When did the current millennium begin? In the year 2000, or the year 2001?
When did the present millennium start?
When did the present millennium begin? Was it the year 2000 or the year 2001?
Some people think the new millennium started on January 1, 2001. Most think it began on January 1, 2000. The majority view is closer to being right.
Those who think the millennium started in 2001 are correct when they say there was no year 0. The calendar, as prepared by the monk Dionysius Exiguus in the sixth century, placed the year AD 1 directly after 1 BC. Today's 2001 supporters reason therefore that the first year was AD 1, and to get a century you need to finish 100 years later, at AD 100. If you finished at 99 you wouldn't have 100 years.
This leads the 2001ers to believe that each new century starts with a year ending in 1 (for example 501, 1001, 1901, 2001). And because millennia begin each 1000 years, they deduce that our newest millennium must have had its beginning in 2001.
Calendar started in 1 BC
But, according to Encyclopaedia Britannica's article headed “Calendar” in the Macropaedia:
“Dionysius took the year now called AD 532 as the first year of a new Great Paschal period and the year now labelled 1 BC as the beginning of the previous cycle. In the 6th century it was the general belief that this was the year of Christ's birth, and because of this Dionysius introduced numbering years consecutively through the Christian Era.”
So you see, even though the 2001ers are correct when they say there was no year zero, they are not correct when they assume the year AD 1 was the first year on the calendar we adopted. It was 1 BC according to the man who arranged this calendar, which means each new century begins in a 00 year, not a 01 year. If it began in a 01 year there would have been more than 100 years in the first century (1 BC to AD 100 is 101 years). But a century by definition is 100 years, so the idea is simply wrong.
1 BC not the year of Christ's birth
Many people know that 1 BC was not the year of Jesus Christ's birth. Bible scholars agree Christ's birth took place several years before 1 BC. And it was not on December 25 (the Bible says shepherds were watching their flocks by night, and this doesn't happen in the cold winter around Bethlehem in December).
And there have been other changes to the calendar — astronomical considerations caused authorities to drop 11 days in October 1582, and there were changes from December and March to January as the first month of each year. So even January 1 is not the true date of the start of the millennium.
Dionysius Exiguus did make an error, but even so we date from his calculations, and he started the calendar cycle at 1 BC, which means the new millennium started in 2000 (but not necessarily on January 1).
How much time is left to the year 2014? (See below.)
Countdown to the year 2014