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Guide Children of the Days: A Calendar of Human History

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The reason is that the solar year is more exactly days and 6 hours. The Egyptians make no adjustment for this, with the result that their calendar slides backwards through the seasons just like a lunar one but much more slowly. Instead of 32 years with the moon, it is years before Sirius rises again on the first day of the first month. It is known from the records that in AD Sirius rises on the first day of the first Egyptian month. This makes it certain that the Egyptian calendar is introduced one or two full cycles or years earlier, either in or BC - with the earlier date considered more probable.

Julian and Mayan calendars: 1st century BC. The Roman calendar introduced by Julius Caesar , and subsequently known as the Julian calendar, gets far closer to the solar year than any predecessor. By the 1st century BC reform in Rome has become an evident necessity.

The existing calendar is a lunar one with extra months slipped in from to time in an attempt to adjust it. In Caesar's time this calendar is three months out in relation to the seasons. On the advice of Sosigenes, a learned astronomer from Alexandria, Caesar adds ninety days to the year 46 BC and starts a new calendar on 1 January Sosigenes advises Caesar that the length of the solar year is days and six hours.

The natural solution is to add a day every fourth year - introducing the concept of the leap year. The extra day is added to February, the shortest of the Roman months. Spread through the Roman empire, and later throughout Christendom, this calendar proves very effective for many centuries. Only much later does a flaw yet again appear. The reason is that the solar year is not days and 6 hours but days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds. The difference amounts to only one day in years. But over the span of history even that begins to show. Another adjustment will eventually be necessary.

While Julius Caesar is improving on the solar calendar of days, a similar calendar has been independently arrived at on the other side of the Atlantic. Devised originally by the Olmecs of central America, it is perfected in about the 1st century AD by the Maya. The Maya, establishing that there are days in the year, divide them into 18 months of 20 days. Like the Egyptians who have 12 months of 30 days , they complete the year by adding 5 extra days at the end - days which are considered to be extremely unlucky for any undertaking. An unusual aspect of the Mayan system is the Calendar Round , a year cycle in which no two days have the same name.

Unlike the day, the month or the year, the week is an entirely artificial period of time. It is probably first made necessary by the demands of trade. Hunter-gatherers and primitive farmers have no need of such a concept, but commerce benefits from regularity. The original weeks are almost certainly the gaps between market days. Weeks of this kind vary from four days among some African tribes to ten days in the Inca civilization and in China. In ancient China a five-day week sets the working pattern for the Confucian civil service, every fifth day being a 'bath and hair-washing day'.

Later this is extended to a ten-day week, with the three periods of each month known as the first, middle and last bath. There are two possible sources for the seven-day week. One is the biblical creation story. From those times the Israelites have a week of this length, with the seventh day reserved for rest and worship a pattern reflected in the Bible's account of creation. The other and more likely source is Rome, where the equivalent of the modern week is adopted in about the 1st century AD - a time and a place where the Jewish tradition would have little influence.


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The number of days in the week derives probably, through astrology, from the seven known planets - which also provide the names of the days see Days of the week. The Jewish calendar combines lunar and solar cycles. It is given its present form in after a great debate between supporters of two slightly different systems. In origin the calendar goes back to the captivity in Babylon, when the Jews adopt the Babylonians' calendar and their names for the months.

They are lunar months of 30 or 29 days. In every second or third year an extra month of 30 days is added to keep the calendar in approximate step with the solar year. This constitutes a crucial difference between the Jewish and Muslim systems. The Muslim calendar is the only one in widespre ad use to be based uncompromisingly on lunar months, with no adjustments to bring the years into balance with the solar cycle. The twelve months are alternately 29 and 30 days long the lunar cycle is approximately There are two significant results.

Muslim months bear no relation to the seasons, and Muslim years do not coincide with those of other chronologies.

A History of Time and Ancient Calendars

There are about lunar years in a solar century. By the millennium there will have been lunar years but only solar years from the start of Muslim chronology in AH 1 or The year AH will be By the 16th century the seemingly minor error in the Julian calendar estimating the solar year to be 11 minutes and 14 seconds shorter than it actually is has accumulated to a ten-day discrepancy between the calendar and reality.

