Dr Neil Stanley Independent Sleep Expert
BACK Robert Semple, Observations on a Journey through Spain and Italy to Naples: and thence to Smyrna and Constantinople. Comprising a Description of the Principal Places in that Route and Remarks on the Present Natural and Political State of those Countries, 2 vols. (London,  1808), ii, 83.  here  Nothing can exceed the liveliness and bustle of this street, which from day-break, till some time after sun-set, is constantly thronged with passengers, carriages, soldiers, lazzaroni plying for hire, swarms of beggars, and rows of stalls, where bread, fruits, meats ready dressed, and iced water are sold. The carriages drive with great rapidity, and appear to cleave the immense crowd, which quickly closes again, like the waves on the track of a vessel. Ekirch seems to have made a very poor choice of reference to illustrate his assertion that bedtimes were later because Semple embarked on his journey to Naples from Rome on 22nd February  and it seems to have taken four days to get to Naples thus we can assume he arrived on either the 26th or 27th February, using 2018 data sunset in Naples on these days is approx. 1750. Therefore there is nothing in this passage that supports Ekirch’s hypothesis concerning the lateness of bedtimes or the the timing of ‘first sleep’. BACK
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