Talk:Anno Domini

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Former featured article Anno Domini is a former featured article. Please see the links under Article milestones below for its original nomination page (for older articles, check the nomination archive) and why it was removed.
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Alternative birth theories[edit]

An editor, Dgillig, added the following passage to the Date of birth section:

Or, a different Quirinius named Publius Quinctilius Varus could be the one to use and that would support a 5 BC date for the birth. Or, one could use the Book of Daniel and find support for 5 BC with the crucifixtion in April of 30 AD. Then Luke is not incorrect and one doesn't need to discard Luke.

Considering the vast number of theories about when Jesus was born, and that this article is not the main article about his birth (Nativity of Jesus is), it is important to limit theories in this article to those held by a substantial number of scholars. Are there any citations to indicate any of the theories in the passage are held by a substantial number of scholars? --Jc3s5h (talk) 05:30, 5 January 2010 (UTC)

And in any case, the actual date of the nativity is irrelevant to this article since AD is not based on the true date, it based on an arbitrary best guess. Everybody else has been happy with that for about 1500 years so I guess we just have to go along with what is, not what anyone of us thinks it should be. --Red King (talk) 21:57, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

"After Death" and the limits of good faith[edit]

I am reaching my limits for my ability to assume good faith.

First, there are the anonymous editors who insist on repeatedly insert the claim that AD means "After Death". I'm talking here about a whole set of IP editors, each of whom repeatedly inserts this crap. In the case of repeat offenders, I refuse to believe they actually believe this, they are just editing to provoke a reaction. They are vandals.

Second, there is Zargulon, who, without recourse to this talk page, repeatedly questions with {{who}} or {{when}} templates the concept that people often erroneously think that "AD" is an abbreviation of "After Death". Two sources have now been presented that show this error is indeed commonplace. The {{who}} template is to prevent Wikipedia editors from inserting their own opinions of what the general public, or a significant subset of the general public, thinks. It is not to prevent conclusions from reliable sources about what general public opinion is.

If Zargulon really thinks the After Death misconception is not commonplace, the time has come for him or her to provide a source showing that it is not commonplace; a source better that the two sources for the opposite position. --Jc3s5h (talk) 15:57, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

  • Why do you think that I think the After death misconception is not commonplace? Zargulon (talk) 16:50, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
  • I was not sure what you believed. Apparently you do believe the misconception is commonplace. Obviously it is inappropriate for a Wikipedia editor to conclude from his/her own personal experiences that any concept is or is not commonplace in society, and put that conclusion in an article. But given that one reliable book and one website that might or might not be reliable have concluded this is a common misconception, what do you consider the best way to express this in the article?
  • Alternatively, perhaps you think a source should be disregarded unless it has a statement along the lines of "according to a scientific poll conducted by the authors of x,xxx Americans in June of 2000, xx % held the opinion that 'AD' is an abbreviation for 'After Death'". --Jc3s5h (talk) 17:06, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
  • Why is it apparent to you that I believe the misconception is commonplace? What does Ryan's book actually say? If it is a reliable source it will probably not use weasel words. Zargulon (talk) 17:13, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
  • A preview is available on Google books. It says

Many people think that because B.C. means "Before Christ," then A.D. must mean "After Death". Not so. First of all, if that were the case, you'd have to add about 33 years to your actual date to account for the tenure of Jesus' life on earth and then come up with a special term for dealing with those years. And, from a theological point of view, Jesus was only dead for a couple of days before being resurrected anyway.