It is most noticeable on occasions such as the equinox, now occuring ten days earlier than the correct calendar dates of March 21 and September Calculating that the error amounts to three days in years, Clavius suggests an ingenious adjustment. His proposal, which becomes the basis of the calendar known after the commissioning pope as Gregorian, is that century years or those ending in '00' should only be leap years if divisible by This eliminates three leap years in every four centuries and neatly solves the problem.

The result, in the centuries since the reform, is that and are normal leap years, but the intervening , and do not include February Gregory puts the proposal into immediate effect in the papal states, announcing that the day after October 4 in will be October 15 - thus saving the lost ten days.

Children of the Days A Calendar of Human History

The pope's lead is followed in the same year by Spain, Portugal, France and most Italian states. The German-speaking Roman Catholic states comply in Other Christian realms drag their feet on the issue, reluctant to admit that the pope in Rome has a point. The Lutheran states of Germany change in Great Britain delays until , by which time the gap is eleven days. Some of the British prove exceptionally dim over the issue, fearing that their lives are being shortened and in places even rioting for the return of the missing days.

Imperial Russia never makes the change; it is introduced after the revolution, in Potentially confusing dates, near the change-over years, are identified by historians with the codes OS or Old Style for the Julian version and NS or New Style for the Gregorian equivalent.

These diabolical animals, instruments of Satan, were crucified, skewered, skinned alive or chucked into bonfires. Then the rats, liberated from their worst enemies, came to rule the cities. And the Black Death, transmitted by rats, killed thirty million Europeans. In the war to conquer heaven and earth, this invention, not yet called the internet, turned into a victory for the United States against its rival power, still called the Soviet Union. Paradoxically, with the passing of the years, this instrument of war has also served to amplify the voices of peace, which previously resounded like a wooden bell.

Sidebar: So true, Eduardo! If some blowhard buffoon of a political leader started blabbing publicly about the virtues of war or making remarks about racial superiority, how long would it take for those statements to reach the worldwide internet and be read by this young man at his local school in Peru and others anywhere on the globe? Good riddance, pre-internet world! Barely five years had this civilizing mission lasted.

The most successful company on the planet had generously graced the country with its presence, and these ingrates refused to acknowledge the gesture. A distaste for progress dissuaded Bolivia from embracing either junk food or the dizzying pace of contemporary life. Homemade empanadas derailed development. Bolivians stubbornly attached to the ancient flavors of the family hearth, continue eating without haste in long, slow ceremonies. Gone forever is the company that everywhere else makes children happy, fires workers who try to unionize and jacks up the rate of obesity.

His one hundred and twenty-seven inhabitants signed poems, articles, letters, essays, books. Several of them published vituperous criticisms of him, but Pessoa never kicked any of them out, even if it was not easy to keep such a large family fed. View all 18 comments.

UN Days in 12222

It would be wrong for me, of all people, to criticize Galeano for being glib, and selective, preachy and sometimes angry. Yet, when I think of coming generations, numbed by soundbites and political correctness, I would like to make it mandatory that every child should read Galeano. Because we should teach irony and sarcasm, and the It would be wrong for me, of all people, to criticize Galeano for being glib, and selective, preachy and sometimes angry. Because we should teach irony and sarcasm, and the cracks and shadows of history. This book is made up of days of anecdotes of history, dated with purpose, celebrating the banished and tortured, women who were denied, languages lost.

It's all meant to stoke your feelings: sadness and whimsy, conscience and thought. Anger too. Sometimes at a political leader; but occasionally at Galeano. This is my second Galeano. Everyone should read at least one of his books, if only one. You might find something to steal for your epitaph, like what Sophie Scholl said before being guillotined for passing out anti-war leaflets against Hitler. View all 14 comments.

'Kill All the Gentlemen': Class Struggle & Change in the English Countryside

No catechism here. Only plain wisdom through knowledge, a chunk each day. I promised myself before starting this that I would go slowly and savor these daily looks into the forgotten men, women, and moments of history. That of course didn't happen.

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I devoured this at an incredible speed and yet I still was blown away by so many of these stories. While I was moved by some of the more familiar stories such as the passage on Martin Luther King: On this day in , before an immense crowd carpeting the vast open mall of Washington, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low. Frida Kahlo was there in her wheelchair. It was the last time she was seen alive.

She died shortly thereafter, without fanfare. A number of years passed before the huge uproar of Fridamania awakened her. A just restitution or just business?