Saturday, December 14, 2013

Babylon

It's going to be one of those random days today.  I woke up thinking about Babylon (I watched a documentary on it last night before going to bed) and the amazing influence it's great thinkers have had on us today.

The Babylonian mathematical system was sexagesimal, or base 60.  (Did I ever learn this in school???  Obviously only in passing, if I did.)  From that we have 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 360 degrees in a circle.  Why 60?  It is a superior highly composite number, with factors of 1,2,3,4,5,6,10,12,15,20 which facilitates calculations in fractions. From this they created huge advances in arithmetic, geometry, algebra, a basis for trigonometry, clocks, astronomy (with angular distances on a celestial sphere), and the list goes on.  They created the zodiac signs.

Really, just think about it. So very many of the things that we take for granted each and every day, were created in Babylon.  I am awed, and fascinated.  So much of what I've discovered in weaving (designs, the number of spokes, angles) is based on this as well.  What genius stemming from 2300 B.C.!

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