Some of you might recognize this from a Newsletter many years ago, but that's only 18 of you (I was just getting started!) If you are one of those, I feel like I owe you a book or something! Reach out!
This post comes back to world building basics and covers something that can sneak under the radar at times.
When making up a world, there are hundreds of details to decide upon. Some come quickly. Others... not so much. Time measurement was one such problem for me. I hate randomly finding a world that uses 60 minutes to an hour, 24 hours to a day conventions. It's odd enough how WE came into that!
Turns out, (we think) that the 60 minutes and 60 seconds was from Babylonian times, where they also thought the year had 360 days (and the source of 360 degrees in a circle, by the way). The 24 hour clock seems to have come from Ancient Egypt, where the day and night were 10 measurable hours during the night, then one transtionary hour on either end of the count.
The World of the Tainted has no Egyptians to dictate the hours and days. So how to measure time? I debated going to a metric-style clock but nature doesn't fit nicely into even numbers. And most of my cultures don't think in sets of 10 necessarily either! Lionians used 8s. Esparans prefer counts of 4 (a lucky number). So 60 didn't much work for them!
Like our world, the answer depended on where in the world you asked the question. Lionians have sophisticated water clocks and have a 12-part clock with 4 sections to each hour. Esparans used candles of time, a unit based on how long it took to burn a section of a standardized candle (equalling about 1 hour). Enneads used time to and from sunset and sunrise.
For some reason, I never used a sundial. Maybe some day! I also want to use the "using your hand to measure the height of the sun from the horizon to determine time" trick. (check that out here)
Have you seen any amazing time-measurement ideas in fiction?
D. Lambert, author
Fantasy novels that entice, inspire, and entertain.