po has detachable limbs (R, p. 81, but see entry for ~1200).
Innec Starym kidnapped from Regency Hotel (HS p.72). Unknown whether or not he was Grandlord of Palnu at this time (C p.415).
Scorz, Scorz and sons founded (HS p.16).
Sepran legions conquer and occupy Upper Felda (M p.152) (Date highly conjectural, see 1385 for discussion). In 1411, a very old woman is one of the few who personally remembers that time (W p.141-142).
Palnu devastated by earthquakes, creating The Pits (C p.321).
Outbreak of religious fervor "ever' decade 'r' so" (CS1 p.574)?
The Eastern Church of Tarim forms the Iestan Legislature to deal with economic matters (C p.333).
Suenteus Po writes some children's fables (C p.510).
Religious wars in Amstanat. Black Blossom Lotus stolen. Fragments of the Lotus surfaced "some twenty to forty years later" (C p.211), and the last "authentic" fragment was discovered "nearly fifty years" ago (C p.210). That places the theft a minimum of 70 years before the conversation (1411). Since the stolen Lotus was sold to a jeweler who died in 1411, I would tend to keep to the minimum date, as he would still have to have been sold the jewel at a young age and lived to a venerable one (although possession of the Lotus may well have lengthened his life span).
Suenteus Po starts meditating to reach the Eighth Sphere (HS p.49). (Actually (even assuming he was telling the truth), he might have started at any earlier date, as he need not have reached it for the first time at the time of the reference.)
Magic/Thunder constructed for Lord Tavers, the previous Grandlord of Palnu before Lord Julius (JS p.26).
Cirin composes The Five Cornerstones (M p.152-153)? Dating highly tentative.
Cockroach born (C p.237).
Cockroach's parents are killed by The Red Claw (C p.237).
Sir Gerrik born? (Date highly conjectural)
A reference to Weisshaupt in 1413 (C p.439) refers to him as raising himself "in thirty years" to Commander-in-Chief. It's not completely clear whether that span refers to his life or his political career, but judging from his apparent age in later appearances, I'd say he entered politics at around this date. Then again, he has had a stressful life, and so may have aged rapidly.
Victor Reid born? One surmises that he is the same age as Dave Sim (37) at the time of Reads. (He is "thirty-odd years" (R p.28) old when he signs with Vertigo Horse.)
Milieu born (she is "a year younger" than Victor Reid, R p.32).
Cerebus is born, probably in late June. According to the letters page, Cerebus turns 29 in between issues 39 ("The Ambassador Suite") and 40 ("Campaign"). This is almost certainly wrong, given that several other sources agree on a birth year of 1385. The earlier references to his "twenty-eighth year" are correct, but that ends with his twenty-eighth birthday, rather than beginning with it. However, it's probably correct about the time of year. We know Cerebus turns 27 in "Beduin by Night", which Weisshaupt later refers to as "spring" (C p.443). This would seem to peg his birthday fairly closely at the end of June.
Astoria born in Lower Felda. She is seventeen when Jaka is eleven (JS p.333). Her birthday is probably in late fall or winter, as that would make Lord Julius' 'confusion' about her birthday (JS p.448-453) more plausible.
Seprans withdraw from Upper Felda, ending their "hundred year's occupation (M p.152). Cirinism founded (M p.154-157). Date highly conjectural, but the possible coincidence with Cerebus and/or Astoria's birth should not be overlooked. At some point (presumably after this), Cirin begins breeding Pomanay plants ("MANY MANY years" before 1415, JS p.460).
Outbreak of religious fervor "ever' decade 'r' so" (CS1 p.574)?
"The Girl Next Door" (EI #30, p.17-19, dated from CJ; FV p.673).
Cerebus gives Cherie some chocolates (GH p.130-131)? Date conjectural.
Cerebus goes to church (M p.98-99,102-103)? Date conjectural.
Cerebus hurts his thumb (GH p.123-124)? Date conjectural.
Lower Felda invades Upper Felda "in the fifth year" (M p.158). Presumably, meaning five years after the Seprans withdrew and Cirin's policies began to establish themselves.
"His First Fifth" (Epic Illustrated #26, p.43-51, dated from CJ).
Jaka Tavers is born in the fall ("through the spring, summer and early fall of her sixth and seventh years" JS p.111, 413). Jaka's birthday is not the same as Astoria's (JS p.453). Jaka left on her twelfth birthday, prompting Lord Julius to conduct a "twelve year search" (JS p.474) which concludes in 1415.
Lower Felda withdraws from Upper Felda "after two years" (M p.159).
"Joy" episode (in "late spring", Cerebus is "eight summers" old, F p.130).
Selling Insurance (EI #30, p.15-16, dated from CJ).
Rick born (Jaka is "two-years-older-than me", RS p.10)
The kitchen knife incident (M p.67-75, FV p.672). Dating uncertain, but based on comparison with other stories whose dates are known.
Squinteye the Sailor (CJ #1, p.15-19). It's possible that Cerebus ran away as a partial result of the kitchen knife incident (see above).
Young Cerebus gets messianic (M p.80).
Jaka's mother dies, Nurse joins Jaka (JS p.12).
Astoria starts looking forward to her death (W p.191). I wonder what the hell prompted that... [Possibly related to her exposure to the Kevil (see below)? Probably not. She's quite definite about this event (whatever it is) being when she was eight, but can't remember exactly when she read the Kevil.]
Imesh period (1394-1397?)
According to the letters page of issue 37, Cerebus was brought here by his father "around the age of 9". We see the beginning of his apprenticeship in Minds, p.80-84 and Latter Days, p.1-2).
Cerebus studies with Magus Doran for three years (HS p.51). During this time, Cerebus first runs the gauntlet of energy globes (C p.197). Cerebus got an elf mad at him during this period (HS p.130).
Add One Mummified Bat (The Animated Cerebus).
Cerebus recalls his "final conversation" with Magus Doran as being "over two decades before" in the later part of 1415 (W p.211). This would seem to imply that Cerebus stayed with Doran less than three years, or started his apprenticeship earlier than is postulated here. Or, of course, he's misremembering the time-span involved. It seems likely that he didn't 'hear' that 'conversation' at the time, but that it was implanted as a post-hypnotic suggestion (See M p.83).
Cerebus has been away from his studies "Ten years. Maybe more." in 1413 (HS p.51), implying that he kept up his work on magic at least somewhat for a few years after leaving Imesh.
"The Big One"??? Some large battle/war that Iest was involved in (JS p.270, 325). Possibly, this war involved the "rift" between the Eastern and Western Church of Tarim, which by 1413 was referred to as "permanent" (HS p.54). Any such recent "rift", however, could not have been the initial schism itself, as there was already a well-established Eastern Church at the time of Suenteus Po I (See above).
Outbreak of religious fervor "ever' decade 'r' so" (CS1 p.574)?
Serna stages a coup, replacing Cirin (M p.161-166). Date highly conjectural, but presumably before taking on Astoria as a protege, and also before spending a day with Sir Gerrik (see below). I say presumably, because it's not clear just how much of Cirin's "identity" Serna took over...
Question: Was Gerrik Cirin's natural son, who Serna adopted? Was he Cirin's adopted son, who Serna took custody of along with Cirin's identity? Or was he Serna's adopted son (and if so, was he adopted before or after she took Cirin's identity)? For that matter, was he adopted at all? Reads p.98-99 implies that he is Cirin's natural son. He is referred to as "adopted" by Theresa (CS1 p.213). Is she mistaken, misinformed, or does she know something we don't?
Astoria first exposed to the Kevil at the age of "Nine? Ten?" (W p.214).
1396, Early Fall
Jaka allowed to keep Missy in her bedroom "when Jaka turned five", so presumably on her birthday (JS p.27).
The next spring, Jaka first "dances", injuring herself (JS p.47 ff.). Although it appears to happen the day after her fifth birthday (p.44), there are a number of pieces of evidence (p.111, 116-117) suggesting that this event took place in the spring of 1397 instead. Apparently, in the gap between pages 44 and 47, six months passed! [It should be noted that the account we have is a third hand one, and that when Jaka begins to remember these events as a young lady, her memories are described as "Fragmented they were and as difficult in their piecing together as the most intricate puzzle" (JS p.127).]
Jaka convalesces for a long time ("through the spring, summer and first weeks of fall of her sixth and seventh years" JS p.111). Her nurse sings to her (JS p.379-382).
Jaka starts attending family sermons (JS p.111).
Early Adulthood (1397-1403?)
Cerebus leaves Magus Doran (see above for discussion of timing). By 1402 (CJ), Cerebus is "just vaguely involved with the Mercenary scene", and in a non-combat role, so presumably he didn't leave Doran to join the army. What he did in these years is little documented.
Cerebus gets in trouble at home ("Cerebus would've been about... oh... twelve, maybe?" GH p.27-28).
Sir Gerrik spends his first full day with Cirin when he is "nearly sixteen" (W p.24) (although as his birth date is conjectural, so is this one...).
Jaka starts 'Lessons' ("in her eighth year" JS p.114).
Victor Reid begins writing on Cirinism and Kevillism (R p.8).
Commander Krull posted in Fluroc (C p.363). Since Stromm doesn't know that he's there, it must have been before this time that Krull cut out his tongue at Ghetty's Point (C p.362).
Winter of 1399/1400
Jaka sees Magic and begins remembering ("nearly three years" after the accident, JS p.117).
Astoria first uses sex (W p.8). Almost certainly before her marriage to Sir Gerrik, and probably before becoming Cirin's protege (her liaison was with an official "in my native Lower Felda", and after it "I began my political career").
