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A Schedule of Boundaries: An Exploration, Launched From the Water-Clock, of Athenian Time

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 September 2009

Extract

Have you ever stopped to think what life would be like without your alarm clock, without church bells ringing out the hour, without clocks in lecture rooms? How differently would you understand the world?

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Classical Association 1996

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References

1. For details of and physical description of a water-clock found during excavations see Young, S., ‘An Athenian Klepsydra’, Hesperia 8 (1939)CrossRefGoogle Scholar, 274 f.; Aeneas Tacticus 22.24.

2. Achamians 694; Xenophon, Hell. 1.7.23. By the time Aristophanes writes, the clock has clearly become typical. One would like to think that the clock dates back to the 460s and the reforms in the courts of judgement, but such specificity is impossible.

3. Camp, J., The Athenian Agora (London, 1986), 112, 113, 157–9Google Scholar.

4. Achamians 694.

5. Wasps 93.

6. Ibid. 857–8.

7. Birds 1695.

8. Athenaeus, Deipn. 14.46.17.

9. Ath. Pol. 67.

10. Against Aphobus 1.2.5.

11. Ibid.Against Boeotus 2.38.3.

12. Ibid.Against Spudias 30.7. See also Against Nicostratus 33.4; Against Macartatus 8.1; Against Stephanus 1.48.1, 86.1; Against Aphobus 4.1, 9.1; Against Meidias 129.1; Against Neaera 20.1; Against Leochares 45.1; Against Evergus 82.1; and Lysias, Against Erastosthenes 1.1.

13. See Williams, B., Shame and Necessity (Berkeley, 1993)Google Scholar. ‘Time that ages teaches all things’, Aeschylus, Prometheus 981; ‘Great and numberless time brings forth all that was unseen’, Sophocles, Ajax 646.

14. Theaetetus 172c-d, trans, by M. J. Levett.

15. Il. 2.134, 295, 551; Od. 10.469.

16. I. 8.404, 418; Od. 1.288, 2.219.

17. Cunliffe, R. J., A Lexicon of the Homeric Dialect (Norman, 1963 reprint), 131Google Scholar.

18. Bickerman, E. J., Chronology of the Ancient World (London, 1968, 1980), 27Google Scholar.

19. Ibid. 13.

20. Ibid. 27.

21. Il. 21.111.

22. Ibid.Il. 16.779, Od. 9.58.

23. Ibid.Il. 24.124; Od.9.86.

24. Od. 12.439.

25. Il. 10.251.

26. Aveni, A. F., Empires of Time: Calendars, Clocks, and Cultures (London and New York, 1990)Google Scholar, 35: The bouleutic calendar was a purely civil calendar divided to give each tribe a fair portion of governing power and providing ‘the working calendar of the government’.

27. Festival dates as well as marriage and divorce dates were fixed in this calendar, which was ‘used for more general dating’. Aveni, op. cit., 36.

28. Aveni, op. cit., 36: The fasti, first published by Solon, were inscribed on stones. It would have been an offence against the gods if these fixed dates were disregarded.

29. Plut. Demetr. 26.

30. Aveni, op. cit., 35.

31. Ibid. 35; IGPl. 76.

32. Thucydides 2.28; Bickerman, op. cit., 28.

33. Elem. ham. 2.37.

34. Aveni, op. cit., 36.

35. J. D. Mikalson's study of calendars and dating indicates that only 7% of the known dates of assembly meetings conflicted with festival dates (Mikalson, , The Sacred and Civilian Calendar of the Athenian Year [Princeton, 1975], 186)Google Scholar. Mikalson's work differs from that of Pritchett, W. K. (The Calendars of Athens [Cambridge, Mass., 1948])Google Scholar and Meritt, B. D. (The Athenian Year [Berkeley, 1961])Google Scholar.

36. Herodotus 4.181; Hippocrates, Epid. 7.25, 31.

37. Aristophanes, Ecclesiazousae 652; Menander fr. 364 K.

38. Flacelière, R., La Vie Quotidienne en Grece au Siècle de Périclés (Paris, 1959)Google Scholar, 205. It is disputed whether the clock would have marked the year-long and day-long courses of the sun or only the first.

39. 22.24.

40. Dicks, D. R., ‘Solistices, Equinoxes, and the Presocratics’, JHS 86 (1966)CrossRefGoogle Scholar, 26ff. In Herodotus (2.109) is the comment that Athenians learned the day division, as well as the sundial and gnomon, from Babylonians. Powell, J. E. (‘Greek Time-keeping’, CR 54 [1940], 69)Google Scholar argues that the passage in Herodotus is an interpolation. Gibbs, S. L., Greek and Roman Sundials (New Haven, 1976)Google Scholar agrees with this argument. The passage is an odd one and seems out of place. Nonetheless, Herodotus is talking about geometrical information that has been learned from the Babylonians, and it could well be that the day division was known, particularly by scientists, long before its common use was taken up.

41. Aristotle, Ath. Pol. 30.6; Pytheas in Geminus, Elem Astro. 6.9; Aristophanes, fr. 161; ‘half-hour’ in Menander.

42. Camp, op. cit., 157 ff.

43. Reference is made to the clocks in A.D. 450 as if they have already been long in use. Hill, D., A History of Engineering in Classical and Medieval Times (London, 1984)Google Scholar, 226.

44. Hill, op. cit., 226.

45. A. Rehm, Pauly-Wissowa s.v. Horologium.

46. Adam, A., Roman Antiquities (Thomas Tegg & Son, 1834), 200, 269–70Google Scholar.

47. Buchner, E., Die Sonnenuhr des Augustus (Mainz, 1982), 347Google Scholar; see also Wallace-Hadrill, A., ‘Time for Augustus’, in Whitby, Michael, Hardie, Philip, and Whitby, Mary (edd.), Homo Viator (Bristol, 1987)Google Scholar.

48. Leach, E. R., ‘Primitive Time-Reckoning’, in Singer, , Holmyard, , Hall, (edd.), A History of Technology (Oxford, 1955)Google Scholar, 112ff.

49. Hill, op. cit, 224.

15. Ibid. 224.

51. Ibid. 123.

52. Gibbs, op. cit., 8.

53. Ibid. 6.

54. Ibid. 6.

55. Flaceliére, op. cit., 205.

55. Gibbs, op. cit., 6.

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