Difference Between BCE and CE

By: | Updated: Jun-18, 2022
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Before Common Era (BCE) and Common Era (CE) are two ways of referring to the calendar year. From BC to AD, there was only one year at a time. This is called the Anno Domini or Year of Our Lord system.

In BC years, January would be 1 and December would be 12. Then, in AD years, January would be 12 and December would be 1. The time between BC years and AD years is counted as common era, but the actual calendar years are still called before common era or after common era.

Summary Table

BCE CE
Era before Anno Domini Era before Christ
To mention the historical events To mention the date

Difference Between BCE and CE

What is BCE?

Before Common Era (BCE) is a year before the common era or Anno Domini system. The years of BC and AD were not used in the same way until sometime after 1000 AD. This means that many historical events are based on BC and AD years instead of before the common era or after common era.

For example, if you were born in 1994, you would have been born in the common era of 1994. However, if you were born in 1554, then you would have been born in the year of our Lord 1554 or Anno Domini 1554.

What is CE?

Common Era (CE) is a year in the common era or Anno Domini system. This means that the years of BC and AD were not used in the same way until sometime after 1000 AD.

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In this way, many people find it easier to talk about historical events by referring to years before the common era than they do by referring to years after the common era. Many historical events in this era were based on BC and AD years instead of before the common era or after common era.

Before common Era VS Common Era

The differences between Before Common Era and Common Era are quite simple. Common Era is a calendar year and it is always counted from 1 to 365 days. Common Era refers to the dates which were counted from the first year of the common era, 1 AD. The years before 1 AD are known as Before Common Era or BC years. Common Era (CE) is a calendar year and it is always counted from 1 to 365 days.

Before common era or BC years refer to all of the years before the common era or Anno Domini system was adopted in countries such as England, France, Italy, and Spain. These countries used Roman numerals for their calendar systems before they adopted the Anno Domini system.

It was not until after 1000 AD that these countries switched over to using Anno Domini system in place of Roman numerals for their calendars. Before common era refers to all of these years before 1000 AD when Roman numerals were used instead of the Anno Domini system for dates.  Common Era or CE was created after Anno Domini (AD) was introduced as a new way of counting time and dates by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582 A.D.. The start date for the new calendar.

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