The Princess of Burundi (Ann Lindell Mysteries Book 1)

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Pages: 305

Publisher: Minotaur Books (April 1, 2010)

ISBN: B000SEFGCU

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Table 2, with Fell�s suggestions as to these origins, explains itself. ������ In Fell�s popular books on North American inscriptions he was faced with the difficulty of trying to explain to an English-speaking public the meaning and language of texts engraved in tongues so remotely different from English that it made the tasks both of writing the books and of reading them (as many correspondents have told me) decidedly difficult. ������ Now, thanks to King Woden-lithi, these problems all vanish.� he spoke and wrote a language that resounds down the centuries with the age-old familiar tones of all the Norse tongues.� We speakers of English, as well as our cousins in Europe who speak related languages, can all recognize many of the words that Woden-lithi and his Ontario colonists spoke and wrote here seventeen centuries before Julius Caesar first encountered the Norsemen tribes of the Rhineland. ������ Although Woden-lithi's site at Peterborough is the first recognizable Norsemen Bronze Age site to be discovered in America, it now appears that there were other visitors from the Norsemen world of that era.� For some years a puzzling inscription has been known from little Crow Island, near Deer Isle, Maine, but it could not be deciphered, nor was the script recognized.� It is shown in Fig. 72 and in Fig. 73, a provisional reading is given, which suggests that some voyager from Scandinavia, seemingly named Hako or Haakon, visited Maine at a time when the Bronze Age runes were still in use.� [= Ey vik hvi nokkvi leya a vika = "A sheltered island, where ships may lie in a harbor.� Haakon brought his cog here."] This inscription greatly resembles the script called bead ogam, but the resultant text, if it were read as bead ogam, is gibberish, whereas if we treat it as Tifinag script, a Norse text, although rather obscure, emerges.� The lack of associated pictographs or hieroglyphs increases the difficulty of reading the signs. ������ To the discerning eye the solar observatory that King Woden-lithi established at his trading center near Peterborough is one of the wonders of American archaeology.� So surprising do his knowledge of the constellations and his understanding of the motions of the sun through the signs of the zodiac appear that at first it seems impossible that the site could be ancient.� it is more like what one might expect to have been constructed during the early Middle Ages.� However, consideration of what has been discovered about the growth of astronomy shows that it is not at all impossible for Woden-lithi to have known what he did know and yet have lived in an epoch 3,5000 years before our own. ������ Until about a century ago, all that we knew about ancient astronomy was what the Greeks and Romans had written.� It was supposed that the Greeks had named the constellations, and that therefore man's knowledge of the stars as mapped in the constellations could not be older than about 2,700 or 2,800 years.� For some of the constellations, and their roles in setting the time of year for plowing, sowing and reaping, are mentioned by name in the works of Hesiod, the first Greek writer to refer to them, who lived about 800 BC. ������ Then an unexpected discovery was made.� Archaeologists in the Middle East began to uncover tablets of stone in which clear reference was made to constellations, some of them recognizably the same as those we know today, yet the age of the records extended many centuries earlier, into a time antecedent to the Greek civilization. ������ An English astronomer, Richard Proctor, devised an ingenious method of finding out when the constellations first received their names.� He plotted on a chart all the constellations known to the ancients.� He then examined the area in the sky, over the Southern Hemisphere, in which no constellations had been recorded until modern astronomers named them, because the ancient astronomers had not explored the Southern Hemisphere.� He found that this southern blank area has its center, not at the southern celestial pole, as one might expect, but in quire a different place:� a point in the southern sky some 25 degrees to one side of the South Pole.� When he realized that this center must once have been the pole, at the time when the constellations were named, he then attacked the related question, the known motions of the poles as the earth's axis has slowly wobbled like that of a spinning top.� He found that the ancient position of the poles he had discovered, for the time when constellations were named, corresponded to a direction of the earth's axis that was correct 4,000 years ago.� Thus, the constellations must have been named some 2,000 years before the time of Christ.� it was then discovered that the description of some features of the sun's motion in the sky, given by a Greek astronomer names Eudoxus, could not possibly have been true at the time when Eudoxus wrote, but would have been correct had he been quoting from sources dating back to 2000 BC.