Writing the Past: BC–AD or BCE–CE?

My claim to fame? As a White House speech writer, I had a hand in writing the text on the plaque marking the spot where Apollo 11 astronauts first set foot on the moon. To slip in an unobtrusive reference to God, I wrote, ”July A. My mistake was putting the A. Correct dating usage is to put B. I may have goofed in more ways than one. In a recent column about what to call the Bible, I posed the question: Should it be B.


Of his many works, his treatise on chronology has proved the most durable. Based on an intricate correlation of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean histories and Holy writ, it was incorporated into an authorized version of the Bible printed in , and thus came to be regarded with almost as much unquestioning reverence as the Bible itself. A Geological Miscellany.

AD, CE, BC, BP, calendar years, radiocarbon years, and all that Time required for the radioactive avoid confusion of daily dates during the period of use.

Just a shot in the dark here. Severe storms cross Midwest. With our free Puku Summer Camp! We’re intent on clearing it up. Imagine we’re traveling through time, jumping ahead whole decades and winding up in an entirely new century. It’s the year , and we’re at the dawn of the 22nd century. Yep, that’s what’s coming next: the 22nd century. And as we all know, we’re currently in the 21st century, but the years start with And in the 20th century, they all started with 19, and in the 19th, with 18, and so on.

No 22nd century spoilers, please. It can be hard to remember this, especially when you go back a few hundred years, which is why we sometimes see people use, say, 16th century which should refer to years that begin with 15 when they really mean s , which clearly refers to years that begin with We also sometimes see people confuse the “hundreds” form with the “century” one, referring to a date like as occurring in the “s. The thing to remember is that the number in the name of the century the 16th century, for example is always one higher than the number that starts the century’s years: the years of the 16th century start with There’s logic behind it, of course.

CE and BCE

Any date in the Gregorian calendar can be converted into a corresponding one in the Maya calendar system. Use this interactive tool to convert Gregorian calendar dates into the Maya calendar system. To convert a date, begin by selecting the month from the drop down menu, next type in the day and year. Click the Convert Button to view the corresponding Maya Long Count date, both visually and numerically.

If you saw a date reference followed by the letters BC, you’d be likely to know that whatever was being described happened a jolly long time.

Anno Domini was the first of these to appear. This was supposedly in part a response to advice Diocletian received at the oracle of Apollo at Didyma. Previous to this, he had purportedly only advocated banning Christians from such things as the military and ruling body in hopes that would appease the gods. Afterward, he switched to an escalating policy of persecution to try to get Christians to worship the Roman gods.

When this sort of thing was ineffective, they progressed to arresting and torturing Christians, starting with the leaders. This method of convincing people to worship the Roman gods ended up being an amazing failure and the persecution appears to have only continued after AD in the Eastern half of the empire under Galerius and Maximinus. Finally, in April of AD , by imperial decree , the Great persecution was put to an end even in the East.

How to Calculate Years Across BC and AD

The Gregorian calendar is the global standard for the measurement of dates. Despite originating in the Western Christian tradition, its use has spread throughout the world and now transcends religious, cultural and linguistic boundaries. As most people are aware, the Gregorian calendar is based on the supposed birth date of Jesus Christ.

Do they mean the same thing, and, if so, which should we use?

View important University dates and deadlines for the current academic year at a static version of the calendar current as of the download date and time.

This is the case with writing and saying years. Why do we have more than one word to represent an era? How do we punctuate and capitalize these abbreviations? Is AD ever correct? BCE or B. Well, it depends on which style guide or dictionary you follow. Merriam-Webster Dictionary American English lists these entries with capital letters and no periods e. Show your students examples of these dates in a lesson and then go over the explanation above.

Not an ESL Library member? Hello Tanya Trusla. Very good article and very good answers to comments. But that website led you wrong about counting years across eras in your answer to Komal on Mar 07, at pm. So, any calculations of dates when ONLY the years are given, without months, across the two eras is simply added together to calculate the total number of years.

Without Christianity, What Year Would It Be?

By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy , Privacy Policy , and our Terms of Service. It only takes a minute to sign up. Why do people use the latter terminology?

As most people are aware, the Gregorian calendar is based on the supposed birth date of Jesus Christ. Subsequent years count up from this event and are.

I was stranded there for two days and was in awe at the accuaracy of your site. I retrived your site now to plan communications with contacts in Japan. I Thank You! Gary C. Fort Myers , Florida I am a travel specialist of Expedia and I always pull this site up for time references. The site for sure is really helpful to all sorts.

I often let my mates use this site when working. Gotta use this site again. Bobby E. Davao City , Philippines At one glance I had my answer.

Common Era

With some rather heated debate, authors, pundits, scholars, and literary style masters took one side over the other. Decades later, they remain split, but the consensus seems to be that the decision to use one or the other is a personal or organizational preference. The same applies to the use of periods: use or don’t use them, based on personal or organizational preference. Both take as their starting point the year when 4th-century Christian scholars believed Jesus Christ was born, designated as AD 1 or 1 CE.

The designation of a particular year in either set has identical values. In other words, today Jesus is believed to have been born somewhere between 4 and 7 BCE, which is equivalent to 4 and 7 BC.

BBC Drops B.C./A.D. Dating Method: Christians Outraged (UPDATE). 09/27/ PM ET. |. Updated Nov 27,

This figure is directly based on the proportion of radiocarbon found in the sample. It is calculated on the assumption that the atmospheric radiocarbon concentration has always been the same as it was in and that the half-life of radiocarbon is years. To give an example if a sample is found to have a radiocarbon concentration exactly half of that for material which was modern in the radiocarbon measurement would be reported as BP. In order to see what a radiocarbon determination means in terms of a true age we need to know how the atmospheric concentration has changed with time.

Many types of tree reliably lay down one tree ring every year. The wood in these rings once laid down remains unchanged during the life of the tree. This is very useful as a record of the radiocarbon concentration in the past. If we have a tree that is years old we can measure the radiocarbon in the rings and see what radiocarbon concentration corresponds to each calendar year.

Using very old trees such as the Bristlecone Pines in the western U. To extend this method further we must use the fact that tree ring widths vary from year to year with changing weather patterns. By using these widths, it is possible to compare the tree rings in a dead tree to those in a tree that is still growing in the same region. By using dead trees of different but overlapping ages, you can build up a library of tree rings of different calendar ages.

Dating of Rama – 12:30 pm, 10 Jan, 5114 BCE

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