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Anthony F. Aveni

Teoksen Empires of Time: Calendars, Clocks, and Cultures tekijä

40+ teosta 1,435 jäsentä 10 arvostelua 1 Favorited

Tietoja tekijästä

Anthony Aveni is the Russell Colgate Distinguished University Professor of Astronomy, Anthropology, and Native American Studies at Colgate University. He has researched and written about Maya astronomy for more than four decades. He was named a US National Professor of the year and has been awarded näytä lisää the H. B. Nicholson Medal for Excellence in Research in Mesoamerican Studies by Harvard's Peabody Museum. He is the author of several books, including Class Not Dismissed, Uncommon Sense, and Empires of Time. näytä vähemmän

Tekijän teokset

Skywatchers of Ancient Mexico (1980) 114 kappaletta
ANCIENT ASTRONOMERS (Exploring the Ancient World) (1995) — Tekijä — 74 kappaletta
Native American Astronomy (1977) 15 kappaletta
The Sky in Mayan Literature (1992) 6 kappaletta

Associated Works

Mysteries of Mankind: Earth's Unexplained Landmarks (1992) — Avustaja — 189 kappaletta

Merkitty avainsanalla




Interesting short book about what other cultures call the stars and constellations and how they use them with stories related to their lives.
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kslade | Dec 8, 2022 |
So I am going to tell you something unsurprising right now; I have never observed an actual eclipse. Lunar or Solar take your pick, I haven’t seen it. The next best thing does exist though. Through the book titled In The Shadow of The Moon by Anthony Aveni, we can live vicariously and discover the wonders of nature.

In the book, Aveni discusses the cultural and historical significance of eclipses. Some of this information is interesting, other bits of it raise questions on the reliability of human memory. For instance, the Ancient Greeks were a superstitious bunch when they were at war with other nations and city-states. Although the Ancient Greeks did have some knowledge of what caused eclipses and how they didn’t really mean anything, many people stuck to the old ways of irrationality and soothsaying. This may have caused Athens a war in at least one case.

However, our science-minded guide points out the inconsistencies in these accounts of the events. Since astronomical bodies like planets and the sun and so on follow set rules that are predictable, we can also go back several centuries or even several millennia to catch them in their lies. For instance, there was something about a battle foretold by the Persians and they lost the battle of Thermopylae or something. But the battle was one date and the only viable eclipses didn’t happen on those days.

Now you may argue something about different calendars, but these people are scientists. They took that into account. You may also argue that I got the prediction details incorrect, but you don’t seem to realize that it doesn’t really matter. Even to this day, there are people that believe in Astrology, that the sky holds meaningful information for us on this planet.

So Aveni goes through various cultures and how they related to eclipses. The Mayans seem to have been able to predict eclipses, and Stonehenge might have been some kind of eclipse prediction device. The Ancient Chinese people loved eclipses since they seemed to predict things, typically omens of disaster. This has changed somewhat, though we still have Astrology as I mentioned, and people who believe in spaceships that follow in the tails of comets. When it comes to all of that though, I suppose truth really is about the same as fiction. All in all, the book was okay. It was interesting in that it introduced me to a new field of study, where people connect Astronomy to Archaeology. It also showed that some people don’t realize that eclipses happen periodically.
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Floyd3345 | Jun 15, 2019 |
While this book appears well researched It preys on some people's obsessions with the end of the world. An interesting read and analysis but not really my cup of tea.
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KatiaMDavis | Dec 19, 2017 |
Anthony Aveni, a professor of astronomy and anthropology, examines the astronomy of various ancient cultures, most specifically the Inca, the Maya, and the people who constructed Stonehenge. He goes into considerable detail about what is known or speculated about how these people observed the sun, moon, planets, and stars, how they kept track of their motions, how these motions were reflected in structures they built, and what role these observations may have played in their cultures. He puts a lot of stress on that last thing, by the way, repeatedly warning that it's easy to project our own modern scientific worldview on people who didn't necessarily think of the universe the same way we do. Which is a point worth making, although perhaps not as relentlessly as he does so.

The writing is pretty dry. And it goes into a lot of detail about the calculations that are used to track the motions of heavenly bodies, keep accurate calendars, predict eclipses, and so forth. These calculations are fundamental to the subject matter, but I have to admit, they inevitably made my eyes glaze a little bit. I'd say this book is probably great for anyone who wants to really get into those nitty-gritty details -- it even provides exercises in the back of the book if you want to try it yourself! -- but is less appealing for someone with a more casual interest in astronomy or archeology.

I did learn some interesting things from it, though, such as the fact that Stonehenge as we know it today actually took shape over something like a thousand years, and the fact that the ancient Mayans used a base-20 counting system.
… (lisätietoja)
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bragan | May 19, 2017 |


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