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In the historical system of dating, AD 1 is preceded by 1 BC; there is no year 0.In the astronomical system, AD 1 is designated 1; this is preceded by year 0, which is preceded by year -1.The second century began with AD 101 and continued through AD 200.By extrapolation we find that the 20th century comprises the years AD 1901-2000.This epoch was established by the 6th century scholar Dionysius Exiguus who was compiling a table of dates of Easter.Dionysius followed previous precedent by extending an existing table (by Cyrillus) covering the period 228-247, reckoned from the beginning of the reign of Emperor Diocletian.Many initial epochs have been used for calendrical reckoning.

This is illustrated by the adoption of the birth of Christ as the initial epoch of the Julian and Gregorian calendars.But since the concept of negative numbers did not come into use in Europe until the 16th century, and was initially only of interest to mathematicians, its application to chronological problems was delayed for two more centuries.Instead, years were counted from a succession of initial epochs.Scaliger first stated that a given combination would recur after 7980 (= 28 x 19 x 15) years.He called this a Julian cycle because it was based on the Julian calendar.Years of the Gregorian calendar, which is currently in use today, are counted from AD 1.

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