I don't think it is appropriate for an editor to add a {{who}} template to a statement based not on what the source actually says, but rather how the editor imagines the author would have written the source. --Jc3s5h (talk) 17:30, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
  • What makes you think that was my basis for adding the template, despite my repeatedly saying it was WP:WEASEL? I'm glad we established that, contrary to your implication, the texts that I pinned the template to weren't what the source actually said. Nonetheless, the source's actual words are bad style according to Wikipedia, and I completely agree.. don't you? Who exactly is Ryan, and what was his audience? His condescending style sounds like a children's book rather than a reliable source. Zargulon (talk) 17:46, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
I've added a source for the "After death" misconception, but I don't think we even need a source for the clarification bit about the missing 33-or-so years, it's a simple mathematical conclusion; Jesus lived 33 years, and if BC is "Before Christ" and AD is "After death", then there would be a 33-year gap in the calendar. — CIS (talk | stalk) 17:59, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
I don't see how "it is sometimes incorrectly concluded that AD means ʽafter deathʼ" is weasel wording. The source indicates that AD is in fact commonly mistaken to be an acronym for after death; we don't need to know who exactly thinks this. It has been shown that many do think this. — CIS (talk | stalk) 18:06, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
  • I'm afraid I disagree. I think it would be helpful to know who Ryan's target audience is. Zargulon (talk) 18:10, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
We don't need Ryan. Like I said, it's a mathematical conclusion. — CIS (talk | stalk) 18:11, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
WP:WEASEL only applies to what Wikipedia editors write. It is wrong to write "[The general impression of Wikipedia editors is that] the After Death misconception is widespread enough that it needs to be pointed out." On the other hand, an author entrusted by a recognized publisher to write a book, thus putting the reputation of the publisher at risk, is entitled to write about his general impressions of what misconceptions are worthy of mention, and Wikipedia editors are entitled to put the author's general impression into a Wikipedia article. It is nonsensical for a Wikipedia editor to attempt to impose Wikipedia's internal guidelines on an external author and publisher. A sufficient source has been provided; the burden is on Zargulon to provide a better source before disturbing the article any further (unless he/she wants to edit to make the article more closely follow one of the sources provided).
As for not needing Ryan, we don't need him to establish that AD is not an abbreviation for After Death, but we do need him, or a source like him, to establish that enough people entertain this misguided idea that the idea is worthy of mention. --Jc3s5h (talk) 18:24, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
  • "WP:WEASEL only applies to what Wikipedia editors write" is not true, at least not in the way you mean. WP:WEASEL applies to article content, whether it is original text of editors or indirect quotation (X says that ..). The only thing it doesn't apply to is direct quotation (X said "..."). WP:WEASEL is like any other style guideline in that regard. I would sooner see the whole paragraph removed since I think it reads poorly, has the air of an urban legend, and is completely peripheral to the article. It is particularly strange to find it in such a prominent position. Zargulon (talk) 18:43, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Ryan is right. If he were wrong, we wouldn't have all these IP editors coming along trying to insert "AD means After Death" into the article. So, what is your positon?
  • Ryan is wrong, hardly anybody really thinks AD means After Death.
  • Ryan is right, but he isn't competent to write what he wrote, and we should ignore him because his book isn't a reliable source on this topic.
  • Ryan is right, his finding should be in the article, but his finding should be expressed in a way that follows WP:WEASEL. If so, how should it be expressed?
  • Something else. --Jc3s5h (talk) 20:44, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
  • Rather than giving me multiple choice, why can't you just read what I wrote? You talk about Ryan's "finding" as though his words carry some scientific authority. Do they? Do you know what Ryan's background is, or his book's background? If you don't care about that, but only about whether he is "right" or "wrong", then my friendly advice is that Wikipedia will not provide you with much enjoyment and you should probably quit. I personally don't know who Ryan is, or whether Ryan's book is of fact, religion or entertainment. The only clue I have is his writing style from the above quotation, which being WP:WEASEL is not that of a serious author writing for adults from the standpoint of authority. Zargulon (talk) 21:17, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Very well, I have added another source, this time a web page of an English professor who published a book (based on his web site) that is specifically about common errors in English. --Jc3s5h (talk) 21:31, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
  • Self published webpages probably don't meet reliable source guidelines, not that it matters; the sentence we are talking about in the article is just as WP:WEASEL as ever. Why don't you refer to some sources that actually make the mistake and state that A.D. stands for "After Death"? According to Ryan, there should be "many" such sources. According to your English professor, they should be "common". It shouldn't be too hard for you to find then! Zargulon (talk) 21:42, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
    • but none of those would be reliable - nor could even 10 establish "commonness". I think the 2nd source should settle this issue. The 2nd edition is available at and includes the text about AD.--JimWae (talk) 21:55, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
  • JimWae, your source says about himself "I do not hold a graduate degree in English, literature or other discipline. I merely find language fun and can't seem to restrain myself from sharing my weekly discoveries." This is a work of entertainment. That is probably why even his title is WP:WEASEL. Zargulon (talk) 22:07, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
    • well, you sure got that wrong. Look again. The Foreword was not written by Brians. Brians is a Professor Emeritus of English.--JimWae (talk) 23:13, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
      • Acknowledged. Anyway, it doesn't matter, I don't have a problem with the references section. Zargulon (talk) 23:14, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
      • Zargulon is standing WP:Reliable sources on its head. First of all, "Self-published material may, in some circumstances, be acceptable when produced by an established expert on the topic of the article whose work in the relevant field has previously been published by reliable third-party publications." So the web site should be OK. Second, the issue is not if one or two examples of misuse can be found, the issue is whether it is widespread enough to mention in the article. Since readers have no idea whether Wikipedia editors have read enough material in the subject area to judge what is commonplace and what isn't, a reliable source must be used to establish that. Furthermore, the issue isn't whether the misconception is commonplace in reliable publications (which would be the only things I could cite) but whether it is commonplace in general society. Ryan does not say how he determined it is commonplace, but it is reasonable to surmise that the English professor would have encountered it in the course of teaching, or whatever research he did in the breeding grounds of common English usage errors. --Jc3s5h (talk) 21:56, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
  • Jc3s5h, you are the only one standing on your head. Every edit and post I have made has referred to WP:WEASEL, but you keep banging on about reliable sources. WP:WEASEL deals with subjective language, which compromises reliability even when the authors are qualified on the topic. The reason is that one person's "many" is another person's "some" or few", and one person's "sometimes" is another person's "commonly", "often" or "rarely". You shouldn't have taken away my 'who' and 'when' templates, they were completely in order. Zargulon (talk) 22:07, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
  • It is established that the After Death error is commonplace. So how would you phrase the passage in the article so that our readers will be informed of this? --Jc3s5h (talk) 23:47, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
  • Are you just pretending to be stupid? Please review my posts, WP:WEASEL, and reinsert my templates until you find a solution. Zargulon (talk) 08:32, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
WP:WEASEL explicitly states "The key to improving articles containing weasel words is ... to name a source for the opinion (i.e., attribution)", hence weasel words are permitted if their source is identified (three sources are given here), especially "when contrasting a minority opinion with a more widely held one". Here "AD means After Death" is the minority opinion. — Joe Kress (talk) 16:20, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
  • JoeKress, the key word you missed was "opinion". The weasel words in question in this article are being presented as fact corroborated by the sources, rather than opinion attributed to the sources (which, as you point out, would be acceptable according to WP:WEASEL). So the templates should go back until this is resolved. Zargulon (talk) 17:22, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
  • So we can say something like "'AD' is not an abbreviation for 'After Death', because if it were, there would be a name for the period before the Jesus's incarnation, (BC), a name for the period after he died, but no name for the period when he lived. Three commentators have observed this is a common misconception. [references]" Would that meet with your approval? --Jc3s5h (talk) 17:34, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
  • Change "observed" to "reported" and remove "common" and we have a deal. Zargulon (talk) 19:33, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
  • Changing "observed" to "reported" is fine. However, dropping "common" is wrong. We don't need the three sources to say it is a misconception, we know that through thousands of sources that clearly define what AD means. The sources are being used to show that the misconception is common. If you won't accept this, then it would seem it is out-of-bounds for Wikipedia to ever call attention to a common misconception. What, if any, type of source would you accept to show that a misconception is common? --Jc3s5h (talk) 19:40, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
  • I wonder if Zargulon would also take exception to the statement "Grand Central Terminal (GCT) — (sometimes incorrectly called) Grand Central Station..." in the lead of theGrand Central Terminal article?--Jc3s5h (talk) 19:43, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
  • Yes, the Grand Central quote is WP:WEASEL - why don't you go fix it? Why are you talking about it on Talk:Anno Domini? What you wrote, suggesting that the three sources say it is common, is incorrect. Ryan doesn't say it is common, he says "many people think it". The third source presumably says something different again. What you suggested writing, "Three sources observe/report that it is a common misconception" is simply untrue. I suggest you use my alternative as a simple and uncontroversial way of summarizing the authors' statements without using subjective language. Zargulon (talk) 19:50, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
  • It is wrong to say "'AD' is not an abbreviation for 'After Death', because if it were, there would be a name for the period before the Jesus's incarnation, (BC), a name for the period after he died, but no name for the period when he lived. Three commentators sources have reported this is a misconception. [references]" The problem is that saying something is a misconception might be interpreted as being synonymous with saying it is wrong, with no implication at all about whether, or to what extent, people actually believe the misconception. If a reader interprets it that way, the reader will regard the statement as redundant, and think we couldn't find any better source than three commentators to confirm that AD actually stands for Anno Domini. wrote "it is commonly thought...". Ryan wrote "Many people think...." Brians wrote " many people suppose." The article says "it is sometimes incorrectly concluded...." The article's phrasing is a fair paraphrase of the sources. So is my proposed "common misconception". I see no difference between saying something is a common misconception and saying may people think or suppose the misconception. --Jc3s5h (talk) 20:22, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
  • You are entitled to your opinions but they are facile, ignorant and against well-established Wikipedia guidelines. Please restore the templates which you expunged in a fit of self-importance. Zargulon (talk) 22:36, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
Zargalon has a intriguing stand on this whole WP:Weasel guideline, but I'm not sure its tenable in the current evolution of this encyclopedia or documented human knowledge on the whole. Mostly wikipedia guidelines are interpreted to guide the style of writing on wikipedia, describing a world outside of wikipedia, and to a big extent outside of the internet, or the written word in general. Just like style guidelines at a newspaper apply to the newspaper articles - often dealing with imperfect sources. This new approach would apply wikipedia guidelines to all external source information, it would seem to limit to only the more rigorously peer reviewed, and exclude a world of imperfect writings, speeches, documents. Unfortunately, this effort to wipe out all content or quotes that contained weasel words could decimate half the reliable sources on wikipedia. I just don't think the bounds of human communication are ready for this new standard of applying wikipedia guidelines in all of our writings and communication.Cander0000 (talk) 05:40, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

As I child I thought AD meant After Death, I admit to not thinking logically about the 33 year gap. But since I was not fluent in Latin abbreviations that was the best I could come up with at the time. OK, AD is Anno Domini starting on 1/1/1 with Christ's birth but now I don't know why Christmas is not on January 1. QuentinUK (talk) 11:36, 28 February 2011 (UTC)

The year numbering system has been applied with a number of different start-of-year dates. The celebration of Christmas on December 25 had been established for a long time before January 1 was generally recognized as the start of the year. January 1 as the start of the year goes back to Rome long before the birth of Jesus, but there were several other start-of-year dates used for various purposes. Jc3s5h (talk) 12:28, 28 February 2011 (UTC)

OR 1 template[edit]

I request that User:Swungpoke justify the addition of the OR 1 template. The article contains extensive citations. Unless a more specific complaint is registered I will remove the template. Jc3s5h (talk) 01:39, 12 March 2010 (UTC)

Since no explanation has been provided, I have removed the template. Jc3s5h (talk) 15:22, 14 March 2010 (UTC)

Should Julius Africanus be Credited?[edit]

According to Diarmaid McCulloch's new book "Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years", Julius Africanus was the first to date the "Year of the Lord" and his work became embedded in the work of later scholars. Quote from the book: "...this calculation became embedded in the work of later historians, such as the sixth-century Dionysius Exiguus ('the short'), who has often wrongly stolen credit from Julius for fixing the first Year of the Lord (annus Domini)" (McCulloch, 82).

This is my first comment, so before I made any edits to the article I wanted to check with those who have been active in editing and maintaining it. It seems that at least some credit is due to Julius Africanus for the work he did in dating annus Domini and the influence he had on Dionysius and others.

