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Eastern Orthodox countries only began to adopt AD instead of the Byzantine calendar in 1700 when Russia did so, with others adopting it in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Although Anno Domini was in widespread use by the 9th century, the term "Before Christ" (or its equivalent) did not become common until much later.
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.
Two major theories are that Dionysius based his calculation on the Gospel of Luke, which states that Jesus was "about thirty years old" shortly after "the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar", and hence subtracted thirty years from that date, or that Dionysius counted back 532 years from the first year of his new table.
It is convenient to initiate a calendar not from the very day of an event but from the beginning of a cycle which occurs in close proximity.
For example, the Islamic calendar begins not from the date of the Hijra, but rather weeks prior, on the first occurrence of the month of Muharram (corresponding to 16 July 622).
"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.
Bede the Venerable used the expression "anno igitur ante incarnationem Dominicam" (so in the year before the Incarnation of the Lord) twice.
"Anno an xpi nativitate" (in the year before the birth of Christ) is found in 1474 in a work by a German monk.
At the time, it was believed by some that the Resurrection and end of the world would occur 500 years after the birth of Jesus.
The old Anno Mundi calendar theoretically commenced with the creation of the world based on information in the Old Testament.