The Hours

The Greeks had goddesses of the divisions of the day. These were the Horai, or Hours.

Auge = first light

Anatole = dawn

Musica = music & study

Gymnastica = gym hour

Nymphe = bathing

Messembria = noon

Sponde = libations hour

Elete = prayer

Cypris = eating & pleasure

Hesperis = evening

Dysis = sunset

Arctos = night

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  • We call them the hours but the Greek goddesses do not represent fixed periods of time so much as the elements of an orderly existence. Wake at first light and offer a prayer to the gods. Get up and enjoy the dawn. Settle down to study. Later do some exercise and then bathe. Take a midday meal and make a libation to the gods. In the early afternoon there is some sacred activity which could be physical work. Later the sacred activity should be lighter and more enjoyable and lead into the evening meal. Another prayer to the sunset and one can settle for the night.

    The classification of activities was different from ours. Where we might see science and the learning of facts as the core of education with mathematics as part of science and the arts as extra, to the Greeks, the arts were the core of education because they were concerned with creating a harmonious person and the purest art was music and at the heart of music was mathematics, the music of the spheres. Mathematics was, as it were, the music of the gods. Science and technology were more peripheral and seen as there to make the more important things possible.

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