Eschatology is a part of theology concerned with the final events of history, or the ultimate destiny of humanity. This concept is referred to as the "end of the world" or "end times"; the word arises from the Greek ἔσχατος eschatos meaning "last" and -logy meaning "the study of", first appeared in English around 1844. The Oxford English Dictionary defines eschatology as "the part of theology concerned with death and the final destiny of the soul and of humankind". In the context of mysticism, the term refers metaphorically to the end of ordinary reality and to reunion with the Divine. Many religions treat eschatology as a future event prophesied in folklore. History is divided into "ages", which are time periods each with certain commonalities. One age comes to an end and a new age or world to come, where different realities are present, begins; when such transitions from one age to another are the subject of eschatological discussion, the phrase, "end of the world", is replaced by "end of the age", "end of an era", or "end of life as we know it".
Much apocalyptic fiction does not deal with the "end of time" but rather with the end of a certain period, the end of life as it is now, the beginning of a new period. It is a crisis that brings an end to current reality and ushers in a new way of living, thinking, or being; this crisis may take the form of the intervention of a deity in history, a war, a change in the environment, or the reaching of a new level of consciousness. Most modern eschatology and apocalypticism, both religious and secular, involve the violent disruption or destruction of the world. For example, according to some ancient Hebrew worldviews, reality unfolds along a linear path. Eschatologies vary as to their degree of pessimism about the future. In some eschatologies, conditions are better for some and worse for others, e.g. "heaven and hell". They vary as to time frames. Groups claiming imminent eschatology are referred to as Doomsday cults. In Bahá' í belief, creation has neither an end. Instead, the eschatology of other religions is viewed as symbolic.
In Bahá'í belief, human time is marked by a series of progressive revelations in which successive messengers or prophets come from God. The coming of each of these messengers is seen as the day of judgment to the adherents of the previous religion, who may choose to accept the new messenger and enter the "heaven" of belief, or denounce the new messenger and enter the "hell" of denial. In this view, the terms "heaven" and "hell" are seen as symbolic terms for the person's spiritual progress and their nearness to or distance from God. In Bahá'í belief, the coming of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, signals the fulfilment of previous eschatological expectations of Islam and other major religions. Christian eschatology is the study concerned with the ultimate destiny of the individual soul and the entire created order, based upon biblical texts within the Old and New Testament. Christian eschatology looks to study and discuss matters such as death and the afterlife and Hell, the Second Coming of Jesus, the resurrection of the dead, the Rapture, the Tribulation, the end of the world, the Last Judgment, the New Heaven and New Earth in the world to come.
Eschatological passages are found in many places in the Bible, both in the Old and the New Testaments. In the Old Testament, apocalyptic eschatology can be found notably in Isaiah 24–27, Isaiah 56–66, Zechariah 9–14 as well as closing chapters of Daniel, Ezekiel. In the New Testament, applicable passages include Matthew 24, Mark 13, the parable of "The Sheep and the Goats" and in the Book of Revelation—although Revelation occupies a central place in Christian eschatology; the Second Coming of Christ is the central event in Christian eschatology within the broader context of the fullness of the Kingdom of God. Most Christians believe that suffering will continue to exist until Christ's return. There are, various views concerning the order and significance of other eschatological events; the Book of Revelation is at the core of Christian eschatology. The study of Revelation is divided into four interpretative methodologies or hermeneutics. In the Futurist approach, Revelation is treated as unfulfilled prophecy taking place in some yet undetermined future.
