Contemporary comes from the Latin contemporaneus and means what coincides with time. This means that two people living in the same period of time are contemporaries. The same can be said of events that took place in the same period of time, as shown by the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico and the student movements in Paris. These are made contemporary, as they happen in the same year.
Understanding historical facts
The human being needs to classify knowledge in some way. To understand history it is necessary to classify it chronologically. Traditionally, human history is divided into large stages: Prehistory, the Ancient Age, Middle Ages, Modern Age and the most recent period, the Contemporary Age. Changing from one age to another allows you to study and understand in a homogeneous way a longer period of time.
Historians agree that the Contemporary Age began with the French Revolution of 1789. The choice of this historic event makes a lot of sense, as the French Revolution established a significant change from the previous stage and created a new direction in human history. However, the idea of the contemporary world is nothing more than a form of classification , as in practice there is no absolute break with the previous stages. In fact, many of the contemporary realities come from the ancient or medieval world.
The contemporary concept is used as a synonym for current. Thus, the fashion, cuisine and music of the present are defined as contemporary. This definition suggests that an activity is part of the coordinates of the present.
Contemporaneity is an eminently temporal concept and, consequently, what is now current will be old in the future. Time is, in a nutshell, the element that organizes each person’s life and the transformation of humanity itself. Plato and Aristotle were contemporaries and had the idea of time (the two ancient characters shared the same time). On the other hand, what is ancient can somehow be considered contemporary (for example, some classical thinkers from other times are valued in the present and at the same time considered contemporary, as their contributions are still valid today).