Skip to main content

View Diary: Ancient America: Teotihuacan (71 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Stars (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larsstephens, Ebby, Ojibwa

    Yes, surely some people specialized in one or another practice of astronomy, connected with their role in society. But their astronomy was in the terms of their overall mass culture. In ancient cultures, as is retained at least vestigially in modern scientific cultures, each star was a god or other supernatural character, who "starred" in stories (usually songs) describing their travels, which could be interpreted in many ways. Most people knew the stories as moral guidance. Some knew them as guides to affairs of state. Others seem to have used some of them as guides to physical travel, like the songlines by which traditional Australians map their entire continent. The power of a holistic culture is that encoded in one "literature" is the info for all walks of life, if properly decoded by the contexts learned in each walk.

    As for the orientation of Mesoamerican cities, I know almost nothing of it. But what sounds essentially true is that they're all oriented in some single consistent direction, which is itself interesting considering the cultural, geographic and temporal variety in which they were built. Whether that's "15 degrees from Magnetic North", or some onetime Magnetic North, or some offset from True North, or some point in the sky (perhaps ancient from which stars have drifted) is a matter of the context in which the old inhabitants understood it. Which sounds like a fascinating subject to investigate.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Sun Oct 10, 2010 at 03:58:20 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site