Astoria becomes Cirin's protege "from early adolescence" (CS1, p.211) and is "still in her teens" (p.212). Date quite uncertain, but obviously before her marriage to Sir Gerrik (see below).
Bear meets Cerebus ("I known you twenny years'r more" in 1420, G p.85). Note that this almost certainly wasn't in the "Guys" bar, as Cerebus doesn't visit the Wall of Tsi until several years later (unless, of course, the "twenny years" figure was an exaggeration; always possible).
Bear and Greggo pick up some chicks (G p.122).
Astoria marries sir Gerrik, gets pregnant, has a miscarriage (R p.78) and founds Kevillism (CS1 p.213-220). Dating of this is quite uncertain (+/- a year at least).
Lord Julius becomes Grandlord of Palnu. (Dating quite uncertain; there is a reference (JS p.317) to "those earliest years" of his reign which seems to be set in 1403.)
The Defense of Fort Columbia(CJ).
Jaka's Locked door opens (JS p.120 ff.). "through the remainder of her eleventh year" (JS p.127). "in the months prior to her eleventh birthday" (JS p.129). "the morning of her eleventh birthday" (JS p.131).
Jaka takes control over Nurse (JS p.240 ff.).
Jaka dances for the second time (JS p.260).
Early days in Iest (~1403-1414?)
Prior to HS, Cerebus was in Iest for at least one visit and possibly others. He knows city well, indicating that he has spent a fair amount of time there. His time in Iest seems to overlap with his first, rather half-hearted, involvement with the mercenary life (Inferred from the introduction to CJ, among other places).
Some "old scores" with Von Croyder (HS p.20).
An innkeeper says "It has to be ten years since the last time I laid eyes on you!" which would be roughly 1403 (HS p.34).
Cerebus broke into Hobbsgate Prison "some years before" 1413 (HS p.76).
It was probably in Iest that Cerebus spent some time working (or, more probably, burglarizing) with Baldy (HS p.396-397).
Cerebus lives with Michelle, and worked as a tax-collector (CS1 p.45-46). (I'm assuming that this was in Iest. It was "when Cerebus was eighteen", so it was around 1403. Also, Cerebus was a tax collector at the time, and A Friendly Reminder is definitely set in 1403.)
A Friendly Reminder (EI #28, p.32-34, dated from CJ).
Michelle leaves Cerebus (CS1 p.81-82).
Breaking Up Is Hard To Do (Anything Goes #3, p.1-3)
Gambling is illegal (perhaps only among priesthood?) (HS p.65).
Lower Felda runs out of money (HS p.410).
Jaka's dinner-table intrigues (JS p.317 ff.).
Astoria marries Lord Julius (JS p.333). (Presumably Silverspoon is the product of an earlier marriage, as we first see him about nine years from now, much older than nine years old.)
Jaka vs. Astoria (JS 364 ff.).
Jaka's twelfth birthday (JS 421 ff.).
Jaka leaves Palnu to become a dancer in Iest (JS p.29, 105, 454). Lord Julius begins a "twelve year search" (JS p.474).
Astoria and Lord Julius visit Michelle and the Count (CS1 p.56). Shortly thereafter, Astoria and Lord Julius are divorced. (That divorce is "imminent" by Jaka's twelfth birthday (JS p.453).
Ada Talbot leaves Palnu for Iest (JS p.373).
Mercenary period (~1404-1411)
[Dating of these stories and events is highly uncertain, though "His First Sword" almost certainly leads off this period. The others could have happened pretty much anytime between 1404 and the middle of 1412. Note also that this period overlaps with his adventures in Iest (detailed above).]
His First Sword (The Animated Cerebus, 17 plates).
Cerebus slays his first Borealan (F p.130-131).
Cerebus finds his helmet, medallion, and sword "in your travels" (M p.190). Exact dating is unclear, as is whether or not he found them all at once, or on separate occasions.
The battle of Petrou Pass (FV p.399, 423, 567-568, 575; LD p.34).
Cerebus visits Wall of Tsi "a few years further on" (F p.131). This may or may not be the time that he spent in a bar with Bear (M p.277).
Cerebus witnesses a Lockout in Sand Hills Creek (FV p.673).
A Well-Equipped Bar (The Animated Cerebus, 16 plates). (According to an interview with Dave Sim in Cerebus Companion 1, The Animated Cerebus is set "before issue 1" p.17).
the applicant (printed in Issue 91).
The First Invention of Armour(CJ).
The Sepran Empire unsuccessfully attacks the Feldwar States (CS1,p.169).
Outbreak of religious fervor "ever' decade 'r' so" (CS1 p.574)?
Victor Reid meets Milieu while on a promotional tour ("nearly a decade before", "almost ten years to the day" in 1414 or 1415, R p.32). Carl Berger becomes a fan of his ("how long has it been now? Ten years?" R p.72).
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #8 (date on p.12). Could Cerebus' punitive shape-shifts done by whoever he was working for have left him with the elongated nose that he had for much of his mercenary period (but notably *not* in his youth)? When his nose gets elongated again in Church and State (CS2 p.632), it is in apparent connection with magic...
Talking with Bear about Cirinists (Mel p.240-244). (Cerebus' nose is still a bit on the long side.)
Jaka loses the ringing in her ears from her childhood injury (JS p.111).
Michelle enrolled in Weisshaupt's university (CS2 p.643-644)? (Dating highly uncertain. Assumptions are that it was a four-year program, and that she wins the "Miss Congeniality" prize (in 1412) about a year after graduating.)
Shadow Press publishes Victor Reid's Lady Hortense's Conundrum (R p.54).
Unsuccessful Kevillist rebellion in Lower Felda (C p.466). There's a 1413 reference to the Kevillists having "recently come to light" (HS p.53), but the speaker is old enough that five or more years could plausibly be perceived as recent.
Palnan Health and Safety Charter of 1408 (F p.23).
Carron (of Carron, McKiel and Benny) starts trying to get a contract with Palnu (HS p.23).
Jaka dances at the Frog and Duck (JS p.224).
First Annual Trilateral Summit between Iest, Palnu, and New Sepra (unless Julius was just making a joke...) (HS p.413).
Last time Prince "Keef" was straight (CS2 p.698).
Astoria begins building the Kevillist movement in Iest? This could have happened later, up until about early 1413 at the latest. She had "spent years" (W p.191) doing so by 1415. When Cerebus arrives on the Iestan scene in 1413, she seems to already have a lot of contacts and influence, though not as much as she gains with his help. Presumably, Astoria was involved in the Kevillist rebellion in Lower Felda in 1408 (see above), and may have moved her attentions to Iest after that failed.
Inquisition started (HS p.333).
"Madame DuFort" starts her school (C p.484). This is later referred to as "a very short time ago" (C p.510), but given the age of the speaker, three years may seem short.
The 5-day Eshnospur rebellion? The dating is uncertain, but it's recent news when girls start school at Madame DuFort's (C p.512), and Cerebus was in the southlands around this time (C p.31). This may be the rebellion supported by Cirin that is mentioned by Suenteus Po (HS p.54).
The Challenge (Comic Buyer's Guide #977). Cerebus is in Eshnospur and looking to buy a horse, so maybe he's fleeing the aftereffects of the rebellion (see above).
Vera assigned to guard the real Cirin? (See discussion under Women, below.)
[Page references in this section, unless otherwise noted, are to Cerebus.]
The Flame Jewel. Exact time is uncertain, but is probably in late 1410 or early 1411. Set in an unnamed southern city (p.31)
Captive in Boreala. Late Winter/Early Spring. Set in Tansubal province and Boreala some time later. 4 days pass in this chapter ("third day of the march" p.39; 50-51).
The Blood Wars are going on during this time (p.31). They appear to be still going on in 1413 (HS p.54, 295).
Song of Red Sophia. Early March. Set in Tansubal, short time later. 3 days pass in this chapter ("Another day's travel", p.63; "the next day", p.72). Despite the abundant snow visible in the previous chapter, there is abundant foliage blooming in this one, so presumably spring is coming on. Later, Sophia refers to her and Feras' first anniversary (p.211) in the past tense, during a snowstorm, so Spring must have come early this year, and late next year.
Cerebus has some spare cash at the end of this chapter, so it may be around now that he "almost died" of over-drinking in Tansubal (CS1 p.233).
Cerebus travels to Serrea, and makes some bad trades (M p.193-194).
Death's Dark Tread. Spring. Set in Serrea "a week later" (p.76). Appears to take place all on the same day.
Elrod is created (R p.116).
The Idol. Summer. Set in The Red Marches, "summer" (p.97). Cerebus is 26 (p.110).
It's probably during this period that Cerebus serves with Tiberius and does something unpleasant to the Luis' brother ("I'm a serva wit ahim inna Red Marches" p.491).
Demonhorn (Nucleus #1, reprinted in SoC 2). Placed here in the chronology according to letters page in issue 7.
The Secret. Late Summer. Set in Iest, a day or two after The Idol ("Iest is a day's march away" p.118; "two hours in any of these accursed cities" p.121). This chapter might take place over a single day, but a night probably passed in between pages 130-131 (F p.133). Also, Jaka "listened to your stories for hours" (CS1, p.465).
Cerebus versus the Spirit (CJ p.20-23). Late Summer. Although Dave's Introduction says that the narrator has "an exaggerated sense of time" when he says "five years ago," there's no inherent reason why the narrator could not have been speaking from 1416 (although Dave hadn't written that far at the time he wrote this story).
Cerebus Dreams (CWTB). Fall. Cerebus is sleeping in what appears to be a barn, thus implying that he is either low on cash or on the run. It's probably not winter, either.
