Little Bits of History

August 11

Posted in History by patriciahysell on August 11, 2017

3114 BC: The Mesoamerican Long Count calendar begins. It was a non-repeating base-20 and base-18 calendar used by many pre-Columbian cultures, most notable the Maya and is sometimes called the Mayan calendar. By working backwards and using our current Gregorian calendar, the beginning date has been calculated. The Long Count calendar was used on monuments in the region. Dates on these can be calculated by combining the 260-day Tzolk’in and the 365-day Haab’ calendars. This gives a total of 18,980 unique dates before repeating.

By using many of our current calculating methods, we can ascertain that the first day of the Long Count calendar was this day. Unless it was September 6 by using the Julian calendar or -3113 in astronomical year numbering. This date uses the GMT correlation which is a mathematical method for aligning ancient dates with our current method of marking time. By ancient tradition of 13 b’ak’tuns of time passing since the Creation, it was calculated the event took place on this day, according to the Maya. This is when Raised-up-Sky-Lord caused three stones to be set by three other gods at Lying-Down-Sky, First-Three-Stone-Place. At that point, the sky was still black, but the cosmos now had pillars on which to raise the sky.

Because the calendar is not pure base-20, there are convoluted methods used in numbering which causes the second digit from the right (and only that digit) to roll over when it reaches 18. It should be noted the Long Count calendar was no longer in used when Europeans first came to the New World, but k’atuns and tuns were still in use for marking time. B’ak’tun was created by modern scholars to help with the epochs. The syntax for using the Long Calendar was complex and Maya monuments where inscribed with complicated systems. The date would be given before other inscriptions were added to the stela.

There are several of these inscriptions remaining today and they have been carefully studied to ascertain their messages. The earliest one is at Takalik Abaj in present day Guatemala and dates from 236 – 19 BC. There are several more stela located at six sites with half of them on the western edge of the Mayan kingdom and the other three are found several hundred miles to the west. This has led to speculation that the Mayan calendar actually predates the Mayans. The Tuxtla Statuette found near La Mojarra in present day Veracruz, Mexico has the most recent date calculated to March 12, 162 AD. In 2012, according to some misunderstanding of the calendar, the world was supposed to come to an end. It didn’t.

They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself. – Andy Warhol

Let us never know what old age is. Let us know the happiness time brings, not count the years. – Ausonius

Better three hours too soon than a minute too late. – William Shakespeare

Time flies over us, but leaves its shadow behind. – Nathaniel Hawthorne

 

 

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The World is Created

Posted in History by patriciahysell on August 13, 2011

Imagery from the Long Count calendar

August 13, 3114 BC: The beginning of the Long Count is established by Mayan Mathematicians. It marked the creation of the world. Mayans used three calendars. The first was the Long Count that counted the number of days since the world began. The second was the calendar round which divided time into 260 day periods called tzolk’in. The third was the haab which marked 365 day years.

Converting dates from Mayan to the Gregorian calendar is an exercise in arithmetic. A k’in is a day with a winal being a 20 day month. A tun is 18 winals or 360 days for a year (with the remaining five days of “no month” being unlucky). A katun is 20 tun and a baktun is 20 katun. Dates are written in glyphs to represent the units and bars that mean “5”, dots that mean “1” and a symbol for a zero.

We write the dates in five numbers separated by dots, looking like an inflated IP address. A date would be written as 9.12.3.0.6 which needs a lot of math to tell us how many days since the beginning of time. (9 * 144,000 [number of days in a baktun]) + (12 * 7,200 [number of days in a katun]) + (3 * 360) + (0 * 20) + (6 * 1) or 1,383,486 days since time began. The date for August 13, 2007 would be written as 12.19.14.10.1 and is 1,870,041 days since creation.

The beginning date should have been written as 0.0.0.0.0 but the Mayans numbered the baktun from 1-12 so the first date was 13.0.0.0.0 instead. The next time that date rolls around will be December 21 or 23, 2012. There is argument within the calendar community as to the precise starting date, a second and less popular date is August 11, 3114 BC. Some claim that cataclysmic events will take place in December of 2012, perhaps even the end of the world as a nice rounding out to the creation theme.

“Calendars and clocks exist to measure time, but that signifies little because we all know that an hour can seem as eternity or pass in a flash, according to how we spend it.” – Michael Ende

“The whole history of calendar-making is that of successive attempts to reconcile the irreconcilable, and the numberless systems of intercalated months, and the like, are thus of minor scientific interest.” – Joseph Needham

“The clock indicates the moment – but what does eternity indicate?” – Walt Whitman

“What then is time?  If no one asks me, I know what it is.  If I wish to explain it to him who asks, I do not know.” – Saint Augustine

Also on this day:
Just Another Brick in the Wall – In 1961, the first steps toward the building of the Berlin Wall are taken.
Bootiful – In 1934, L’il Abner premiered.

The World is Created

Posted in History by patriciahysell on August 13, 2010

Imagery from the Long Count calendar

August 13, 3114 BC: The beginning of the Long Count is established by Mayan Mathematicians. It marked the creation of the world. Mayans used three calendars. The first was the Long Count that counted the number of days since the world began. The second was the calendar round which divided time into 260 day periods called tzolk’in. The third was the haab which marked 365 day years.

Converting dates from Mayan to the Gregorian calendar is an exercise in arithmetic. A k’in is a day with a winal being a 20 day month. A tun is 18 winals or 360 days for a year (with the remaining five days of “no month” being unlucky). A katun is 20 tun and a baktun is 20 katun. Dates are written in glyphs to represent the units and bars that mean “5”, dots that mean “1” and a symbol for a zero.

We write the dates in five numbers separated by dots, looking like an inflated IP address. A date would be written as 9.12.3.0.6 which needs a lot of math to tell us how many days since the beginning of time. (9 * 144,000 [number of days in a baktun]) + (12 * 7,200 [number of days in a katun]) + (3 * 360) + (0 * 20) + (6 * 1) or 1,383,486 days since time began. The date for August 13, 2007 would be written as 12.19.14.10.1 and is 1,870,041 days since creation.

The beginning date should have been written as 0.0.0.0.0 but the Mayans numbered the baktun from 1-12 so the first date was 13.0.0.0.0 instead. The next time that date rolls around will be December 21 or 23, 2012. There is argument within the calendar community as to the precise starting date, a second and less popular date is August 11, 3114 BC. Some claim that cataclysmic events will take place in December of 2012, perhaps even the end of the world as a nice rounding out to the creation theme.

“Calendars and clocks exist to measure time, but that signifies little because we all know that an hour can seem as eternity or pass in a flash, according to how we spend it.” – Michael Ende

“The whole history of calendar-making is that of successive attempts to reconcile the irreconcilable, and the numberless systems of intercalated months, and the like, are thus of minor scientific interest.” – Joseph Needham

“The clock indicates the moment – but what does eternity indicate?” – Walt Whitman

“What then is time?  If no one asks me, I know what it is.  If I wish to explain it to him who asks, I do not know.” – Saint Augustine

Also on this day, in 1934 Li’l Abner, a comic strip written by Al Capp, premieres.
Bonus Link: In 1961, the Berlin Wall was put up.