Cheap Skywatchers, Shamans & Kings : Astronomy and the Archaeology of Power (Wiley Popular Science,) (Book) (E. C. Krupp) Price
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| AUTHOR: || E. C. Krupp |
| CATEGORY: || Book |
| MANUFACTURER: || Wiley |
| ISBN: || 0471048631 |
| TYPE: || Ancient civilization, Archaeoastronomy, Astronomy, Astronomy - General, Astronomy, Ancient, History, History Of Astronomy, Science, Science/Mathematics, Ancient Egyptian religion, Astronomy, Space & Time, Myths & mythology, Oriental religions, Religious rites & ceremonies, Science / Astronomy |
| MEDIA: || Hardcover |
| # OF MEDIA: || 1 |
| UPC: || 723812048632 |
Customer Review of Skywatchers, Shamans & Kings : Astronomy and the Archaeology of Power (Wiley Popular Science,)
The Next Horizon
"Skywatchers, Shamans & Kings: Astronomy and the Archaeology of Power" - A cross-cultural comparative analysis of the evolving relationship between cosmovision and state power from the ancient world until the present.
A cross-cultural comparative analysis assembled out of archaeological sites the author has visited, "Skywatchers, Shamans & Kings" uses an entertaining anecdotal writing style to teach a few basics of astronomy without being didactic. Skywatchers, Shamans & Kings have shaped civilization from the very beginning, and their story paints a provocative portrait of humanity. The sky our ancient ancestors saw has influenced the establishment and alignment of monuments and whole cities, authorized wars, sanctified empires, and solidified society. Ancient astronomers were responsible for knowledge so valuable their services have been commissioned by Emperors & Kings in every epoch of history and on every continent of the earth.
"Skywatchers, Shamans & Kings'" focus is primarily on the world of the ancients however, parallels between ancient and contemporary cultures are emphasized throughout. Modern society is in mourning over the loss of wholeness that "The Center of the World" had once given us, 'what "cosmovisions" can guide us across this wilderness of contemporary affairs?' Secularization was meant to temper influence and limit power yet, news headlines tell us of theocratic agendas still accountable for political unrest the world over. Even thousands of years later, increased globalization and current events demonstrate that we continue to confront issues raised by power from the skies.
Skywatchers - Ideological reactions to the sky are from perceptions made through a physiological and earth-bound frame of reference.
Shamans - Human cultures evolve ideological explanations of the physical universe to create social cohesion.
& Kings - Power from the sky authorizes social control. Contemporary people are haunted as deeply by their myth-bound minds as the ideologies of the ancients were haunted by their earth-bound view of the sky.
"Skywatchers, Shamans & Kings" investigates the cultural evolution of societies from the end of the last Ice Age, through the end of the Second World War, ultimately arriving at the global conflicts of today. Edwin Krupp's intimate knowledge of more than 1,700 ancient sites worldwide, guides a journey of discovery leading from our most ancient ancestors to our future selves. An eclectic romp through history with all its ideological forces laid bare, "Skywatchers, Shamans & Kings" is history shown through the lens of archaeoastronomy, but it may as well be a biography of humanity's confrontation with consciousness where, the sky plays the recurring main character. From the Venus warfare of the ancient Maya, to the fate of modern political states, "Skywatchers, Shamans & Kings" is a thorough and rational interdisciplinary analysis, with an optimistic message for our future.
Astronomy and the archaeology of power
The title of my review is the subtitle to E.C. Krupp's book, 'Skywatchers, Shamans, and Kings'. This serves to illustrate the point that in many civilisations, the roles of priests, scholars, scientist/researcher, astronomer/astrologer, and healer were often mixed, and generally closely related to the centre of power.
Even today, the fact that the Queen of England appoints bishops who (many of them) also sit in the legislative body, is demonstrative of the hold-over that this kind of power has been through history.
Drawing from the archaeological, historical and literary records of many old civilisations, Krupp's text goes from China (where early dynasties invested heavily in astronomical observation) to the Mayan Empire (where likewise whole towns were devoted to the maintenance of a priesthood that in turn maintained a calendar). These in addition to the Hopi and other Native Americans, African tribes, Pacific islanders and other cultures have found astronomical observation necessary for the proper interpretation of signs, too, and thus the astronomers become shamans and wield power.
Krupp discusses the sociology and politics of power alongside the scientific and archaeological data he presents. In his chapter 'Plugging Into Power', for instance, he goes into a linguistic analysis of the word 'power' and talks about the pitfalls of those who exercise power and authority while also discussing the ceremonial rites and attributes of artifacts of particular cultures.
'No less an authority than the Smithsonian Institution asserts...that the most powerful person in each village of the Yupik Eskimos of southwest Alaska was the shaman. Like all shamans, he moved between this world and the spirit world to cure illness and influence the weather. He persuaded the sea mammals, the fish, and the game birds to return in their proper seasons, and he mobilised the ceremonial life of the community. Yupik communities were small. They relied almost exclusively on hunting, and most of the time each family operated independently. The shaman was their contact with the spirits and the one most familiar with the requirements. To deal with spirits, he had to go to their neighbourhoods, and that meant knowing how the universe was organised.'
Of course, in more developed societies, the shaman becomes the priest, who begins to take on prerogatives of power, particularly when there is a leader who can be easily influenced by religious ideas.
'Power to modify the behaviour of the king, no matter how well it may be contained, retains the risk of exploitation,' Krupp writes in the chapter entitled Enlightened Self-Interest and Ulterior Motives. However, often as not, shamans and priests were agents of renewal, rebirth, managers of the life cycles of the communities, and healing powers (particularly important in times without mechanical clocks, calendars, or modern medicine).
This book is a very interesting discussion of world cultures from a perspective often overlooked by historians generally, and Western historians particularly. It has a great bibliography for those inclined to further research.
Skywatchers, Shamans & Kings finally dusted down !
Skywatchers, Shamans & Kings finally dusted down again by Edwin C. Krupp ! Ancient Skywatchers are taken for serious again, by someone who is able to follow the rythm of the celestial bodies down to their oldest paths -- Shamans disappeared into the shadows of history, revisited today and listened to - and Kings emerging to have their importance and message understood. Krupp blows the dust off knowledge that has been pushed aside by technology and laughed at by modern man, who took old wisdom for superstition. And who forgot to look up at the sky and note down its numbers and ways. Krupp is very able to fresh-up our view and draw our attention again to matters that will always form an important part of our daily life and our year-around existence. - Miss Leon (A.M.) Kloezeman
Friday 21 september 2001
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