How did they write down dates in "bc"?

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How did they write down dates in "bc"?

Post by glassynails » Sat Feb 25, 2017 3:56 am

Did they write for example " year 1200 B.C." in that year? Obviously they couldn't know what "1200 B.C" was because they hadn't determined what year "B.C" was or didn't even know anything about it. So in the year 1200 B.C what year was written down? Who was "writing these dates down"? Didn't various peoples writing things down record different year dates?

Did all people keeping historical records even record a date?
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Re: How did they write down dates in "bc"?

Post by hpaulj » Sat Feb 25, 2017 5:14 am

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calendar_era The Wiki article on Calendar Era summarizes the many different counting systems in use - even today.

The AD/BC system dates to the 6th c, Even then it was used more in the Latin church world than in the east.

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Re: How did they write down dates in "bc"?

Post by gitgeezer » Sat Feb 25, 2017 3:07 pm

Prior to widely accepted systems of dating, all dating would have been local. It might have been based on the reign of tribal chiefs (in the days of chief . . .; in the tenth year of chief . . .; etc). Or it might have been related to natural events (BF—before the flood; AF—after the flood) (BGD—before the great draught; AGD—after the great draught). Or it might have been related to human events: memorable wars, tribal migrations, the invention of catching fish with nets, etc.

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Re: How did they write down dates in "bc"?

Post by DerekB » Sat Feb 25, 2017 5:27 pm

It is worth noting that when Dionysius Exiguus devised the BC/AD calendar the counting system in the west did not have a concept of zero so we go straight from 1BC to 1AD with no year 0.
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Re: How did they write down dates in "bc"?

Post by Andrew Fryer » Sat Feb 25, 2017 5:44 pm

gitgeezer wrote:Prior to widely accepted systems of dating, all dating would have been local.
Yes. Hpaulj's list is a bit incomplete - in Athens I think they used what were called Archon lists more than anything else. In Rome they weren't consistent - some used AUC (Ab Urbe Condita = from the foundation of Rome) dates (e.g. Cicero's correspondence), others used Consular years (e.g. Tacitus. This was the Roman equivalent of Archon lists), especially if they writing political history, I suppose - if you were interested in the politics, then it made sense to relate them to the people in charge each year. You went and looked at the city records if you wanted to tally the dates or find out when a particular year was. I don't know much about it - I managed to get a First in Classics without ever doing a history course unit, lol!

Oh, they used Olympiads too, possibly in Athens and Rome. They knew when the first Olympics were, and they also knew when various eclipses had been and how the dates all tallied.
In my blog I write, but I forget why, "Xenophon's system of dating is bloody annoying." Probably because he talks sometimes of Olympiads and sometimes of years of the Pelopponesian War.
The first Olympic games were in 776 BC; the nth were in 776-4(n-1). So, of the 93rd Olympiad
the first year was 408/407
the second year was 407/406
the third year was 406/405
the fourth year was 405/404
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Re: How did they write down dates in "bc"?

Post by gitgeezer » Sat Feb 25, 2017 9:03 pm

DerekB wrote:It is worth noting that when Dionysius Exiguus devised the BC/AD calendar the counting system in the west did not have a concept of zero so we go straight from 1BC to 1AD with no year 0.
This way of counting would have been true even if there had been a "zero." The day before the birth is the last day of 1BC; the day of the birth is the first day of 1AD.

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Re: How did they write down dates in "bc"?

Post by Andrew Fryer » Sat Feb 25, 2017 9:54 pm

gitgeezer wrote:
DerekB wrote:It is worth noting that when Dionysius Exiguus devised the BC/AD calendar the counting system in the west did not have a concept of zero so we go straight from 1BC to 1AD with no year 0.
This way of counting would have been true even if there had been a "zero." The day before the birth is the last day of 1BC; the day of the birth is the first day of 1AD.
I was thinking of saying that, but then thought, it works best when Jesus was born on or around the last day of our year (in fact their year began on the vernal equinox in a lot of places, hence September was the 7th month of the year).
I wondered what we'd have done if Jesus had (really or conventionally) been born on the 30th June.
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Re: How did they write down dates in "bc"?

