Question #88570

1 Answer
Oct 14, 2016

Both of these come from ancient cultures that were heavily interested in astronomy and math.


Many ancient cultures divided the day into either 12 or 24 parts - Ancient Egypt, India and Sumer all divided the day into 24 parts, and Ancient China divided the day into 12 parts. As far as we know, all of these systems came about from observing the stars or patterns in the time from sunrise to sunset. Ancient Greeks took the Ancient Egyptian system, which varied the length of the hours depending on the season, and made them all equal.

The 360 degree circle is similarly taken from ancient cultures. Babylon, which liked to use 60 as the base for everything (possibly also why we have 60 minutes in an hour), noticed that the sun slightly changed how it moved across the sky throughout the year. They observed that it took approximately 360 days for the sun to complete a full pattern, so they divided circles into 360 degree parts as well. Other cultures likely adopted the same system and that's how it lives on today.

The relationship: both are holdovers from ancient civilizations that no longer exist, and both came about from careful observation of the world around them, especially the sun and other heavenly bodies. You can blame astronomy for everything.