Charles C. Mann Quote

In Mesoamerica, timekeeping provided the stimulus that accounting gave to the Middle East. Like contemporary astrologers, the Olmec, Maya, and Zapotec believed that celestial phenomena like the phases of the moon and Venus affect daily life. To measure and predict these portents requires careful sky watching and a calendar. Strikingly, Mesoamerican societies developed three calendars: a 365-day secular calendar like the contemporary calendar; a 260-day sacred calendar that was like no other calendar on earth; and the equally unique Long Count, a one-by-one tally of the days since a fixed starting point thousands of years ago.

Charles C. Mann

In Mesoamerica, timekeeping provided the stimulus that accounting gave to the Middle East. Like contemporary astrologers, the Olmec, Maya, and Zapotec believed that celestial phenomena like the phases of the moon and Venus affect daily life. To measure and predict these portents requires careful sky watching and a calendar. Strikingly, Mesoamerican societies developed three calendars: a 365-day secular calendar like the contemporary calendar; a 260-day sacred calendar that was like no other calendar on earth; and the equally unique Long Count, a one-by-one tally of the days since a fixed starting point thousands of years ago.

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About Charles C. Mann

Charles C. Mann (born 1955) is an American journalist and author, specializing in scientific topics. In 2006 his book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus won the National Academies Communication Award for best book of the year. He is the coauthor of four books, and contributing editor for Science, The Atlantic Monthly, and Wired.