The Ordering of Time

The Ordering of Time : From the Ancient Computus to the Modern Computer

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Designed to be an accessible history of the use and interpretation of time, Borst examines the ways that time has been calculated by numbers and measured by instruments through the ages from the "computus" - an ancient method of determining times and dates - to the present-day computer. In a wide-ranging discussion, he analyzes the classical Greek concepts of divine, natural and human time; the universal time of ancient Rome; the Easter cycle of the Middle Ages; the development of the mechanical clock in the 14th and 15th centuries; early modern chronology; and 20th-century data processing. Borst argues that although many centuries and countless different instruments separate the "computus" from the modern computer, each generation throughout the ages has had to answer the same question: how can we make the best use of our available time to improve our lives?
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Product details

  • Paperback | 180 pages
  • 138 x 216mm | 245g
  • Polity Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • German
  • 074561258X
  • 9780745612584

Table of contents

1. The medieval calendar and European history 2. Divine, human and natural time in Greek antiquity 3. Universal time and salvation time in Roman antiquity 4. Easter cycle and canonical hours in the early Middle Ages 5. World eras and days of human life in the seventh and eighth centuries 6. The church bell and work time in the ninth century 7. Observing the moment of respite in the high Middle Ages 8. Giving and using time in the eleventh and twelfth centuries 9. Divided and appointed times in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries 10. The confusion and management of calendars in the late Middle Ages 11. Mechanical clocks and "path differences" in the fourteenth century. 12. The universal machine and chronology in the early modern period 13. Chronometry and industrialisation in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries 14. Computers and atomic time in the twentieth century 15. Calculable and allotted time.
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