09 March 2012

Time travelling troubles

This morning I was reminded that Sunday morning at 2:00 a.m. when are to "spring ahead" one hour.  I wish after we do so we would not change the clocks again; I like light in the evening.

As you know, this small time change will cause many people Sunday morning to feel rather groggy, being robbed of an hour of sleep.  It's something like jet lag, only not as bad.

Travelling through time is no easy feat, especially when going to places that don't change their clocks, like Hawaii.  It's especially difficult when planning a trip to Indiana, where some counties change their clocks and some counties do not:

Currently I'm reading my through Ian Mortimer's fascinating book, The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century.  It's a book I highly recommend.

If you think adjusting to a time change of one hour - whether it be forward or backward - how about adjusting to a change of years depending on your location?

In his chapter on "Basic Essentials," Mortimer notes that the reckoning of the new year was sometimes done on January 1, March 25, or September 29, depending on your location, and he considers the implications of such dating:
Medieval dating systems become even more complicated for international travellers.  The day on which New Year's Day gifts are exchanged in England for the historical year 1367 falls in 1366 in Florence and Venice, but in 1367 in the Italian port of Pisa, where the year begins on the previous March 25.  If you sail from England on January 1, 1366, and land at Pisa in mid-February, there it will be 1367 already.  Travel on to Venice, and arrive before the end of February, and you will be back in 1366.  Leave after March 1 and Anno Domini will be 1367.  Ride into Florence and you will be back in 1366 again.  Return to your boat at Pisa on or after March 25 and it will be 1368.  Sail on to Provence and you will find yourself back in 1367.  Stop in Portugal or Castile on the return journey - where the date is still reckoned from the advent of the Romans - and it will be 1405.  The Spanish Era (as the dating system beginning in 38 BC is called) is still in use in Portugal (until 1422) and Castile (until 1384) [emphasis original] (82-83).
Talk about jet lag (its Medieval equivalent)!

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