Roman Sundial Unearthed

The Old World is a reference to those parts of Earth known to Europeans before the voyages of Christopher Columbus; it includes Europe, Asia and Africa.

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Roman Sundial Unearthed

Post by Minimalist »

Interesting archaeological find...although hardly unique.

The ancient Roman alternative to daylight savings time

Just like we do today, the ancient Romans divided up each day into 24 units – but for the vast majority of the year, they were not of equal length. All the daylight hours were divided by 12, all year round. This meant that at the peak of summer, when the Sun is up for longest, an hour took 75 minutes during the day, and just 45 minutes at night. In the middle of winter, meanwhile, when daylight was in shortest supply, the pattern was reversed – and during the day an hour occupied just 45 minutes.

"And then gradually between the summer solstice and the winter solstice, the length of those hours would change day by day, just a little bit each day," says James Ker, professor of classical studies at the University of Pennsylvania. By the equinox – a moment that occurs twice a year, when the Sun is directly above the equator, and days and nights are roughly the same length – an hour was a familiar 60 minutes.
With this bold, time-bending system, the ancient Romans never wasted a single moment of daylight – if the Sun was up, it was officially daytime, and they would often be at work. If it was down, it was declared to be the evening – and time for a spot of leisure or sleeping.
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin
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