Around this time, Cerebus sees an old madwoman outside the Ram and Peacock (HS p.50, dated to here only for the obscure Barry Windsor-Smith connection).
A Night on the Town (CWTB). Winter. This story is set in winter-time, and every winter after this, Cerebus is too busy to have a night on the town like this. He is wearing a fur vest, not the one of cloth or leather that he is normally seen wearing, which may set this story somewhat earlier, say, in the winter of 1411 or 1410.
Black Sun Rising. Early November. Set in the Hsifan Khanate. "Early winter" (p.142). Takes place over a single day.
It may be as a result of this chapter's events that Cerebus has run into Hsifan Sopai assassins (p.449).
Some time after this chapter, Elrod visits Madame DuFort's (p.504). (The reference "...strode into Serrea just two summers ago" refers to Death's Dark Tread, not this chapter.)
Day of the Earth-Pig. Late November. Set among the Conniptin tribes not long after. "late November snows" (p.172). Probably takes place over two days ("We'll start tomorrow morning" p.168).
Swords Against Imesh. Late November. Set in and around Imesh, in the Hsifan Khanate, now under K'Cor after their economy's collapse. Possibly the next day, certainly no more than a few days after.
Around this time, Iest sends a new Ranking Diplomatic Representative to Lower Felda. Sadly, he is not invited to the year-end banquet, leading eventually to war between the two countries (HS p.406).
Somewhere around late 1411/early 1412, Davis, Diamond & Madison hold their first annual trade show (R p.16).
About January, the owner of the Black Blossom Lotus dies. ("about a month ago", p.213)
Michelle wins the Palnan Endowment for Advanced Study and Miss Congeniality Prize for 1412 (CS2, p.648). Exact placement is highly uncertain, but this is probably early in the year, as Michelle only then has enough money to *have* a "winter home" (CS1, p.53), but she is reconciled with Weisshaupt by spring, as that's when he brings the Cockroach to her house (see below). (Given her description of her life immediately prior to this (CS2 p.644-648), her late husband must have left her almost no money when he died.)
Merchant of Unshib. Early March. Perhaps a week after Swords Against Imesh, heading towards Iest. ("It is the seventh day of the blizzard", p.207, but that may not be how long Cerebus has been traveling.) Seems to take place over a single day. Sophia refers to her and Feras' first anniversary (p.211), which would have been just a short time ago.
The Merchant and the Cockroach. Early March - Early June. According to p.244, three weeks pass. Since Cerebus turns 27 two weeks from the end of this chapter (p.272), and other sources lead me to believe that his birthday takes place in late June (see entry for 1385), I suspect that, rather than three weeks, it is actually three months that pass during this story (despite the phrase "the best three weeks" being repeated in The Name of the Game is Diamondback).
This is probably also the period in which Cerebus first begins to remember Jaka ("Whenever Cerebus was... drunk..." and "Cerebus saw... a dancer ...in a tavern... in... Beduin." HS p.216).
Diamondback (CWTB) (some time in 1412, according to HS p.65) Takes place during "The Merchant and the Cockroach", see above for comments.
Elfguest (issue 52, p.5-8) (Dated from issue 12, letters
The Morning After (CWTB).
These two stories listed are not part of the main story line, but are placed here since they do show Cerebus at roughly this period of his life, with enough money and free time to do a lot of drinking.
Beduin by Night. Late June. Cerebus turns 27 during this chapter (p.272). At least two weeks have passed since The Merchant and the Cockroach (p.251). Seems to take place over a single evening. It is spring (p.443). This supports (though not definitively) the theory that more than three weeks passed during The Merchant and the Cockroach, as it was snowing heavily at the opening of that chapter.
Shortly after this, Weisshaupt picks up control of the Roach and Elrod (p.443). Shortly after that, the Roach meets Michelle (CS1, p.53). Although she is in her "winter home", it's actually spring. According to Michelle's original story (CS1, p.56), the Count must have died somewhere between 1403 and now, as she speaks of herself independently throughout. On the other hand, her story has quite a bit of doubt cast on it when she later says that she was lying through most of this sequence (CS2 p.654).
'Dave' has a revelation (M p.132).
Magiking (CWTB). Late June/Early July. This story is a pair with Black Magiking, although it does not appear in Cerebus. When Cerebus wakes up, there is a brief reference to this story (C p.274).
The magician's statement that "a magician's life-span is five or six thousand years" is almost certainly a bluff to get Cerebus to cooperate.
Black Magiking. Late June/Early July. Four days after leaving Beduin (p.292), in the village of Theyr.
Annual(?) Festival of Virgins in Theyr (p.277).
There is a gap of about four months in Cerebus' movements here, as the next story with a known (or at least inferred) date takes place in November.
Sometime around the summer of 1412, Henrot creates Geet-a (inferred from p.408-409).
Around Fall of 1412, Weisshaupt unveils Captain Cockroach (p.443-445). He has also recently invented movable type (p.445).
Silverspoon (CWTB). November 5-10. Several days pass. Cerebus and Silverspoon are staked out for at least "four days", possibly a bit more. This is back-dated from later references. It may seem a bit warm for November, but they are sailing through a tropical zone.
The Walls of Palnu. December 1-21. "three weeks later" (p.295). During this chapter "weeks pass" (p.300) and then another 3 days (p.303).
Cerebus sets the property taxes (referred to in "On Governing 3", CS1, p.38).
There is a later reference to Cerebus' "months spent in the service of Lord Julius" (p.360). The time that we're sure about amounts to about six weeks, my dating puts it at about two months.
A Day in the Pits. January 18. Some time has passed ("things settle down" p.315). Seems to take place over a single day.
It's probably about this time that Scorz of Scorz, Scorz and Sons starts trying to contact Lord Julius (HS p.17).
Captain Cockroach spends "almost two weeks" with Michelle ("the following winter -- 1412" CS1, p.54-55). The Roach is "in and out all through that winter".
A Night at the Masque. February 1-2. A fortnight later (p.316). Takes place over at least two days, though more than one night may have passed between pages 353 and 354. "...more than a year" has passed since the events of The Secret (p.348), which was in late fall or early winter of 1411.
Jaka visits Palnu soon after this chapter (p.354), then Madame DuFort's school (p.503) "only days after it happened".
Around February 18, Henrot sets up Geet-a outside his door.
Champion. February 24-March 5. "He had left Palnu three weeks before" (p.358) and is now not far from Fluroc. 2 days pass with the T'Gitans and Krull ("the next day" p.364). "A week later" (p.373), Fluroc is taken.
It is winter, and after mid-winter at that (p.365). Concordance Eve is later stated to be "the festival of spring's arrival" (p.436) and it is about 3 weeks away (counting from various references below).
A Brief Digression On Holidays: This "Concordance Eve" is later stated to be "the festival of spring's arrival" (p.436), and so is presumably the Spring Equinox. Later, in High Society, Petuniacon is held during the "Concordance Holy Days", but that's only about three months away. My assumption is that Concordance Holy Days happen at each Solstice and Equinox. The Festival of Petunias is either also held at different times of the year, or is a separate thing entirely from "Petuniacon". The Festival of Petunias just past was about February 1, not a Concordance Day. Given the way Palnu operates, it may well be held on a completely arbitrary basis. [At least one reference (JS p.405) implies that it is once a year.]
Fluroc. March 8. "It is three days" later (p.375). One day passes.
She-Devil in the Shadows. March 11. Togith, probably a few days later. This chapter takes place over a single day. Henrot hasn't seen Sophia in "over a year" (p.407). Sophia's last appearance in the story line (Merchant of Unshib) was just a bit over a year ago, so he probably hasn't seen her since before she set out on that adventure. Since Henrot mentions "her new home in Togith", she presumably moved to Togith with him some time before vanishing. Perhaps Henrot moved partially in order to give her new surroundings to take her mind off of her husband's death (which happened around early March, 1412).
Geet-a has, among others, "hacked up" Henrot's ex-wife, presumably Mrs. Henrot-Gutch, who might be expected to survive such an experience (p.410).
The golden owl will hold it's shape for "exactly six months" (p.412), so it would have reverted before Cerebus' campaign for Prime Minister started, in HS (not that it's likely to be relevant).
Mind Game. March 11. About ten days remain until Concordance Eve (p.436)
Beduin is closed around now ("a month ago", p.447).
What Happened Between Issues twenty and twenty-one (CWTB) March 11-26. Cerebus is in the freak show for "the next two weeks". The T'Gitans have already attacked Palnu (on Concordance Eve, about four days ago) and are now in the process of being "hunted down by Lord Gorce's troops" (C p.461). Although Astoria claims that it is urgent that Cerebus be taken away before he awakens, and that he can't be drugged again, he does not actually awaken for another ten days or so. Make of that what you will.
Sir Gerrik has known Astoria "for years".
Captain Cockroach. April 8. Cerebus is, inexplicably, in Beduin (Lower Felda), "10 days or so" (p.435) plus "some weeks" (p.461) later. (He makes a later reference to having been "gone almost a fortnight", but this is clearly a slip of the memory (and is almost immediately corrected to "several weeks") (HS p.52).
Suenteus Po is now in Beduin (CS1 p.507). He may well have been tucked away somewhere behind the huge piles of newspapers.
The Death of Elrod. April 8. A few days may have passed between pages 468 and 470.
Cigars invented between issues 22 and 23 (Letter Colums, issue 46).
Captain Cockroach takes refuge with Michelle "for months" (CS1 p.55), before meeting Astoria and becoming Moon Roach (CS1 p.56). This is probably a slight exaggeration, as my dating has Cerebus first meeting Moon Roach just under two months after Weisshaupt's downfall.
