How was time measured before clocks and hourglasses? That’s when weeks, months, hours and seconds were invented

Illustration of the seven Germanic deities that give their names to the corresponding days of the week, in a Dutch print: [3] Zon-Sunday, Maan-Monday, Tuisco-Tuesday, Wodan-Wednesday, Thor-Thursday, Friga-Friday, Seater-Saturday .
With the agricultural revolution – dating back to the Neolithic – the first communities of Homo Sapiens began to develop tools for the creation of real calendars : as evidence of this, there is the calendar of the ancient Egyptians , based in fact on agricultural activities and on the river Nile , considered a sacred and vital element. The birth of the week , on the other hand, was born in Mesopotamia :

Also cradle of Jewish culture and its calendar, the ancient civilization of the time sanctioned the creation of the Sabbath (the seventh day) and the weekly frequency. This weekly scan of time is ascertained only after the exile from Jerusalem, a period in which the Jews were forced following the Babylonian conquest of 586 BC. However, several historians agree that the use of this method of calculation probably existed long ago. The week also entered the practice of the Chaldeans, characterizing itself, as was typical of their culture, with an astrological connotation. Their conception of time was in fact more qualitative than quantitative. That is, the Chaldeans associated every hour of the day with a planet, which determined its quality: the association with a certain planet thus made a certain hour suitable for a specific prayer and divine worship; there were planets that oversaw business, others over sentiments, and so on. The life of the faithful was marked with a system of rapid succession of different possible activities according to the passing of the hours. The planets known in ancient astronomy were precisely seven; the term planet, from the Greek πλανήτες, planétes, means “mobile” or “wandering”, because they moved in the sky with respect to the fixed stars, even with some irregularities. Associated with precise astrological-mythological qualities, they were the following, alongside the glyph that identified them: and so on. The life of the faithful was marked with a system of rapid succession of different possible activities according to the passing of the hours. The planets known in ancient astronomy were precisely seven; the term planet, from the Greek πλανήτες, planétes, means “mobile” or “wandering”, because they moved in the sky with respect to the fixed stars, even with some irregularities. Associated with precise astrological-mythological qualities, they were the following, alongside the glyph that identified them: and so on. The life of the faithful was marked with a system of rapid succession of different possible activities according to the passing of the hours. The planets known in ancient astronomy were precisely seven; the term planet, from the Greek πλανήτες, planétes, means “mobile” or “wandering”, because they moved in the sky with respect to the fixed stars, even with some irregularities. Associated with precise astrological-mythological qualities, they were the following, alongside the glyph that identified them: because they moved in the sky with respect to the fixed stars, even with some irregularities. Associated with precise astrological-mythological qualities, they were the following, alongside the glyph that identified them: because they moved in the sky with respect to the fixed stars, even with some irregularities. Associated with precise astrological-mythological qualities, they were the following, alongside the glyph that identified them:

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Saturn (Saturn (astrology))
Jupiter (Jupiter (astrology))
Mars (Mars (astrology))
Sun (Sun (astrology))
Venus (Venus (astrology))
Mercury (Mercury (astrology))
Moon (Moon (astrology))

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These names are of Latin origin, and are the Roman correspondents of the Greek ones. The order is that in use among the astronomers of the Hellenistic period, and corresponds to the order of the orbital periods or decreasing distances from the Earth, defined in Alexandria probably in the 2nd century BC. in turn it is of Mars, of Apollo (which the Sun is associated with), of Venus and of Mercury. The Moon plays a separate role in the Greek (Selene) and Roman Olympus. Comparison diagram between the order of the classical planets, arranged in a circle according to their progressive distance from the Earth (Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn), and the sequence of the days of the week obtained by joining with a straight line the most extreme points up to compose a seven-pointed star (heptagram). The planet that rules the first hour is for the Chaldeans the dominant planet of the day and characterizes its quality, the day takes its name from this planet. From the succession of the governing planets of the first hours we obtain the succession of the days of the week. If the first hour of today is associated with the Moon it means that today is Monday; scrolling through the 24 hours and the corresponding series of planets we see that the first hour of tomorrow is associated with Mars; so tomorrow is Tuesday and so on. More simply, the order of the sequence of the days of the week is obtained by following the sides of the seven-pointed star in the figure shown here in the direction indicated by the arrow. From the Chaldeans, through the Greeks, the names and qualities of the days of the week came to the Romans in the following Latin form:

