In chronology and periodization, an epoch or reference epoch is an instant in time chosen as the origin of a particular calendar era. The "epoch" serves as a reference point from which time is measured.
The moment of epoch is usually decided by congruity, or by following conventions understood from the epoch in question. The epoch moment or date is usually defined from a specific, clear event of change, an epoch event. In a more gradual change, a deciding moment is chosen when the epoch criterion was reached.