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As a result, his determination of the birth year of Christ was apparently off by about 4 years, but the error was not realized until centuries after the system had come into general use, leading to the strange circumstance that Christ was actually born in approximately 4 BC.
The designations BC and AD deserve a brief explanation at this point.
The number system used throughout the modern world is a fully place-valued decimal system.
For example, we think of our age in reference to the year we were born, and while we may give names to wedding anniversaries (silver, gold, etc.), we determine them by counting from the year of the marriage.
Just as in an individual’s life, some birthdates may be so important that the whole culture chooses them as the reference point for its dating system. We are all quite familiar with the BC/AD dating system.
It uses Christ’s birth year as the zero point—all other years are based upon that one.
Exceeding the number 9 in a position starts counting in the next highest position.
Number greater than 1 appear to the left of a decimal point.This fits with the position of Hands on the pants metaphor from the picture below the comic strip.