N.S. Gill, About's guide to Ancient History, wrote a blog recently, remarking on a post of a post of an article in the Spectator
discussing the use of AD (Anno Domine
) vs. CE (Common Era
) when referring to dates of the past, the history of the usage, and the current preferences. This is a continuing debate in some circles; and in fact the original article in the Spectator
reported that more recent textbooks in the UK are switching away from AD to CE. Nemy's blog has generated quite a lively discussion. So, in a true metablog fashion, this is my post about her post about comments to her original post on a post by Adrian Murdoch (who has a blog on Roman history called 'Bread and Circuses') on an article in the Spectator
My use of (mostly) BP or AD/BC on the Archaeology at About webpage has been for clarity's sake, rather than a particular consideration of who-shall-we-not-offend. What this discussion proves is you'll offend somebody whatever you do (some Christians are offended by the use of CE/BCE; some non-Christians by the use of AD/BC). As one of the commenters points out, CE/BCE still sets the starting point as the traditional date of Christ's birth
1 CE. I guess if I was going to reduce the number of people who could be offended, I should probably pick 'CE/BCE'; but.... as I say, AD/BC makes sense to more people who commonly read this website. However, I am willing to be swayed by public opinion, and perhaps the time has come to get with the program. If you have a strong opinion one way or another, please feel free to comment here or on Nemy's post. Maybe I'll even try another poll.
Speaking as an archaeologist, I think we should consider starting all over again, and use 1945 as the '0' year, since that's the year of the first atomic bomb blast
. BAA for 'Before the Atomic Age' and AA for 'Atomic Age'. That would make this year 61 AA. (Okay, okay, I'm mostly kidding).
See: AD/CE revisited: What do the journals say? for a poll of archaeological journal style guides.