It all started a long, long time ago...

    A base 60 numbering system was first used about 5,500 years ago. Ancient Sumerians and Babylonians would count from 1 to 12 on one hand, using the thumb as a pointer to each of the bones of the fingers. 3 bones on each of 4 fingers equals 12. Then, using the fingers and thumb of the other hand, they went through the first 5 sets of 12. ...12, 24, 36, 48, 60. This numbering system would have been more than adequate, as most everything that needed counting in everyday life was less than 60.

    The reason why they used base 60 rather than what we use today is simple. 60 is divisible by 12 numbers, making it very easy to divide. In fact, halves, thirds, quarters, fifths, sixths, tenths, twelfths, fifteenths, twentieths, thirtieths, and sixtieths are all possible without any leftovers. messy fractions, like 3 1/3, when you try to divide 10 by 3. In this regard, 12 is like a junior 60 in that it is easily divisible by 2, 3, 4, 6, and 12.

    About this time a very significant theory came into being. Astronomers were able to measure, fairly accurately, the length of the year. They knew it was about 365 1/4 days. They thought that number odd, but then someone theorized that at one point in the past, the number of days used to be 360 and everything fell into place. If each day represented a point on a circle and each day corresponded to an angle based on the distance from one day to the next, when an equilateral triangle was placed with one of the points at the point of rotation, in the center of the circle, exactly 6 of the equilateral triangles could be placed within the circle. And, the number of days each triangle lined up with was... 60. The unit of the angle they gave for one day's travel came to be known as a degree.

    Another discovery of the time was something, not from science, but from the arts. In music, it was found an octave could be divided into equal notes, called semitones. The number of semitones from one note to its octave? 12.

    Some of the ancients would have deemed 12 and 60 magic because all of their naturally occurring instances. Most, would have thought it was proof of God's existence. Who else but God could've placed the secrets of the universe in everyone's hands?


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