When we talk about men and stars, we are talking about the cosmos, which is made up of three things. The first is space, which belongs to man. Even though man is a three-dimensional creature, man's space is to all effect flat, since it is the surface of the earth. The possibilities of a "third dimension'' have always been extremely limited, and there exist few exceptions to this frustrating two-dimensional world. Caves provide limited access to an underground dimension, and mountains are almost unreachable at high altitudes. Therefore, anything set at another level has always been watched, feared, exploited, worshipped, and studied—caves, mountains, and the sky.
The sky has its own cycles and special phenomena, which man cannot hope to interfere with in any way. In fact, the only way to interfere is to predict: forecasting an event confers power on the one who predicts and affords comfort to the one who waits for it to happen, for example, an eclipse or the heliacal rising ("rebirth") of a star. But events occur in the sky that are not predictable, such as the explosion of an extremely bright supernova.
The earth has its own cycles and special phenomena, which man also has no chance of interfering with. Here, too, the only way to interfere is to predict such events as the Atlantic tides or Nile floods. The earth, too, has events that are not predictable, such as droughts, earthquakes, and volcano eruptions.
In the sky, the most important body is the sun. It is the sun that marks the rhythm of the seasons and thus governs the swings between hot and cold, rainy and dry seasons, sowing and harvesting. Keeping track of the sun's behavior is basic for human activity. The persons who studied, understood
G. Magli, Mysteries and Discoveries of Archaeoastronomy, DOI: 10.1007/978-0-387-76566-2_15, 289 © Praxis Publishing, Ltd. 2009
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