Eric Workman

Roman Days

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I've been listening to The History of Rome podcast by Mike Duncan. In episode 88 - A Day in the Life, he describes the daily life of Roman people starting at dawn and lasting until sunset with 12 hours in between. This sparked my interest, because in Linear Clock, I experimented with a similar concept but without the hours.

The Wikipedia article on Roman timekeeping explained it further with an illustrative image of the sundial at the Temple of Apollo. It also points out that as the duration of daylight changes throughout the year, therefore so does the length of an hour. The article also has a section on the subdivision of the day and the night, with an overlap of a 24-hour modern clock to point out the significant changes and shifts through the equinoxes and solstices.

I wanted to recreate that modern-clock version of the Roman day using geolocation data to find the sunrise, sunset, solar noon, and length of each hour of the day. In this reconstruction, the night is the dark gray section with midnight at the very top. The colorful sections are the 12 equal hours of the day. Sunrise starts the first colorful section going clockwise. Logical noon is at the very bottom. The end of the last colorful section represents sunset. The black and larger marker is the current time, representing the shadow of a sundial. The hot pink and smaller marker is solar noon.

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