Dividing the Day

beyond Daytime and Nighttime

24 hours x 60 minutes x 60 seconds

Unix Time Stamp‘s epoch began January 1 1970 CE and has counted each chronological second since then. This measure of time works similarly to the Julian Date, which counts each chronological day since Monday January 1, 4713 BC in the Proleptic Julian Calendar.

A proleptic calendar measures days prior to its inception as if it had been in use. As Julius Caesar introduced the Julian Calendar in 46 BC, the proleptic calendar measure from an arbitrary staring date, i.e. January 1, 4713 BC until the inception date, 46 BC, then forward.

(see also Roman Calendrics and Plutocratic Mythology)

Among technopolist cultures, clocks abound, rarely out of sight, or more than a question away. The ubiquity of wrist watches, electronics devices, public clocks, computer monitors, receipts, bell towers, and so on. Rarely does one find oneself lost to these points of reference.

The alternative method requires a general understanding of the course of the Sun through Earth’s Heavens – or the apparent motion of the Sun from the perspective of our rotating Earth – during the course of the day from season to season.

Mesopotamian Day & Numerology
In “History Begins at Sumer”, Samuel Kramer tells of the third millennium B.C Sumerian astronomers living along the Tigris River who noticed that there were roughly 360 days in the year. The missing five days were declared occasional holidays.

This number 360 was very convenient since it was divisible by many smaller numbers, so they divided each day into 360 gesh, which were later changed by the Babylonians to 24 hours with two levels of subdivisions.

Present day use of minute and second is traced to the Latin translations of the Babylonian designations for these subdivisions: small bits (minuta -> minutes) and secondary small bits (secunda minuta -> seconds).

Around 2400 B.C. the Sumerians developed an ingenious sexagesimal system to represent all integers from 1 to 59 using 59 different patterns of wedges (cunei . . . cuneiform) which were usually imprinted in soft clay and later hardened. Integers from 60 to 3600 were then represented by a different symbol for 60 which was combined with the other 59 patterns.

Like our decimal system it was positional so that the successive symbols were assumed to be multiplied by decreasing powers of 60. For instance, the number 365 in the decimal system would, in the sexagesimal system, be written 6 5 (= 6 times 60 + 5 times 1), just as 65 in our decimal system of base ten means 6 times 10 plus 5 times 1.

An adventuresome, determined and curious reader with a calculator can verify that the Babylonian number 4 23 36 (equals {4 times 60 times 60} + {23 times 60} + {36 times 1}) represents 15,816 in our decimal system.

Although both the 24-hour day and the 365-day calendar are popularly attributed to the Mesopotamians, it was not until the Babylonians took power in Mesopotamia that this reckoning of time was adopted.

Indian Day
Hindu Astrology & Day
hindu sexagesimal system
hindu metrics of time

A day was divided into
8 Prahara subdivided into 6 Danda (Danda ~ 1/2 hour)

Danda into 25 Laghu
Laghu into 10 Kastha
Kastha into 5 Ksana
Ksana into 3 Nimesa
Nimesa into 3 Lava
Lava into 3 Vedha
Vedha into 100 Truti

Truti ~ 1/300th of a second.

According to Yoga:

10 long syllables (gurvakshara) = 1 respiration (prana)
6 respirations = 1 vinadi
60 vinadis = 1 nadi
60 nadis = 1 day

Smallest measure of time:
Paramanu = 1/60,750th of a second

Other measures

Krati = 1/34,000th of second
Truti = 1/300th of a second
Nimesa = 16/75ths of a second
Vipal = 2/5ths of a second
Ksan = 1 second
Pal = 24 seconds
Minute = 60 seconds
Ghadi = 24 minutes
Hora Hour = 60 minutes
Divasa Day = 24 hours

Chinese Day

The Chinese Calendar uses the 12 animals of their Zodiac, each symbolising a 2-hour period and symbolic association as follows:

23h00 – 01h00 Rat – North – Winter – Black Warrior
01h00 – 03h00 Ox
03h00 – 05h00 Tiger
05h00 – 07h00 Hare – East – Spring – Green Dragon
07h00 – 09h00 Dragon
09h00 – 11h00 Snake
11h00 – 13h00 Horse – South – Summer – Red Bird
13h00 – 15h00 Sheep
15h00 – 17h00 Monkey
17h00 – 19h00 Cock – West – Autumn – White Tiger
19h00 – 21h00 Dog
21h00 – 23h00 Pig


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