Meaning of AD and BC

AD stands for Anno Domini and BC stands for Before Christ.

History books commonly divide the timeline into two, AD and BC. While everyone has read these, most don’t really know why there are there.

Firstly, the two phrases AD and BC denote years. They stand for Anno Domini and Before Christ, respectively. They are commonly used with the Julian and Gregorian calendars. Today, majority of the world works with the Gregorian calendar.

The phrase ‘Anno Domini’ is Latin. It means “In the year of the Lord”, while ‘Before Christ’ is pretty self-explanatory. It basically means before ‘Anno Domini’ began. Anno Domini’ is based on when the birth of Jesus Christ is believed to have occurred. Hence, the year believed to after the Birth of Christ is 1 AD, while the year immediately preceding that is 1 BC. There is no year zero.

It is commonly believed that because BC stands for Before Christ, AD might mean After Death. However, this is incorrect as Jesus Christ died at the age of 33, hence those 33 years would be unaccounted for.

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