Today is the first of the new year (though I was supposed to post this yesterday) and so it is a perfect day to talk about time.
|© 1999-2013 Grist Magazine, Inc.|
In reality, the tradition dates only to 1907. If you want, you can read more about it here.
But with everyone watching the clock on New Years, it brings us back to where the last blog left off: clocks.
Clocks have been around for centuries. The very first were blocks of wood with circles cut out the middle. Seers and other learned nobility would watch the shadows move through the circle and measure the length to get the time. Which was all well and good, but no one without an education could ever hope to use one.
Later, kingdoms such as Babylon would construct buildings or towers with pointed tops called obelisks. These would be the tallest points of the city and set in the square where their shadows would fall on neighboring buildings to tell the time. But those were time consuming and costly to make.
|Obelisk of Queen Hapshetsut, Karnak, Egypt|
© 2010 Magic Planet Productions
Clocks work the way they do because of astronomy and polarity. I could go into exactly how it works, but that is science and not quite so interesting as history, so I wont. Instead, next week, I will go into some of the different people who came up with their own calenders and the odd politics and thinking behind.
Have a Happy New Year
and remember to put 2013 as the date!