� The position of the sun at the time of the vernal equinox (in March) was recorded by these early writers as lying in the zodiacal constellation of the Bull.� But in classical times, when Eudoxus wrote, the vernal equinox occurred when the sun is in the constellation of the Ram, some 30 degrees away. ������ What this means is that when the Norsemen farmers first learned the arts of sowing seed by the calendar, and could thereby be sure of seeing the seed sprout instead of rotting in the ground.� Such would have occurred if it were not sown at the correct time.� This phase of social history in the northern lands matched the rise of astronomy, about 2000 BC.� Evidently the astronomical skills passed along the same trade routs as did the trade goods themselves:� from the Danube and the Rhine there spread outward and northward into Germany, and then Scandinavia, a knowledge of the constellations and the motion of the sun through them.� Observatories would be established to watch for the equinoctial rising of the sun and for other significant astronomical events that could be used to keep the calendar correct and functional.� ������ Hence it was one of the concerns of Woden-lithi in America to ensure that his colonists were provided with a practical means of observing the sky and the heavenly bodies, so that they could have always a reliable farmers' calendar.� Certain religious festivals were also regulated by the calendar, such as the spring (New Year) festival in March, and the midwinter or Yule festival held in December. ������ To establish his observatory, Woden-lithi had first to determine the position of the north-south meridian of his site.� He probably used the following method.� First, he selected a central observing point, and engraved two concentric circles into the rock (thus forming the head and central "eye" of what later became the main sun-god image).� An assistant then held a vertical rod, centered in the marker circles, on a clear day as the sun approached its noon altitude.� The shadow cast by the vertical rod would grow shorter as the sun rose higher, and then would begin to lengthen again as the sun passed the highest elevation at noon, and commenced to decline.� The direction of the shadow at its shortest length was marked on the rock.� Checks on subsequent days would establish this shadow line more precisely.� The marked lines except for minor errors due to variations in the velocity of the earth's motion (for which no correction could be made in those early days), would be the meridian, running north and south. ������ Woden-lithi could now lay out the cardinal directions, north, south, east, and west, by making a right-angle intersection with the meridian line, to give the east-west axis (see Fig. 74 ).� Instead of cutting lines for these cardinal axes, however, he made sighting points at their extremities by cutting a sunburst figure, as shown. ������ The sighting sunburst for due east he then identified by an inscription lettered in ogam consaine, shown on the right side of Fig. 74 .� In his Old Norse language <= Saharan ?>� it reads M-D� O-S-D-N (Old Norse mot osten, facing east).� The illustration gives a plan view to the scale shown, so the visitor can readily identify these features at the site. ������ At this stage in his work Woden-lithi had now provided his colonists with the fundamental tool for regulating their calendar, for, every year at the vernal equinox in March, when the ancient year began for all civilized peoples, an observer standing on the site would see the sun rise at a point on the horizon lying on the line of sight from the "eye" of the central sun-god figure. to the eastern sunburst figure.� On that occasion each year the Norsemen peoples held a festival, named for the goddess of the dawn, Eostre.� The name survives in our modern language as Easter, now of course linked with a Christian festival to which the old pagan name has been attached. ������ Ancient peoples also celebrated another festival on the shortest day of the year, called by the Norsemen nations Yule; this pagan festival is nowadays lined with the Christian festival of Christmas, still called Yule (spelled Jul) in Scandinavian countries.� Woden-lithi therefore wished to provide his colonists with a means of determining the day on which the Yule feast should be held, for to the ancient peoples it was a great day of celebration, marking the end of the sun's winter decline and the promise of a new and warmer season ahead. ������ Woden-lithi's inscriptions tell us that he remained in Canada only for five months and that he returned to his home in Scandinavia in October.� hence he could not observe the direction in which the sunrise would be observed on the actual day of midwinter, for he was no longer in Canada.� So apparently he estimated the direction, drawing on his experience in Scandinavia.� In southern Norway the precise direction of sunrise on Midwinter Day varies quite considerably, for at the latitudes spanned by the interval between the southern end of the Skagerrak (at about 56 deg Four Major Plays Four Major Plays.

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