Cesare Emiliani's proposal for a
calendar reform sought to solve a number of alleged problems with the current Anno Domini era, which number the years of the commonly accepted world calendar. These issues include:
- The Anno Domini era is based on an erroneous estimation of
the birth year of Jesus. The era places Jesus's birth year in
AD 1, but modern scholars have determined that he was likely born in or before 4 BC. Emiliani argues that replacing it with the approximate beginning of the
Holocene makes sense.
- The reported birth of Jesus is a less universally relevant
epoch event than the approximate beginning of the Holocene.
- The years BC are counted down when moving from past to future, making calculation of time spans difficult.
- The Anno Domini era has no
year zero, with 1 BC followed immediately by AD 1, complicating the calculation of timespans further.
Instead, HE uses the "beginning of human era" as its
epoch, arbitrarily defined as 10,000 BC denoted year 1 HE, so that
AD 1 matches 10,001 HE.
 This is a rough approximation of the start of the current
geologic epoch, the
Holocene (the name means entirely recent). The motivation for this is that
human civilization (e.g. the first
agriculture, etc.) is believed to have arisen within this time. Emiliani would later propose that the start of the Holocene be fixed at the same date as the beginning of his proposed era.