Boris is talking drivel:
We have all been brought up to imagine that the reason we call this year 2011 AD, or Anno Domini, is that it is 2011 years after the putative birth of Jesus Christ. We have grown up thinking that the year 2011 BC is so called because it was 2011 years Before Christ. As it happens we are absolutely correct in both beliefs. Of course it is true that there is perplexity about the date of Christ's birth, since Herod the Great actually died in 4 BC – and there will always be some who doubt that Jesus of Nazareth ever existed. But in so far as he really was a historical figure, then it is pretty clear that he was born round about that time.
This dating system is absolutely true. No it's more or less true. Actually, it might not be true at all. But it's outrageous to say it should be replaced by anything else.
Actually, I don’t think Boris is a believer at all: that ‘in so far’ as is the giveaway there. But if not a Christian, he's a Christianist: pure culture war stuff, clown show division.
As every schoolboy who goes to a free school will fail to know, the BC/AD system comes from an attempt to figure out when Easter should fall by Dionysus Exiguus, a Russian monk, based on contradictory evidence in the gospels, where Jesus’ birth is either dated as in the last year of Herod’s rule (4’BC’) or the year of the first Judean census (6’AD’). I think Dionysus went with the last one. At any rate, Christians don’t know when AD started, but back in the sixth century it was considered necessary by the Papacy as part of its consolidation of influence over the Roman state to cobble something together to fix the date of its own version of the celebration of the solar king myth.This was then fixed into general usage by what Bozza calls diktat when he applies it to the BBC.
If anything, the Common Era designation gives too much respect to Christianity: there’s no reason why the part of the Han dynasty that preceded the birth of the founder of that religion should be any more ‘common’ that the part that followed it. This Jesus fellow has never mattered that much over a lot of the world, except to the extent that his fans forced their beliefs on local attention.
Boris also complains about the license fee, not mentioning that he himself has turned a handy profit on it, including with a serial about Rome. Come on Bozza: what about the Christianist politically correct plot to replace ab urbe condite with its own ludicrously inexact and tendentious dating system? At least we know Rome actually existed.