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    Noon in ancient Rome
    From: Peter Hakel
    Date: 2009 Jun 19, 11:26 -0700
    From "The Word Origin Calendar", Friday, June 19, 2009

    In Roman time-reckoning, developed in a sunny and temperate land, the middle of the day occurred at around what we call 3:00 p.m., roughly nine hours after sunrise. This hour was called nonus, meaning "the ninth hour" and referring to the middle of the afternoon. In our system of reckoning, "noon" now stands at the middle of the twenty-four hour day.


    Interesting.  This would suggest that the Romans did not equate "midday" with the maximum altitude of the Sun.  Eratosthenes famously used the Sun and its shadows at local noon to estimate the circumference of the Earth.  The Romans from the 1st century BC on surely knew that. Perhaps their time-keeping using the "nonus" is even older and they decided to stick with it...  Are there any list members who know more about this particular element of history?

    Peter Hakel

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