--Mattdv (talk) 16:53, 24 April 2010 (UTC)Matt DeVries

The surviving relevant material from Dionysius Exiguus is sparse and contaminated with additions from scribes. Thus it is hard to decide whether Dionysius took an idea from Julius Africanus or reinvented it. My recollection is that Julius Africanus would not have assigned exactly the same number to a given year as Dionysius, which would favor the reinvention idea. Also, modern ideas about plagiarism did not necessarily exist in the 6th century. Jc3s5h (talk) 17:54, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
It seems sensible to me to include the calculations of JA, if there are citations. We can't say that DE's calculations were independent or not [though I suppose that we could say that we can't say, if there is a citation for that]. But the basis for AD is on the work of DE, and thus JA's calculation is an interesting aside, no more. --Red King (talk) 18:00, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
If a significant number of people numbered years from the birth or conception of Jesus, as calculated by JA, then it might be worth mentioning in this article. If not, I think any mention of the calculation belongs in another article, such as Chronology of Jesus, Nativity of Jesus, or Incarnation (Christianity). Jc3s5h (talk) 18:35, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I agree with that. What I thought worth including is that DE's calculation is not the only one but, as you say, there is a risk of getting bogged down in material that belongs in other articles. If material is included, it needs to be very limited. --Red King (talk) 09:40, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree that any reference should be light. I am trying to find out if there is more evidence as to the degree that DE may have been influenced by JA. I found an article that looks promising, but haven't gotten a copy yet. --Mattdv (talk) 03:52, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
I've found three Christian eras in use during during the 5th century, the century immediately before Dionysius Exiguus, but none during the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th centuries, including none by Africanus. During the latter three centuries, only world eras (anno mundi) were used, even though all Christian writers during that period deduced years for Christ's Incarnation/Nativity and/or his Crucifixion/Resurrection. Among the sources I consulted were: (1) Georges Declercq, "Dionysius Exiguus and the introduction of the Christian Era", Sacris Erudiri 41 (2002) 165–246; and (2) George Ogg, Hippolytus and the introduction of the Christian era, Vigiliae Christianae, 16 (1962) 2–18. Declercq has the best discussion (pages 209–210), but does not mention Africanus.
Declercq mentions two eras from the Crucifixion/Resurrection: Prosper of Aquitaine (455) began his Passion era in AD 29, while Victorius of Aquitaine (457) began his Passion era in AD 28. Declercq also mentions Annianus (c. 412) who began his Incarnation era in AD 9. It was always used alongside the Alexandrian world era, whose year 1 was 5492 BC, also invented by Annianus and used by many Byzantine chronologists. The first known use of Annianus' Incarnation era was during the middle of the sixth century by Cyril of Scythopolis. It is still used as the Incarnation era of the Ethiopian calendar. Ogg concludes that Hippolytus neither invented a Christian era himself, nor did anyone else base their Christian era on dates given by Hippolytus.
Declercq concludes:
In this context, the invention of our Christian era by the Scythian (and thus eastern) monk Dionysius Exiguus in AD 525 appears to be less of a novelty than is generally thought. His innovation was therefore not so much the use of a Christian era, not even the calculation of a new date for the incarnation of Christ, but rather the introduction in the West of the incarnation as the starting-point of the Christian era, instead of the Passion which western chronographers and computists had preferred until then.
Much of this is already in the article under Other eras. — Joe Kress (talk) 04:54, 1 May 2010 (UTC)

Deletion of Controversy section[edit]

Suddenly, there is no controversy over the use of A.D. But these sources imply there is one:

Here is the diff of the deletion: Ghostofnemo (talk) 02:31, 2 May 2010 (UTC) What if I restore the "Controversy" section without repeating the CE information? Ghostofnemo (talk) 02:39, 2 May 2010 (UTC)

There does not need to be a controversy section. The Common Era section can include mention that there is some controversy--JimWae (talk) 02:44, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
The Trinity University controversy goes beyond usage of "AD" and the CE/AD controversy in that at Trinity the full translation "in the year of the/our Lord" is used.--JimWae (talk) 02:48, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
According to, there is a controversy about even using A.D. Ghostofnemo (talk) 02:58, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
I've added more references to back up the assertion that there is a controversy over using the BC/AD dating system. Ghostofnemo (talk) 04:02, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
Yes, of course a controversy exists - and now I see you have already re-added a controversy section. The Trinity issue could be added there (as that is not about Common Era). You weren't thinking of removing things from the Common Era section though, were you? The refs should relate to the sentence they follow - the ref immediately after "Attempts to use secular year designations have also stirred debate" does not relate to that debate. Put refs at end of (sometimes even within) relevant sentences - not at end of paragraph JimWae (talk) 04:12, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
"An inline citation should appear next to the material it supports. If the material is particularly contentious, the citation may be added within a sentence, but adding it to the end of the sentence or paragraph is usually sufficient." Ghostofnemo (talk) 04:34, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
If the paragraph were all on the same "side", that might be reasonable here. As it stands, the refs are just a jumble & one cannot quickly tell which sentence each supports.--JimWae (talk) 04:37, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
Done. Ghostofnemo (talk) 04:45, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
"Attempts to use secular year designations have also stirred debate" (and its refs) are about Common Era - and can go in that section--JimWae (talk) 04:18, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
The trinity U controversy is NOT about "basing the world's dating system on the life of Jesus". The objection is not to putting 2010 on the diploma - It is specifically about "in the year of our Lord"--JimWae (talk) 04:22, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
I'll edit that line to address your concerns and mention "year of our Lord". Ghostofnemo (talk) 04:34, 2 May 2010 (UTC)

Ref 30 does not go to cited reference, and cannot be confirmed. Please find new source or delete. Ref 31 does not indicate sentiment in article!! Controversy section isn't needed of course. Any reference to discord should be placed within rest of article (there's plenty of room!) (talk) 02:24, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

I have commented out the link in Ref 30, per WP:DEADREF. However, the link is still verifiable by obtaining a paper or microfilm copy of the paper, so the reference is still valid.
Ref 31 does support the concept that Anno Domini is a relic of Western imperialism, although it does not necessarily support the rest of the paragraph. Jc3s5h (talk) 03:34, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

Date format[edit]

This edit on 2004-JAN-19 seems to be the first to introduce date format to this article. It used "January 1" (month-day). --JimWae (talk) 16:44, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

I looked at what seemed to be the majority date format of the current article. I also note that I can't find any words that would have different spelling in the US vs. the UK, so making the date format and spelling agree is not an issue. Jc3s5h (talk) 18:17, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

As you probably know, it is first-usage, not majority, that determines which format the article is to carry.--JimWae (talk) 19:09, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

Not quite so. WP:MOSNUM states "If an article has evolved using predominantly one format, the whole article should conform to it, unless there are reasons for changing it based on strong national ties to the topic." The first format would be resorted to in case no one format predominated.
This is a sound guideline, because there could have been a consensus on the talk page to change to a particular date format, but that consensus would probably be missed if one just searches for the first version with a date. Jc3s5h (talk) 20:48, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

There's only one archive + this current page. This is the only section I could find that even mentions date format--JimWae (talk) 23:27, 11 May 2010 (UTC)

The current guideline says if the article has evolved using a certain format, continue to use it. The present version of the guideline says not to change from the style used by the first major contributor, or if he/she didn't use any dates, the first contribution to use a date after the article is no longer a stub. However, that isn't what the guideline always said. If you want to justify a change, you would have to find when the day month year style was introduced, and what the guideline said at that time. Jc3s5h (talk) 23:41, 11 May 2010 (UTC)

On 2008-DEC-31 March 25 appeared also as 25 March - but still wikified. This 2009-MAR-31 edit seems to have initiated an incomplete change to DMY, after which both MDY and YMD appear until 2010-MAY-04, when it made consistently DMY - changing 11 MDYs to DMYs. I see no discussion.--JimWae (talk) 00:13, 12 May 2010 (UTC)

The above discussion is about date formats in the body of the article. On 2007-12-07, the accessdate format was introduced as YYYY-MM-DD. There has been no discussion establishing a consensus to change the accessdate format. --JimWae (talk) 22:07, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

Century start date[edit]

In recent edits, Ec.Dommowall has amended the text to claim that non-experts think that centuries begin with the years ending in 00, and millennia begin in years ending in 000, "except for the first century and the first millennium (beginning with year 1 AD)." I am reluctant to believe this. It seems to me that non-experts who think centuries begin in years 00 have not thought about what year the first century began.

I suspect one could find people who make a reasoned argument that centuries begin in years ending in 00, but these people would argue the first century began in the year 1 BC. Since it isn't clear when Dionysius intended to place the incarnation, nor is it clear what date Dionysius used as the beginning of the new year, a variety of arguments could be made, just so long as there aren't any centuries that are 99 years long.

The burden is on Ec.Domnowall to supply citations to show that the same non-experts who think the 3rd millennium began in 2000 also think the first millennium began in 1. Jc3s5h (talk) 23:57, 15 May 2010 (UTC)

Millennium bug, for example? Or newspaper comment referring to people who wanted to wait another year as pedants and boring old farts. EcD is right, but seriously – is it worth the space in an already long article? --Red King (talk) 00:23, 16 May 2010 (UTC)
Red King, you miss the point. Sure, there are people who think the third millennium started in 2000. So what would those people say if you asked them when the third millennium started? 0? 1? 1 BC? Would they say they didn't know? No source with an answer to these questions has been provided, so it is wrong for the article to state that they would answer 1.
Since the name of centuries and millennia is connected to the year numbering system, it should be addressed to some degree. Perhaps it is enough to point out the view of most reliable sources. Jc3s5h (talk) 02:32, 16 May 2010 (UTC)
You are absolutely right to say that people talking of 000-millennia have not thought about the first year of Anno Domini. That's precisely why they have no problem using two different rules: they don't really care. People don't look for difficulties: they consider that millennia begin in 1000, 2000 etc because it is simple and easy, and at the same time they count years of the common era from 1 AD because we all count "one" "two" "three" etc (and because a year 0 has been created late and is seldom used). They don't realise that they have a different reasoning pattern for each case. The result is a de facto rule where people are wrong for millennia and right for year 1. It is not logical but it is always so. Even you probably answered that way in the beginning, before you took interest in these matters.
In short, since everybody starts Anno Domini with year 1, all those who prefer to begin millennia with 000-years necessarily make an exception for the first millenium. Ec.Domnowall (talk) 22:22, 16 May 2010 (UTC)
Ec.Domnowall's reasoning seems plausible, but I don't know of any reliable source to support this reasoning. To be sure if this is actually the case, one would have to conduct a public opinion poll, or sort through a substantial number of letters to editors of various publications. That would be original research, which is fine if it appears in a reliable source, but not acceptable if done by a Wikipedia editor. Jc3s5h (talk) 01:03, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
There are several. His line of argument reminds me most of Stephen J. Gould:

