NOTES TO SELF
This post is very rough. Just gathering some ideas for a future theatrical project. But, read on if you are interested in some factoids about time.
Western Time Origin Story
In my study of time and time travel, today I am collecting information from the east and from the west. First, in summary, I started the day with the incredible space artist Don Davis. In reading one of his essays about the beginning of art (a fascinating discourse on the perfection of an artists eye, traced by citing the origins of artistic insight and stylistic discoveries from ancient Greece in a chronological order that revealed how historical trends in art parallel the maturing of an artist’s skill in the ability to portray realism… but I digress…) Don’s reference to one of the Seven Sages of Ancient Greece caught my attention. Thales of Miletus predicted a total eclipse of the Sun which caused a war to cease and a blood oath of peace to be sworn between Lydians and Medes. I Wikied…
According to Bertrand Russell, “Western philosophy begins with Thales.” Thales attempted to explain natural phenomena without reference to mythology and was tremendously influential in this respect. According to Herodotus, Thales once predicted a solar eclipse which has been determined by modern methods to have been on May 28, 585 BC. Since the exact dates of eclipses can be calculated, the Battle of the Eclipse is the earliest historical event of which the date is known with such precision.
The Lydians were at war with the Medes, a remnant of the first wave of Persians in the region, over the issue of refuge the Lydians had given to some Scythian soldiers of fortune inimical to the Medes. The war endured for five years, but in the sixth an eclipse of the Sun (mentioned above) spontaneously halted a battle in progress (the Battle of Halys also known as the Battle of the Eclipse, took place at the river Halys (now Kızılırmak, in Turkey) on May 28, 585 BC) . —-quoted from Wikipedia
So, in the western world, with all our quibbles about the beginning of time, this Solar Eclipse in 585 BC, predicted by the ancient sage Thales the philosopher, is our culture’s earliest, non-mythical historical reference to a known historical battle between the Persians and the Greeks (ie, the Medes and Anatolians). Amazingly, this history of War is a story of peace that broke out during a solar eclipse. Fascinating.
South American Time Origin Story
With all this talk about the END of the Mayan calendar, an ancient stone record that ends for speculative reasons on Dec. 23, 2012, here is a little reflection on what we know from ephemeris.com:
The Mayan Long Calendar. The Mayan timeline began on 13 August 3114 B.C.E. (very near the start of the Egyptian Old Kingdom). This is the starting point of the Mayan Long Calendar. The time divisions in the long calendar were:
- 1 kin = 1 day
- 20 kins = unial (20 days)
- 18 unials = tun (360 days)
- 20 tuns = katun (7200 days)
- 20 katuns = baktun (144,000 days, about 394.25 years)
- 13 baktuns = a Great Cycle (1,872,000 days, about 5,125.25 years)
A Great Cycle, or Age, is also known as a “Sun.” Their legends state that at the end of each Sun there is a catastrophe, followed by a renewal. They count time in a cycle of five Suns, which therefore spans 9,360,000 days, or about 25,627 years. Some cite this Five Sun cycle as evidence of Mayan knowledge of precession of the equinoxes.
Mayans believed that we are currently in the Fifth Great Cycle, which will end, and a new First Sun begins, on 23 December 2012. Popular literature abounds with speculation on this event, and its near-coinciding with ecliptic crossing to the north of the Solar System’s orbit around the Galatic Center.
Eastern (Oriental) Time Origin Story
http://www.chinesefortunecalendar.com/2012ChineseHoroscope.htm tells the story of the BLACK WATER DRAGON, the animal for this year, 2012, which began for our Chinese brothers and sisters on the new moon day last Monday. This is the first day of the first Chinese lunar month in the Chinese Lunar Calendar system. The exact new moon time was at 15:40 on 23-Jan-12 in China’s time zone.
Chinese Black Water Dragon 2012 – 4709th Chinese Year
The First Day of Chinese Calendar Cycle
Many ancient Chinese astronomers in different dynasties kept trying to calculate backwards in time, searching for the beginning of the Chinese Calendar cycle.
The theoretic day of the starting point of the Chinese Calendar is a day when
- Sun and Moon were on the same position in the sky at midnight, which must be a New Moon Day
- The Day is the Winter Solstice Day
- The Day is a Wood Rat Day, the first day of 60 Stem-Branch cycle
They all failed to get the satisfied answer.
Instead, they count the beginning of their calendar years from the time of the 1st King of China, believed to be the Yellow King (he was not the first emperor of China). The Yellow King became king in 2697 B.C., therefore China will enter the 4709th year on January 23, 2012. Since the first one, there have been 79 complete cycles of 60 years each, plus 28 “StemBranch” years in the current cycle of 60 years.
http://www.chinesefortunecalendar.com/CLC/LunarCalendar.htm explains how the solar and lunar calendars line up in a Chinese calendar system.
The lunar system counts months from new moon to new moon.
There are 12 animals, which are Rat, Cow, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Chicken, Dog, Pig, in the counting system. The Chinese calendar needs to assign a unique animal name for each day inside the lunar month. A lunar month contains 29 or 30 days. Therefore, Chinese calendar needs 60 different animal names to make every single day unique for the case of leap lunar month.
http://www.chinesefortunecalendar.com/NewYearDays.htm shows a chart of the 12 animals and 5 elements associated with the 60 year cycle. The same combo of 60 items, associating 12 animals with 5 elements, and 2 yin/yang states, is used for days during the year.