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The opposing view is that time does not refer to any kind of "container" that events and objects "move through", nor to any entity that "flows", but that it is instead part of a fundamental intellectual structure (together with space and number) within which humans sequence and compare events.This second view, in the tradition of Gottfried Leibniz See Units of Time.An operational definition of time, wherein one says that observing a certain number of repetitions of one or another standard cyclical event (such as the passage of a free-swinging pendulum) constitutes one standard unit such as the second, is highly useful in the conduct of both advanced experiments and everyday affairs of life.The operational definition leaves aside the question whether there is something called time, apart from the counting activity just mentioned, that flows and that can be measured.

The numbers twelve and thirteen came to feature prominently in many cultures, at least partly due to this relationship of months to years.

They could be used to measure the hours even at night, but required manual upkeep to replenish the flow of water.

The Ancient Greeks and the people from Chaldea (southeastern Mesopotamia) regularly maintained timekeeping records as an essential part of their astronomical observations.

The French Republican Calendar's days consisted of ten hours of a hundred minutes of a hundred seconds, which marked a deviation from the 12-based duodecimal system used in many other devices by many cultures. A large variety of devices have been invented to measure time. An Egyptian device that dates to c.1500 BC, similar in shape to a bent T-square, measured the passage of time from the shadow cast by its crossbar on a nonlinear rule. At noon, the device was turned around so that it could cast its shadow in the evening direction.

A sundial uses a gnomon to cast a shadow on a set of markings calibrated to the hour.