When Did Year 1 Start?
When did year 1 start?
Traditionally, year 1 of the Christian calendar was believed to be the year that Jesus was born. However, there is debate as to how he was born and many historians agree that he was probably not born in 1 AD.
The first era that numbered years began in the 312/311 BC Seleucid Empire, using a system of counting time based on the X and Y year of the reign of a king. As the ages of many different kings passed, each one was counted on a different basis.
It took many years before the year count was fixed in a way that could be used across different cultures. Some nations were more strict than others and a great many local systems or eras were important.
This era, called Anno Domini (Latin for “year of our Lord”), was invented by Dionysius Exiguus in the 6th century. It is now a common year-numbering system that has been adopted in many countries, including the United States and most of Europe.
Dionysius was a sceptic who wanted to fix the date of Easter in a way that could be used by Christians. He went back to basics and figured out a new base year for the Christian calendar. He chose the year of Jesus’ birth as the start of the new year and named it Anno Domini.
There are many theories as to how he came up with the year that Jesus was born, but no one can say for sure. Some scholars believe that he was born in 750 AUC, the year of the death of Herod the Great, which would make the current era begin on 25 December 753 AUC. Other researchers think that he was born in the first year of the reign of the Roman Emperor, Diocletian, which is a bit more problematic as it makes the current era begin on January 1 (see below).
Another theory suggests that he was born in the first year that the Roman emperor Augustus ruled, which would make the year of his birth 760 AUC, the year of the death of Julius Caesar. This would put the era of his birth in a much better position, since he was the earliest emperor and thus arguably the most powerful.
As a result, the year of his birth was considered to be one of the most important dates in the history of the world, and it became a central focus of Christianity. This era, sometimes known as the Anno Domini or Christocentric era, was the basis for the modern Gregorian and Julian calendars, as well as the Common Era.
The era was used by a wide variety of people and cultures, including the ancient Greeks, the Chinese, the Romans, the Indians and many more. It was an era of immense cultural interaction, with vast areas crisscrossing by traders and adventurers who journeyed both east and west to bring back coveted goods and tantalizing scraps of information about exotic lands.