[Milton-L] Milton's Prelapsarian Cosmos

Michael Gillum mgillum at unca.edu
Tue Jan 5 12:00:57 EST 2010


Carrol, thanks for your interesting and informative post.

Michael

On Tue, Jan 5, 2010 at 11:47 AM, Carrol Cox <cbcox at ilstu.edu> wrote:

> I don't think this affects the current discussion, but it is of some use
> to underline how different the pre-modern conception of time was. Our 60
> minute hour did not exist for medieval and ancietn Europe or for the
> Asian cvilizations. Time in those cultres was measured by events, not
> events by time. The first regular hour (in our sense) was initiated (If
> I remember correctly) in Venice in the 14th-c and spread graducally
> wherever wage labor became common. Rural areas and the Church clung to
> the older time measure.
>
> Twelve events (in the Church day) occurred at night, 12 during the day.
> So the day was always twelve hours, and so was the night. The length of
> the hour was shortened during the winter and lengthene in the summer.
> Hence the medieval hour coincided with the modern hour only at the fall
> & spring equnoxes.
>
> Newton needed a standard hour for his physics, and hence it was he who
> gave us the regular 24 60 minute hours a day. He was, moreover,
> conscious that he was inventing a new time.
>
> See Moishe Postone, _Time, Labor, & Social Domination_ (Univ. of Chicago
> Press) for a detailed account of this development.
>
> Carrol
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