Roman mosaic in Italica (Spain), in the Casa del Planetario, which depicts the days of the week in the guise of the seven planetary divinities (Venus in the center, then starting from the right, counterclockwise, Jupiter, Saturn, Apollo, Moon, Mars, Mercury).

dies Saturni, a day considered inauspicious, which however could instill willpower in accepting a renunciation or a privation.
dies Solis, propitious for the connection to the supernatural, to start a business or in the success of a business;
dies Lunae, dedicated to the care of the fields, the house, and the family;
dies Martis, archetype of courage, strength and strife;
dies Mercurii, god of speed, commerce and communications;
dies Iovis, archetype of growth, abundance, and prosperity;
dies Veneris, governor of art, beauty and love.

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The weekly calendar spread to Rome and throughout the Empire; it was its astrological value that decreed its success and made it an institution of the calendar: in the first century BC it was already introduced in Rome; it certainly was after the conquest of Egypt by Augustus (30 BC) if not earlier. At the time of the Republic, the Romans used an 8-day cycle called nundinum which means (period) of nine days, especially for the use of markets: the Roman calendars carried the indication of the day of the nundinae with a letter (AH) that accompanied all days of the year. The nundinae were in use until the second century AD, then they were supplanted by the week. The early Christians were of Jewish origin, used the Jewish week and honored the Sabbath. The gradual move away from original Jewish matrix that characterized the development of ancient Christianity, manifested itself in many ways and also in the festive liturgy. The sacred day is that in which Christ is risen and according to the Gospels this happened on a day following the Saturday; hence the decision to make the day following the Saturday, that is the dies Solis which became dies Domini, a holiday. The Christians maintained the custom of the week, even for them a divine institute, but changed the day dedicated to the Lord and subsequently forbade (synod of Laodicea, about 360) to celebrate the Sabbath. The Jewish week therefore moved with the variations mentioned in the Christian one, which in Rome merged with the astrological one. Astrology had spread to the Roman Empire earlier and faster than Christianity, and when the Church gained religious supremacy in the Empire (early 4th century) the use was very well established. Christians tried to impose new names to replace pagan terminology but failed to change a well-established popular tradition. Instead, the Orthodox Christians succeeded, maintaining a nomenclature similar to the Hebrew one. On the fringes of the Empire, for example in Britain and Germany, the spread of Christianity occurred later, and here the astrological names survived: neither Saturday nor Sunday came into use. Saxon and Nordic peoples translated the names of Latin deities into local correspondents: Christians tried to impose new names to replace pagan terminology but failed to change a well-established popular tradition. Instead, the Orthodox Christians succeeded, maintaining a nomenclature similar to the Hebrew one. On the fringes of the Empire, for example in Britain and Germany, the spread of Christianity occurred later, and here the astrological names survived: neither Saturday nor Sunday came into use. Saxon and Nordic peoples translated the names of Latin deities into local correspondents: Christians tried to impose new names to replace pagan terminology but failed to change a well-established popular tradition. Instead, the Orthodox Christians succeeded, maintaining a nomenclature similar to the Hebrew one. On the fringes of the Empire, for example in Britain and Germany, the spread of Christianity occurred later, and here the astrological names survived: neither Saturday nor Sunday came into use. Saxon and Nordic peoples translated the names of Latin deities into local correspondents: the spread of Christianity came later, and here the astrological names survived: neither Saturday nor Sunday came into use. Saxon and Nordic peoples translated the names of Latin deities into local correspondents: the spread of Christianity came later, and here the astrological names survived: neither Saturday nor Sunday came into use. Saxon and Nordic peoples translated the names of Latin deities into local correspondents:

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Table of “unequal” or “planetary” hours by Egnazio Danti, which associates each planet with the respective day of the week: the first hour is the one that determines the planetary quality of the whole day; for example, Saturday is associated with Saturn, Sunday with the Sun, and so on. The following hours are associated with different planets depending on the days of the week.

