How was the time told in the ancient world?

Aug 2019
6
India
#21
All good explanations, but I am more interested in ancient times, pre-1500 BC. As I understand, the sexagesimal system came into the picture around the 2000BC period. So prior to that period, they probably didn't have any standardized counting systems, esp. for time. I believe the moon cycle, stars, sun are probably the answers that I am looking for.
 
Mar 2019
1,626
Kansas
#22
All good explanations, but I am more interested in ancient times, pre-1500 BC. As I understand, the sexagesimal system came into the picture around the 2000BC period. So prior to that period, they probably didn't have any standardized counting systems, esp. for time. I believe the moon cycle, stars, sun are probably the answers that I am looking for.
Well things like Stonehenge aside from being ceremonial sites served as giant alarm clocks for the local peoples
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,802
Sydney
#25
the reset was probably a large club


as for the pre-city time daily keeping , as I mentioned above that was by the sun cycle .......dawn , sunrise ,morning noon ,after noon ,sunset ,dusk
plenty of nuances as per local language would specifies the when but there simply wasn't any requirement to keep time to the hour

other markers were after ( or before ) mass as per the church bell , it self a bit of a guessing game and mostly for the town who could afford a bell as it was an expensive item
 
Aug 2019
3
Macclesfield
#26
I think people organized their activities based on the amount of day light. For example theatre plays in Ancient Greece stopped after sunset.
 

redcoat

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,783
Stockport Cheshire UK
#27
Hi folks! I was wondering how was the time told in the ancient world, and I don't mean what instrument they were using. I assume most of them were using some forms of sundials. Imagine this conversation.

A: Hey, can you tell me what is the time?
B: There is no shadow on the sundial(?) | I am looking for this answer.

Does anyone have any ideas?
Except for a few what time it was was irrelevant.
They got up at sunrise and went to bed at sundown
 

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
3,428
Las Vegas, NV USA
#28
It turns out most early civilizations were in sunny places so time of day wasn't usually a problem for a pre industrial civilization. If it were needed, sand and water clocks were known to the Greeks and probably others. They had to be maintained so it depended on the need to know the time on cloudy days or at night but they had the technology. I think the vikings had worked out the tides in there home areas and this would give indications of time of day or night. Knowledge of the moon and stars also allowed the time of night to be observed.
 
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specul8

Ad Honorem
Oct 2016
3,351
Australia
#29
They would have had a specific annual calendar based on specific phenomena.

So, for example, spring might start when a specific flower blooms, which is a fairly exact measurement - for example, the cherry blossoms always bloom at the same time of the year, within a few days in Tokyo. But, the further north or south you go in the country, the bloom date gets later or earlier.

As for time, the reason we have 12 hours a day and 60 minutes an hour is as a result of the base-12 (sexagesimal) counting system used by the Sumerians.

The Ancient Babylonian Origins Of Modern Time

Yep.

The 'clock of nature ' ; I am with an Aboriginal elder and we are watching a line of marching caterpillars - head to tail. he points at them and says ; " See them, when they do that in ' spring ' * you can go down to Yellow Rock at Urunga and catch plenty of bream, easy. "

* a 'convenience' for my understanding - they have 6 seasons .

But this calender is shifting , for the first time in, we do not know how long . Some Aborigines have noticed that the flowering of certain plants and behavior of fauna, in relation to that is changing .

Climate change ?



" The earliest Egyptian calendar was based on the moon’s cycles, but the lunar but it did not predict the Nile flooding which happened every year.
So, the Egyptians adopted a solar calendar. They devised a 365-day calendar that seems to have begun in 4236 B.C.E., the earliest recorded year in history."

Egyptian Calendar and Clock - Let's Explore Ancient Egypt!




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specul8

Ad Honorem
Oct 2016
3,351
Australia
#30
All good explanations, but I am more interested in ancient times, pre-1500 BC. As I understand, the sexagesimal system came into the picture around the 2000BC period. So prior to that period, they probably didn't have any standardized counting systems, esp. for time. I believe the moon cycle, stars, sun are probably the answers that I am looking for.