A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Peter Hakel
Date: 2009 Jun 19, 12:44 -0700
From: Brad Morris <email@example.com>
To: "NavList@googlegroups.com" <NavList@googlegroups.com>
Sent: Friday, June 19, 2009 11:29:26 AM
Subject: [NavList 8726] Re: Noon in ancient Rome
Not to be nit-picky but Eratosthenes was Greek, not Roman. More importantly, he lived well before Rome was the great power it was to become 200 years later.
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?
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