Dionysius Exiguus (in English known as Denis the Little) was a monk from Scythia, he was a canon in the Roman Curia, and his assignment was to prepare calculations of the dates of Easter.At that time it was customary to count years since the reign of emperor Diocletian; but in his calculations Dionysius chose to number the years since the birth of Christ, rather than honour the persecutor Diocletian.Dionysius (wrongly) fixed Jesus’ birth with respect to Diocletian’s reign in such a manner that it falls on 25 December 753 AUC (ab urbe condita, i.e.
Note, however, that astronomers frequently use another way of numbering the years BC.
Instead of 1 BC they use 0, instead of 2 BC they use -1, instead of 3 BC they use -2, etc.
The earliest uses of BC dating are found in the works of the Venerable Bede (673-735). This is the most likely equivalence between the two systems.
How Dionysius established the year of Christ’s birth is not known (see below for a couple of theories).
Jesus was born under the reign of King Herod the Great, who died in 750 AUC, which means that Jesus could have been born no later than that year.
Dionysius’ calculations were disputed at a very early stage.
When people started dating years before 754 AUC using the term “Before Christ”, they let the year 1 BC immediately precede AD 1 with no intervening year zero.
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