excerpts from

Across the Zodiac: The Story of a Wrecked Record

by Percy Greg


edited by Thomas Gangale

from Chapter 5:

"We date events from the union of all races and nations in a single State, a union which was formally established 13,218 years ago."

from Chapter 9:

The Martial day, which consists of about twenty-four hours forty minutes of our time, is divided in a somewhat peculiar manner. The two-hour periods, of which "mean" sunrise, and sunset are severally the middle points, are respectively called the morning and evening zydau. But for purposes of exact calculation, the day, beginning an hour before mean sunrise, is distributed into twelve periods, or antoi, of a little more than two terrestrial hours each. These again are subdivided by twelve into periods of a little more than 10m., 50s., 2 1/2s., and 5/24s respectively; but of these the second and last are alone employed in common speech. The uniform employment of twelve as the divisor and multiplier in tables of weight, distance, time, and space, as well as in arithmetical notation, has all the conveniences of the decimal system due to the greater convenience of twelve as a base. But as regards the larger divisions of time, the Martials are placed at a great disadvantage by the absence of any such intermediate divisions as the Moon has suggested to Terrestrials.

The revolutions of the satellites are too rapid and their periods too brief to be of service in dividing their year of 668 2/3 solar days. Martial civilization having taken its rise within the tropics--indeed the equatorial continents, which, only here and there extend far into the temperate zone, and two minor continents in the southern ocean, are the only well-peopled portions of the planet--the demarcation of the seasons afforded by the solstices have been comparatively disregarded. The year is divided into winter and summer, each beginning with the Equinox, and distinguished as the North and South summer respectively. But these being exceedingly different in duration--the Northern half of the planet having a summer exceeding by seventy-six days that of the Southern hemisphere--are of no use as accurate divisions of time.

Time is reckoned, accordingly, from the first day of the year; the 669th day being incomplete, and the new year beginning at the moment of the Equinox with the 0th day.