Questioning the Millennium, but we should not make his arguments, or the opposing ones. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 03:26, 13 January 2011 (UTC)


For one thing, it would look pretty weird to say that 1900 was not part of "the 1900s." That aside, one can argue that the 1st Century and 1st Millennium began in Traditional 1 BC or Astronomical 0, both of which are 2 names for the very same year. (Of course, one should always take dates before Jesus' birth with a grain of salt due to the 1 year difference between Traditional and Astronomical BC dates.) The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 10:35, 2 February 2011 (UTC)

Anno Domini[edit]

It may be a good idea to let people know what 'Anno Domini' really means, which is 'Continual Dominion'; I assume it is referring to the dominion of the papacy. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:14, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

If that was the case, then you'd be right. Unfortunately it is not, and you, therefore, aren't. Anno, from annus, year, and Domini (from dominius, lord) mean, in nearest translation, in the year of our Lord. It has nothing to do with continual (jugis being the closest Latin equivalent)and only tangentially related to dominance, in that the root of dominion in English is related to the same root. However, the closer Latin word would be principatus.Jbower47 (talk) 18:38, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

Why does everyone put "our" into the translation? Surely a better translation is "Year of the Lord", or even "Lord's year". 07:09, 10 April 2012 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

An abbreviation like this from Latin, being based on initial letters and thus on the stem rather than the inflectional ending, should admit of varying inflections. Specifically, I question whether the "A." in "A.D." need always be decoded or construed as "Anno" (ablative singular, "in the year") and never as "Annorum" (genitive plural, "of the years"). "Annorum Domini" would fit better with the usage of "A.D." as a modifier for "century" (which in this context would then mean "set of one hundred [of Lord's years]"). The article currently suggests that such usages as "second century A.D." were only formerly frowned upon, but it includes no remark on whether or how such disdain might be justified, or why it is passé. SirDespard (talk) 16:30, 12 March 2013 (UTC)

I've updated the translation to emphasize that the latin phrase contains no explicit articles, definite or indefinite (as Latin does not use them, except occasionally in medieval Latin, but not here). Hence "The" and "A" are interpretations (although accurate ones). This comes up in Greek as well. Think about the phrase "In the beginning was the word and the word was G-d" replacing all of the "the"s with "a"s. Also worth noting, the Latin nominative ending '-us' often turned into '-o" in medieval Latin, hence anno can still be seen as nominative instead of ablative or accusative. Iṣṭa Devatā (talk) 17:35, 18 July 2015 (UTC)

And a reference to back up the nominative interpretation of anno: latin grammarIṣṭa Devatā (talk) 17:37, 18 July 2015 (UTC)

Edit undone for several issues[edit]

I have undone this edit due to several issues, including:

  • use of AD after year is not necessarily due to ignorance; it may be to provide neatly aligned columns in a table
  • The Chicago manual says AD after year was formerly rejected by conservatives; a new source would have to be cited to say that usage is currently rejected by conservatives
  • A bacronym is often correct to the extent that the meaning of invented phrase actually corresponds to the meaning of the short word or letters. The Bacronym article uses the example of the invented phrase " Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity, and Respiration" for APGAR. The phrase is correct to the extent that those signs are indeed used in computing the Apgar score, although the name of the score refers to its inventor; it was not originally an acronym. It is inadvisable to refer to "After Death" as a bacronym, in part because labeling it as a backronym does not tell readers it is wrong, and also because it isn't widely used enough to be a backronym. Jc3s5h (talk) 14:51, 10 January 2011 (UTC)
The statement: "AD after year was formerly rejected by conservatives" is incorrect. The Chicago Manual section 8.42 (14th Ed) only refers to the expression "the second century A.D.", NOT to dates. Section 8.41 explicitly states: "Note that the abbreviations A.D. and A.H. properly precede the year number whereas others follow it." I propose the following:'

Common style standards hold "that the abbreviations A.D. and A.H. properly precede the year number whereas others follow it." Though formerly rejected, most now accept use in locutions such as "the second century A.D."[1]' DLH (talk) 13:50, 15 March 2013 (UTC)

The whole summary section has become verbose and disjointed. It needs to be compacted with most detailed material moved down to a subsection. The "after death" discussion is insignificant is NOT appropriate for the summary. It should be relegated to a minor subsection.DLH (talk) 13:50, 15 March 2013 (UTC)


  1. ^ . The University of Chicago Press. 14th edition section 8.41.  Unknown parameter |Title= ignored (|title= suggested) (help); Missing or empty |title= (help)

Intentional Obfuscation[edit]

Since both "AD" and "CE" use the same arbitrary time point, (2011+ years ago at this time) changing it from "AD" to "CE" serves no greater purpose other than to apparently 'stick it in the eye' of those whom have a belief system that stems from this time point. Honestly, changing it, or advocating it is more a form of being antagonistic at some level with those that do have 'religion'. There is something to be said for retaining the dating nomenclature that has been in consistent use over that of what amounts to a passing fad. Generally redacting information to conform or having conflicting terms serves no greater purpose other than to be confusing for the sake of some apparently hurt feelings. (I would have to believe that the total number of those that are actually offended or put off by the use of AD/BC is a extreme minority (though vocal) in the general population.) Jcforge (talk) 03:24, 19 May 2011 (UTC)

I could not agree more with Jcforge. The Gregorian calendar is based on a religious event (i.e., the birth of Jesus Christ). It used "AD" as the mark for years after the birth, and BC for those before. The recent attempts to change this are ridiculous, since so many nations and organizations have now accepted this religious calendar for use. To replace AD with CE is nothing more than ignorance, pretending that the calendar has nothing to do with Christianity. Deejaye6 (talk) 14:55, 12 June 2011 (UTC)
Please see WP:NOTSOAP--JimWae (talk) 19:33, 12 June 2011 (UTC)
Sadly, much of modern academia is militantly opposed to Western traditions, and take great pleasure in trying to offend people who care about such. 07:14, 10 April 2012 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)
The use of BCE and CE is consistent with having a common calendar used by the whole world, almost, independent of the status of Christianity in different countries. The change, moreover, is not new at all in scholarly circles, so AD would really be a retrograde change. However, there is not consensus of the kind that makes the question totally resolved. Why not a mathematical Frenchism? French for 'year to the right' is 'annee a la droit' (with accents) and for 'year to the left' is 'annee vers la gauche'. If you drop the middle words, you have an alternative to either BC or BCE that is the same length as BC, and the two, AG and AD, are using the first letter for God in the two languages. The alphabetical positions of 'A', 'V', 'L' and 'G' sum to 42 in English, and the other side generates sum of 18, the voting age in the USA with its sum with Douglas Noel Adams's 42 being 60. Seems like a good compromise to me. Then people who want to argue about which phrase is meant by AD can argue all that they want and if AG replaces BC we know who won.Julzes (talk) 23:51, 7 May 2012 (UTC)
Upon further thought, I believe using YG and YD is even superior. A capital 'Y' has the appearance of either a fork in a road, the simplest decision point or meeting place (up the page or down); and the sum on the left becomes 52+7=25 with the sum on the right being the 10th prime and the sum total being 61, the 18th (This is special for more obscure reasons). The Gauche/God and Droit/Dieu makes for a couple of thoughts also (For myself, I am just wondering where earliest in literature left- and right-handednesses are found discussed, and what proto-linguists have on it also; as well as the concept of 'God' being good with 1/4 of the reason how so a mystery, and in English for the other side the interest in how the universe is expected to end and the questions of human mortality/immortality). With context that 'Y' replaces 'A', also, the Led Zeppelin song Stairway to Heaven also comes up, the two-paths and ladder appearances of the letters, though I am not sure this is a universal grounds of appeal.Julzes (talk) 13:45, 8 May 2012 (UTC)

The use of BCE and CE is appalling. It's like arbitrarily calling the Jewish calendar PCE (Pre-Current Era) or UC (Unused Calendar). --TopherKRock (talk) 21:22, 11 March 2014 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: no move Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 04:40, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

Anno DominiChristian Era — I know many will probably be urged to oppose such a move because BCE/CE are sometimes used to indicate Christian Era, but here are a few reasons I think it should be moved: (A) it would make this article more analogous to Common Era, reducing confusion and making any comparisons of the two easier, (B) this article describes the Before Christ notation as much as the Anno Domini notation, so naming the article after only one of these notations is misleading and insufficient, while using the name "Christian Era" encompasses both terms, and (C) the term "Christian Era" is already widely notable, and not only as a backronym for the BCE/CE notation as some may think, but often as a proper namesake for the AD/BC era without any mentioning of the BCE/CE notation.

