8.43 Counting Forwards

As we retrace the arc of history, we cannot help but notice there is an inflection point where by global convention we start counting in the opposite direction.

Preceding the infinitely small point in time at 0 is the “BC” era, and succeeding it is the “AD” era.

The terms anno Domini (AD) is Latin and means “in the year of the Lord”.

The annotation (BC) means before Christ (BC).

These labels are used in the Julian and Gregorian calendars to demarcate the conception or birth of Jesus, as traditionally calculated.

This method of dating was devised centuries later in 525, and began to proliferate widely centuries later after Emperor Charlemagne endorsed it.

While this system is natural to much of the modern world, and feels as if it is objective and has always existed, the reality is that it was superimposed retroactively and slowly between 500 and 1,000 years after the pivotal event to which history was reoriented.

A person in the year 3 had no idea that they were living in the year 3, and certainly would not have told you that they were born in the year “minus 27”.

Prior to this time and for centuries during the gradual transition, ordinal number words were used in conjunction with regnal years in local, decentralized and non-standardized epoch or era based systems, correlated to local rulers or events.

Thus in China you may find reference to the 7th year of the Hongwu emperor’s reign, and in Europe you could find reference to the 3rd year of the reign of Augustus.

Standardizing such a distributed network of local dating schemes to a cardinal number word system requires matching up some particular event, such as the incarnation of Jesus, officially regarded by Rome long after they murdered him as King of Kings and Son of God, with lists of kings from different records and parts of the world in order to convert the ordinal era based dates to the unified standard defined by one historical event fixed at time = zero.

But what really is Time anyway? We will have to explore that more later.

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