Ante Christum Natum

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"A.C.N." redirects here. For other uses, see ACN.

Ante Christum Natum or ante Christum natum (Latin for Before Christ (was) Born), usually abbreviated to a. Chr. n., a.Ch.n., a.C.n. or A.C.N., ACN, denotes the years before the birth of Jesus.[1] It is a Latin equivalent to the English term "BC" ("Before Christ"). The phrase ante Christum natum is also seen as the shorter ante Christum (Latin for "Before Christ"), again usually abbreviated to a. Chr., A.C. or AC.[2][3][4] A related term, p. Chr. n., p.Ch.n, or post Christum natum complements a.Ch.n and is equivalent to "AD".[5]

English speakers are unlikely to recognize these terms. Neither the Chicago Manual of Style (14th ed.), the American Heritage Dictionary (3rd ed.), nor P. Kenneth Seidelmann's Explanatory Supplement to the Astronomical Almanac (1992, University Science Books) mention AC, ACN, or Ante Christum Natum.

The Venerable Bede, who was the first writer to identify a year as before Christ, used the Latin ante incarnationis dominicae tempus (before the time of the Incarnation of the Lord) in his Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum (I.2) in 731.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ British Library manuscripts catalogue
  2. ^ General Chronology in the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia
  3. ^ Webster's New World College Dictionary, Fourth Edition
  4. ^ Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary (1983)
  5. ^ Example from