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This book analyses the magnificent imperial necropolises of ancient China from the perspective of Archaeoastronomy, a science which takes into account the landscape in which ancient monuments are placed, focusing especially but not exclusively on the celestial aspects. The power of the Chinese emperors was based on the so-called Mandate of Heaven: the rulers were believed to act as intermediaries between the sky gods and the Earth, and consequently, the architecture of their tombs, starting from the world-famous mausoleum of the first emperor, was closely linked to the celestial cycles and to the cosmos. This relationship, however, also had to take into account various other factors and doctrines, first the Zhao-Mu doctrine in the Han period and later the various forms of Feng Shui. As a result, over the centuries, diverse sacred landscapes were constructed. Among the sites analysed in the book are the pyramids of Xi'an from the Han dynasty, the mountain tombs of the Tang dynasty, and the Ming and Qing imperial tombs. The book explains how considerations such as astronomical orientation and topographical orientation according to the principles of Feng Shui played a fundamental role at these sites.
This is a second edition of a textbook that provides the first comprehensive, easy-to-read, and up-to-date account of the fascinating discipline of archaeoastronomy, in which the relationship between ancient constructions and the sky is studied in order to gain a better understanding of the ideas of the architects of the past and of their religious and symbolic worlds. The book is divided into three sections, the first of which explores the past relations between astronomy and people, power, the afterworld, architecture, and landscape. The second part then discusses in detail the fundamentals of archaeoastronomy, including the celestial coordinates; the apparent motion of the sun, moon, stars, and planets; observation of celestial bodies at the horizon; the use of astronomical software in archaeoastronomy; and current methods for making and analyzing measurements. The final section reviews what archaeoastronomy can now tell us about the nature and purpose of such sites and structures as Stonehenge, the Pyramids of Giza, Chichen Itza, the Angkor Temples, the Campus Martius, and the Valley of the Temples of Agrigento. In addition, it provides a set of exercises that can be performed using non-commercial free software, e.g., Google Earth and Stellarium, and that will equip readers to conduct their own research. This new edition features a completely new chapter on archaeoastronomy in Asia and an augmented reality framework, which on the one hand enhances the didactic value of the book using direct links to the relevant sections of the author's MOOC (online) lessons and, on the other, allows readers to directly experience - albeit virtually -many of the spectacular archaeological sites described in the book. This is an ideal introduction to what has become a wide-ranging multidisciplinary science.
This book explores the insights that Cultural Astronomy provides into the classical Roman world by unveiling the ways in which the Romans made use of their knowledge concerning the heavens, and by shedding new light on the interactions between astronomy and heritage in ancient Roman culture. Leading experts in the field present fascinating information on how and why the Romans referred to the sky when deciding upon the orientation of particular monuments, temples, tombs and even urban layouts. Attention is also devoted to questions of broader interest, such as the contribution that religious interpretation of the sky made in the assimilation of conquered peoples. When one considers astronomy in the Roman world it is customary to think of the work and models of Ptolemy, and perhaps the Julian calendar or even the sighting of the Star of Bethlehem. However, like many other peoples in antiquity, the Romans interacted with the heavens in deeper ways that exerted a profound influence on their culture. This book highlights the need to take this complexity into account in various areas of research and will appeal to all those who wish to learn more about the application of astronomy in the lives and architecture of the Romans.
The book is divided into two parts. In the first, the reader is taken on an ideal 'world tour' of many wonderful and enigmatic places in almost every continent, in search of traces of astronomical knowledge and lore of the sky. In the second part, Giulio Magli uses the elements presented in the tour to show that the fundamental idea which led to the construction of the astronomically-related giant monuments was the foundation of power, a foundation which was exploited by 'replicating' the sky. A possible interpretive model then emerges that is founded on the relationship the ancients had with nature , in the sense of everything that surrounded them, the cosmos. The numerous monumental astronomically aligned structures of the past then become interpretable as acts of will, expressions of power on the part of those who held it; the will to replicate the heavenly plane here on earth and to build sacred landscapes. Finally, having formulated his hypothesis, Professor Magli returns to visit one specific place in detail, searching for proof. This in-depth examination studies the most compelling, the most intensively studied, the most famous and, until recently, the most misunderstood sacred landscape on the planet - Giza, in Egypt. The archaeoastronomical analysis of the orientation of the Giza pyramids leads to the hypothesis that the pyramids of Cheops and Chephren belong to the same construction project.