Skywatchers, Shamans, & Kings

Skywatchers, Shamans, & Kings

Astronomy and the Archaeology of Power

Book - 1997
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forces that govern our lives. In Skywatchers, Shamans, and Kings, acclaimed author E. C. Krupp takes us on a fascinating journey to all corners of the world to visit the shrines and temples, tombs and caves where ancient priests and rulers communed with the gods of the sky. These are the sacred places where the magical power of the celestial spheres was encountered and the secrets of the planets and stars were divined

The tomb of the Maya ruler Six Sky served as a compass of cosmic power, built at the center of the Maya cosmos where the First Father was said to have given order to the world. The King's Chamber of the Great Pyramid of Egypt contained a narrow portal through which King Khufu ascended to rule over the Imperishable Stars. From the Terrace for Managing Heaven, hosts of skywatchers attended Khubilai Khan and devised masterful calendars of celestial events that confirmed his divinely sanctioned right to rule

Drawing on his intimate knowledge of more than 1,300 ancient sites he has visited, E. C. Krupp, one of the world's foremost experts on ancient astronomy, takes us to the essential sacred places—as well as celestial shrines far off the beaten path—in an evocative narrative richly enhanced by more than 150 photographs and illustrations. Through vivid descriptions of the important sites and their ritual meanings, he reveals how the rulers of ancient peoples from the Aztecs to the Mongols built monuments and practiced rituals with which they harnessed the power of the sky and sanctified their authority over their worlds

He decodes enigmatic inscriptions on temples and tombs, interprets the haunting imagery of sand paintings and petroglyphs, and traces the elaborate astronomical alignments according to which monuments and whole cities were constructed so that they mirrored the structure of the cosmos and permitted contact with its power. He describes the constellations and sky gods envisioned by the ancients and recounts the stories told about the characters painted in the stars

We meet shaman-chiefs and storm lords, pharaohs and imperial rulers, medicine men and rain kings, and we learn how the rituals they practiced expressed intriguing beliefs about the cosmic order, from how the celestial powers governed nature—presiding over the rhythms of time in the progression of days and seasons—to the way in which the world was created and what our place is in the sacred landscape

Even as we move today into a high-tech twenty-first century, we are still entranced by the mystery, beauty, and power of the celestial spheres. In Skywatchers, Shamans, and Kings, we can reach back to our early ancestors and discover the myriad ways in which the powers of the sky invested meaning and order in their lives

Critical acclaim for E. C. Krup

On Echoes of the Ancient Skies

"In an age that spends far too much time looking down, Dr. Krupp teaches us once more to look up at the stars and marvel. For this renewal, many thanks." —Ray Bradbur

"Beautifully produced, profusely illustrated. . . . It should be read by anyone even remotely interested in the long saga of the Universe's profound and lasting influence on mankind's development." —New Scientis

"A grand book...much is fresh here." —Publishers Weekl

On Beyond the Blue Horizon

"Besides being delightful stories, they confirm just how far back our fascination with the sky goes . . . [Krupp is] a peer of Joseph Campbell." —The San Diego Time

"Krupp's writing is always in the best style, and this work is no exception. . . . This is an impressive, interesting, and useful work whose pages should become worn from use over the many years it will remain a standard, highly treasured source of information." —Sky and Telescop

"Excellent. . . . An extraordinary collection of folktales and myths and lore relating to the cosmos and our place in it, all placed into context by an astronomer who revels in the wonder and beauty of the natural world." —Skeptical Inquire

Baker & Taylor
Looks at the role of astronomy in ancient cultures, and explains how astronomical knowledge was used for religious and political purposes

Book News
The release of yet another Star Trek movie gives evidence to the human fascination with the stars. In a more scholarly though not less entertaining manner, Krupp (director, Griffith Observatory) explores the beginnings of this celestial wonderment, visiting the sacred places where ancient priests and rulers communed with the gods and magical powers were harnessed. His descriptions make these ancient places and persons come alive again from their archeological digs and enigmatic inscriptions, including sites such as the tomb of the Maya ruler Six Sky, the King's Chamber of the Great Pyramid of Egypt, and the Terrace for Managing Heaven where Khubilai Khan confirmed his divine sanction to rule. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

Publisher: New York : John Wiley & Sons, c1997
ISBN: 9780471048633
Characteristics: x, 364 p. : ill., maps ; 24 cm
Alternative Title: Skywatchers, shamans, and kings


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