|Early 3rd century CE sundial from Ephesus.|
|Mosaic panel from a villa in |
Brading, on the Isle of Wright.
The mosaic depicts an astronomer
and sundial (c. 250 CE).
|AE (2005), 261. An epitaph for a |
deceased infant noting down months,
days, and even hours lived.
|Detail from the statue base of the column of |
Antoninus Pius (138-161 CE). The obelisk may be
that of Psametik II, which was used by Augustus in his
solarium / horologium and the holder is
likely a personification of the Campus Martius.
brought to Rome from the spoils of the city of Catania in 263 BCE. Notably, it was unfit for Rome due to the change in latitude between Sicily and Rome, but it took 99 years to fix this error. Then Quintus Marcius Philippus, a censor, set up a new, modified version and placed it next to the Sicilian one. These dials became all the rage among the elites, who often placed them in their houses. The most famous sundial is likely that of Augustus, who set a giant one up in the Campus Martius. The mathematician Facundus Novius was later smart enough to place a golden ball on the top of the obelisk of Psamtik II which served as the gnomon, in order to concentrate the shadow it cast. The sundial was not very accurate for hours, it seems, but it did serve to articulate the power and might of Augustus. And, really, isn't that the most important thing?
If there is one man who revolutionized the hour in the West, it is probably Benedict of Nursia. Benedict was highly focused on the hour and the regularizing of habits for the monks, in order to bring about a "temporal discipline" (Borst, 1994: 26). Eating, sleeping, psalms, prayer, and work were highly structured, and in many ways reflect monastic anxiety over any idle time. To keep accurate time dissolved idleness. Discipline in the service of God could thus be achieved.
|Byrhtferth’s Diagram; Computus Diagrams|
From the Thorney Computus
Cambridgeshire, England; ca. 1102–10
Saint John’s College, Oxford, MS 17
I am leaving out a lot of clock history here, but with the advent of the mechanical clock first in China and then in the West in the Renaissance, the measuring of equinocturial hours became much easier and preferred. As a result, people ventured ever farther from the temporal hour dictated by the sun. Man had seized time by the horns, and partially severed its relationship with light and dark.
|Countries that use DST are in Blue.|