What are B.C. and AD in History

I am not very much interested in history but whenever I search the net and especially visit Wikipedia I see these two words in History Column. So what are they exactly!  

“A.D.” stands for anno domini, Latin for “in the year of the lord,” and refers specifically to the birth of Jesus Christ.

“B.C.” stands for “before Christ.” In English, it is common for “A.D.” to precede the year so that the translation of “A.D. 2014” would read “in the year of our Lord 2014.”

In recent years, an alternative form of B.C./A.D. has gained traction. Many publications use “C.E.,” or “common era,” and “B.C.E.,” or “before the common era.”

Background

The 51st emperor of Rome, who ruled from A.D. 284 to A.D. 305. The first year in Dionysius’ Easter table, “Anno Domini 532,” followed the year “Anno Diocletiani 247.”

Dionysius never said how he determined the date of Jesus’ birth, but some authors theorize that he used current beliefs about cosmology, planetary conjunctions and the precession of equinoxes to calculate the date. Dionysius attempted to set A.D. 1 as the year of Jesus Christ’s birth, but was off in his estimation by a few years, which is why the best modern estimates place Christ’s birth at 4 B.C.

The addition of the B.C. component happened two centuries after Dionysius, when the Venerable Bede of Northumbria published his “Ecclesiastical History of the English People” in 731. Up until this point, Dionysius’ system had been widely used. Bede’s work not only brought the A.D. system to the attention of other scholars, but also expanded the system to include years before A.D. 1. Prior years were numbered to count backward to indicate the number of years an event had occurred “before Christ” or “B.C.”

Conclusion

Very Confusing! But you know now that what are B.C and AD exactly; if you just skip the background. 😀

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