By Greg Jenner
Who invented beds? whilst did we commence cleansing our the teeth? How outdated are wine and beer? Which got here first: the lavatory 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 previous. based round one traditional day, A Million Years in an afternoon reveals the miraculous origins and improvement of the day-by-day practices we take without any consideration. during this gloriously enjoyable romp via human heritage, Greg Jenner explores the gradual―and frequently unexpected―evolution of our day-by-day routines.
This isn't a narrative of wars, politics, or nice occasions. in its place, Jenner has scoured Roman garbage boxes, Egyptian tombs, and Victorian sewers to deliver us the main exciting, fabulous, and infrequently downright foolish historic nuggets from our past.
Drawn from internationally, spanning 1000000 years of humanity, this e-book is a smorgasbord of historic delights. it's a background of all these belongings you constantly puzzled about―and many you've by no means thought of. it's the tale of your lifestyles, 1000000 years within the making.
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Extra info for A Million Years in a Day: A Curious History of Everyday Life from the Stone Age to the Phone Age
The simplest of these were shadow clocks which were essentially just a long plank with an upright T-shape stuck on one end, similar to the rear spoiler on a racing dragster, thereby elevating the crossbar off the ground so as to cast a diagonal shadow onto the long plank. When the sun was low in the sky, the shadow was elongated and reached the very end of the plank, like a black cat stretching out to bask in the midday heat, but by late morning the sun would be at its zenith, almost directly over the crossbar, so the shadow would shorten.
Whereas the mounting housework can be cheerfully ignored, the same doesn’t apply to the bladder. So, let’s start this day by scooping our feet into our bedside slippers and shuffling hastily to the bathroom. m. ANSWERING THE CALL OF NATURE Having dragged ourselves out of bed, we suddenly feel the pressing pangs of hunger as we wander past the kitchen. Caffeine and cornflakes would be delicious and stimulating at this juncture, but the demands of the bladder will always outgun those of the stomach, and right now it’s holding us to ransom like a piss-filled terrorist.
As Roman power expanded across Europe and into the Middle East, and it transitioned from Republic to Empire, communication between disparate cities saw sundials began to pop up all over the ancient world, and by the time the brilliant Roman architect Vitruvius was scribbling his treatises on how to build complex stuff like aqueducts, he could list 13 different designs for the timekeeping gadget. Even the great Emperor Caesar Augustus erected a huge Egyptian obelisk as a gnomon in the Campus Martius, while his closest lieutenant, Marcus Agrippa, built Rome’s original Pantheon temple.