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When he devised his table, Julian calendar years were identified by naming the consuls who held office that year—he himself stated that the "present year" was "the consulship of Probus Junior", which was 525 years "since the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ".In 1627, the French Jesuit theologian Denis Pétau (Dionysius Petavius in Latin), with his work De doctrina temporum, popularized the usage ante Christum (Latin for "Before Christ") to mark years prior to AD.When the reckoning from Jesus' incarnation began replacing the previous dating systems in western Europe, various people chose different Christian feast days to begin the year: Christmas, Annunciation, or Easter.Thus Dionysius implied that Jesus' Incarnation occurred 525 years earlier, without stating the specific year during which his birth or conception occurred.
"However, nowhere in his exposition of his table does Dionysius relate his epoch to any other dating system, whether consulate, Olympiad, year of the world, or regnal year of Augustus; much less does he explain or justify the underlying date." It is not known how Dionysius established the year of Jesus's birth.
The Anno Domini dating system was devised in 525 by Dionysius Exiguus to enumerate the years in his Easter table.
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