What year are we in: 2024, 1445 or 5784? It depends on where we are born

For us it is obvious to count the years starting from traditional date of Jesus' birthi.e. from the year 1 AD. The system was introduced in the 6th century AD and became established almost all over the world, including most non-Christian countries. However, they also exist different counts, used above all for liturgical and ritual reasons. In the calendar Jewishfor example, which numbers the years from the presumed date of the creation of the world, this is the year 5784. In the calendar Islamicwhich chooses Muhammad's escape from Mecca to Medina as its initial event, we are in 1445.

How the years were counted before Jesus

In the ancient world, before the birth of Christ, they were in use different systems for counting the years. The Greeks, for example, identified them based on names of certain magistrates in office (in Athens, for example, the archons were used) or by foundation of cities. Since these systems varied from place to place, in the 2nd century BC. C. the system of counting years based on was introduced Olympic Games, which took place every four years from 776 BC For example, the year, for example, third of the hundred and tenth Olympiad corresponded to our 338 BC. C. (the one hundred and tenth Olympiad took place in 340; its third year was 338).

Even in Rome there were various systems for numbering the years, the most widespread of which established itself in the 1st century BC. C., was the one from foundation of the city, ab urbe condita (for us, 753 BC).

Anno ab urbe seasoned in a medieval manuscript

Because we are in 2024: the calculation of Dionigi the little

The principle of counting the years since the birth of Jesus was established in 6th century AD C. In this regard it should be remembered that the date of birth of Jesus is not mentioned in the Gospels and ancient authors report different years. The date was calculated by a scholar of the 6th century AD. C., Dionysius the Littlewhich established that Jesus was born in the year 753 from the foundation of Rome, which therefore became the year 1 AD. After Dionysius, the system of counting the years based on the birth of Jesus and dividing the eras into after and before Christ.

However, modern scholars agree that the Dionysius' calculation was wrong and the birth of the historical Jesus took place, in all probability, in the years between 7 and 4 BC. C. Furthermore, in Dionysius' calculation (and in our counting of years) there is no year 0: you go directly from 1 to. C. to 1 d. C. For this reason, each century begins in year 1 and ends in the following centenary year: the nineteenth century, for example, goes from 1801 to the year 1900 inclusive; the third millennium did not begin on January 1, 2000, but on January 1, 2001.

Furthermore, the year can be indicated with expressions other than AD In English the Latin phrase is used A.D, i.e. year of the Lord (often abbreviated to AD and placed before the year: AD 2024). However, if you want to avoid religious references, you can also use the expression Common Era (was common), sometimes used in Italian in the version It was vulgar (understood as “was calculated according to the common use of the population”): 2024 ev

Because in the world it is not the same year for all cultures

Almost all over the world, including countries where religions other than Christianity are the majority, the years are counted based on the birth of Jesus. Other systems are used above all for liturgical and ritual issues. In particular, the Jewish calendar counts the years starting from the creation of the world according to the Bible (3761 BC) and the Islamic calendar places the year 0 at the Hegira (622 AD). Throughout history, calendars based on have also been established political reasonswhich however are no longer in force.

The Jewish calendar

More specifically, the Jewish calendar calculates the year from the presumed date of the creation of the world (anno mundi), which occurred, according to a calculation based on the Bible, in 3761 BC. 2024 is therefore the year 5784 (from October, when the year for the Jewish calendar begins, it will be the year 5785). Today, however, we know that the Earth is infinitely older and formed approximately 4.5 billion years ago.

Inscription on the Synagogue of London, which reports the Anno Domini and the Anno Mundi. Credits: Deror Avi.

The Islamic calendar

Muslims, on the other hand, calculate the years starting fromhegira, the escape of Muhammad from Mecca, which constitutes the official birth of Islam, which occurred in the year 622. 2024, therefore, is the 1445-1446 (consider that the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar and the year lasts 354-355 days). However, in most Islamic countries the Christian year is used for all non-liturgical matters.

Political calendars no longer in force

Even some political regimes have tried, with little success, to introduce the practice of counting the years since their institution. For example, after the French Revolution, a new calendar was introduced (also different in the calculation of months and days), which counted the years from the establishment of the Republic, i.e. from 1792, and remained in force until 1805, when it was abolished. by Napoleon. In Italy, the fascist regime counted the years from 1922, the year of Mussolini's rise to power, considering October 29 (the day following the March on Rome) as the first day of Year I. Generally, in official documents the year of the “fascist era” was indicated next to the Christian year.

However, the “political” attempts to number the years disappeared with the collapse of the regimes that introduced them.