The Calendar

Listen in pop-out player

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the calendar, which shapes the lives of millions of people. It is an invention that gives meaning to the passing of time and orders our daily existence. It links us to the arcane movements of the heavens and the natural rhythms of the earth. It is both deeply practical and profoundly sacred. But where does this strange and complex creation come from? Why does the week last seven days but the year twelve months? Who named these concepts and through them shaped our lives so absolutely? The answers involve Babylonian Astronomers and Hebrew Theologians, Roman Emperors and Catholic Popes. If the calendar is a house built on the shifting sands of time, it has had many architects. With Robert Poole, Reader in History at St Martin’s College Lancaster and author of Time’s Alteration, Calendar Reform in Early Modern England; Kristen Lippincott, Deputy Director of the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich; Peter Watson, Research Associate at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research at Cambridge University and author of A Terrible Beauty – A History of the People and Ideas that Shaped the Modern Mind.

Release date:

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Thu 19 Dec 2002 21:30

Featured in...

Can you help us choose a new Top 10?

Melvyn Bragg

To mark our 750th programme, we’d like to hear which In Our Time episodes you most enjoy.

Topics: an extra way to explore our archive

Topics: an extra way to explore our archive

How you helped us find a fresh way to discover our programmes.

Quiz: In Our Time in 2016

James Chadwick’s neutron chamber

Can you remember what we’ve covered this year?

In Our Time podcasts

In Our Time podcasts

Every episode of In Our Time is available to download.

The Matter of the North

BBC_R4_MELVYN_BRAGG_AHW-1920.jpg

Melvyn Bragg explores the pivotal role of England's north in shaping modern Britain.

Arts and Ideas podcast

Free Thinking

Download the best of Radio 3's Free Thinking programme.