When the clocks go back at this time year in Britain, we are pleased to get an extra hour in bed at the weekend. However, the clocks confuse us and confuse the cat at feeding time, so not so good. Then we get all het up about whether it ‘really’ is later or earlier than we think.
And we have all the science to help us keep track. How did the people in the Dark Ages cope?
Early Anglo-Saxon sundials show only four evenly spaced marks for telling time during daylight. These four divisions of daylight are paralleled by four at night.
úht (3 am to 6 am)
morgen (6 am to 9 am)
undern (9 am to noon)
middæg (noon to 3 pm)
gelotendæg (3 pm to 6 pm)
æfen (6 pm to 9 pm)
niht (9 pm to midnight)
midniht (midnight to 3 am)
Modern usage of the words ‘morning’ and ‘evening’ originated from this period. However, we can recognise a few other terms such as ‘midnight’ and ‘midday’, too, from their Germanic roots.
So there you go. Goodnight.
(c) 2015 A.J. Sefton http://www.ajsefton.com