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by Archaeology Newsroom

The passage of time in Byzantium

Time was a matter of fascination to the Byzantines as one can tell by the Church canon, the lives of the saints and the menologium. At times it seems that heightened interest was taken in eschatological issues such as those of death, judgement and destiny. It must have been during such periods that sundials were built in the churches of mainland Greece, out of which eleven survive to our day. However, whilst in the West the time was displayed in public places thus enforcing and supporting the work ethic, in Byzantium sundials were a rarity. In Byzantium time was considered to be by its nature finite, ending with the Second Coming which was expected to happen in the 6th century. From the 6th century to the 10th century AD, various predictions of doom foretold that the end of time would coincide with the end of the Empire.