There is no "zero" year -- in this system, the year Christ was born is 1 A. Russia and Turkey, for example, did not convert to the modern calendar and year scheme until the 20th century. This practice was first suggested in the sixth century A. It took quite a while for it to become a worldwide standard, however. The problems of understanding BC, AD and centuries – is 1560 in the fifteenth or sixteenth century? Like so many other aspects of history, many pupils understand these ideas much more readily and effectively if you can transform these concepts from ethereal words or written exercises into something more concrete, involving physical representation of centuries etc. It’s a simple idea, using your pupils to build up a physical timeline, and it can be repeated quickly and easily, which is vital for consolidating the ideas.Doing something like this once gets most students started along the path to understanding but repetition is vital to reinforce the ideas.
Or, a WORD version of this activity can be downloaded, click here. No-one really even seems to have considered counting the years before AD 1 until the monk and scholar Bede the Venerable introduced the idea in the 8th century, using the phrase anno igitur ante incarnationem Dominicam ().Funnily enough, it didn’t prove popular, but from the 9th century onwards, more people began to use different phrases to refer to the time before AD 1.Well, the reason we use BC and AD is that our Time Map of World History was originally aimed at the British schools market, and our National Curriculum hasn’t heard of BCE and CE.
I doubt whether most British history teachers have either.
What I’ve really got against the new dating, I suppose, is that it just confuses the very building blocks of history. There are so many contentious things in history, why artificially create another one?
Ad bc dating comments
Notes and queries How they counted the years in the BC era; what.
Before AD, what did people of the BC era call their years? The dominance of one calendar for world events is quite recent and many other calendars remain.…
BC, AD, BCE and CE - what's in a dating label? - TimeMaps
We have been criticised for using BC and AD instead of BCE and CE - so here's our justification for doing so!…