The Beguiling. April 12. Still in Lower Felda, Serrea, a few days later. It appears that a single day passes during this chapter. The weather is unusually bad, as it must now be well into Spring (p.435).
Swamp Sounds. May 10. Cerebus arrived four weeks before (p.500). "The coming of Spring" (p.495) is referring to more typical Spring weather, as the technical beginning of Spring was on Concordance Eve, almost two months earlier (p.435).
This Woman, This Thing. May 24. Since Cerebus' leg is healed, it's probably at least a week after the previous chapter (p.500). Takes place over a single day.
Since, by HS p.29, "he has been without sleep for two days", it seems fair to assume that he leaves here immediately after bilking the artist and walks through the night and following day to get to Iest.
[Page references in this section, unless otherwise noted, are to High Society. Dates are given relative to Cerebus' arrival in Iest, just after the end of Cerebus, late Spring of 1413. From various assumptions and inferences (see below for details), I've dated the start of this book at May 25th. I don't claim that the dates I give are exactly correct, but they should be in the close ballpark, and I've listed justification where my reasoning may not have been obvious.]
High Society. May 25.
The Kidnapping of an Aardvark. May 26-June 1. By page 38, it is clearly evening of the second day in Iest.
Mind Game II. Between June 1-3.
Repercussions. June 3-4. When Cerebus visits Hobbsgate Prison the evening after waking up, the prisoners have "been standing for two days" (p.79). They couldn't have been captured immediately on the evening of June 1, as they had time to sell the "duck" to Big Garn, so let's assume they were captured on June 2, and that their interrogation happens on the night of June 4. This implies that Cerebus was unconscious for about 36 hours.
Debts. June 4-6. The pheasant hunt happens the "day after tomorrow" (p.86), so two days pass between pages 90 and 91. A day might have passed between pages 95 and 96, but it's probably the same evening.
The audit is set to begin "next week" and the Prime Minister should stay solvent for "nine days" (p.91). Hence, his money will run out at about June 15 if he doesn't get more funds. Cerebus' debt would buy him one day (p.91), so Hadden's debt would probably buy him two (p.95).
Suenteus Po's account of the 1413 election (p.333) makes it clear that the Grand Inquisitor had been bought off by the Prime Minister a goodly time before his assassination, so this coming audit must be a separate project initiated by His Holiness, not part of the original Inquisition. Also, the Grand Inquisitor's assumption of the title "Earth-Born Messenger" probably happened before the start of this book, as the fake albatross sent by the Kevillists (p.378) was probably related to the flood of prophecies that he was fulfilling.
Chasing Cootie. June 6. The presence of Inquisition priests (p. 116-117) indicates that the Exodus Inward has not yet started. Indeed, their death on p.118 may well be what triggers it. While nothing in this scene explicitly states that one of these priests in the Grand Inquisitor, Cerebus later says that he was "a bystander" (p.279). Also, the Grand Inquisitor was apparently killed while Astoria still had control over the Roach, as "the Grand Inquisitor was the one who advocated exclusive trade with Palnu" (p.280) which Astoria would obviously be against. While not conclusive, it does suggest that this was the Grand Inquisitor and an assistant who just got "mooned".
Alliance. June 6-17. Since the Prime Minister stops hounding Cerebus after he authorizes the tariff (p.133), it's safe to assume that it buys him as much or more than Hadden's contract would; two or three days more, which would extend his personal deadline to June 17 or 18.
Cerebus presumably asks his second question (p.136) the next day (June 7), although more time may have passed.
Astoria works "for nine days" (p.138), presumably bringing us to June 16 for question three.
At least one day passes between pages 141 and 142; Astoria has changed clothes and the Elf has had time to set up her revenge.
This is the last time we see a priest for quite some time, as soon after this, the Exodus Inward starts (exactly when is unclear).
Friction. June 17-18.
The Prime Minister probably runs out of money right around now. Luckily for him, the Exodus Inward starts sometime around now, so the audit ceases to be an issue. His government is still on the brink of collapse, but the immediate threat has been averted.
Three Days Before. June 18. Cerebus is "in his twenty-eighth year" (p.171), and hence approaching twenty-eighth birthday.
Jaka buys Cerebus' sword ("yesterday" p.222).
Two Days Before. June 19. Astoria arranges dinner with the Prime Minister for "this evening" (p.197), but the caption labels it as "the evening before" (p.200). Therefore, unless Cerebus had been out drinking for 36 hours (as opposed to "several", p.189), then this chapter is really One Day Before, and the previous one was two. I don't see anywhere else where one could fit an extra day into the story with even that degree of implausibility, as there are frequent references to the steady passage of time (too many to bother listing in detail). A minor counting glitch on the part of the author, but certainly forgivable, seeing as how it took even an obsessive-compulsive note-taker like me several years to notice it.
The Night Before. June 19.
Cerebus' memories of Jaka (p.216) probably started to return in between The Merchant and the Cockroach and Beduin by Night.
The sword on page 228 is the one Cerebus lost in Beduin by Night, along with a hoard of the Cockroach's money, some of which had been stolen over thirty years ago (explaining the reference on p.224).
It's Showtime! June 19-20. Petuniacon is being held at a different time of the year than the Festival of Petunias we saw in A Night at the Masque, which was about mid-winter. It is now at least late spring or early summer. Similarly, the "Concordance Holy Days" mentioned in the invitation (p.188) cannot be the same as the Concordance Eve on which Cerebus intended to attack Palnu with the T'Gitans, as that was about three months ago. If it was exactly three months ago, it may well be a festival held at the beginning of each season, which would mean that it is now almost summer of 1413. (This is the primary justification for the exactness of the dates, counting backwards from the Summer Solstice on June 20.)
Petuniacon ...Day Two. June 21.
The Ambassador Suite. June 22. The Exodus Inward is already underway. It must have started after day 24, as we see an inquisition priest in Alliance. On the other hand, they've been gone long enough for Blakely to say "it would seem they are gone forever" (p.271).
Around now, New Sepra runs out of money to pay interest on Palnu's loans ("I no pay my rent in five months" (p.414).
There is a gap of a little over three months in the story here, according to my dating. See the entry for Campaign, below, for my reasoning.
During this time period, Moon Roach occasionally visits Michelle ("Over the course of the next few months" CS1 p.57).
Campaign. October 1-5. An indeterminate amount of time has passed since the last chapter, enough time to get the campaign structure in place. Given that by the time the election takes place, there has been serious snowfall, we have to be getting towards fall. There are some obvious useful resonances in having the election take place on November 5th, so I've back-dated from that assumption.
I should also note that, despite the frequent references to the imminent collapse of the government, this appears to be a regularly scheduled election ("every four years" p.339; "regular as flamin' clockwork" p.343). On the other hand, Lord Storm'send does make reference to "surprise elections" (p.382), so who knows? The fort commander on page 346 seems surprised by the election, but he's sufficiently absent-minded that that hardly counts as evidence for or against.
Assuming one lecture and/or diplomatic visit per day (although they could have either doubled up or skipped days), this chapter covers five days.
Bran says that Upper Felda is "preparing for a major offensive in the spring." (p.295). This is not referring to the Cirinist invasion of Iest (which was not planned, but was a response to Astoria's trial), but apparently to an assault on Lower Felda.
Goat. October 2. Although this chapter appears after Campaign, it is clear from the Abbess' remark on p.300 that the Goat visited her before Cerebus.
Heroes. October 6-9. The fact that the Roach and Dirty Drew have had enough free time to visit Maggie's cathouse (p.317) at least once (and by implication, several times) during the campaign lends weight to the theory that three months have passed 'off-camera' before "Campaign". These visits had to have been during the campaign, as the two hadn't met before then. The "endoorance rally" incident could have happened some time ago, though.
It's probably during this time period that Lord Julius visits Storm'send Manor (p.335).
The Department of Electoral Management sends out ballots around this time ("a few week back" on November 6 (p.377)).
Campaign's End. October 9-November 4.
Still assuming one lecture and/or diplomatic visit per day (although they could have either doubled up or skipped days), the sequence on pages 334-246 covers four days.
The following sequence is, according to the caption, "two weeks later" (p.347).
Assuming one 'newspaper' per side per day (and that the newspapers on pages 351-352 all came out after the other events shown in this chapter, and not concurrently), we have nine more days, bringing us up to November 4th.
On November 4th, Lord Storms'end collects his ballots ("the day afore yestiddy" on November 6th (p.377)).
Election Night. November 5. Oscar is in the audience (JS p.175).
The Deciding Vote. November 6. Lord Julius makes better time, arriving before Cerebus does (p.378). At least a week passes after this chapter for the "temporary bridge" to be built (p.390).
The Bureaucratic Rebellion. December 1-8. From Sim's notes in the notebook pages to issue 45: "I ... decided I'd rather leave the amount of time that passed in the book up in the air." This has actually been holding for some time already, but I managed to get at least tentative dates based on wild assumptions before, so why stop now?
I'm still assuming one 'newspaper' per side per day, which gives us at least 6 days for pages 393-401. A night passes between pages 407-408, and another one between 408-409.
Henrot was last seen in Togith. Cerebus probably invited him to come to Iest after winning the election. (According to my (wildly tentative) dating, that was almost a month ago, and there would have been plenty of time.)
The last Festival of Petunias took place on February 2 (see above), so if it's an annual event, Cerebus is getting his invitation two months in advance.
The events from On Governing V (CS1 p.156-157) may well have happened in the week between these two chapters.
Summit Enchanted Evening. December 14-22. On January 8, the summit is set for "next week" (p.411-412). The extract from The Six Crises on p.429 mentions "in the two weeks prior to the summit", in a context suggesting that the summit was two weeks after Cerebus' swearing in.
