Timekeeping Before Clocks

This week’s newsletter is all about time, from ancient Rome to modern-day inventions. Plautus, a famous playwright of comedic plays in ancient Rome, remains a mysterious figure. His works, often reworkings of earlier plays, are incomplete and contain humor that may not resonate with modern audiences. Sundials were the first timekeeping devices, followed by water clocks that could range from simple to elaborate designs. Some of the most creative water clocks were developed by inventors like Al-Jazari in the Islamic world and Su Song in China. The transition to mechanical clocks eventually occurred, but intricate sundials continued to be made, displaying the human impulse for elaborate timekeeping devices.


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