In addition to these three reasons, the move would allow us to add a paragraph to the intro that could link to and explain Common Era, while also stating that the terms "BCE" and "CE"—though used primarily to indicate "Common Era"—are also used to mean "Before Christian Era" and "Christian Era". Thoughts?. — CIS (talk | stalk) 23:04, 11 January 2011 (UTC)

But are there any reliable sources that indicate the general term "Christian Era" as meaning anything other than the AD/BC era (or BCE/CE notation)? I think it's pretty clear that Exiguus' era is the primary topic for the term "Christian Era", especially seeing that Christian Era already redirects here. — CIS (talk | stalk) 02:56, 12 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose for the reasons spelled out by Joe Kress. A person who is searching for the title of an article does not necessarily know if it is a generic descriptive term, or a specific title for a particular thing among many similar things. So even if, when used as a title of a year numbering system, "Christian era" always refers to "Anno domini", the person who has not yet found the article cannot be expected to know it isn't a generic term. Also, as much as possible, I think the lead should be written so it makes sense to someone who has arrived here by choosing any of the redirected titles; the closer we come to that goal, the less it matters which title is the main title and which are redirects. Jc3s5h (talk) 03:05, 12 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose it is called "AD" -- Anno Domini. (talk) 04:37, 12 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Wikipedia articles are normally named after the name most commonly-used in reliable sources. Oppose if “anno domini” is more commonly-used. (talk) 04:57, 12 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Support, since "Anno Domini" insufficiently describes the topic covered in this article. "Anno Domini" is not the name of the date system, nor the name of the era described; it's descriptive of only the last 2,010 years. However, I am troubled by the overlap evinced by the two articles Anno Domini and Common Era; strictly speaking, both articles describe the exact same year numbering system, and so by convention they should be merged into a single article. Powers T 15:12, 12 January 2011 (UTC)
    • And what greater span of time than 2010 year is Christian Era descriptive of? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:17, 12 January 2011 (UTC)
      • I didn't say it was. But "Christian Era" at least is a noun that refers to the era itself, rather than being adjectival as "Anno Domini" is. That's what I meant by "descriptive". Powers T 19:47, 12 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose per WP:COMMONNAME. The lay reader isn't familiar with the term Christian Era in this sense but AD and Anno Domini are commonplace. --JaGatalk 17:22, 12 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose and merge with Common Era. The chief purpose of article titles is to tell the reader what article she is reading; inventing a term she will not recognize is not helpful. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:17, 12 January 2011 (UTC)
  • So wait, are you proposing a merge of Anno Domini with Common Era or vice versa? Which namesake are you looking to retain, and if neither, what is the new article title you would propose?. — CIS (talk | stalk) 19:41, 12 January 2011 (UTC)
    • Place the merged article at Anno Domini as the more common - and, on the whole, less ideological - usage. (After all, to claim a Christian miscalculation as Common to mankind is as much Christian hegemonism as the established form.) Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:46, 12 January 2011 (UTC)
      • That's not what the "Common" in "Common Era" means. It doesn't mean "common" as synonymous "mutual", or "shared", or "usual"; it means "common" as synonymous with "vulgar" or "popular". You can read about it here, oddly enough. Powers T 19:53, 12 January 2011 (UTC)
        • That would be Vulgar Era, which has, like Christian Era, fallen out of use since Joseph Priestley's time (we note an esoteric exception, but not a reputable one). Those who wish to revise and amend the English language should do so elsewhere; if they succeed, our article titles will follow. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:02, 12 January 2011 (UTC)
          • "Common" is a synonym in this case, and obviously the more popular one of the two. Since the phrase's origin was indeed in "Vulgar Era", that seems to be strong evidence that the intended meaning is indeed "popular", not "mutual". Powers T 03:30, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Obviously. wjematherbigissue 23:15, 12 January 2011 (UTC)
    • Forgive me, but what's obvious about it? Powers T 03:30, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Confusing BC chronology[edit]

In the first paragraph of this article, we have the sentence:-

"This dating system was devised in 525, but was not widely used until after 800"

This is misleading for young newcomers to this dating system. BC chronology means that 800BC is BEFORE 525BC. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:55, 19 May 2011 (UTC)

Except that we're talking about 525 and 800 AD, not BC. LarryJeff (talk) 15:14, 19 May 2011 (UTC)

Restored After Death refutation[edit]

One of the many changes made by Dbachmann recently was removal of the After Death refutation. I have restored this. My reasoning is that I have watched this article for a few years, and one of the most frequent edits I see is editors (usually IP) who insert a statement that "AD" means After Death. Whether the editors are vandals or just ignorant hardly matters, the correction must still be made, and reliable sources to justify the correction are needed. I presume that any one else outside Wikipedia who deals with calendar issues must frequently encounter this error, and by providing a reliable source refuting the claim, we make it easier for our readers to refute the claim in whatever setting they encounter the error. Jc3s5h (talk) 14:35, 19 July 2011 (UTC)

The "after death" discussion is insignificant is NOT appropriate for the summary. It should be relegated to a minor subsection. I read widely and have never seen this error before.DLH (talk) 13:57, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
I have not seen the error either in publications by genuine publishers. But it seems to be a common error in writing by individuals who are not supervised by an editor or other professional writer. Since encyclopedia articles are for the benefit of those who are not already familiar with the topic, it seems legitimate to correct popular misconceptions, even if those misconceptions seldom penetrate into well-written works. As for putting it in a section, there doesn't seem to be any existing section with a suitable title. Creating a separate section just for this statement would take up more space and draw more attention to it than just leaving it in the lead, which doesn't seem to be the direction DLH wants to go in. If, in the future, a section is created about common mistakes related to AD, it could go there, but no such section exists at this time. Jc3s5h (talk) 14:28, 15 March 2013 (UTC)

There's so much to fix with recent massive change[edit]

Re: "Because BC is the English abbreviation for Before Christ, English usage has copied Latin usage by placing the abbreviation before the year number for AD,[5] while BC is placed after the year number (for example: 68 BC, but AD 2011)."

  • What does the "because" have to do with the rest of the sentence?

Re:"The Anno Domini or Dionysian era (also Christian era) is the calendar era traditionally based on the conception or birth of Jesus of Nazareth, but today used worldwide as a secular standard for numbering years in both the Julian and Gregorian calendars."

  • Read this as "The Anno Domini is the calendar era traditionally based on the conception or birth of Jesus of Nazareth, but today used worldwide as a secular standard..."
  • What kind of English syntax is "The Anno Domini is the calendar era..."?
  • What is the "but" there for?
  • What makes it a "secular standard" and where is the sourcing for that?
  • what does "traditionally based on" mean? It WAS based on an estimate

Re:"The abbreviation AD (or A.D., alternatively CE for "Common Era") counts the years after the start of this epoch..

  • Abbreviations do not count years!!

These are the problems I see after just a very quick read of the diff for just the lede. I recommend, per WP:BRD that all recent changes be reverted so that all the other probable problems buried in the massive change get addressed--JimWae (talk) 19:59, 19 July 2011 (UTC)

Then have a look at the flawed or nonsensical points you have just restored, shall we. "sometimes found in the form Anno Domine"? I ask you. "After Death" is a "common misconception" according to ""? WP:DUE? WP:LEAD? WP:RS?

You are right that my recent change did not remove all issues with the current lead section. That's probably because I attempted to salvage some of it. I respect your revert and will now try a more radical approach of removing bad stuff instead of half-assed attempts at salvaging it. --dab (𒁳) 08:26, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

Here is what I think is wrong with the content distribution between Anno Domini and Common Era: The whole thing is taken hostage by the debate on abbreviations AD/BC vs. CE/BCE so that people tend to ignore the fact that this is supposed to be about a calendar era, not just about abbreviations used to designate it.

The era is known as "Common Era", "Vulgar Era" and "Christian Era". The abbreviations used are AD/BC and CE/BCE. It is was perfectly mainstream throughout the 18th, the 19th and most of the 20th century to call it the "Common Era" and still abbreviate it as AD as a matter of course. Only with the braindead discussion on political correctness in Latin abbreviations did using the term "Common Era" become suggestive of being a supporter of using the "secularized" abbreviation "CE". Basically, I am saying that this article is supposed to be about the calendar era known as the "Christian" or the "Common Era". The article called Common Era, otoh, is about the proposal to use the abbreviation CE, pushed in political correctness since ca. 1980. I hope I have made clear how this is a problem of article titles that spills over into article content, because editors become confused on what the article is supposed to discuss.

I endorse having a sub-article dedicated to the political correctness question, but I dispute that this sub-article should properly be called "Common Era". What I think should be done is that the article on the era should be redirected to by both Common Era and Christian Era, while the abbreviation thing currently under Common Era should get a title like "CE vs. AD controversy" or "CE/BCE vs. AD/BC debate" or something, and be placed in Category:Abbreviations and Category:Controversies, because it addresses abbreviations and a controversy, not a separate calendar era.