The invasion of New Sepra is on December 16 ("the day after tomorrow" p.423, "the following days" p.429).
On p.430, Cerebus speculates about the blizzard lasting "another week", suggesting that a week has gone by since the invasion.
Balances. December 24-30. A few days have passed between the last chapter and this one, enough time for the mercenaries to capture the New Sepran treasury, and for Lord Julius to react (p.439).
Five days pass between pages 442 and 446. Another two days pass between pages 451 and 452.
Sometime around now (Winter 1413) Astoria makes a despairing entry in her Private Journal (W p.179).
Cerebus wishes for a mountain of gold (M p.134) (Probably takes place just before HS p.451).
Upstairs Downstairs. January 1-10. On page 456, Arnold suggests that the assault in the Red Marches should take about ten days, and they report the capture on p.467.
The Last Stand. January 11.
Between these two chapters, Suenteus Po is arrested as detailed in The Six Crises, p.511.
Denouement. January 13. This chapter opens at least the next day, possibly several days after the previous one. According to the letters page of issue 58, "Cerebus lost power in the late winter of 1414".
The Exodus Inward is over. Cerebus say that the Church will "find things have changed in the last few months" (p.498). It's actually been about seven months since the Exodus Inward started, but the major political changes have been in the last few months.
Four of the Western Pontiff's elite legions are to arrive in Iest "at dawn" (p.500), which would be January 14.
Theresa flees to Lower Feldan embassy (CS1 p.185).
Exodus (CZ). January 15. Takes place over a single day.
When we last saw Cerebus, he was not being actively hunted by the authorities, though that would probably have happened fairly shortly. Also, the Roach has had time to find a new costume and identity (not that that would take him long). Hence, I've dated this two days after Denouement.
Priest Roach writes to Countess (CS1 p.57).
Pope Harmony II executed a week after Cerebus resigns (CS1 p.139), hence January 20.
Sometime around here, Jaka begins dating Rick (GH p.48-51), marrying him not long after. Does she marry him because she discovers her pregnancy?
Jaka meets Viktor (RS p.10-13)
Church & State, Volume 1
[Page references in this section, unless otherwise noted, are to Church & State, Volume 1.]
Book One: Apres State.
Weisshaupt's and Cirin's simultaneous discovery of an ancient text (CS2 p.798). The exact timing is unclear, but it does seem to be one of the triggers that sets off the actions in Church & State.
Writing. April 15. The exact date is unclear from the immediate
context. This could take place immediately after "Exodus", or some considerable
time may have passed. Some later events help us define it more
Weisshaupt has created Wolveroach (p.65-66), finished getting signatures for United Feldwar States (p.62-64), and started published politically correct romance tracts to counter the growing Cirinist influence (p. 121). These activities would have taken some considerable amount of time. Also, Michelle's garden is blooming nicely (p.41-43) and New Sepra doesn't seem particularly tropical. 1412 had an unusually mild spring, 1413 an unusually heavy one, so it's no great stretch to assume that 1414's spring would be mild again. Hence, I'm dating the start of Church & State at April 15. Three month gaps do seem to turn up fairly often... (Some of that gap may have happened between Denouement and Exodus, but I think it unlikely.)
The Insecure Sinecure. April 16-17. Presumably begins the day after Writing. Continues "the next day" (p.24).
The Countess and the Aardvark. April 18-19. Begins the evening of the same day as the last chapter (The Countess live close enough to receive and return a letter in less than 24 hours, so Cerebus should arrive the same day). Set in New Sepra (p.42).
The Origin of Wolveroach. April 19.
The Why and the Are. April 19-20.
The Mystic We. April 20. And just what (if anything) had Claremont been using as a body for the previous ten months (p.94)? Has he been in Artemis since his Moon Roach period?
Shortly after this chapter, Pope Harmony III is executed (p.139). Cerebus doesn't hear about it, as he is presumably spending his time (and Michelle's money) getting drunk.
Somewhere between these two chapters, Jaka conceives a child (she isn't visibly pregnant yet by Terrible Analogies (early July), but is certain that she is.
Shortly before the next chapter, Weisshaupt begins his term as President of the UFS (see entry for Appointments, below).
Suddenly, Sophia. June 1. This may be too much time, but by next chapter it is "early summer" (see below).
Henrot is apparently already involved in "this messiah thing" (CS2 p.628).
Probably about this time, Weisshaupt publishes a tract "on the Hsifan invasion of 1414" (p.201).
Somewhere around now, Lady of Palnu, by Victor Reid, is published (it had to have already been in print a while by the time Cirin invaded, see R p.8). "For several weeks" (R p.10) after that, Victor visits Zulli's studio to see Beth. Around the same time ("some months ago" (R p.12) after two more books have been written), he attends a literary dinner with Henry Wotton, who had "recently" attended a trade show (probably not the same show which Victor Reid goes to, as it is described as "Annual").
Book Two: Back to Iest.
All Lined Up. June 4. Back in Iest. According to the letters page of issue 58, it is now "early summer", although other evidence suggests that it is still May. The trip from Port Seprania would have been a short one, but I've allowed a day or two to settle before having guests for dinner.
At this point, we get a number of very short chapters, over which, collectively, only a few weeks pass (see Appointments). I've assigned dates to them in a fairly arbitrary manner, but roughly one per day, as that seems to fit the other time cues we're given.
Carrol E. King Reads. June 5. Apparently, Cerebus has had time to write a read (although it could easily have been ghosted).
At the Club One Afternoon. June 6.
Memoirs. June 7.
Note. June 8. Apparently, Jaka is visting Lord Julius back in Palnu at this time, but she is back in Iest within a month (See Fascination & Fruition, below).
First Impression. June 9.
Tree Planting. June 10. The leaves on the trees are bare, suggesting that it is now Fall, although other references make this seem impossible. Perhaps the trees have simply been frightened by Mrs. Henrot-Gutch.
Approved By. June 11. One of the documents Cerebus signs concerns taxation for "fiscal 1415" (p.164), though we don't know exactly when the fiscal year is.
Rough Pope. June 12.
Sophia. June 13. Cerebus and Sophia have been together for at least "a few weeks" (p.175).
Henrot-Gutch. June 14. The visible trees in the background appear to be firs, and thus give no useful cues to the season.
Astoria. June 15. Astoria's reference to a "summer pageant" (p.179) may or may not be topical. "Three popes dead with in a matter of months" (p.179). Six months, actually, but that is still an accurate statement.
Elf. June 16.
Theresa. June 17.
Stormy Weather. June 18.
Cerebus Was. June 20. The foliage visible here is somewhat impressionistic, giving no clear cue as to the season. There's no evidence of a recent storm, so I've put two days between this and the previous chapter.
Something Cerebus Was. June 20.
Mrs. Tynsdale-Clyde's Tea. June 21.
Powers. June 22.
Boom. June 23.
Appointmemts. June 24.
Four weeks (p.225) have passed since Weisshaupt took office, which would have been between The Origin of Wolveroach and Suddenly, Sophia. My dating puts this exactly one week after Weisshaupt first met with Theresa. Perhaps he has set up weekly meetings with her.
Mind Game III is a puzzlement, but may be a dream that Cerebus has at more or less this time.
Mind Game IV. June 24. The Regency will get more ale in on June 27th (p.231).
Book Three: Church & State.
Never Pray for Change. June 25. Cerebus' appointment came through "last night" (p.265). Powers brought flower bulbs with him "in the spring" (p.255), and they are blooming now.
Anything Done For The First Time Unleashes a Demon. June 25-26. Powers was expecting to meet with Cerebus "tonight" (p.269), but the bulk of the issue is clearly the next day.
Roach overpowers Claremont sometime around here ("more than a week before" CS2 p.604). He also would seem to be at least somewhat under Weisshaupt's influence (CS2 p.666,703).
The Thrill of Agony & The Victory of Defeat. June 27-29. 15 days (p.293) till the end of the world (July 12), then 13 (p.303). (In fact, the Ascension takes place only 13 days from the initial pronouncement, on July 10.)
Cerebus Dreams II (AV in 3-D #1, p.21-24). Night of June 29-30. Described in CS1 p.314.
Day of Greatness, Age of Consent. June 30-July 2. The next morning through T-10 (p.330).
"Cerebus is tired of this." (M p.135).
Another Thing Coming. July 5-7. Morning of T-7 (p.333), through the morning of T-5 (p.388).
Michelle is "with [Weisshaupt] up until a few days ago" on July 9 (CS2 p.640). He gave her a letter for Cerebus "before he died (CS2 p.665). Presumably, he had advance warning of Thrunk's approach (he arrives very shortly after Weisshaupt's death). Presumably he also arranged the matchbook (CS2 p.745) and the gold sphere (CS2 p.1010) at this time, though arguments against that have certainly been raised (see entry for Ave Avid, below).
Ignore it, it's Just Another Reality. July 7.
Sane As It Ever Was. July 7.
Hovering Below the Fray. July 7.
Time Passes & Life Manoeuvres. July 7. Cerebus orders the Red Marches conquered by the day after tomorrow, T-3, July 9 (p.421). Julius' Inauguration is set for July 9 (p.424).
Fascination & Fruition. July 7. Jaka is working as a dancer in the lower city (p.446-448), probably at the Dog and Thrush (JS p.439). Flashback in RS, p.234-235.
Acquired Tastes. July 7.
Terrible Analogies. July 7. Jaka's comment that she will have a baby in "a few months" (p.479) is probably using a broad definition of "few". She certainly isn't showing her pregnancy at this time.