In the Preterist approach, Revelation is chiefly interpreted as having prophetic fulfillment in the past, principally the events of the first century CE. In the Historicist approach, Revelation provides a broad view of history, passages in Revelation are identified with major historical people and events; this is view the Jewish scholars held, along with the early Christian church, it was prevalent in Wycliffe's writings, other Reformers such as Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Wesley, Sir Isaac Newton, many others. In the Idealist approach, the events of Revelation are neither past nor future, but are purely symbolic, dealing with the ongoing struggle and ultimate triumph of good over evil. Contemporary Hindu eschatology is linked in the Vaishnavite tradition to the figure of Kalki, the tenth and last avatar of Vishnu before the age draws to a close who will reincarnate as Shiva and dissolve and regenerate the universe. Most Hindus believe that the current period is the Kali Y
Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives or stories that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. The main characters in myths are gods, demigods or supernatural humans. Stories of everyday human beings, although of leaders of some type, are contained in legends, as opposed to myths. Myths are endorsed by rulers and priests or priestesses, are linked to religion or spirituality. In fact, many societies group their myths and history together, considering myths and legends to be true accounts of their remote past. In particular, creation myths take place in a primordial age when the world had not achieved its form. Other myths explain how a society's customs and taboos were established and sanctified. There is a complex relationship between recital of myths and enactment of rituals; the study of myth began in ancient history. Rival classes of the Greek myths by Euhemerus and Sallustius were developed by the Neoplatonists and revived by Renaissance mythographers.
Today, the study of myth continues in a wide variety of academic fields, including folklore studies and psychology. The term mythology may either refer to the study of myths in general, or a body of myths regarding a particular subject; the academic comparisons of bodies of myth is known as comparative mythology. Since the term myth is used to imply that a story is not objectively true, the identification of a narrative as a myth can be political: many adherents of religions view their religion's stories as true and therefore object to the stories being characterised as myths. Scholars now speak of Christian mythology, Jewish mythology, Islamic mythology, Hindu mythology, so forth. Traditionally, Western scholarship, with its Judaeo-Christian heritage, has viewed narratives in the Abrahamic religions as being the province of theology rather than mythology. Labelling all religious narratives as myths can be thought of as treating different traditions with parity. Definitions of myth to some extent vary by scholar.
Finnish folklorist Lauri Honko offers a cited definition: Myth, a story of the gods, a religious account of the beginning of the world, the creation, fundamental events, the exemplary deeds of the gods as a result of which the world and culture were created together with all parts thereof and given their order, which still obtains. A myth expresses and confirms society's religious values and norms, it provides a pattern of behavior to be imitated, testifies to the efficacy of ritual with its practical ends and establishes the sanctity of cult. Scholars in other fields use the term myth in varied ways. In a broad sense, the word can refer to any traditional story, popular misconception or imaginary entity. However, while myth and other folklore genres may overlap, myth is thought to differ from genres such as legend and folktale in that neither are considered to be sacred narratives; some kinds of folktales, such as fairy stories, are not considered true by anyone, may be seen as distinct from myths for this reason.
Main characters in myths are gods, demigods or supernatural humans, while legends feature humans as their main characters. However, many exceptions or combinations exist, as in the Iliad and Aeneid. Moreover, as stories spread between cultures or as faiths change, myths can come to be considered folktales, their divine characters recast as either as humans or demihumans such as giants and faeries. Conversely and literary material may acquire mythological qualities over time. For example, the Matter of Britain and the Matter of France, seem distantly to originate in historical events of the fifth and eighth-centuries and became mythologised over the following centuries. In colloquial use, the word myth can be used of a collectively held belief that has no basis in fact, or any false story; this usage, pejorative, arose from labeling the religious myths and beliefs of other cultures as incorrect, but it has spread to cover non-religious beliefs as well. However, as used by folklorists and academics in other relevant fields, such as anthropology, the term myth has no implication whether the narrative may be understood as true or otherwise.
In present use, mythology refers to the collected myths of a group of people, but may mean the study of such myths. For example, Greek mythology, Roman mythology and Hittite mythology all describe the body of myths retold among those cultures. Folklorist Alan Dundes defines myth as a sacred narrative that explains how the world and humanity evolved into their present form. Dundes classified a sacred narrative as "a story that serves to define the fundamental worldview of a culture by explaining aspects of the natural world and delineating the psychological and social practices and ideals of a society". Anthropologist Bruce Lincoln defines myth as "ideology in narrative form." The compilation or description of myths is sometimes known as mythography, a term which can be used of a scholarly anthology of myths. Key mythographers in the Classical tradition include Ovid, whose tellings of myths have been profoundingly influential.
