Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Same Year by any Name

2013 A.D. or 2013 C.E. is there any difference in the date due to the abbreviation? No, the former, A.D., is an abbreviation for the Latin words Anno Domini, which means “in the year of God” (not after death as many mistakenly believe) and refers to the time after the birth of Christ. This designation was chosen in the Middle Ages when they guessed at the date of the birth of Christ and arbitrarily chose a date for the year 1 AD. Today C.E., meaning Common Era, has become widely used to identify the European system of calendar dating. In a similar vein, the older B.C., “Before Christ,” has been replaced with B.C.E., meaning “Before Common Era” in many texts today. So be it 44 B.C.E. or 44 B.C., the date is the same. Side note: when using approximate dates the term “circa” (about or around this time) is often used. An example might be: “The Roman Republic was created circa 500 B.C.E.”