Letter: A new era

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Sir: It would be a good idea to replace the Christian era with a less sectarian substitute, not only to avoid the nonsense of the so- called millennium but also to avoid the inconvenience of counting years backwards Before Christ.

But the Roman era invented by Varro 21 centuries ago (letter, 2 August), counting from the foundation of the city in April 753BC, may not be the best alternative, since it too is based on an imaginary event and is focused on a particular state, and still involves backwards counting for some historical events.

A better choice might be the Julian era invented by Scaliger four centuries ago, counting from January 4713BC, a convenient coincidence of various astronomical cycles before any known event. In this system, the present year would be 6712.


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