Macrobius Macrobius Ambrosius Theodosius known as Theodosius, was a Roman provincial who lived during the early fifth century, at the transition of the Roman to the Byzantine Empire, when Latin was as widespread as Greek among the elite. He is known for his writings, which include the copied and read Commentarii in Somnium Scipionis, one of the most important sources for Platonism in the Latin West during the Middle Ages, the Saturnalia, a compendium of ancient Roman religious and antiquarian lore, De differentiis et societatibus graeci latinique verbi, now lost; the correct order of his names is "Macrobius Ambrosius Theodosius", how it appears in the earliest manuscripts of the Saturnalia, how he is addressed in the excerpts from his lost De differentiis. Only in manuscripts were his names reversed as "Ambrosius Theodosius Macrobius", which James Willis adopted for his edition of the Commentary. Alan Cameron notes that Cassiodorus and Boethius both refer to him as "Macrobius Theodosius", while he was known during his lifetime as "Theodosius": the dedication to the De differentiis is addressed Theodosius Symmacho suo, by the dedicatory epistle to Avianus's Fables, where he is addressed as Theodosi optime.
Little is known for certain about Macrobius. He states at the beginning of his Saturnalia that he was "born under a foreign sky", both of his major works are dedicated to his son, Eustachius, his major works have led experts to assume. Which "foreign sky" Macrobius was born under has been the subject of much speculation. Terrot Glover considers Macrobius either an ethnic Greek, or born in one of the Greek-speaking parts of the Roman Empire, such as Egypt, due to his intimate knowledge of Greek literature. J. E. Sandys argued that Macrobius was born in one of the Greek provinces; however other experts, beginning with Ludwig van Jan, point out that despite his familiarity with Greek literature Macrobius was far more familiar with Latin than Greek—as evidenced by his enthusiasm for Vergil and Cicero—and favor North Africa, part of the Latin-speaking portion of the Roman Empire. Scholars have attempted to identify him with a Macrobius, mentioned in the Codex Theodosianus as a praetorian prefect of Spain, a proconsul of Africa.
The Codex Theodosianus records a praepositus named Macrobius in 422. A number of older authorities go so far as to identify Macrobius the author with the first, date his floruit to 399–410. There are objections to either identification: as Alan Cameron notes, the complete name of the first candidate is attested in an inscription to be "Flavius Macrobius Maximianus", while the second is excluded because "A praepositus must at this period have been a eunuch."However, since Macrobius is referred to as vir clarissimus et inlustris, a title, achieved by holding public office, we can reasonably expect his name to appear in the Codex Theodosianus. Further, Cameron points out that during his lifetime Macrobius was referred to as "Theodosius", looking for that name Cameron found a Theodosius, praetorian prefect of Italy in 430. "It is significant that the only surviving law addressed to this Theodosius sanctions a privilege for Africa Proconsularis on the basis of information received concerning Byzacena," Cameron notes.
Macrobius's most influential book—and one of the most cited books of the Middle Ages—was a commentary in two books on the Dream of Scipio narrated by Cicero at the end of his Republic. The nature of the dream, in which the elder Scipio appears to his grandson and describes the life of the good after death and the constitution of the universe from a Stoic and Neo-Platonic point of view, gave occasion for Macrobius to discourse upon the nature of the cosmos, transmitting much classical philosophy to the Middle Ages. In astronomy, this work is noted for giving the diameter of the Sun as twice the diameter of the Earth. Of a third work On the Differences and Similarities of the Greek and Latin Verb, we only possess an abstract by a certain Johannes, doubtfully identified with Johannes Scotus Eriugena. See editions by Ludwig von Jan, Franz Eyssenhardt, James Willis, R. A. Kaster; the grammatical treatise will be found in Heinrich Keil's Grammatici latini. Macrobius's Saturnalia consists of an account of the discussions held at the house of Vettius Agorius Praetextatus during the holiday of the Saturnalia.
