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Thread: Cultures and legends. Question.

  1. #1
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    Post Cultures and legends. Question.

    Living in New Zealand I have been made aware of the local culture and their knowledge of the sky.
    The New Zealand Maori used the sky as a navigation tool extensively. Their knowledge of star positions in regards to seasonal changes was remarkable. Entwined into the mythology of many 'gods'... Planting of the root vegetables and fishing patterns were dictated by lunar and star positions. With some interest in their knowledge I found that they had observed and spoken of Venus being a morning and evening object and had knowledge of it being the same object. Naming it as the same object.
    With the rising of ' Matariki ' being the indication of the New Year. Rising in a moonless eastern morning sky.
    I note that in other cultures this star group was prominent as Subaru-Japan. Krittikas-India., and Pleiades or the seven sisters in Europe. I have asked this as a question because I want more information about different cultural groups and the legends they recorded of the skies. I do not mind if the team redirect this thread...
    So any local cultures astronomy...please ?

  2. #2
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    I'm not sure exactly what is your question astromark. Are you just asking for people to describe astronomy in other ancient cultures? There is an entire field of study of this: Archaeoastronomy (I took a course in college).

    And yes, Venus, the Pleiades, and many of the other more common astronomical objects were recognized in ancient times. The Mayans and the other Mesoamerican cultures were very knowledgeable, and Venus was prominent in both their observations and their mythology. Many of these cultures around the world used such markers as calendars: for plantings, rainy season, etc.
    At night the stars put on a show for free (Carole King)

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  3. #3
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    The Tupi-Guarani tribes inhabiting Brazil called the Pleiades "Eixu" [pron: A-Shoo]. They had their own names for the constellations too.

  4. #4
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    This doesn't count as ancient culture, but when I was in Sao Paulo, they referred to the three belt stars of Orion as The Three Marys.
    Forming opinions as we speak

  5. #5
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    The Dobe, one of the bands of the Khong San in Africa do see the Pleiades as the Seven Sisters. The story they tell is that Aldebaran was trying to get near them as a suitor. So they informed him that he would have to hunt for the three wildebeest that are standing on the hill. (The belt of Orion). So he shot a flaming arrow at them and missed terribly, causing a bright red fire. (Betelgeuse). Repositioning to another part from the slope of the hill and dipping the arrow in some scent from the stem of a flower, he aimed and missed again, causing a bright fire. (Rigel). Now he was fuming and grabbed a torch and decided to run right up the hill and torch all the grass surrounding the wildebeest. Bellatrix was waiting for him and tripped him, making him lose control of the torch, sending it end over end and over the hill beyond the wildebeest, landing in a pond of quicksand where it smoldered and rolled and smoldered again, giving off a fog of smoke. (M42).

    So they laughed at him as he turned red with embarrassment with Hyenas (Hyades) surrounding him with their own laughter.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by antoniseb View Post
    This doesn't count as ancient culture, but when I was in Sao Paulo, they referred to the three belt stars of Orion as The Three Marys.
    Yeah, 'As TrÍs Marias', in Portuguese. A reference to the catholic iconography.

  7. #7
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    Yes, Blueshift... that is what I am looking for. Those cultural groups special beliefs and legends. You have all given me a starting point for much research. Opened a field of interest for me... and good on you 'Swift., Archaeoastronomy.... I'm away for a week.

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