Authors Note

As we shall soon see, the ancients had very clear ideas about what goes on in the sky, and consequently, in order to get the most out of this book, the reader will need to know at least the basics. Unfortunately, though, we hardly ever raise our eyes to the sky nowadays, and while the annual solar cycle and its relative terminology (solstices, equinoxes, etc.) are more or less familiar, once we start talking, for instance, about the 18.6-year lunar node cycle, we enter into an area of knowledge that, if we ever studied it at all in grade school, has most likely been long forgotten. For this reason, I had originally thought to put the appendix, "The Sky with the Naked Eye," at the beginning of the book, but a unanimous chorus of opposition from those unfortunate souls who were subjected to reading the early drafts of this book made me change my mind. So whenever a term is unfamiliar, be it Milky Way or precessional cycle, turn to Appendix 1 at the end of the book for an explanation.

I should also point out that, in the interest of further easing your reading, I have chosen to forgo footnotes completely.

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