By Greg Jenner
Who invented beds? while did we begin cleansing our enamel? How previous are wine and beer? Which got here first: the bathroom seat or bathroom paper? What used to be the 1st clock?
Every day, from the instant our alarm clock wakes us within the morning till our head hits our pillow at evening, all of us participate in rituals which are millennia outdated. based round one usual day, A Million Years in an afternoon reveals the superb origins and improvement of the day-by-day practices we take with no consideration. during this gloriously pleasing romp via human historical past, Greg Jenner explores the gradual―and frequently unexpected―evolution of our day-by-day routines.
This isn't really a narrative of wars, politics, or nice occasions. as an alternative, Jenner has scoured Roman garbage packing containers, Egyptian tombs, and Victorian sewers to deliver us the main fascinating, fabulous, and infrequently downright foolish ancient nuggets from our past.
Drawn from the world over, spanning 1000000 years of humanity, this ebook is a smorgasbord of historic delights. it's a heritage of all these belongings you continuously questioned about―and many you may have by no means thought of. it's the tale of your existence, 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
In practice, a proxy likely stood in for the king, who may often have been elsewhere in the empire, though it’s very tempting to enjoy the mental image of a priest hastily having to mumble the half-remembered words while anxious servants desperately try to haul a grumpy Tutankhamun out of bed. But beginning a day at dawn wasn’t a universal ancient custom. Four thousand years ago, the Babylonians – the occupants of majestic cities in what’s now Iraq – shared much in common with their Bronze Age Egyptian neighbours, but their new day commenced at dusk, moments before they went to bed.
But, to validate this eternal routine, and make the sun rise, a dawn ceremony required the semi-divine pharaoh to perform cleansing rituals in the sacred temples of Karnak or Heliopolis. In practice, a proxy likely stood in for the king, who may often have been elsewhere in the empire, though it’s very tempting to enjoy the mental image of a priest hastily having to mumble the half-remembered words while anxious servants desperately try to haul a grumpy Tutankhamun out of bed. But beginning a day at dawn wasn’t a universal ancient custom.
The ancients explained this by theorising that the sun orbited the Earth, not around the equator, but following an ecliptic plane which started below the equator in the winter and then sloped upwards so that it rose above it in the summer, before descending again. If that doesn’t quite make sense, imagine a ringed Frisbee placed at a diagonal slant over the middle of a beach ball so it’s lower on the left and higher on the right. This, at least in Egyptian eyes, explained why the sun was higher in the summer sky.
A Million Years in a Day: A Curious History of Everyday Life from the Stone Age to the Phone Age by Greg Jenner