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35

Edit: I've added some headers and retracted factually incorrect information. The Status of the Metric in the United States Strictly speaking, the US has been "metric" since the Mendenhall Order, issued in 1893. The inch is defined as exactly 2.54 centimeters, the pound (mass) is exactly 0.45359237 kilograms, the pound force is exactly 4.4482216152605 ...


30

Edit: As pointed out in the comments, I realize this answer doesn't deal with the history of metrication in America. I intended it only as an answer to "why does the US keep using their systems?" However, other answers here do a very good job outlining the history, and I encourage everyone to check those out too. As a non-American, I've always found it ...


16

Essentially the extra quarter of a day that the Julian leap year added was slightly longer than the 0.242 of a day left over in the actual solar year. It affected Pope Gregory XIII because the Christian holidays were being celebrated on the wrong days. This was noticed by the Pope's astronomers and prompted the need for change. What's the science behind ...


15

With regard to imperial measurement, there is actually an interesting reason (at least in my opinion) why the US was not an early adopter of it. Thomas Jefferson had actually developed his own base-10 system of measurement (I believe he even attempted a base-10 system of time), and, had US relations been better with post-Revolution France, we may well have ...


12

The Jewish calendar is in year 5774 (between September of 2013 and October of 2014, it's a leap year), so the "Jewish civilization" is not in 2014. The state of Israel, which is really the only official body to recognize the Jewish calendar, determines all of its holidays and memorial days on the basis of the Jewsih calendar. However, all of the civil dates ...


11

Some astronomical events, viz. eclipses, can be reliably predicted to the day. I think they are the best method to identify a date exactly. This webpage provides some insight on the topic. It is basically a list of recorded solar eclipses, where the first one would be on 22 March 2134 BCE. There is however some uncertainty about whether or not the event ...


11

No major Orthodox Church follows the Gregorian calendar. Most follow the Milanković calendar (the "new calendar"), and the Russian, Serbian and Georgian Orthodox Churches, and the Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem follow the Julian calendar (the "old calendar"). The monasteries in Mount Athos follow the Julian calendar for religious issues, and the ...


11

We have an enormous amount of evidence for the ancient Babylonian calendar, but no evidence at all for a seven-day week in ancient Babylonia. In the ancient world there were two forms of the seven-day week. First, the Jewish week (eventually adopted by Christians and Muslims) has numbered days from one (Sunday) to six (Friday) and the Sabbath on the seventh ...


9

The Gregorian calendar, Western calendar or the Christian calendar, is a calendar that was a reform in 1582 to the Julian calendar. It was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII, after whom the calendar was named. But was is an adaptation of a calendar designed by Italian doctor, astronomer and philosopher Luigi Lilio. And it is not nesassarly based of Jesus birth ...


9

I'm afraid the answer is that we don't know. The Romans gradually replaced their 8 day week (the imperial nundinal cycle) with a 7 day week over a course of a century, after Julius Caesar's calendar reform in 46 BC. Their reasons for doing so are unclear, however we do know that the two cycles co-existed for quite some time. Ultimately, the nundinal cycle ...


7

It was due to the Second Celtiberian War. In 154 BC, there was rebellion in Spain. Quintus Fulvius Nobilior was designated consul for the following year but could not assume office until the Ides of March. Given the military situation, the Senate decreed January 1 to be the start of the new civil year, which permitted Nobilior to be inducted and depart ...


7

My answer is more about the metric system then about dates. About dates, also consider that there are Chinese, Hebrew and Islamic calendar, which are much more different from the Christian one. According to Wikipedia: In 1866, Congress authorized the use of the metric system and supplied each state with a set of standard metric weights and ...


6

I'll start with about the only place actual history comes into this: why it started. In English there are two ways to say dates: America's official birthday is on the fourth of July, seventeen seventy-six. and America's official birthday is July fourth, seventeen seventy-six. You may notice that the second way is far shorter. It requires no ...


6

It's because of the moon. Mostly. The new moon was the start of a new lunar month (the word itself being derived from words for moon). A lunar month is 29.53 days and is a very prominent cycle in all early cultures. 7 days is, very roughly 1/4 of a lunar cycle or "lunation" (more like .23 than .25 as you can see from the length of the lunar month). And ...