Mars in Týr,
Mercury in Woden or Odin,
Jupiter in Thor, Donar or Thunar,
Venus in Freia (or in Frigg),
Moon in Màni or Mona.

In today’s English, Saturday remained dedicated to the Roman god Saturn and becomes Saturday. Roman Sunday was the first day of the week and starting from Constantine I became a public holiday dedicated to Sol Invictus. Sun in English is Sun, so Sunday is the “day of the Sun” or Sunday. Monday was the second day of the week, dedicated to the Moon then Monday, etc. In German the denomination of the days (Tag) of the week is similar to English: Saturday is Samstag, Sunday is Sonntag (Sonne is the Sun), Monday is Montag, but the word “Wednesday” (Mittwoch) means “half of the week” (starting to count from Sunday). So the astrological week we use today was born from a complex of contributions:

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Hebrew: as a sacred institution
Egyptian: the subdivision of the day into 24 hours
Chaldean: astrological correspondences
Hellenistic: order of the planets
Latin: names of the planets
Christian: emancipation from the Jewish matrix and definitive consecration and diffusion of the week

The Jews call the planet Saturn “Shabtai”, that is the planet of the Sabbath: adopting an inverse process to that of the Chaldeans, they gave the planet the name of the day of the week. Islam also adopted the week, albeit with variations on the holiday and its name, similarly to what Christians did. In modern calendars, the week corresponds to seven days. A year consists of just over 52 weeks:

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52 weeks and one day
52 weeks and two days in leap years

The international standard ISO 8601 also assigns a number to each week of the year. Weeks that are part of one year and part of another are considered to belong to the year that contains them for at least four days:

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week 01 of the year is therefore the first week that contains four or more days of the new year. It can also be equivalently defined as:

the week that contains the first Thursday of the year;
the week containing January 4th;
the week starting on the Monday between December 29th and January 4th.

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It follows that if January 1st is a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday then it is in week 01. If it is a Friday, Saturday or Sunday then it belongs to the last week (52nd or 53rd) of the previous year. Still according to the international standard ISO 8601, in a year there are 52 or 53 weeks: in this way each year can be made up of 52 or – albeit more rarely – 53 weeks. The 53-week constituted years can be identified according to the definition:

common years starting on Thursday (Sunday letter D) and leap years starting on Wednesday (ED) or Thursday (DC)

or also, in an equivalent way:

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common years ending on Thursday (Sunday letter D); leap years ending on Thursday (ED) or Friday (DC)
common years in which January 1 and December 31 both occur on Thursdays; leap years in which 1 January and 30 December both occur on a Wednesday or Thursday.

The liturgical year is made up of 52 or 53 weeks (the liturgical years at the turn of the adoption of the Gregorian calendar are obviously an exception. For Catholic countries, the liturgical year containing Easter 1582 has 350 days or 50 weeks). The “holy week” is traditionally for Christians the week that goes from Palm Sunday to Holy Saturday inclusive, while Easter Sunday is the first day of the Octave of Easter, which lasts until the following Sunday (included). Its placement within the year is not fixed, but depends on well-defined astronomical considerations. Nowadays, “white week” means a period spent in the mountains, typically in winter, to devote oneself to skiing or snowboarding;History of the split of the day :

Ever since man began to use the sundial , the length of the day was divided into what we now call hours . So already Babylonians and Egyptians used this system, but it was not the same as the one we know today. The division of the day into 24 hours dates back to ancient Egypt (1800-1500 BC); the hours of the day were 10, marked by the shadow of the sundial gnomon from sunrise to sunset. To these were added another two hours respectively for dawn and dusk, parts of the day in which the sundial gave no indications. The night hours are marked by the passage of the Decans in the night sky. Summer nights in Egypt last eight hours, during which 12 Decans follow each other , marking 12 hours. In the winter nights a greater number are observed, but only the first 12 were counted. This complex mechanism led to the division of the day into 24 hours.

