Difference Between AD and BC

Main Difference

The main difference between AD and BC is that AD stands for “Anno Domini” (a Latin phrase meaning ‘in the year of our lord’) whereas BC stands for “Before Christ.”

AD vs. BC

AD or A.D. means Anno Domini. It is a Latin phrase that means “for/in the year of our Lord.”BC or B.C. stands for Before Christ. The Latin translation of BC is “ante vero incarnationis dominicae tempus.” AD and BC are the labels for numbering the years after Christ was born.

In the modern calendar, years are labeled with BC or AD. There is no “zero” year. According to this system, the year in which Christ was born in 1 AD. The year before that year in which Christ was born in 1 BC. This Christ associated system of numbering the years was invented in AD 525 by Dionysius Exiguus, who was a Christian monk.

It was in use since the Gregorian and Julian calendars. This practice was first introduced in the sixth century AD. This system of year labeling with AD and BC took time to become a worldwide standard. Russia and Turkey did not convert to this calendar year labeling system until the 20th century.

They rather used a less religious and neutral connotation, namely CE (Christian Era, Common Era, Current Era) BCE (Before Common Era). Although their labels are distinct, BC and BCE are the same as well as AD and CE are also same. It means AD can also be used in place of CE whereas BC can also be used in place of BCE.

There is an interesting fact about both system labeling. In the Era AD/CE, the years of years are in chronological order. For example, the year AD 401 comes after the year AD 400. In the era BC/BCE, the method of numbering the years is in the reverse order. For example, the year 300 BC comes after the year 301 BC.

By making it clear and direct, AD stands for “Anno Domini” which is a Latin phrase that means “for/in the year of our Lord on the flip side BC is an English phrase that means “Before Christ.”

Comparison Chart

ADBC
The AD stands for “Anno Domini” (a Latin phrase meaning ‘in the year of our lord’)BC stands for “Before Christ.”
Also Written As
A.D.B.C.
Phrase
LatinEnglish
Concerning Christ
1 AD is Year in which Christ was Born1 BC is the year before the year in which Christ was born
Order of Numbering Years
Chronological orderReverse order
Neutral Alternatives
CE (Common Era) for ADBCE (Before Common Era) for BC

What is AD?

AD or A.D. means Anno Domini. It is a Latin phrase that means “for/in the year of our Lord.” It is the label for numbering the years after Jesus Christ was born. AD or Anno Domini is used as a system that number or label the years in the Julian and Gregorian calendars. In the modern calendar, years are labeled with BC or AD.

There is no “zero” year. According to this system, the year in which Christ was born in 1 AD. This Christ associated system of numbering the years was invented in AD 525 by Dionysius Exiguus, who was a Christian monk. It was used in the Gregorian and Julian calendars.

This practice was first introduced in the sixth century AD. This system of year labeling with AD and BC took time to become a worldwide standard. Russia and Turkey did not convert to this calendar year labeling system until the 20th century. They rather used a less religious and neutral connotation, namely CE (Christian Era, Common Era, Current Era) BCE (Before Common Era).

AD can also be used in place of CE. There is also another thought among people that AD stands for “after death.” This is just a half reality. The complete concept and the underlying meaning of AD is that AD is traditionally denoting the calendar era after the birth of Jesus Christ.

The purpose of the AD dating system aims at making the birth of Jesus Christ as the dividing point of the world’s history. Although the system of calendar labeling with AD is not present in the Bible, it was not implemented and accepted until several centuries after the death of Jesus Christ. It was introduced in AD 525 but still was not in common use until after AD 800.

The dates before Christ are smaller as they approach the birth year of Jesus Christ. There is no zero in this AD BC calendar system. Comprehensively, the year 1 BC one year before the birth of Jesus Christ) is followed by year AD 1 (the birth year of Jesus Christ). In the era AD/CE, the numbering of years is in chronological order. For example, the year AD 401 comes after the year AD 400. To define the perfect year or period, the style of writing AD is before the year.

What is BC?

BC also was written as B.C. stands for the “Before Christ.” It is a system for labeling or numbering the years after Jesus Christ was born. In the modern calendar, years are labeled with BC or AD. There is no “zero” year. According to this system, 1 BC is the year before the year in which Jesus Christ was born.

This Christ associated system of numbering the years was invented in AD 525 by Dionysius Exiguus, who was a Christian monk. It was used in the Gregorian and Julian calendars. It is believed that the use of BC for year labeling originates in the 8th century AD with Bede. The Latin translation of BC is “ante vero incarnationis dominicae tempus.” The English language translated this phrase as “the time before the Lord’s true incarnation.”

This practice was first introduced in the sixth century AD. BC is the label which traditionally denotes the era before the birth of Jesus Christ. The purpose of the BC dating system aims at making the birth of Jesus Christ as the dividing point of the world’s history. Although the system of calendar labeling with BC is not present in the Bible, it was not implemented and accepted until several centuries after the death of Jesus Christ.

It was introduced in 526 BC but still was not in common use until after 801 BC. This system of year labeling with AD and BC took time to become a worldwide standard. Russia and Turkey did not convert to this calendar year labeling system until the 20th century. They rather used a less religious and neutral connotation BCE (Before Common Era) for BC.

Hence, BC can also be used in place of BCE as a neutral numbering of the years. In the era BC or BCE, the numbering of years is in the reverse order. For example, the year 300 BC comes after the year 301 BC. 100 BC is equal to 100 years before Jesus Christ was born. The dates before Christ are smaller as they approach the birth year of Jesus Christ. There is no zero in this AD BC calendar system. Comprehensively, the year 1 BC one year before the birth of Jesus Christ) is followed by year AD 1 (the birth year of Jesus Christ).

Key Differences

  1. AD means “Anno Domini,” whereas BC stands for “Before Christ.”
  2. AD is also commonly written as A.D. conversely BC is also often seen appearing as B.C.
  3. The AD stands for “Anno Domini” which is a Latin phrase that means “for/in the year of our Lord on the flip side BC is an English phrase that means “Before Christ.”
  4. According to this system, the year in which Christ was born in 1 AD, on the other hand, the year before the year in which Christ was born in 1 BC.
  5. In history, the people who preferred a neutral year labeling system used CE (Common Era) for AD, on the contrary, they used BCE (Before Common Era) for BC.
  6. AD is considered to be the same as CE while BC is also believed to be same in place of BCE.
  7. In the era AD/CE, the numbering of years is in chronological order. For example, the year AD 401 comes after the year AD 400. On the contrary, the method of numbering the years in the era BC/BCE is in the reverse order. For example, the year 300 BC comes after the year 301 BC.

Conclusion

AD and BC are the two labels for numbering the years after Christ was born. Both these terms are different from each other as AD “Anno Domini” (a Latin phrase meaning ‘in the year of our lord’) inversely BC stands for “Before Christ.”

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson

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