6

The Yellow Emperor (Huang Di) is a mythical character to which many inventions are attributed. However, like King Arthur or Robin Hood, there is no evidence that he ever really existed. The legend actually does not credit the Yellow Emperor with creating Chinese script, but rather to his historiographer and magician named Chang Jie. The earliest forms of ...


6

Let me introduce you Alexander Marshack, who in his book "The Roots of Civilization: the Cognitive Beginning of Man’s First Art, Symbol and Notation", published in 1972, proves that notches and lines carved on certain Upper Paleolithic bone plaques were in fact notation systems, specifically lunar calendars notating the passage of time. It was developed by ...


6

The French Republican Calendar started counting years from 22 September 1792, the day the French First Republic was proclaimed. Year I was the first year of the Republic, and so on. You can read more about the calendar's design on Wikipedia.


6

Saints Days, in particular, the local saint's day Shrove Tuesday Lent Easter Christmas was less important. In any area of importance four quarterly Saint's days would be identified with local days when legal actions occurred and markets occurred in the local large city. As such courts were either rotating, or held on feudal bases, it is usual for ...


6

I found another hint in Histoire du dimanche: de 1700 à nos jours by Robert Beck page 154 on bottom. See the following google books link. Le surplus en travail que provoque le rythme décadaire, pourrait également constituer une raison du rejet dont le nouveau temps est la victime. [...] Les instigateur des lois sur l'observation des décadis de l'an ...


5

I am not sure about legends (are there any specifying Rome's foundation year? I suspect it might be in the form of "X years since the sack of Troy"). But since your question also asked about "ancient Roman scholars" and "ancient Roman sources"... During most of the Roman Republic, years were named based on who had been elected to the consulship for that ...


4

About the only book I have come across in looking at the Mayan Calendar, which only came from a class exercise in looking for more information on the Mayan Apocalypse, was the E.G. Richards book Mapping Time. It noted some ideas of lucky and unlucky days, as well as more on other calendar systems. Honestly I don't recall how much he covered in all of it, ...


4

No, it is not an accidental coincidence. It is a should-to-be coincidence. The Winter Solstice is a natural start/end of a year. Of course, the end of the current period of the Mayan calendar should coincide with the end of the year. Their calendar consists of cycles, as the Asian one. (Linear calendar, instead of cycle ones, is the European invention.) And ...


4

After some reading about the early Roman Calendar, it is relevant to note that originally the calendar had only ten months and began on March, with an uncounted “winter” period after December. The number of days on each month were more or less flexible, and they usually tried to align the 15th of March, the mid of the month, with Ides, a full moon. At the ...


4

Possibly they wanted to match it to Brumalia. The Roman winter solstice festival. wikipedia: "The Brumalia was also celebrated during the space of thirty days, commencing on 24 November and ending with the "Waxing of the Light", December 25" citation Much the same can be said about Saturnalia, they're very similar. The "Birthday of the Unconquered Sun" is ...


4

In general, dating was complicated, and different conventions existed simultaneously in England at that time. For the specific example of William the Conqueror's coronation, we have different sources within the following decades implying that it was in 1066 or 1067, anno Domini. The precision sought in the question did not exist, at least in the same form ...


4

For those running a Windows operating system with MS Outlook, who wish to experiment with alternate calendars, instructions are available here, or by selecting from the Ribbon in Office 2007 or later: File -> Options -> Calendar -> Calendar Options -> Enable Alternate Calendar The available Calendars are listed below with their respective representation ...


4

There's one thing people usually forget about "customary" measurement systems (aka "imperial" in this case): they are evolved over considerable period of time in the society, and thus are much more convenient for use in everyday life (where complex calculations are usually not required). Lame examples were edited out due to popular opposition. Natural ...


4

The seven day week is not necessarily universal, although it has spread through most of the world as certain cultures have dominated the globe. The Romans and then the Christians more or less pressed certain cultural elements on everyone. Why 7 days? The easiest explanation is probably that there are roughly 28 days in a lunar cycle and so, dividing that ...


3

The Chinese have a Chinese calendar. In India there are several Calendars. For practical purposes, the Indian Government and all commercial establishments follow the Gregorian calendar- to "synch" with the rest of the world. It makes scientific sense to follow UTC and a standard that is universal. That's how the globalized system works. But local ...



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