It contains a great variety of curious historical, critical and grammatical discussions. "The work takes the form of a series of dialogues among learned men at a fictional banquet." Robert A. Kaster, Macrobius: Saturnalia. Loeb classical library 510-512. Cambridge, MA/ London: Harvard University Press, 2011. 3 volumes. Percival Vaughan Davies, Macrobius: The Saturnalia. New York: Columbia University Press, 1969. William Harris Stahl, Macrobius: Commentary on the Dream of Scipio. New York: Columbia University Press, 1952. Macrobius, Ambrosius Aurelius Theodosius. Seven Books of the Saturnalia: Codex from the Plutei Collection of the Bibli
In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, encompassing the Roman Kingdom, Roman Republic and Roman Empire until the fall of the western empire. The civilization began as an Italic settlement in the Italian Peninsula, conventionally founded in 753 BC, that grew into the city of Rome and which subsequently gave its name to the empire over which it ruled and to the widespread civilisation the empire developed; the Roman Empire expanded to become one of the largest empires in the ancient world, though still ruled from the city, with an estimated 50 to 90 million inhabitants and covering 5.0 million square kilometres at its height in AD 117. In its many centuries of existence, the Roman state evolved from a monarchy to a classical republic and to an autocratic semi-elective empire. Through conquest and assimilation, it dominated the North African coast and most of Western Europe, the Balkans and much of the Middle East.
It is grouped into classical antiquity together with ancient Greece, their similar cultures and societies are known as the Greco-Roman world. Ancient Roman civilisation has contributed to modern language, society, law, government, art, literature and engineering. Rome professionalised and expanded its military and created a system of government called res publica, the inspiration for modern republics such as the United States and France, it achieved impressive technological and architectural feats, such as the construction of an extensive system of aqueducts and roads, as well as the construction of large monuments and public facilities. The Punic Wars with Carthage were decisive in establishing Rome as a world power. In this series of wars Rome gained control of the strategic islands of Corsica and Sicily. By the end of the Republic, Rome had conquered the lands around the Mediterranean and beyond: its domain extended from the Atlantic to Arabia and from the mouth of the Rhine to North Africa.
The Roman Empire emerged with the dictatorship of Augustus Caesar. 721 years of Roman–Persian Wars started in 92 BC with their first war against Parthia. It would become the longest conflict in human history, have major lasting effects and consequences for both empires. Under Trajan, the Empire reached its territorial peak, it stretched from the entire Mediterranean Basin to the beaches of the North Sea in the north, to the shores of the Red and Caspian Seas in the East. Republican mores and traditions started to decline during the imperial period, with civil wars becoming a prelude common to the rise of a new emperor. Splinter states, such as the Palmyrene Empire, would temporarily divide the Empire during the crisis of the 3rd century. Plagued by internal instability and attacked by various migrating peoples, the western part of the empire broke up into independent "barbarian" kingdoms in the 5th century; this splintering is a landmark historians use to divide the ancient period of universal history from the pre-medieval "Dark Ages" of Europe.
The eastern part of the empire endured through the 5th century and remained a power throughout the "Dark Ages" and medieval times until its fall in 1453 AD. Although the citizens of the empire made no distinction, the empire is most referred to as the "Byzantine Empire" by modern historians during the Middle Ages to differentiate between the state of antiquity and the nation it grew into. According to the founding myth of Rome, the city was founded on 21 April 753 BC on the banks of the river Tiber in central Italy, by the twin brothers Romulus and Remus, who descended from the Trojan prince Aeneas, who were grandsons of the Latin King Numitor of Alba Longa. King Numitor was deposed by his brother, while Numitor's daughter, Rhea Silvia, gave birth to the twins. Since Rhea Silvia had been raped and impregnated by Mars, the Roman god of war, the twins were considered half-divine; the new king, feared Romulus and Remus would take back the throne, so he ordered them to be drowned. A she-wolf saved and raised them, when they were old enough, they returned the throne of Alba Longa to Numitor.