Bran announce that the Red Marches have been conquered (p.481), though only a few hours can have passed since the army (and Bran's note) left. One begins to get the feeling that Dave was losing track of time at this slow a pace. On the other hand, the Pigt armies are probably the best suited for a military operation against the Red Marches, as they are apparently the only non-nomadic people living there, and their tunnels could give them a huge tactical advantage. Also, I suspect that nomadic peoples would tend, at least at first, to retreat before large invading armies, being not particularly attached to the land.
Varying Reasons of Assorted Depths. July 7.
Odd Transformations. July 7.
Odd Transformations Part 2. July 8.
Spinning Straw into Gold. July 8.
Causality Casualty. July 8. The farmer's cut-off statement on p.575 may indicate that the mountain has already started to grow at this point, although we don't actually see this until CS2 p.714.
Church & State, Volume II
[Page references in this section, unless otherwise noted, are to Church & State, Volume II.]
Book Four: The Sacred Wars.
An Untold Tale of the 'Secret Sacred Wars' (Aargh!, p.50-53). Although the smashed chest in the background is a small suggestion that this story takes place after the following chapter, there just isn't enough time after that for the Roach to send his assistants on a one-day mission and have them report back. If it takes place just before the following chapter, it helps to explain the Roach's paranoia towards his assistants there.
Becoming Synonymous with Something Indescribable. July 8.
Talking Heads. July 8.
Touch Not the Priestess. July 8.
Chariot of the Queen, Chariot of the Lovers. July 8. It's now "in the middle of summer" (p.674). It would be interesting if the predicted doomsday was on Midsummer's Day...
Missing it for the World. July 8.
Flying off the Handle at Obliue Angles. July 8. It's unclear when (or, indeed, if) Weisshaupt predicted this "frostonite summer" (p.703).
Towers Analagous. July 8. Cerebus' vision of the tower falling (p.716 ff.) are not actually taking place now, nor has he seen them in the past. As will become more clear later, this is a legendary event that happened in the distant past (and more than once).
Out with the In Crowd. July 8. Astoria "goes away" (p.743), and kills the Lion of Serrea. He presumably must have come to (or almost to) Iest, as Astoria is in custody, in Iest, by the next morning. Also, Powers was praying for his imminent arrival (p.721).
Dead Friends. July 8.
Book Five: Astoria.
Five. July 9. The plans for Julius' inauguration (p.782) are rather urgent, as it's supposed to take place today.
Talking to Tarim. July 9.
Audacious Tenacity, Tenacious Audacity. July 9.
The Prisoner. July 9.
So. July 9.
Odd Transformation 4. July 9.
An Anchor That's Going Places. July 9.
The Unknown Given. July 9.
The Trial. July 10. The Trial starts at midnight (p.910).
Accurately Inexplicable. July 10. The sequence starting on p.968 is set, in some senses, several hundred years ago (possibly 1400 years ago), at the last occurrence of this cycle.
Endgame. July 10. The sequence beginning on p.988 appears to be happening the same night, as the message is referred to as being sent "at midnight" (p.991), with no mention of a date.
Ave Avid. July 10. How Weisshaupt knew enough to place the gold sphere precisely there when he died two days ago is something of a puzzle. Prescience is certainly one valid explanation in this sort of story. Or perhaps he is not actually dead. Or perhaps his ghost is still actively influencing events, as Claremont's 'ghost' has (this theory is strongly supported by Mass with Substance). Then again, for those who love conspiracy theories, the fellow who let Cerebus in to see Weisshaupt as he was dying (CS1 p.498) bore a strong resemblance to a young Weisshaupt (although that was easy to miss, without the wig); perhaps he was a relative (or to get truly silly, a clone), who is continuing the elder Weisshaupt's machinations.
Book Six: The Final Ascension.
The Sudden Return of the Melodramatic Narrator. July 10. Takes place over seconds, or minutes at most.
A Mr. Bruno observes the Ascension (R p.50).
Passage of time is highly uncertain and subjective from here through the end of Church and State. Cerebus never sleeps in this period, but this may not signify. From a mythological standpoint, he has entered the realm of Faerie, where mortal concepts of time do not apply.
The end of the world fails to occur (CS2 p.1212).
Mass with Substance.
Greatness Among Flies.
Book Seven: Walking on the Moon.
All the Suns are Daughters.
According to the Judge, Cerebus dies, "alone, unmourned, and unloved" "only a few more years" after 1415 (CS2 p.1212). This turns out to be false (at least the "few more years" part).
Late July/Early August
Boobah has left the hotel (but apparently not the city, Mel p.70), presumably just before the Cirinists arrived (CZ, Square One p.3-4).
The Cirinists, under the military leadership of Normina Swartskof (F p.36), have invaded Lower Felda and Iest (CS2 p.1212), apparently without serious opposition (CZ "Square One" p.38). Apparently, they put out the story that the Tower was an illusion (F p.30). Another inference is that they portrayed themselves, not as conquerors, but as a peace-keeping force (presumably there was considerable rioting in the aftermath of the Ascension) (W p.62).
The true Cirin is 'cut loose' (M p.169).
Pud's wife dies ("more than a year" in July 1415, JS p.118). [He later thinks "just about a year ago" (JS p.174).]
Michelle was supposed to take care of Artemis "for a month or so" (CS2 p.666).
Jaka and Rick move in with Pud (JS p.48) (Exact timing uncertain, this seemed reasonable). Pud's money is used up "in less than a year" (JS p.279), and Jaka has been there for "almost a year" (JS p.288).
Jaka visits 13 Little College Street "in her sixth month" (JS p.462). Given that she wasn't visibly pregnant in July, this is almost certainly after she and Rick had moved in with Pud.
Cirin recommends Lady of Palnu "shortly after the invasion" (R p.10). Victor Reid's popularity begins to grow (R p.8).
Victor makes peace with being popular "several weeks" (R p.8) after first noticing that he is, but "after a time" grows uneasy with it again.
Palnu's Underworld published (R p.12). Dated here to be about halfway between the (estimated) publication dates for the preceding and following books.
Victor becomes his publisher's favorite author (R p.12)
Jaka asks Rick to help clean out the closets (JS p.262).
Square One (CZ). July 10-11.
Although Dave Sim's Note in issue 112/113 claims that "a fortnight or so has passed" since the Ascension, there is much cause to dispute this, such as Jaka's hair length. The old customer refers to the invasion as having happened "last year" (JS p.271). This would place these events 7-12 months after the Final Ascension (that was "the middle of summer" (CS2 p.674), and it is now apparently spring or summer). This is supported by Jaka's having been at Pud's for "almost a year" (JS p.288), which period definitely started after the invasion (JS p.48). Ada Talbot has been in a Cirinist-run Iestan prison for "eight months... nine months... I lost track" (JS p.361).
For aesthetic reasons, I've dated Cerebus' 'missing time' as having been exactly one year.
Cerebus' return may be what 'causes' Cirin to have a strange growth, which she has had for "several months" in early December (R p.81).
[Page references in this section, unless otherwise noted, are to Jaka's Story. At this stage, Dave stopped giving individual chapter titles to each serialized issue, preferring to structure the work with an eye towards its eventual collection. Hence, the chapter discussions from here on in will tend to be longer.]
Jaka's reactions to Jaka's Story may be found in GH, p.13-14.
July 11. The flashbacks cover the years 1394-1396, see specific entries above.
Book One: Pogrom's Progress.
The flashbacks in this book cover the years 1396-1402, see specific entries above.
July 11. Pages 33-90.
July 12. Pages 92-93. ("yesterday", p.92).
July 13. Pages 96-113. ("two days since you 'fell asleep'" p.97).
Jaka lies to Cerebus (M p.138, GH p.56).
July 14. Page 115-119. Jaka and Rick were getting ready for bed on p.113, it now appears to be the next morning. More time may have passed, but not much, as Rick is still staring at Cerebus on p.115. The following scene doesn't necessarily have to be the same day, but some things (like having Market Day once a week, see below) fit better if it is.
July 15. Pages 122-125. More than one day may have passed since the last scene.
July 16. Pages 126-130.
Book Two: The Poet.
The flashbacks in this book cover the years 1402-1403, see specific entries above.
July 16. Pages 134-175. Rick says he had a drink "yesterday" (p.156). If that was the drink he had on July 15 (making this the 16th), then that would imply that he and Jaka had their 'reconciliation' (p.130) in the middle of the afternoon, which seems a bit out of character for Jaka. On the other hand, she clearly doesn't realize how well Cerebus can hear through the walls... Also, on the next day, Pud says that Cerebus comes in for an ale "once... twice a week" (p.182), which fits.
July 17. Pages 176-195. Rick warns Jaka about the paint (p.262).
July 18. Pages 196-232. It's Market Day (p.200). Presumably this happens once a week, as it's been seven days since the last one we saw.
July 19. Pages 233-291. Interestingly, p.236 contains two references to the biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah, suggesting that the story might already be well known at this time. On the other hand, they may just be 'translations' for Estarcion idioms.
July 20. Pages 292-316. It's probably some time during this day that someone notices the Guffin and reports it to the Cirinists (prompting the investigation von the 21st). Presumably, Oscar receives the balance of his payment (p.292), since later on, 'Sebastien Melmoth' is looking for the third installment (Mel p.32), implying that the second one had been printed.
July 21. Pages 317-352.
Book Three: Mystery Achievement.
The flashbacks in this book take place in 1403, see specific entries above.
July 21. Pages 354-383. When she first arrives, Jaka is apparently "slated for execution within the week" (Mel p.231), although that obviously doesn't come to pass.
