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Bernard M -- Taipei English Tutor

Bernard M - English Conversation / TOEFL / IELTS 一對一英文會話

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A sense of time and numbers

Left: Diagram of the Astronomical Clock Tower from Su Sung's book. He and his collaborators built the clock in 11th century China.

This is how Marc Bloch, in his Feudal Society, describes the contemporaneous European sense of time and numbers:
"Nothing would have been easier or more useful than to keep an accurate record of such important legal dates as those of the births of rulers; yet in 1284 a full investigation was necessary to determine, as far as possible, the age of one of the greatest heiresses of the Capetian realm, the young countess of Champagne. In the tenth and eleventh centuries, innumerable charters and memoranda were undated, although their only purpose was to serve as records. . . . What is more, it was not the notion of time only, it was the domain of number as a whole which suffered from this haziness. The extravagant figures of the chroniclers are not merely literary exaggeration; they are evidence of the lack of all awareness of statistical realities."

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