• Issue: January 2000
  • Designer: Moshe Pereg
  • Stamps Size: 30.8 mm x 30.8 mm
  • Plate nos.: 396, 397, 398, 399
  • Sheet of 15 stamps, Tabs: 5
  • Printers: Government Printers
  • Method of printing: Offset

Since concepts of time are part of the history of every people, it is not surprising that there has never been a universal chronology, with the possible exception of Christian chronology, which today is the accepted basis of dating. The Christian chronology is named after Pope Gregory All, who in 1582 redefined the duration of the year as deriving from the earth's orbit of the sun - thereby changing the calendar as determined by the Romans under Julius Caesar.

The dating of Ancient Greece was based on the Olympiad, the four-year time unit between the Olympic Games. The accepted starting point for this chronology is the year 776 BCE.

The Romans used the year of the founding of Rome - 753 BCE - as the beginning of their dating. At a later stage, they determined dates according to the consul reigning in the same year. Afterwards, they divided the time into units called 'indictio'. This division was used for hundreds of years by Christianity.

The Moslems count the years from 622 CE, the year the Prophet Muhammed emigrated from Mecca to Medina (The Hegira or Hijrah).

Jewish dating is more complex and is based on a number of events, including the Babylonian exile or the Seleucid era - a dating measured from date of
Seleucus' invasion of Babylonia in the year 312 BCE and in widespread use in the Jewish world until the 13th century. Jewish dating appears in the 2nd century CE on the back of Bar Kochba coins, upon which is the inscription: "Year aleph [year 1 ] (through year hen [year 5]) of Israel's freedom." The accepted method of dating in Judaism - from the creation of the world - began around the year 300 CE and gradually pushed out the other Jewish chronological systems.

In Christianity there were a number of dating methods, for example, one called "Since the Patriarch Abraham's Birth" which was practiced by Bishop Eusebius in the 4th century CE.

In the 6th century, a monk residing in Rome named "Dionysus the Little" tried to calculate the year of Jesus' birth. Today all of the scholars believe that Dionysus' calculation of Jesus' birth as taking place in the year 1 CE is incorrect. Jesus was actually born in the year 4 BCE, meaning that 1996 or even before then is the actual year 2000. Since the year after 1 BCE is 1 CE, the year 0 does not exist; the year 2000 finishes the second millenium; and the year 2001 begins the third millenium.

Dr. Eitan Burstein

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