July 22. Pages 386-404. Some days may have passed between 392-393, but there's no strong reason to think that they have. The guard says "I told you yesterday" (p.386) about something that we didn't hear her say, but it could easily have happened 'off-camera'.
July 23. Pages 406-431. The healing scalp wound (p.414) is presumably the one administered the previous day (p.399; M p.232). Mrs. Thatcher's complaint about having had to wait "a year and sometimes longer" suggests that the Cirinists have been in control here for over a year. Apparently the invasion happened quite soon after Cerebus' Ascension, and succeeded quickly (see also p.271 and CZ Square One p.38).
July 24. Pages 435-447.
July 25. Pages 450-452.
July 26. Pages 455-469.
Like-a-looks presumably happens before the collected Epilogue, but there's no solid evidence to fix its time one way or another.
Early August. The "two years" figure for Jaka's marriage (p.474) is almost certainly an exaggeration. She was almost certainly *not* married in the early part of 1414 (The Last Stand), just over a year and a half ago.
In Palnu's Shadow published (R p.12) and goes through three printings "in as many weeks" (The Palnu Trilogy has been at the top of the charts for "three months" in December, R p.72).
Beth is fired (R p.12). Victor complains of writer's block and, the next morning, signs away the rights to the Palnu Trilogy (R p.10-12).
Victor Reid attends the fourth annual Davis, Diamond & Madison trade show, signs with Vertigo Horse (R p.16-21,27-30).
Between the trade show and Victor's first meeting with Vertigo Horse about Ascension a considerable amount of time passes: "period of weeks" (R p.32) plus "several days" (R p.34) plus "a few days later" (R p.36).
Cerebus' return (JS p.470-471) might have been as early as July 22nd. He left on the night of July 19th, and must have had at least some difficulty in getting the paint (for one thing, he had no money other than an unspendable gold coin). On the other hand, perhaps weeks or even months have passed. Near the beginning of Melmoth, we see a tree bare of leaves (Mel 10 ff.), and shortly into Mothers & Daughters, there is snow upon the ground. I think this is another good spot for the semi-traditional three-month gap...
"Damn you, Tarim!" (M p.89-92).
[Page references in this section, unless otherwise noted, are to Melmoth. Dates, where possible, are taken from the actual letters used as source material, although Sim has rearranged some of the events.]
October 29. Pages 32-48.
October 30. Pages 49-58. The real-life scene which is quoted on p.55 took place on October 16, Sim has placed it slightly out of order.
November 1. Ross visits Pere Lachaise Cemetery (p.88).
November 3. Page 59.
November 4-6. Page 60.
November 6. Pages 61-88. Dino has taken a week to nail down his ownership of the gold coin (p.64).
November 12. Pages 89-107
November 13. Page 108.
Around this time, Claremont/normalroach starts working on new weapons ("weeks" ago by December 5, F p.78-79).
Also around this time, Sedra leaves K'Cor ("several weeks" by December 5, F p.173).
November 25-26. Pages 109-128.
November 27. Pages 129-148.
Cerebus experience "the unbearable lightness of being" (R p.82).
Posey receives a vision of Cerebus ("some weeks ago" F p.193). He is arrested on the night of the 28th, so probably had the vision on the 27th.
November 28. Pages 149-168.
November 29. Pages 169-188. Dino's Bistro Continentale was set to open on December 1 (p.172). The letter quoted beginning on p.173 was actually sent late in the day on November 28, but clearly another day has gone by in this version. Hence, 'Sebastien' dies one day later than he did in our own world.
November 30. Pages 189-199.
December 1. Pages 200-213.
December 2. Pages 214-220.
December 3. Page 221.
December 4. Pages 222-225.
First day of the McGrew's probationary period (F p.205). They were last seen working for Lord Julius, but that was probably around early August, leaving plenty of time for them to get back to Iest and land in trouble.
December 5. This may not be the next day, but considerably later, as no time cues are noted.
mothers & daughters
Book One: Flight
[Page references in this section, unless otherwise noted, are to Flight.]
Flight takes place entirely on December 5th. (Technically, events late in the book are probably after midnight, but few of the characters have been to sleep, and all of those have been rudely awakened.
On pages 39-40, there are references to some events from the spring of 1412 as having been "more than three years [ago]" (p.39-40). As it is now late in the year 1415, this tracks.
On p.41, we see snow for the first time this year, which also seems in keeping with it being early December.
Night appears to have fallen by page 162.
The true Cirin has a prophetic dream ("last night" W p.27).
Victor Reid works on Ascension, gets good news from Milieu (R p.36-39,48-55). The Tower had grown "a year before? two?" (R p.50). Actually, about a year and a half, as far as I can tell (Summer of 1414, whereas it's now winter of 1415).
Book Two: Women
[Page references in this section, unless otherwise noted, are to Women.]
On p.30, the real Cirin says "I don't think I've said fifty words in five years." 'Dave' later states that her lips were bound until the conquest of Iest (M p.169), which was just over a year ago, and goes on to list a great number of things that she talks about. Perhaps Cirin is forgetful about what she says. Perhaps Dave is forgetful about what he says...
On p.53, there is a reference to "the first day", showing that the radical transformation in Pigt society has, quite literally, happened overnight.
Although, in his mind, some of Cerebus' dreams appear to be taking place at night, the Regency Hotel was smashed "at hagh noon" (p.106). Many of the characters, for a variety of reasons, are in a dreaming state well before nightfall. On the other hand, morning has broken by page 133, so night had to have fallen at some point.
Judging from the angle of the shadows, pages 122-124 happen very close together, and in late afternoon. (Dr. Cameron presumably first examined Cirin just after the Regency was crushed.) [Alternatively, some or all of the shadows could be caused by strong moonlight. I don't think there's direct evidence of what phase the moon is in just now.]
Victor Reid waits for Karen Potts (R p.56-58).
The air temperature is dropping rapidly (p.216).
The Journal entry on p.178 is clearly at least roughly contemporaneous (since it refers to Cerebus' return), making it curious that it is dated "Autumn", as more conventional dating would have it winter (indeed, Astoria's journal entry on the following page, which is dated winter, must have taken place no more than a few weeks later in the year than Cirin's). This may be part of the entry that Cirin was writing in Flight (F p.162).
By p.207, "the sun began its descent towards the horizon".
Hammond had promised to deliver the gold sphere "by the end of next month" (F p.95), but it's being poured today (p.212). Part of the speed-up in plans is no doubt due to the miraculous change to the mold structure, but one also senses that Cirin must be moving with desperate haste here.
By p.213, the shadows show that we're in mid-afternoon. Cirin should be unsurprised that the sphere is flawed (p.237), having been told that it would be "completely solid by sunset" (p.216), at least a few hours away still.
Book Three: Reads
[Page references in this section, unless otherwise noted, are to Reads.]
The main story line in Reads takes place entirely on December 7.
During the sequence on p.174-177, Cerebus is praying to Tarim for help (M p.94-95).
According to an interview with Sim in Cerebus Companion 2 (p.33), the Victor Reid story line "occurs simultaneously" with the main one. This can actually be accommodated, as almost all of his story takes place in flashbacks (and have hence been incorporated into the earlier sections of the timeline wherever they seemed to fit (which is not always in their narrative order)). The story meets up with the point of reminiscence at p.68.
Victor meets with Carl Berger (p.68-77). "The printing deadline is five days from now" (p.72).
Victor Reid works on the new-improved Ascension (p.88-93).
The Viktor Davis section of the narrative is not dated, as it does not (in any sense I deem significant) take place in Estarcion.
January 1 (date arbitrary).
Iest is reduced to "one big wheat field" (G p.16, GH p.349-356, 363-364) when the mountain is destroyed. (This presumably happens as a result, directly or indirectly, of the Ascension).
Cirin returns to Estarcion (G p.16).
Jaka has her portrait painted (M p.139-144, GH 318-321) "a few months ago" during the second Ascension. Given the strange nature of time around Ascensions, this event could be placed considerably later.
Cerebus allegedly takes back Iest from the Cirinists (according to Suenteus Po, and pretty obviously false, F p.135-137).
Oscar gets out of jail (JS p.351).
Victor Reid has writer's block. Assuming at least one month between published chapters, plus the "eight (nine? ten?)" (R p.108) month gap, it's been at least 14 months, possibly as many as a few years since we've last seen him. He must have gotten married in some haste (possibly due to getting Sarah pregnant accidentally).
Book Four: Minds
I haven't given any dates for this book, as it, like the first Ascension, seems to take place in a sort of fairy-time that is unrelated to the normal flow of time.
[These events are all hard to date, but fit reasonably well here.]
Fred Ethel and the little fellow with the hair experience re-entry "a number of years" after 1415 (CS2 p.1137).
At some time in between Jaka's Story and 1424, Rick was injured while working on the docks in Beduin (RS p.67).
Jaka writes an introduction to M. Zulli's "Faces of Nature" (GH p.232-233).
Jaka has romantic troubles with Andrew (M p.272-273, RS p.214).
Lord Julius grows a real mustache (GH p.37).
F. Stop and Gloria attend one of Lord Julius' parties (GH p.174).
The Cirinists tear down the pubs and taverns along a road beneath the Hsiffaen Plateau (GH p.63).
Cirinists conquer the T'Capmin Kingdoms ("that last-of-the-numbered years (1420? 1424?)" G p.138). Depending which (if indeed either) of these dates was true, Cerebus was 'away' either five or nine years. I'm dating it as five, arbitrarily, but this puts a four-year uncertainty on all subsequent dates, I'm afraid...
Cerebus returns to Estarcion. The exact date is arbitrary, but was assigned partially on the basis of the "three weeks later" caption on M p.274, combined with the fact that he departed on a December 7th. Apparently, this little jaunt through faerie lasted at least four years (G p.16). Norman Kingsley's speech on G p.138 implies that it's actually been five or more.
