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Why are there 12 Months, 7 Days in a Week, 24 Hours, 60 Minutes and 60 Seconds

Subject: Science

Description: Why are there 12 Months, 7 Days in a Week, 24 Hours, 60 Minutes and 60 Seconds? Time is a natural astronomical phenomenon a year is defined by one orbit around the Sun and a day is one rotation of the Earth about its axis. What is manmade is how that year or day is divided up into units.


submit to reddit Posted by David Caldwell on 31/12/13 at 21:30

 Time is a natural astronomical phenomenon a year is defined by one orbit around the Sun and a day is one rotation of the Earth about its axis.  What is manmade is how that year or day is divided up into units.

Time

Why are there 12 Months, 7 Days in a Week, 24 Hours, 60 Minutes and 60 Seconds?

The Babylonians used a base 60 system and divided up a circle into 360 degrees, they reckoned that the year was 360 days long and was divided into 12 months of 30 days.  A day was divided into 12 hours of day and 12 hours of night.  Each hour was divided into 60 minutes and each minute was divided into 60 seconds.

The Egyptians observed the yearly tidal patterns of the river Nile and worked out that a year was actually 365 days long.  Later this was refined to 365 and a half days by observing the Sun and the star Sirius.  Egyptian scientific knowledge gained through Julius Caesar’s relationship with Cleopatra would ultimately lead to the Roman Empire adopting the Julian calendar which is still used by some today.

Ever wonder why months which have Latin numbers in are out of order?  For example October should be the eighth month (‘Octo’ as in Octopus) however it is the tenth month.

The Months in the current Gregorian Calendar

1

January derived from the Roman God Janus and the coldest winter month.

2

February derived from the Roman festival of Ferbrua.

3

March named after the Roman God Mars

4

April named after the Latin ‘to open’ and possibly connected to Aphrodite

5

May named after the Roman Goddess Maia.

6

June named after the Roman God Juno.

7

July formally Quintilismeaning fifth the month was renamed in recognition of Julius Caesar.

8

August formally Sextilis meaning the sixth. The month was renamed in honour of Augustus Caesar.

9

September the seventh month from the Latin Septum meaning seventh.

10

October the eight month from the Latin Octo meaning eight.

11

November the ninth month from the Latin Novum meaning ninth.

12

December the tenth month from the Latin Decum meaning tenth.

The reason why these numbered months are out of sequence is that the old Roman Romulus Calendar had its new year in March 1st.  This Calendar only had 10 months and counted years since the founding of the city of Rome.

Order of Months in the Romulus Calendar

1

March

2

April

3

May

4

June

5

Quintilis (Fifth)

6

Sextilis (Sixth)

7

September (Seventh)

8

October (Eighth)

9

November (Ninth)

10

December (Tenth)

The Roman King Numa Pompilius introduced a new calendar with two new month’s January and February inserted at the beginning.

Order of Months in the Numa Pompilius Calendar

 

1

January after ‘ Ianuarius’the door and  its God Janus

 

2

February after the ritual of purification called the ‘Februa’.

3

March

4

April

5

May

6

June

7

Quintilis (Fifth)

8

Sextilis (Sixth)

9

September (Seventh)

10

October (Eighth)

11

November (Ninth)

12

December (Tenth)

The Julian calendar was introduced during the year of confusion when 69 days were added to the year and January started on the first day of March.

The Julian calendar persisted in most countries until Pope Gregory XIII introduced the Gregorian calendar in 1582.  This was seen by many as a triumph of science as the calendar recognised advances in scientific thought regarding the earth’s movement around the sun.  Leap years were now every four but only those divisible by 100 and also by 400.

Why are there Seven Days in a Week? 

The concept of seven days in a week originated independently in several different cultures and is related to the number of observable astronomical bodies the Sun, Mercury, Venus, The Moon, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.

Days of the Week

Saturday

Dedicated to Saturn

Sunday

Dedicated to the Sun

Monday

Dedicated to the Moon

Tuesday

Dedicated to Mars (French Mardi) The Saxons dedicated the day to Tiw

Wednesday

Dedicated to Mercury (French Mecridi) The Saxons dedicated the day to Woden

Thursday

Dedicated to Jupiter (French Jeudi) The Saxons dedicated the day to Thor

Friday

Dedicated to Venus (French Vendredi) The Saxons dedicated the day to Frig

 

New Year’s Day

Until 1752 England celebrated new year on March 25th . March 25th was known as Lady Day or the Feast of the Annunciation which is logically nine months before another quarter day December 25th. This can be confusing to historians as January 1600 came after April 1600.

Keywords: time, year, month, new year, seconds, hours, seven days




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