Greeks and Romans used the “temporal hours”: day and night were both divided into twelve parts, starting respectively from sunrise and sunset. Thus the first hour of the day corresponded to dawn, the sixth hour more or less at noon, the twelfth at sunset and the same, but starting from sunset, it happened for the night. This subdivision based on the hours of light and those of dark meant that the duration of the summer hours was not the same as the winter hours and that of the hours of light was different from the hours of darkness. Just to give an example, in summer an hour of light could last 80 minutes and 40 minutes instead of darkness. The Romans also used to divide day and night into four parts of three hours each.canonical hours ) at certain moments of prayer, for which there were:

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  • Matins or Lauds : at dawn
  • Before: at sunrise
  • Third: in the middle of the morning
  • Sixth: at noon
  • Ninth: at the ninth hour in the middle of the afternoon
  • Vespers : at sunset
  • Compline: one hour after sunset
  • Nocturne: after eight twelfths of the night

All these hours, apart from that of the Nocturne, were announced by the sound of the bells which, with the passing of time, took on the function of a public clock. In the fourteenth century the first mechanical clocks arrived and with them the hours began to be counted from one to twenty-four, from sunset to the next sunset (at least in Italy, Bohemia, Silesia and Poland), a starting point that varied throughout the year. Even the bells, at least in the cities, adapted to this subdivision, which was called ” Italian solar hours“or” Bohemian hours “. Being based on the time when the sun sets, which varies from day to day, the clocks had to be periodically adjusted to match the time of departure. In the rest of Europe, starting from France, with the he advent of clocks the day was instead divided into two equal periods of 12 hours, which started at noon and at midnight (“French” or “overseas” time). In this way the duration of the day was constant and the clocks did not required daily corrections. The introduction in Italy of this system took place gradually and with many opposition. It was introduced in Florence in 1749 , in Parma in 1755 ,in Genoa in 1772 and in Milan in 1786. It took the French occupation to impose it on the rest of the peninsula, but still in the nineteenth century the previous system was used by someone. The hourglass :

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Aantically clepsidra ; also called sand clock or, much less commonly with the neologism clepsamy) is an instrument for measuring time consisting of two approximately conical shaped containers connected to each other, between which a very fine powder flows. The term hourglass in Italian can also (more rarely) indicate the water type. Already in ancient Egypt it was used to measure small amounts of time. Finally, the history of the watch in brief:

The need to measure the passage of time was felt since ancient times. The simplest possible instrument was the sundial , consisting at least of a pole driven into the ground, the use of which is documented in China starting from the third millennium BC. The Stonehenge complex is considered an astronomical device for determining the moment of the equinoxes . Until the time was measured with sundials, the prevailing subdivision of time was that in which the hour was the twelfthpart of the day cycle, from sunrise to sunset. It was therefore longer in summer and shorter in winter. The main disadvantage of the sundial is that it does not work at night or on cloudy days. For this reason, alternative clocks were developed, based on the regular progression of events. The water hourglass, for example, is a simple device based on the regular flow of water from a perforated container. The use of water hourglasses by the Egyptians is documented in the 15th century BC. In Greece they were used to mark the duration of competitions, games, guard duty and also to control the duration of depositions in court. In the third century BC in Greecethe water hourglass was perfected in more modern designs in which water flowed between two connected containers. Water clocks equipped with a mechanical timekeeping system were also created : the most famous is the Tower of the Winds of Athens , significantly formerly called horologion . During the Middle Ages, the first mechanical clocks were invented: within half a century, at the beginning of the fourteenth century, many city bell towers were equipped with clocks. We can remember those of: Paris , Milan , Florence , Forlì , etc. In the 18th century John Harrison built the first onesspring watches quite accurate and reliable but, above all, able to work on board a ship. This allowed their use to calculate longitudesolving one of the most serious navigation problems of that time. See also:

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The invention of the clock – Superquark 08/18/2021 – video link:

#clock #timer #time #measuring #clessidra #interval #saturday #months #weeks #ancient #egypt #mesopotamia #Jewish #history #calendar #midian #handles #mediate ages #calculation #agriculture #astronomy #constellations #astrology

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