Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Meditations on Time

In a recent interview with Mary Beard at BLDG BLOG, a book about Pompeii is mentioned:

it’s easier to spot political motives a generation or two after the

Another thing: one of the most famous excavations in Pompeii was the
excavation of the Villa of the Mysteries and its frieze, first published in the
1930s. These were fantastically lavish volumes – you know, more expensive that
you would ever imagine, in a fantastic vellum binding – which my library in
Cambridge managed to get a copy of. The book's got Mussolini's fasces on the
back cover, in gold emboss, and, instead of being dated 1938, it's dated Era
Fascista VII or something.

So we got a group of students together and we passed the book round, and we
said, "Do you notice anything about this book? Now, don’t think of the pictures
– look at it as a book. Do you notice anything about it?" And most of the
students said, "Well it’s lovely. It's really expensive, isn't it?" It took them
about a quarter of an hour before a single one of them said, "Oh, what’s this
here?" pointing to the fasces and the dating by Era Fascista.

And, had all gone according to plan, the world would have ended up in Era Fastista M, sometime around 2931 AD, and we would now be in EF LXXVIII. Happily, we never got much past EF XI, but I hear the book is very well produced.


In Ethiopia, they've just passed the year 2000 since they live according to the Julian calendar, as well as the Gregorian, in part depending on what language you're speaking. Addtionally, as one man in this story from NPR puts it, we have just finished the second day since the birth of Christ, since every day is a thousand years to God. 6AM is midnight, the start of the twelve daylight hours, and midnight is 6PM, halfway through the nighttime hours.

The story also features Muligieta, the most beautiful girl in Ethiopia and the Black Eyed Peas.


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