By Greg Jenner
Who invented beds? whilst did we commence cleansing our enamel? How previous are wine and beer? Which got here first: the lavatory seat or rest room paper? What was once the 1st clock?
Every day, from the instant our alarm clock wakes us within the morning until eventually our head hits our pillow at evening, all of us participate in rituals which are millennia outdated. established round one traditional day, A Million Years in an afternoon reveals the extraordinary origins and improvement of the day-by-day practices we take without any consideration. during this gloriously wonderful romp via human background, Greg Jenner explores the gradual―and usually unexpected―evolution of our day-by-day routines.
This isn't really a narrative of wars, politics, or nice occasions. as a substitute, Jenner has scoured Roman garbage boxes, Egyptian tombs, and Victorian sewers to deliver us the main interesting, fabulous, and infrequently downright foolish old nuggets from our past.
Drawn from the world over, spanning 1000000 years of humanity, this booklet is a smorgasbord of historic delights. it's a background of all these stuff you consistently questioned about―and many you may have by no means thought of. it's the tale of your lifestyles, a million years within the making.
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Additional info for A Million Years in a Day: A Curious History of Everyday Life from the Stone Age to the Phone Age
Well, scribbled on sarcophagi, and inscribed on tomb walls, ancient Egyptian scholars left behind their star charts and calendars which have allowed modern archaeo-astronomers to decipher their cunning system for turning heliacal rising into a nocturnal clock. The Diagonal Star Table, at first glance – and several increasingly confused glances after that – resembled what might happen if an unfortunate software glitch converted a bus timetable into hieroglyphs. Running horizontally along the top of the chart were the 36 weeks of the year, each of which contains ten days, and below each of these 36 columns were symbols representing when each Decan was visible in which week of the year.
There’s some debate, but it’s plausible that these were all French words originally. ‘Loo’ is the trickiest to pin down; it’s possibly derived from the polite word lieu, meaning the ‘place’ – French eighteenth-century aristocrats called their toilets les lieux à l’anglaise (the places of the English) – but ‘loo’ isn’t really recorded in English usage until the 1920s, so there’s more likelihood of it being an abbreviation of Waterloo Cisterns, a brand frequently stamped on outdoor toilets in the early twentieth century.
In fact, they’re nearly 3,500 years old, and by the time she was bumping uglies with Julius Caesar these obelisks had already been standing guard in the sun-worshipping city of Heliopolis for 1,400 years. To be honest, archaeologists don’t know if their purpose was deliberately temporal or if they were just massive ornaments that accidentally happened to cast a shadow. And, even if they were designed to tell the time, their size made them impractical for day-to-day usage, so smaller alternatives were sought.
A Million Years in a Day: A Curious History of Everyday Life from the Stone Age to the Phone Age by Greg Jenner