[Page references in this section, unless otherwise noted, are to Guys.]
Most dates are pretty arbitrary, but based on educated guesses, and should at least be in the right ballpark. I believe that the author is deliberately trying to blur the passage of time for the reader, as it is blurred for the characters. The Cirinists have apparently stopped referring to years by number (p.138), presumably due to their cyclical view of the world. [I can't believe that the top-level hierarchy doesn't retain a dating scheme, but no such scheme is widely allowed at the lower levels.] While I've done my best to at least get the amount of seasons right, Sim is not above slipping entire years of time between panels (see 1424, below).
This story is entirely set in and around a small, unnamed bar in the (former) T'Capmin Kingdoms, just under the Wall of Tsi.
Pages 8-26. The signing is "foor moonths" away (p.8), on "Midsummary Eve" (p.10). Cerebus has been at the bar for long enough to settle into some habits, but not long enough to be very well known by the regulars. Mrs. Thatcher has clearly been working with him for some time, but probably not a huge amount of time yet...
There have been many changes while Cerebus was 'away'. Two that are obvious early on are that women are now allowed in bars, and that the local region has become extremely de-urbanized (compare the view on p.9 with that on p.277 of Minds).
The "semi-bi-annyul skank incurzhun" (p.30).
Pages 28-47. The crops are starting to come up (p. 47).
Pages 48-84. As previously mentioned, the signing takes place on "Midsummary Eve" (p.10).
Cerebus is lost in an alcoholic haze and insults Bear. (Cerebus insulted Bear "last night", p.105. Although we do not actually see this scene, it must occur at some point when he regains (semi-) consciousness during the night.)
Pages 114-134. The leaves are falling and the geese appear to be heading south (p.114-117).
Pages 136-157. The corn is ripening (p.136).
Pages 158-171. Harvest (p.158-159) and Bonfire (p.170-171). This may actually take several days I suppose).
Paul "Coffee" Annan begins his winning streak at Moosehat Gardens (LD, p.29).
Pages 172-215. Snow has fallen.
Pages 217-226. The corn is rising again. It's warm enough to laze around without a shirt.
A day or more may have passed in the middle of p.220.
Pages 236-244. It's still warm enough to laze around without a shirt.
Some time may have passed between pages 240-241.
Marty gets married.
Pages 248-249. Heavy snows have fallen.
Pages 263-264. Spring is arriving, at last.
Pages 322-323. Cerebus' imaginary dialogue between Bear and Ziggy says that it's "a year later" (p.322). Although I was initially inclined to doubt that a full year had gone by between scenes, the editorial in issue 267 says, "...in Guys where Cerebus grouses inwardly about Bear, a year or so passes between panels and in the subsequent panel he is still grousing inwardly about Bear." While not a completely accurate description of these pages, I think this is the scene he was referring to. Especially given that we fast forward by at least 2 seasons in the immediately following scene.
Sometime around here(?), Rick gets a Cirinist writing license. He tends bar for a year (RS p.36), but gives it up to work on his book.
Pages 324-325. Heavy snows again.
The Spring Bonfire (p.353).
Pages 326-328. Cerebus' encounter with Rilly Hose was "what? Two years ago? Three years ago?" (p.328). By my dating, it was two and a half years ago.
Pages 329-335. I am inclined to go with the lower end of Cerebus' estimates of passing time (p.329), as he seems inclined to exaggerate.
Pages 339-348. "Two days to get rid of a hangover" (p.339).
Pages 349-354. Cerebus plans to leave on June 17.
Pages 357-362 There are nineteen check marks on the bar on p.357.
Pages 363-368. The crops are coming up (p.368).
Pages 369-392. "Cerebus is leaving in six days" (p.371).
Pages 403-408. Still June 13.
[Page references in this section, unless otherwise noted, are to Rick's Story.]
Pages 7-26. Still June 13 (four days remaining by the check marks on p.17).
Pages 27-46. The corn is ripening (p.45)
Pages 67-86. The marks on the bar are now complete.
Pages 219-246. Some have remarked upon the substantial aging Cerebus' friends have undergone since their last appearance as possibly being a commentary on how much men age while in a relationship. There may well be some element of this, but it has actually been over two years since they were last seen (except for Marty, who's changed least), so they've had time to deteriorate.
[Page references in this section, unless otherwise noted, are to Going Home.]
At some point (possibly much earlier than this, but I suspect not), Cerebus' father dies (FV p.678-680).
Pages 8-26. Date conjectural, but it seems that Jaka and Cerebus have been together at least a few days, though not for very long yet.
Pages 27-46. Splitting the difference between the last scene and the next one.
Pages 47-63. Their progress is about "five days behind" what Cerebus wanted (p.52-53). He later states "...we've lost HALF a day - at LEAST - EVERY day we've been on the ROAD!" (p.64). This would put the current scene about ten days into their journey.
Pages 64-66. This scene might actually be a continuation of the previous, but the phrase "another fifteen days at this pace" (p.65) suggests to me that this scene is fifteen days in.
Pages 67-86. Presumably the day after the previous scene.
Pages 92-95. We're now in District 5, heading into District 6, so at least a day must have passed (even traveling by coach).
Pages 113-117. Jaka has a new outfit, so it's presumably a new day.
Fall and the River
[Unless my dating has been way off, it's still the middle of summer, not really fall. The most likely places where more time may have passed than I indicated are in early July (before J&C started riding by carriage), or waaaaayyy back in Late March (in Guys), when he decides when he's going to leave. I may make some global corrections later, but for now, I'm leaving the continuity intact...]
Pages 167-194. Still July 18.
Pages 195-215. [More time may actually have passed between pages 194-195.]
Pages 349-362. [Might be same day as previous scene. Contrariwise, might be several days later.]
Cerebus asks Jaka about the troops (FV p.402-403).
Form & Void
[Page references in this section, unless otherwise noted, are to Form & Void. Note that the page numbering continues from Going Home.]
Pages 387-406. The date is arbitrary, as the amount of time that has passed since the end of Fall and the River is not well defined. The deciduous trees have lost their leaves, and there is snow on the ground, so it's later in the year. Later references (p.429, 576) make it clear that it's not officially winter yet, but that winter isn't far off.
Pages 407-426. [Again, more or less time could have passed.]
Pages 447-464. "We've been here two days already." (p.459, 708).
Rick is executed by the Cirinists "six days ago" (p.582).
C&J get caught in a severe hailstorm (p.616-617).
Pages 567-578. They've been in the tent for "six days" (p.571). Of course, they may have spent one or more days hiking before the storm hit them.
Pages 579-606. Jaka wants to go back for Missy (p.615).
Pages 650-686. Note that the sequence on pages 673-675 was foreseen by Cerebus (somewhat differently) in a drunken stupor during Guys (G p.60-61).
[Page references in this section, unless otherwise noted, are to Latter Days. [Except, of course, it hasn't been published yet, so I'm really just counting story pages from the first issue and hoping Sim starts his numbering on page 1 for a change...]]
This Aardvark, This Shepherd. Pages 1-2 are continuing the same day from the end of Form & Void. As the story continues on pages 3-4, we presumably get past the end of 1425...
Then we 'blank' forward "a little less than three years" (p.5), which looks to bring us to the fall of 1428 for pages 5-20.
If Five-Bar Gate Be My Destiny. Page 21 is still fall, but by page 22 it's winter of...
Pages 22-29. First Hammer/Coffee match.
Pages 29-30. Second H/C match.
Page 30. Subsequent H/C matches sponsored by McBee's. Could be even more than this, but three repetitions of "a few" has to add up to at least six, and probably more.
Page 31. 'Fred Hammer' starts representing a different tavern each year, growing rich thereby.
Page 32. Coffee has a son who grows up and leaves home.
Page 32. Hammer breaks Coffee's shut-out streak.
Pages 32-33. Due to Coffee's broken ankle, Hammer wins. (Definitely prior to 1460, since the following year, Coffee wins again.)
Plate armor (re-)invented in Eshnospur (CJ #1, p.8)
Pages 34-40. Last H/C match (their 34th).
Miscellaneous Alleged Events, Future and Otherwise
The Ages of Cerebus (EI #32, p.43-45) Both here, and on the back cover of Issue 91 are pictures of Cerebus as a samurai warrior. Could Dave be planning to do this for real some day? Well, at this point, it sure seems unlikely...
The Great Discontinuity (~1500?)
It is strongly implied in a number of places that Estarcion is actually a pre-(modern)historic Europe. This has some interesting implications. At some point, an event (or events) transpired that destroyed Estarcion civilization so completely that no reliable archeological records survived. Moreover, the land mass of Italy arose out of the Mediterranean, almost instantaneously (in geological terms). Theory: Much of modern-day Italy is actually the remnant of a large meteor impact that devastated the region (leading to Atlantis myths?). Alternatively (or in addition), this may be connected to the periodic Great Flood (CS2 p.1132).
("A little less than six or so thousand years from now" CS2 p.1156
The Present. This puts the events of Cerebus' lifetime at roughly 4000 B.C.
"Many thousands of years"
The age of the six-foot telepathic cockroaches? (W p.38) [The judge's testimony briefly mentions sentient "foot-long telepathic cockroaches" (CS2 p.1156) but doesn't mention this event directly when he is discussing the far future (see next entry), so it's possible that this happened in the distant past, before the evolution of man.]
"A hundred million years afterward"
Life briefly forms on one of Jupiter's moons (CS2 p.1208).
On to The Annotated Cerebus
Return to Annotations Home