Also, years have often been organized into eras, with each era providing a new “cycle.” Our own era—the Christian (or Common) Era—was the creation of a sixth-century A.D. Syrian monk named Dionysius Exiguus, who borrowed the idea from the Seleucids, the Hellenistic rulers of much of the Near East following the death of Alexander in 323 B.C. (see the following Origins columns in Archaeology Odyssey: William H. Hallo, “In One Era and Out the Other,” Premiere Issue 1998; and Leonora Neville, “Fixing the Millennium,” January/February 2000).