Reflection On Early Sundials

1947 Words8 Pages
Introduction My time-space construction is an early sundial. These simple devices were most likely first constructed in the 5th or 6th century B.C, by Egyptians and Babylonians. They were later improved and refined by Greeks and Romans. As you can see in the picture to the left, the center of the sundial is called a gnomon, or style. Although it is not indicated, the lines are called hour lines, and the bottom is called the base. It is also important to note that for early sundials (constructed by Egyptians and Babylonians), these gnomons were not tilted, and in many cases were just sticks or rods. Thus, since I am trying to replicate the most basic of these devices, I will also use a rod as my center-piece. Another important feature…show more content…
The first of these is the weather. Although it was a sunny day, large clouds continuously blocked the sunlight, making it impossible to see the shadow. If this occurred around the time that the hourglass indicated an hour had passed, I had to wait a few minutes for the clouds to move so that I could see the shadow. Thus, some hours on the sundial may appear to be longer or shorter than others. Another major weatherly hindrance that I have thus far observed is the rain. Brazil is prone to spontaneous rain storms that last anywhere from 30 minutes, to one hour. So, if I were to try and use my sundial and the clouds suddenly broke open and showered me with rain (this happened several times), I had to wait until another time to verify my device’s…show more content…
As I mentioned above, whenever the weather was cloudy, rainy (which it often was), or there was another obstruction in the sky, it became impossible to read the sundial, and I was forced to wait until the next day to continue my project. I have no doubt that this was indeed the case in ancient times. So, I think that it is important that a society not be too reliant on these time telling devices, because after having to make one myself, it is evident that any there were quite a few unavoidable hindrances. Thus, should an entire society have heavily relied on these devices as we do our modern day devices, I see how society could quickly become chaotic, unorganized, and disarrayed. However, we must also note that these societies didn’t rely on sundials as their only time keeping devices. In fact, they later invented many other more accurate devices, such as water clocks, and clepsydras. Not only were these time-telling devices more accurate, but they were also more useful-they didn’t rely on weather, and could be used inside. I imagine that the Egyptian, European, and Chinese societies probably recognized that these alternatives were more accurate and reliable, and probably used these more frequently once they were
Open Document