The twins founded their own city, but Romulus killed Remus in a quarrel over the location of the Roman Kingdom, though some sources state the quarrel was about, going to rule or give his name to the city. Romulus became the source of the city's name. In order to attract people to the city, Rome became a sanctuary for the indigent and unwanted; this caused a problem, in that Rome was bereft of women. Romulus visited neighboring towns and tribes and attempted to secure marriage rights, but as Rome was so full of undesirables he was refused. Legend says that the Latins invited the Sabines to a festival and stole their unmarried maidens, leading to the integration of the Latins with the Sabines. Another legend, recorded by Greek historian Dionysius of Halicarnassus, says that Prince Aeneas led a group of Trojans on a sea voyage to found a new Troy, since the original was destroyed at the end of the Trojan War. After a long time in rough seas, they landed on the banks of the Tiber River. Not long after they landed, the men wanted to take to the sea again, but the women who were traveling with them did not want to leave.
One woman, named Roma, suggested that the women burn the ships out at sea to prevent their leaving
The Aeneid is a Latin epic poem, written by Virgil between 29 and 19 BC, that tells the legendary story of Aeneas, a Trojan who travelled to Italy, where he became the ancestor of the Romans. It comprises 9,896 lines in dactylic hexameter; the first six of the poem's twelve books tell the story of Aeneas's wanderings from Troy to Italy, the poem's second half tells of the Trojans' victorious war upon the Latins, under whose name Aeneas and his Trojan followers are destined to be subsumed. The hero Aeneas was known to Greco-Roman legend and myth, having been a character in the Iliad. Virgil took the disconnected tales of Aeneas's wanderings, his vague association with the foundation of Rome and his description as a personage of no fixed characteristics other than a scrupulous pietas, fashioned the Aeneid into a compelling founding myth or national epic that tied Rome to the legends of Troy, explained the Punic Wars, glorified traditional Roman virtues, legitimized the Julio-Claudian dynasty as descendants of the founders and gods of Rome and Troy.
The Aeneid is regarded as Virgil's masterpiece and one of the greatest works of Latin literature. The Aeneid can be divided into two halves based on the disparate subject matter of Books 1–6 and Books 7–12; these two halves are regarded as reflecting Virgil's ambition to rival Homer by treating both the Odyssey's wandering theme and the Iliad's warfare themes. This is, however, a rough correspondence, the limitations of which should be borne in mind. Virgil begins his poem with a statement of his theme and an invocation to the Muse, falling some seven lines after the poem's inception, he explains the reason for the principal conflict in the story: the resentment held by the goddess Juno against the Trojan people. This is consistent with her role throughout the Homeric epics. In the manner of Homer, the story proper begins in medias res, with the Trojan fleet in the eastern Mediterranean, heading in the direction of Italy; the fleet, led by Aeneas, is on a voyage to find a second home. It has been foretold that in Italy he will give rise to a race both noble and courageous, a race which will become known to all nations.
Juno is wrathful, because she had not been chosen in the judgment of Paris, because her favorite city, will be destroyed by Aeneas's descendants. Ganymede, a Trojan prince, was chosen to be the cupbearer to her husband, Jupiter—replacing Juno's daughter, Hebe. Juno proceeds to Aeolus, King of the Winds, asks that he release the winds to stir up a storm in exchange for a bribe. Aeolus agrees to carry out Juno's orders. Neptune takes notice: although he himself is no friend of the Trojans, he is infuriated by Juno's intrusion into his domain, stills the winds and calms the waters, after making sure that the winds would not bother the Trojans again, lest they be punished more harshly than they were this time; the fleet takes shelter on the coast of Africa, where Aeneas rouses the spirits of his men, reassuring them that they have been through worse situations before. There, Aeneas's mother, Venus, in the form of a huntress similar to the goddess Diana, encourages him and recounts to him the history of Carthage.
Aeneas ventures into the city, in the temple of Juno he seeks and gains the favor of Dido, queen of the city. The city has only been founded by refugees from Tyre and will become a great imperial rival and enemy to Rome. Meanwhile, Venus has her own plans, she goes to her son, Aeneas's half-brother Cupid, tells him to imitate Ascanius. Disguised as such, Cupid offers the gifts expected from a guest. With Dido's motherly love revived as she cradles the boy during a banquet given in honour of the Trojans, Cupid secretly weakens her sworn fidelity to the soul of her late husband, murdered by her brother, Pygmalion. In books 2 and 3, Aeneas recounts the events, he begins the tale shortly after the war described in the Iliad. Cunning Ulysses devised a way for Greek warriors to gain entry into the walled city of Troy by hiding in a large wooden horse; the Greeks pretended to sail away, leaving a warrior, Sinon, to mislead the Trojans into believing that the horse was an offering and that if it were taken into the city, the Trojans would be able to conquer Greece.
