ERA OF THE MARTYRS, (Era of DIOCLETIAN)
Reckoned from the accession of Emperor Diocletian in the latter part of 284. Since the seventh century the Copts have regularly called it the Era of the Martyrs, in memory of the persecution of Christians launched by Diocletian. Its use has been almost entirely confined to Egypt, where it originated, and to Christian Ethiopia, the first year of the era, anno martyrum (A.M.) 1, being the Alexandrian year running from the Julian 29 August 284 to 28 August 285. Isolated dating according to the era of Diocletian has been detected in the Latin West (Ambrose in Milan, Bede in Northumbria).
[See also: Calendar, Coptic.]
AELRED CODY, O.S.B.