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Sat Feb 25, 2017 10:07 pm

gitgeezer wrote:
DerekB wrote:It is worth noting that when Dionysius Exiguus devised the BC/AD calendar the counting system in the west did not have a concept of zero so we go straight from 1BC to 1AD with no year 0.
This way of counting would have been true even if there had been a "zero." The day before the birth is the last day of 1BC; the day of the birth is the first day of 1AD.
Dionysius also got "1 AD" in the wrong place.
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Re: How did they write down dates in "bc"?

Post by hpaulj » Sat Feb 25, 2017 11:35 pm

New years day, and our month layout comes from the Roman calendar.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Year's_Day

Even so , March 1 or 25 were commonly celebrated as New Years - as late as 1752 in England and its colonies.

http://libguides.ctstatelibrary.org/hg/ ... h/calendar

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Andrew Fryer
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Re: How did they write down dates in "bc"?

Post by Andrew Fryer » Sun Feb 26, 2017 10:31 am

Andrew Fryer wrote:I wondered what we'd have done if Jesus had (really or conventionally) been born on the 30th June.
Actually, it's no biggie. The year he was born in would be AD 1 and the year before that would be 1BC. Although that's kind of interesting, as the year he was nominally born in is currently 1BC, since he was born so close to the end of it. Really he was born in about 6BC, I think.
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guitareleven
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Re: How did they write down dates in "bc"?

Post by guitareleven » Sun Feb 26, 2017 3:17 pm

How did they write down dates? I'm sure they had their versions of a little black book.

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Re: How did they write down dates in "bc"?

Post by Andrew Pohlman » Wed Mar 01, 2017 5:58 pm

Stephen Kenyon wrote:
gitgeezer wrote:
DerekB wrote:It is worth noting that when Dionysius Exiguus devised the BC/AD calendar the counting system in the west did not have a concept of zero so we go straight from 1BC to 1AD with no year 0.
This way of counting would have been true even if there had been a "zero." The day before the birth is the last day of 1BC; the day of the birth is the first day of 1AD.
Dionysius also got "1 AD" in the wrong place.
I think the real implication of no "Zero AD" is that there was no 1st century - if we started with 1 AD, then we were automatically in the 2nd century. Or is it a semantics thing and I'm not seeing it ?

And I don't quite get the arithmetic. Did the ~35 years Jesus spent walking the Earth get subtracted from the 1 BC versus 1 AD thing ? Is it a DMZ as it were ?

Lastly, didn't they get rid of the whole "Based on Jesus" thing anyway? I mean, the academic wisdom indicates he was born in summer, but they used the date of a pagan celebration and just called it "Christmas".
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Andrew Fryer
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Re: How did they write down dates in "bc"?

Post by Andrew Fryer » Wed Mar 01, 2017 6:02 pm

Andrew Pohlman wrote:the academic wisdom indicates he was born in summer
Not sure how many arguments are used for this one. One argument is something to do with shepherds tending flocks in fields, and the idea is they don't lamb in the winter, but I've seen lambs in Exmoor at Christmas, and besides the climate of the Middle east is different from that of Exmoor.

The first century is the years 1AD to 100 AD.
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Re: How did they write down dates in "bc"?

Post by Andrew Pohlman » Wed Mar 01, 2017 6:17 pm

Andrew Fryer wrote:
Andrew Pohlman wrote:the academic wisdom indicates he was born in summer
Not sure how many arguments are used for this one. One argument is something to do with shepherds tending flocks in fields, and the idea is they don't lamb in the winter, but I've seen lambs in Exmoor at Christmas, and besides the climate of the Middle east is different from that of Exmoor.

The first century is the years 1AD to 100 AD.
And the visibility of "the Star" and the assembling in Jerusalem to pay taxes - hence no room at the inn. None of that is in the region's Winter. Because, yeah, lambs can be born whenever depending on the goals and practices of the animal husbandry.
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Re: How did they write down dates in "bc"?

Post by dory » Wed Mar 01, 2017 7:07 pm

I know that the Jewish calendar that is still in use starts something like 3,000 years ago. I am not Jewish and don't know the exact figure.
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