Whatever we do, the fact that Common Era and Christian Era redirect to two separate pages at the moment while they are perfect synonyms is a blatant problem in view of WP:CFORK. There should be only one article per topic, and a calendar era is one topic. A debate about some point or other on this era may be a second topic, but this doesn't allow us to split articles along the lines of preferred synonyms. --dab (𒁳) 08:41, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

"Common Era" is defined in the 3rd edition of the American Heritage Dictionary as "Abbr. C.E. The period coinciding with the Christian era." So they don't call it a synonym, they just say it is the same time period.
I don't share your experience with "Common Era" being used as a synonym for "Christian Era" in the mid to late 20th century. The only use I've seen it, other than forums discussing that and related terms, is in footnotes explaining what the abbreviation C.E. or B.C.E. mean.
Also, the claim that "After Death" is a common error is supported by a reliable source, although the citation to is superfluous. Jc3s5h (talk) 11:53, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
My history professor at Temple University, University of Chicago Ph. D. (on India during the 16th century, I believe, with in-country field work (of course)) and single author of a college-level text on World History, claimed the standard had changed at the academic level in the secular world to BCE & CE. I think the current state of affairs is naturally off-putting to people with serious reservations about Christianity. The change would improve wikipedia.Julzes (talk) 19:03, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
Julzes' comment is in the wrong talk page. This talk page is about the article Anno Domini. The page Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Dates and numbers is about writing dates in Wikipedia. Jc3s5h (talk) 21:27, 23 April 2012 (UTC)

New centuries and millennia based on astronomical rather than traditional dating[edit]

"In the AD year numbering system, whether applied to the Julian or Gregorian calendars, AD 1 is preceded by 1 BC. There is no year "0" between them. Because of this, most experts agree that a new century begins in a year with the last digits being "01" (1801, 1901, 2001); new millennia likewise began in 1001 and 2001. A common misconception is that centuries and millennia begin when the trailing digits are zeroes (1800, 1900, 2000, etc.);[1] moreover, this convention was widely used to celebrate the new millennium in the year 2000. For computational reasons astronomers and the ISO 8601 standard use a time scale (astronomical year numbering) in which AD 1 = year 1, 1 BC = year 0, 2 BC = year −1, etc.[27]" So, it's not really a misconception that 1 January 2000 was the 1st day of the 3rd Millennium. Rather, it's a derivative of the astronomical scheme already mentioned at the end of that paragraph. Shouldn't this be clarified? The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 04:53, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

I don't think so, there#'s quite enough there and those are not what people use in general. However there is a small error there in that ISO 8601 uses the proleptic Gregorian calendar so its January 1 would be different. Dmcq (talk) 10:12, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
Different people group years into centuries and millennia for different purposes. If the purpose is to have a party, it has more to do with the would-be party-goer's mood than formal definitions. If celebrating the birth or incarnation of Jesus of Nazareth, there is considerable uncertainty about the date. Given the different motivations, there is no hope of clarification. Jc3s5h (talk) 11:20, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
Be that as it may, I was talking about clarification in the Article, not in real life. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 03:24, 17 August 2011 (UTC)

I agree that it's not a misconception, the wording should be changed.

I have brought this subject up somewhat in trying an edit of the article century. We could look at the current de facto situation in common use as a convention that the 1st century (both directions) actually has only 99 years. This is not clear, however. Scientifically-minded people will sometimes scoff at years ending with 00 being popularly, but incorrectly, conceived to be beginnings of centuries; and sometimes other scientifically-minded people will say the popular approach is actually, for all intents and purposes, correct. One would have to do careful research to determine which convention is preferable according to some kind of balance, but one rather bizarre way to settle the issue is by noting that the final 21 digits of 9999 form a prime with 12 nines in it (999779999159200499899), and if you remove the 9s to leave 9 digits, change the rightmost of these--an isolated 8--to a 3 (chopping off the left half of the rightmost, taking its base-2 logarithm or substituting 9 under a radical sign), and add the four parts (77+15+2004+3) you get 2099. It seems 2099 would just make a better last year of our century than 2nd to last to me, but then again it is the 22nd century after ours.Julzes (talk) 17:47, 7 May 2012 (UTC){Edit fix} Additionally, 2099 is the 317th prime, 317 is the 66th, the two parts 77+15 and 2004+8 (our year now) are 4 times the 9th prime and 4 times the 96th, and the middle 7 digits of the 191-digit 9696 are preceded by the 317 just referenced and are 5555545.Julzes (talk) 18:21, 7 May 2012 (UTC)

Suggestion to change the default to CE[edit]

Most recent historians use CE as a prefix instead of AD. I feel that Wikipedia should follow the same system to keep up with the times. Chetanaik (talk) 20:12, 6 November 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia writing style with respect to indicating whether a year falls before or after what Dionysius Exiguus believed to be the Incarnation (Christianity) is covered at WP:ERA. Any discussion of changing the current guidance should be taken to WT:Manual of Style/Dates and numbers. This old version of the page shows the most recent discussion on this topic that I can find; many such proposals have come and gone with no change in the guidance. Jc3s5h (talk) 20:31, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
This is correct! Most recent historians use CE (and BCE). This will improve the Editorship class of wikipedia somewhat, don't you think?Julzes (talk) 19:09, 23 April 2012 (UTC)

I wholeheartedly disagree. If you choose to annotate things using the Christian calendar, then AD should be the default. CE and BCE are and affront to the people whose calendar you're using. Use another calendar if you don't want to use the proper notation. --TopherKRock (talk) 21:03, 11 March 2014 (UTC)

Requested move in unison with Common Era move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: not moved per outcome of Talk:Common Era#Requested move in unison with Anno Domini move. Favonian (talk) 17:23, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

Anno DominiAD, BC, CE and BCE (or Gregorian and Julian calendar era notations) – a move in unison with sister article Common Era to Gregorian and Julian calendar era or Dionysius Exiguus' calendar era to change the focus of both articles. The article that is now Anno Domini would focus on the abbreviations, while the article that is now Common Era would focus on the era and link to the article about the abbreviations that are used (AD, BC, CE and BCE) to suffix the years after or prior to the era's epoch.

I don't see how we can determine from any reliable sources that "Common Era" is more popularly interpreted as the definition for the "CE" abbreviation than Current Era, or especially Christian Era, which, per sources, came about prior to 'Common Era'. It seems that Wikipedia itself is contributing to external sources' claims that CE is foremost meant as "Common Era", I don't see that claim being made in any reliable sources prior to the existence of this article under the title Common Era, and any recently-increased popularity of "Common" can be attributed to the name choice here on Wikipedia.

Can anyone provide an argument for why the abbreviations themselves (AD/BC and CE/BCE) should have separate articles both trying to summarize the era itself when they are all just abbreviations for the same era? It is redundant to have two full articles focusing on the same era, with the only difference being the semantics of the abbreviations used. This is certainly a convoluted and controversial issue, but the current title locations of Common Era and Anno Domini are too insufficient and biased in my view — FoxCE (talk | contribs) 22:17, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

Please discuss at Talk:Common Era so the discussion does not become fragmented. Jc3s5h (talk) 22:55, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

  • Comment if this is a multimove request,it should use the multimove format. (talk) 07:56, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Historical birth date of Jesus[edit]

This section is quite a hash. It doesn't even mention that the traditional view is that Jesus was born in 2 BC, which would suggest Dionysius miscalculated by one year. The various modern theories regarding the date of birth have nothing to do with the calendar era. Kauffner (talk) 03:14, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

Can you provide a reliable source for the "traditional view"? Also, whether Dionysius Exiguus set the beginning of his era on the date he intended is clearly relevant. Jc3s5h (talk) 03:42, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
Tertullian writes that Jesus was born, "in the forty-first year of the empire of Augustus," and 28 years after the death of Cleopatra.[1] Augustus became consul in 43 BC. Cleopatra died in 30 BC. Luke writes that Jesus was "about thirty years of age" in the "fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar," which also works out to a birth year of 2 BC.[2] The theory that Herod died in 4 BC is based on the schedule of lunar eclipses, which wasn't worked out until the 19th century. Here is a secondary source from Google Books, suitable for use as a reference in the article. Kauffner (talk) 09:57, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
That Google book link does not work for me. The article explains that the main discussion of when Jesus was born are described at "Nativity of Jesus" and "Chronology of Jesus". I would suggest examining those articles. If they are in good shape, use what they say. If not, fix them first then transpose the improvement here.
Also, "Historical birth date of Jesus" is probably a poor section title. Dionysius Exiguus intended to commemorate the incarnation of Jesus. Incarnation versus birth is at the heart of the modern abortion conflict. Many abortion opponents, including the Roman Catholic Church, contend that a person's soul is created at conception, not birth. It is unknown whether Dionysius Exiguus intended to commemorate the conception or birth of Jesus. Jc3s5h (talk) 17:03, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

It appears this section is intended to access how accurately Dionysius established the date of the event he intended to commemorate. When competent modern writers establish an era, they write something like "4713 B.C. January 1, Greenwich noon" (see glossary of the Astronomical Almanac, term "Julian date"). Dionysius didn't do this of course; we can tell that his year AD 1 corresponds to Diocletian era year 248 because he includes an older table that ends in Diocletian 247 and his table starts with AD 532. We're not sure what date he was using for the beginning of the year, whether he thought the Incarnation was 25 March, 25 December, or something else, and whether he though the Incarnation was in 2 BC, 1 BC, or AD 1. We also don't know if he intended to commemorate the Annunciation or the Nativity of Jesus. We don't know if these distinctions were even present in the back of Dionysus's mind, or if they were recorded but lost.

