Difference between AD and BC: Know the Meaning, Full form and Timeline

Publish Date: 02 Sep, 2021 |

Difference between AD and BC:

While considering dates and calendars, many of us have heard about the common abbreviations such as AD, BC, CE and BCE. But have you ever wondered what these frequently used abbreviations actually mean and where are these used? Well if not, then here is your complete guide, and in this article, you will further read about the difference between AD, BC, BCE and CE. 

The Georgian Calendar is extensively used as a global standard for the measurement of dates. This calendar is used throughout the world and even goes beyond the religious, cultural and linguistic frontiers. Georgian Calendar is based on the supposed birth dates of Jesus Christ. And following years counted from the birth of Jesus Christ are termed as either AD or BC. 

So, after knowing much about the emergence of these abbreviations, we will talk about what actually AD and BC mean and the difference between the two.

Difference between AD and BC?

Standardized under the Julian and Georgian calendar, AD stands for Anno Domini which is a Latin term for “Year of our Lord” and is used as a label for measuring the years after Jesus Christ was born, while on the other hand, BC stands for measuring the years Before Christ.  

AD (Anno Domini) denotes the calendar era after the birth of Jesus Christ and traditionally, the year accepted for Christ’s birth is labelled as AD1 and a year before it is labelled as 1 BC. However, the actual invention of this type of calendaring system was devised in AD 525 but became popular only after AD 800. A fill-in for AD is CE, which means Common Era, Christian Era or the Current Era.

BC (Before Christ) means the number of years before the time of Jesus Christ. It is believed that BC originated with Bede in the 8th century (AD). The Latin term used for it is “ ante vero incarnationis dominicae tempus” and it actually means “ the time before the Lord’s true incarnation,” identical to the English term “before Christ” and was used by Dionysius Exiguus. 

Difference between CE and BCE?

CE and BCE are the abbreviations that have a shorter history as compared to AD and BC. Dating from at least the early 1700s, CE stands for “Common or Current Era” (as mentioned above), while BCE stands for “Before the Common (or Current Era).” These abbreviations have been persistently used by Jewish academics for more than 100 years but became much popular in the later fragment of the 20th Century. The CE and BCE are religiously neutral and this is one of the reasons that CE and BCE have replaced BC/ AD in a number of fields, particularly in science and academics.  

Difference between AD and CE?

While as discussed in the article above, CE is used as an alternative for AD. But the actual difference between AD and CE is that while taking into account the usage, AD precedes the date, while CE follows the date, whereas both BC and BCE follow the date. So, as an example, AD 1492 but 1492 CE, and 1500 BC or 1500 BCE. 



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