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Marking Time: The Epic Quest to Invent the Perfect Calendarby Duncan Steel
Synopses & Reviews
Did you know? . . .
These are just a few of the little-known facts that you will find in acclaimed author Duncan Steels eye-opening chronicle of the evolution of the calendar, Marking Time: The Epic Quest to Invent the Perfect Calendar.
Steel takes you across the full span of recorded history, behind the seismic shifts within politics, religion, and science, and examines the ways in which people and events forged the calendar that we have today. Starting with Stonehenge and the first written records of the year and the day by the Sumerians around 3500 b.c., Marking Time charts the calendars ever-changing, erratic trajectory & from the Egyptians reliance on the star Sirius to the numbering of the years, linked to the celebration of Easter in Christian churches.
You will also gain insight into:
A provocative history lesson and a unique, entertaining read rolled into one, Marking Time will leave you with a sense of awe at the random, hit-or-miss nature of our calendars development & a quality that parallels the growth of civilization itself. What results is a truthful, and, above all, very human view of the calendar as we know it. After reading Marking Time, you will never look at the calendar the same way again.
What are the origins of the years, months, and days that give our lives their familiar rhythm?
In Marking Time: The Epic Quest to Invent the Perfect Calendar, astronomer and acclaimed author Duncan Steel marches through human history to deliver a fascinating, milestone-by-milestone look at how the modern-day calendar came to be. From the definition of the lunar month by Meton of Athens in 432 b.c., through present-day proposals to reform our calendar, Steel captures the often-flawed but always fascinating story of the calendars evolution.
Here, you will discover fun facts and surprising anecdotes as the author visits with some of the seminal figures of the past & Julius Caesar, William the Conqueror, and Benjamin Franklin among them & as well as some lesser-known names, all of whom left an indelible mark on how we record time. You will also gain an in-depth look at the role science, astronomy, religion, politics, and even war played in various calendrical systems, including the one hanging on your wall. Open up a copy of Marking Time and, as the author puts it, "read, puzzle, and enjoy."
"Guaranteed to satisfy the appetite of interested lay readers for all the facts. Gourmet reading!" & Library Journal on Steels Rogue Asteroids and Doomsday Comets
"Our various calendars are part of the music and art of life, not stark science." —Duncan Steel Did you know?
"If you lie awake worrying about the overnight transition from December 31, 1 b.c., to January 1, a.d. 1 (there is no year zero), then you will enjoy Duncan Steel's Marking Time."--American Scientist
"No book could serve as a better guide to the cumulative invention that defines the imaginary threshold to the new millennium."--Booklist
A Fascinating March through History and the Evolution of the Modern-Day Calendar . . .
In this vivid, fast-moving narrative, you'll discover the surprising story of how our modern calendar came about and how it has changed dramatically through the years. Acclaimed author Duncan Steel explores each major step in creating the current calendar along with the many different systems for defining the number of days in a week, the length of a month, and the number of days in a year. From the definition of the lunar month by Meton of Athens in 432 b.c. to the roles played by Julius Caesar, William the Conqueror, and Isaac Newton to present-day proposals to reform our calendar, this entertaining read also presents "timely" tidbits that will take you across the full span of recorded history. Find out how and why comets have been used as clocks, why there is no year zero between 1 b.c. and a.d. 1, and why for centuries Britain and its colonies rang in the New Year on March 25th. Marking Time will leave you with a sense of awe at the haphazard nature of our calendar's development. Once you've read this eye-opening book, you'll never look at the calendar the same way again.
About the Author
DUNCAN STEEL, PhD, is a space researcher who works on the dynamics of solar system objects. He has a special interest in the astronomical bases of the calendar. He teaches and directs a space research program at the University of Salford in Manchester, England. He has appeared on numerous TV shows and documentaries, including the Discovery Channels Emmy-winning Three Minutes to Impact.
Table of Contents
George Washington's Birthday.
The Country Parson's Formula.
The Cycles of the Sky.
Stonehenge and Sothis (Third Millennium B.C.).
Meton (432 B.C.), Callippus (330 B.C.), and Hipparchus (130 B.C.).
Julius Caesar (46 B.C.).
Constantine the Great (A.D. 321).
Dionysius Exiguus (A.D. 525).
The Synod of Whitby (A.D. 664).
The Venerable Bede (A.D. 725).
Pope Gregory XIII (A.D. 1582).
The Perfect Christian Calendar and God's Longitude.
Archbishop Ussher and the Age of the Earth (A.D. 1650).
Lord Chesterfield's Act (A.D. 1751).
Poor Richard's Almanack.
President Arthur Requests (A.D. 1884).
Marching to the Same Drummer?
The Comet of Bethlehem.
How Many Days in a Dinosaur Year?
Should 2100 Be a Double Leap Year?
Appendix A: How Long Is a Day?
Appendix B: How Long Is a Year?
Appendix C: How Long Is a Second?
Appendix D: How Long Is a Month?
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