The next problem is the many arguments, ancient and modern, as to when Jesus was actually conceived and born.

So perhaps the section should be rewritten to outline the difficulties in some kind of reasonable order. Jc3s5h (talk) 21:04, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

A slight correction: 532 years earlier than AD 532 is 0 or 1 BC, not AD 1. Bede discusses this in chapter 47 of Bede: The reckoning of time (Faith Wallis' translation) page 126. Bede notes that this places the Incarnation in the second year of the cycle, which Wallis notes is AD 1. However, to arrive at our 1 BC Bede uses knowledge that the Paschal cycle was 532 years. But Charles W. Jones argues that Dionysius did not know about that cycle; Dionysius only states that neither 19 yeays nor 95 years were Easter cycles, he never mentions 532 years. — Joe Kress (talk) 22:07, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
I don't accept the correction, but a new section is needed to explain why. Jc3s5h (talk) 22:16, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
There are solid arguments for the plausibility of Jesus being a totally constructed individual (a non-person), such as the absolute lack of documentation during his presumed lifetime and his being a construct being consistent with certain strains within the Judaism of the time; and I don't see this section as having an editorial point at all anyway. The talkpages are by and large supposed to be about editing the articles. There is no year 0, though, I will point out. That much is settled. No year according to our common calendar between 1BC/BCE and 1AD/CE.Julzes (talk) 18:40, 7 May 2012 (UTC)
I should remark that I don't actually support this view. I am neutral as neither argument is obviously right, but it is out there in scholarly circles.Julzes (talk) 23:55, 7 May 2012 (UTC)
The question of Jesus's existence as a person (or entity beyond mythology), that is. I was being a bit unclear. Also, I am mistaken in saying there is no year 0. There is none in the Gregorian calendar, but the astronomical dating systems identify their year 0 with 1 BC (or BCE (or YG by my own construction elsewhere on this page)).Julzes (talk) 17:49, 9 May 2012 (UTC)

Dionysius' date of Incarnation[edit]

There is doubt what day of the year Dionysius thought the Incarnation occurred, 25 March (Annunciation), 25 December (Nativity), or some other date. I will refer to Incarnation as the date Dionysius intended to commemorate, whatever day of the year it was.

As alluded to above, not only is there doubt about whether Dionysius' estimate of the Incarnation was correct, but what year Dionysius intended to place the event he was commemorating. Blackburn and Holford-Stevens present arguments for 2 BC and AD 1 on pages 778–9. I'll give my version of their arguments below.

2 BC[edit]

The first Easter in Dionysius' table was in 532. B. & H-S suggest Dionysius argumenta (calendrical rules) make September, not January, the beginning of the year. He may have "counted in elapsed, not current years", so "the first year year after the incarnation ran from 1 September 1 BC to 31 August AD 1". If the Incarnation was the the Nativity, it would have been 25 December 2 BC.

1 BC[edit]

Bede argues, based on Jesus having lived about 33 years and Bede's belief that the crucifixion was in AD 34, that the Nativity was in 1 BC. But Bede does not claim this was the date intended by Dionysius.


Bede supposed Dionysius to have placed the Incarnation in a year with indiction 4, concurrent 5 (that is, 24 March, a Thursday), epact 11, and year 2 of the 19 year cycle. These characteristics apply to AD 533. When Easter is computed according to Dionysius' rules, the cycle repeats after 532 years; AD 533 - 532 = 1 AD. Jc3s5h (talk) 22:57, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

B.C is also noted as Before Christ's Death, while A.D stood for After the Death of Christ. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:26, 14 May 2012 (UTC)

Translation to English[edit]

Should "Anno domini" not be translated to English in this article? I find the lack of an explanation for the emergence of a Latin term used to this day to describe the current era perplexing. Cup o' Java (talkcontribs) 23:36, 1 February 2013 (UTC)

The term is widely used in its Latin form. It is not Wikipedia's role to advocate language reform by translating Latin words into English when the general public typically does not do so. There is a long list of other Latin phrases that have been adopted into English in their original form. Jc3s5h (talk) 02:09, 2 February 2013 (UTC)
Actually, it is. See the introductory paragraph. StevenJ81 (talk) 15:59, 25 February 2013 (UTC)

Just a non-user comment[edit]

I see that in this bit after the Birthdate of Jesus, it says

The Gospel of Luke states that Jesus was conceived during the reign of Herod the Great[Luke 1:5]

Luke 1:5 is about John the baptists conception, not Jesus'. Why is that included as a reference? (talk) 21:10, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

I have fixed the reference to show the range of verses is 5 through 38. Verses 5 through 25 indicate Elizabeth became pregnant during the reign of Herod. Verse 26 through 38 indicate Mary conceived in the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy. Jc3s5h (talk) 13:21, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

For an easier understanding[edit]

For newcomers, this sentence might be included: AD is AFTER Jesus was born and BC is BEFORE Jesus was born.--Movietech 23:57, 5 July 2013 (UTC)

Worldwide spread[edit]

This article does not address in any detail how or why AD became the dominant system for international communication and commerce. This edit introduced a figure showing that Christianity is the most popular religion, and has a caption that could be interpreted to mean that the popularity of Christianity caused the dominance of AD. In the absence of any other material, the caption will be interpreted that way.

Ideally we would find some good sources that properly address the spread of AD outside of Europe up to and including the mid-20th century. Jc3s5h (talk) 22:42, 4 December 2013 (UTC)


So if we suppose that Jesus wasn't actually born probably 4 or 5 years before the sixth century best guess, and if we also suppose that he was actually born on December 25, and if we also suppose that "New Years Day" is January 1 and not some other arbitrary day, then which year is supposed to be "AD 1" ?

Was he born almost at the end of "AD 1", or did "AD 1" start one week after he was born ?Tallewang (talk) 03:19, 25 December 2013 (UTC)

Assuming the calendar is accurate, Christ was born on December 25th in 1 B.C. The reason that the "year of our Lord" doesn't begin until eight days later is because the eighth day was the day that our Lord was circumcised and given his name, in accordance with ancient Jewish law. (talk) 21:21, 21 December 2016 (UTC)

Why is BC in English[edit]

Why is BC in English and AD in Latin? Threadnecromancer (talk) 23:51, 9 January 2014 (UTC)Threadnecromancer

Latin was popular throughout Europe during the times when this calender was learned (especially in academia), thus the adoption of Anno Domini (AD). It's possible that it wasn't until later times (during the British Empire) that we really became interested in Pre-Christian history, making BC (Before Christ) an English phrase rather than Latin. I hope that helps! --TopherKRock (talk) 20:59, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
Relatedly, though, I was disappointed to not find coverage of common terminology in other languages. I can well imagine that AD might be used in other European languages, but BC? A poke around the corresponding article on the French and German Wikipedias told me that (a) they discuss the terms in their English contexts, making it hard to discern when they're speaking of their own contexts, and (b) that my high school French and gleanings of German are woefully inadequate. -- Perey (talk) 03:52, 5 July 2014 (UTC)

When do we stop using AD/OCE?[edit]

I wouldn't write a Wikepedia article saying Agrippina was married in 5 nor one saying that The Battle of Hastings was in 1066 AD/OCE. When is the cut off point for using AD/OCE? AlwynapHuw (talk) 04:06, 20 April 2015 (UTC)

When it is clear from context which era is meant, then it can be omitted. There is no particular year for which this is true. Elizium23 (talk) 04:19, 20 April 2015 (UTC)
WP:ERA doesn't give a clear guideline on this, but I think generally it is understood that AD/CE are usually used for years preceding 1000, especially when not paired with a month and day (which would make it less ambiguous that it refers to a year).Crumpled Fire (talk) 12:56, 20 April 2015 (UTC)
I don't think there's a clear cutoff point. You wouldn't need it for anything to do with Jesus or Christian events (Councils, etc) for instance. Ah, except for when he was born and related material I guess, as that is thought to be about 4 BCE off the top of my head. Dougweller (talk) 13:09, 20 April 2015 (UTC)

