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Keeping time: The origin of B.C. and A.D.

The phrases “AD” and “BC” have roots in Christianity. “AD” is an abbreviation for the Christian period (Latin for “yr of the Lord”), particularly Jesus Christ. “BC” is an abbreviation for “earlier than Christ.”

The system labels the yr primarily based on the standard idea of When Jesus was born — “AD” signifies a couple of years after his beginning, and “BC” signifies a yr earlier than his beginning.

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