The Trojan priest Laocoön saw through the Greek plot and urged the horse's destruction, but his protests fell on deaf ears, so he hurled his spear at the horse. In what would be seen by the Trojans as punishment from the gods, two serpents emerged from the sea and devoured Laocoön, along with his two sons; the Trojans took the horse inside the fortified walls, after nightfall the armed Greeks emerged from it, opening the city's gates to allow the returned Greek army to slaughter the Trojans. In a dream, the fallen Trojan prince, advised Aeneas to flee with his family. Aeneas saw with horror what was happening to his beloved city. At first he tried to fight the enemy, but soon he lost his comrades and was left alone to fend off the Greeks, he witnessed the murder of Priam by Achilles' son Pyrrhus. His mother, appeared to him and led him back to his house. Aeneas tells of his escape with his son, his wife Creusa, his father, after the occurrence
Time is the indefinite continued progress of existence and events that occur in irreversible succession through the past, in the present, the future. Time is a component quantity of various measurements used to sequence events, to compare the duration of events or the intervals between them, to quantify rates of change of quantities in material reality or in the conscious experience. Time is referred to as a fourth dimension, along with three spatial dimensions. Time has long been an important subject of study in religion and science, but defining it in a manner applicable to all fields without circularity has eluded scholars. Diverse fields such as business, sports, the sciences, the performing arts all incorporate some notion of time into their respective measuring systems. Time in physics is unambiguously operationally defined as "what a clock reads". See Units of Time. Time is one of the seven fundamental physical quantities in both the International System of Units and International System of Quantities.
Time is used to define other quantities – such as velocity – so defining time in terms of such quantities would result in circularity of definition. An operational definition of time, wherein one says that observing a certain number of repetitions of one or another standard cyclical event constitutes one standard unit such as the second, is useful in the conduct of both advanced experiments and everyday affairs of life; the operational definition leaves aside the question whether there is something called time, apart from the counting activity just mentioned, that flows and that can be measured. Investigations of a single continuum called spacetime bring questions about space into questions about time, questions that have their roots in the works of early students of natural philosophy. Temporal measurement has occupied scientists and technologists, was a prime motivation in navigation and astronomy. Periodic events and periodic motion have long served as standards for units of time. Examples include the apparent motion of the sun across the sky, the phases of the moon, the swing of a pendulum, the beat of a heart.
The international unit of time, the second, is defined by measuring the electronic transition frequency of caesium atoms. Time is of significant social importance, having economic value as well as personal value, due to an awareness of the limited time in each day and in human life spans. Speaking, methods of temporal measurement, or chronometry, take two distinct forms: the calendar, a mathematical tool for organising intervals of time, the clock, a physical mechanism that counts the passage of time. In day-to-day life, the clock is consulted for periods less than a day whereas the calendar is consulted for periods longer than a day. Personal electronic devices display both calendars and clocks simultaneously; the number that marks the occurrence of a specified event as to hour or date is obtained by counting from a fiducial epoch – a central reference point. Artifacts from the Paleolithic suggest that the moon was used to reckon time as early as 6,000 years ago. Lunar calendars were among the first to appear, with years of either 13 lunar months.