Dionysius dating[edit] is trying to use WP:CALC for this. WP:CALC is not a source for "This last theory is almost certainly the correct one." " It is the norm for eras to be initialised to commence a calendar cycle. The Muslim era of the Hegira commences not from the date of the event but from the new year nearest. The Jewish calendar is arranged so that, starting from the first year of the cycle, a month is added whenever the discrepancy between the lunar and solar years reaches one month. Its origin, the Creation, is not tied to any calculation of when this might have occurred but to an equinox in the first year of the cycle. The Era of Diocletian and the Martyrs (AD 284) and the Armenian era (AD 552) both begin at the commencement of a cycle, allowing for the fact that 1 January intervenes between the Diocletian New Year and Easter. The arithmetic is as follows: 284 divided by 19 gives remainder 18, but since the Alexandrian year begins on 29 (or 30) August that's equivalent to remainder 19. Remainder 19 or 0 can be considered the first year of the 19 - year cycle. 552 gives remainder 1 - here year 1 is considered the first year of the cycle. Dionysius initialised his cycle in 1 BC (year 0), so here again 0 or 19 is considered the first year of the cycle." is not "Basic arithmetic, such as adding numbers, converting units, or calculating a person's age are some examples of routine calculations. --NeilN talk to me 17:31, 27 June 2015 (UTC)

Actually, the rule is that given the figures could a normal Wikipedia reader verify them. The position in the Metonic cycle is found by adding 1 to the year, dividing by 19 and taking the remainder. If there is no remainder the year is 19 in the cycle. That information is presumably provided in Metonic cycle. To verify the proposition the reader has to perform a simple division - divide the three epochs, 0, 284 and 552 by 19. I would be very surprised if people like Blueboar would regard performing that calculation as engaging in original research. (talk) 17:42, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
"normal Wikipedia reader verify them." Your text is full of unsourced assertions so no, they cannot be verified. And again, WP:CALC cannot be used to source, "This last theory is almost certainly the correct one." --NeilN talk to me 17:49, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
I can certainly remove any editorialising as to which theory is most likely to be correct. Apart from that, is there anything else you want me to give attention to - for example the date of the Armenian epoch could easily be referenced to Armenian calendar. (talk) 18:32, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
Information icon (talk) is one of several London area IP sockpuppets of banned User:Vote (X) for Change. See block log, WP:BMB.
Any assertion which isn't a pure calculation should be sourced. For example, "It is the norm for eras to be initialised to commence a calendar cycle.[citation needed] The Muslim era of the Hegira commences not from the date of the event but from the new year nearest.[citation needed] The Jewish calendar is arranged so that, starting from the first year of the cycle, a month is added whenever the discrepancy between the lunar and solar years reaches one month.[citation needed]" --NeilN talk to me 19:24, 27 June 2015 (UTC)


Two more citations: TheFreeDictionary even says it is ablative. agrees that the translation is "in the year of the Lord" where are your citations for "year of Lord"? To me it sounds like WP:OR: we simply don't translate Latin that way; articles are inserted as needed. Elizium23 (talk) 17:00, 20 July 2015 (UTC)

Yes we don't translate latin literally because our grammar is different. It still stands that the literal translation is 'Year of Lord', or if we assume ablative case 'in Year if Lord'(and I'm willing to concede the majority translate it as ablative). Then our interpretation becomes 'in the year of the lord'. It's a pretty minor point, but if we're going to say 'literal translation' I wanted to distinguish the literal as literally as possible, otherwise remove the word 'literal'. It doesn't need citations as common knowledge but as wikipedia says [[3]] the articles were developed in later latin to aid in the translation of greek which did contain articles. Hence later latin gets articles like ille, which are not in this later latin phrase and hence not part of the literal translation. Savvy? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Iṣṭa Devatā (talkcontribs) 17:11, 20 July 2015 (UTC)
Oops! I guess it doesn't say literal translation, but the phrasing implies it with a 'normal' translation and a 'often translated as'.Iṣṭa Devatā (talk) 17:18, 20 July 2015 (UTC)
Yes, quite. So I don't see why we should obfuscate the plain meaning of the text with an overly-literal translation that no translator would render. Elizium23 (talk) 00:17, 21 July 2015 (UTC)

The point is to make it clear how we can come up with "IN the year of THE lord" but also come up with "in the year of OUR lord" and the fact that "in A year of God" is also a correct translation. The vaguery of Latin means we will come across different translations. We don't see this phrase only translated in one way and that is explained by the grammatical differences between English and Latin which I tried to point out. Granted literal translation is not popular within the church because those translations already are given the interpretations you're expected to take from the text. I don't think it makes a hugely necessary point, but one that isn't expressed here, and certainly isn't disruptive as to warrant instant reversion.Iṣṭa Devatā (talk) 15:34, 21 July 2015 (UTC)

Is the proposed reforms section really necessary?[edit]

We've had AD with the Julian calendar, AD with the Gregorian calendar, AD with the Revised Julian calendar (some church use), AD with the secret Dee calendar which might be the Protestant world's calendar now were it not for the failure of Queen Elizabeth to colonize any of "God's longitude" (circa Washington, DC) where spring ALWAYS began on the Easterian day of March 21 from 1555 to 3 centuries in their future (seriously).. Using AD or not has nothing to do with what calendar is in use. Sagittarian Milky Way (talk) 21:16, 25 October 2015 (UTC)

Most of the proposals are mainly trying to improve on the Gregorian calendar, and would keep the year numbering about the same. But the Human Era is mainly about changing the year notation, so that should be kept. But if that is the only one kept, it probably doesn't deserve its own section. Jc3s5h (talk) 21:37, 25 October 2015 (UTC)
Right, the Human Era is the only one that is an actual calendar era like CE, AD, AH, AM, AUC, BE.. Sagittarian Milky Way (talk) 22:04, 25 October 2015 (UTC)

Isn't it the other way around?[edit]

The article says:

The term anno Domini is Medieval Latin, which means in the year of the Lord but is often translated as in the year of our Lord. It is occasionally set out more fully as anno Domini nostri Iesu (or Jesu) Christi ("in the year of Our Lord Jesus Christ").

But I am pretty sure that it's the other way around. It seems pretty clear that "anno Domini" is just a shortened form of the longer "anno Domini nostri etc." And if that's the case, then the term means "the year of our Lord" but is sometimes less accurately translated as "the year of the Lord". (talk) 21:29, 21 December 2016 (UTC)

(a) That passage is unused by the rest of the article and doesn't belong in the lead;
(b) that passage is uncited and doesn't belong in the article at all, until it has some reliable sourcing;
(c) the usage is incredibly minor and does not belong in the lead of a major article like this even once it is cited (WP:UNDUE);
(d) the fuller form—if it does turn out to exist and to predate the terser one—doesn't change the meaning of the terser form: "of our Lord" is still not what AD actually means, howevermuch it may be the preferred styling in English.
 — LlywelynII 01:01, 7 March 2017 (UTC)

Trivial Edit Requests[edit]

The article is currently locked for anonymous edits, so I figured we could have a section for people to suggest trivial edits, such as typos and grammatical issues, that don't affect the intended meaning of the content. Not sure if such a section is typical, or will ever be used by anyone else, but here's my suggestion:

The last sentence of the fourth paragraph of the lead section says: "However, this would mean that the approximate 33 years commonly associated with the life of Jesus would not be included in either of the BC and the AD time scales."

First, the correct word is adverb approximately, since it modifies the number of years (approximately 33), not the years themselves (they aren't approximate years, they're normal years).

Second, I think the latter part of the sentence could be reduced to "either the BC or AD time scale".

I.e., "However, this would mean that the approximately 33 years commonly associated with the life of Jesus would not be included in either the BC or AD time scale." (talk) 08:46, 2 May 2017 (UTC)

Good points. However it seems to me that this entire sentence is irrelevant, and should be deleted, so that the paragraph ends with "it is sometimes incorrectly concluded that AD means After Death, i.e., after the death of Jesus." Any objections? Wdford (talk) 08:56, 2 May 2017 (UTC)
Although there is a citation for this statement, it is a print book which many readers will not have convenient access to. While there is a link to a preview in Google Books, it is hit or miss whether that site will show the page of interest to any particular reader in any particular country. Therefore, I think it is helpful to present a logical reason why the error is obviously an error, for the benefit of readers who can't look at the book. (And yes, the reason stated in this article is also stated in the book.) Jc3s5h (talk) 12:55, 2 May 2017 (UTC)
Let me add that there used to be a big problem with IP editors coming along and changing the statement to say that AD does stand for after death, and this activity seems to have substantially declined since the logical reason why this interpretation is wrong was added. Does this mean that people who sincerely held this misconception are being convinced by the reason presented? Or does it mean vandals have found something else to vandalize? I don't know, but I'd prefer not to have to keep removing nonsense from the article. Jc3s5h (talk) 13:02, 2 May 2017 (UTC)