Without intercalation to add days or months to some years, seasons drift in a calendar based on twelve lunar months. Lunisolar calendars have a thirteenth month added to some years to make up for the difference between a full year and a year of just twelve lunar months; the numbers twelve and thirteen came to feature prominently in many cultures, at least due to this relationship of months to years. Other early forms of calendars originated in Mesoamerica in ancient Mayan civilization; these calendars were religiously and astronomically based, with 18 months in a year and 20 days in a month, plus five epagomenal days at the end of the year. The reforms of Julius Caesar in 45 BC put the Roman world on a solar calendar; this Julian calendar was faulty in that its intercalation still allowed the astronomical solstices and equinoxes to advance against it by about 11 minutes per year. Pope Gregory XIII introduced a correction in 1582. During the French Revolution, a new clock and calendar were invented in attempt to de-Christianize time and create a more rational system in order to replace the Gregorian calendar.
The French Republican Calendar's days consisted of ten hours of a hundred minutes of a hundred seconds, which marked a deviation from the 12-based duodecimal system used in many other devices by many cultures. The system was abolished in 1806. A large variety of devices have been invented to measure time; the study of these devices is called horology. An Egyptian device that dates to c. 1500 BC, similar in shape to a bent T-square, measured the passage of time from the shadow cast by its crossbar on a nonlinear rule. The T was oriented eastward in the mornings. At noon, the device was turned around so. A sundial uses a gnomon to cast a shadow on a set of markings calibrated to the hour; the position of the shadow marks the hour in local time. The idea to separate the day into smaller parts is credited to Egyptians because of their sundials, which operated on a duodecimal system; the importance of the number 12 is due to the number of lunar cycles in a year and the number of stars used to count the passage of night.
The most precise timekeeping device of the ancient
Maurus Servius Honoratus
Maurus Servius Honoratus was a late fourth-century and early fifth-century grammarian, with the contemporary reputation of being the most learned man of his generation in Italy. These works, In tria Virgilii Opera Expositio, constituted the first incunable to be printed at Florence, by Bernardo Cennini, 1471. In the Saturnalia of Macrobius, Servius appears as one of the interlocutors; the commentary on Virgil has survived in two distinct manuscript traditions. The first is a comparatively short commentary, attributed to Servius in the superscription in the manuscripts and by other internal evidence. A second class of manuscripts, all deriving from the 10th and 11th centuries, embed the same text in a much expanded commentary; the copious additions are in contrast to the style of the original. "The added matter is undoubtedly ancient, dating from a time but little removed from that of Servius, is founded to a large extent on historical and antiquarian literature, now lost. The writer is anonymous and a Christian", although not if, as is suggested, he is Aelius Donatus.
A third class of manuscripts, written for the most part in Italy, gives the core text with interpolated scholia, which demonstrate the continued usefulness of the Virgilii Opera Expositio. The authentic commentary of Maurus Servius Honoratus is in effect the only complete extant edition of a classic author written before the collapse of the Empire in the West, it is constructed much on the principle of a modern edition, is founded on an extensive Virgilian critical literature, much of, known only from the fragments and facts preserved in this commentary. The notices of Virgil's text, though or never authoritative in face of the existing manuscripts, which go back to, or beyond, the time of Servius, yet supply valuable information concerning the ancient recensions and textual criticism of Virgil. In the grammatical interpretation of his author's language, Servius does not rise above the stiff and overwrought subtleties of his time. Servius set his face against the prevalent allegorical methods of exposition of text.
For the antiquarian and the historian, the abiding value of his work lies in his preservation of facts in Roman history, religion and language, which but for him might have perished. Not a little of the laborious erudition of Varro and other ancient scholars has survived in his pages. Besides the Virgilian commentary, other works of Servius are extant: a collection of notes on the grammar of Aelius Donatus; the edition of Georg Thilo and Hermann Hagen, remains the only edition of the whole of Servius' work. In development is the Harvard Servius. Latin Wikisource has original text related to this article: Maurus Servius Honoratus Commentary on the Aeneid of Vergil at the Perseus Project in Latin. Commentary on the Eclogues of Vergil at the Perseus Project in Latin. De Centum Metris at Intratext.com De Centum Metris at Forum Romanorum Servii grammatici qui feruntur in Vergilii carmina commentarii, Georius Thilo, Hermannus Hagen, 3 voll. Lipsiae in aedibus B. G. Teubneri, 1881-1902: vol. 1, vol. 2, vol. 3 part 1, vol. 3 part 2