Posts tagged ‘farmer’

Astronomy in the Maya Codices: APS Memoirs Vol. 265

Astronomy in the Maya Codices: APS Memoirs Vol. 265
By Harvey M. Bricker and Victoria R. Bricker
(Hardcover, 907 pages, 2011, $75.00)

Astronomy in the Maya Codices

The Precolumbian Maya were closely attuned to the movements of the Sun and the Moon, the stars and the planets. Their rituals and daily tasks were performed according to a timetable established by these celestial bodies, a timetable based on a highly complex calendar system. Agriculture provided the foundation for their civilization, and the skies served as a kind of farmer’s almanac for when to plant and when to harvest.

In this remarkable volume, noted Maya scholars Harvey Bricker and Victoria Bricker offer invaluable insight into the complex world of the Precolumbian Maya, and in particular the amazing achievements of Maya astronomy, as revealed in the Maya codices the indigenous hieroglyphic books written before the Spanish Conquest. This far-reaching study confirms that, independent of the Old World traditions that gave rise to modern Western astronomy, the Precolumbian Maya achieved a sophisticated knowledge of astronomy based on observations recorded over centuries. Illustrations.

Here is the right half of the seasonal tables of the Dresden Codex:
Astronomy in the Maya Codices

Astronomy in the Maya Codices is the first thorough treatise on the codices since Thompson’s A Commentary on the Dresden Codex four decades ago,” writes Prof. Anthony F. Aveni, the Russell Colgate Distinguished University Professor of Astronomy and Anthropology and Native American Studies at Colgate University.

“The Brickers’ work is special in that it gives a complete account of the historical background of scholarly inquiries into each of the instruments they deal with. Finally, and most importantly, rather than imagining them to consist merely of endless temporal rounds, the Brickers attempt to place each cordial instrument in real time, an approach they uniquely develop and fully justify. In its depth, thoroughness, and revealed new insights, this work will remain the ‘last word’ on the role of astronomy in the codices and in Maya thought for a long time to come.”

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August 16, 2011 at 11:04 am Leave a comment

Peter Collinson and the Eighteenth-Century Natural History Exchange (American Philosophical Society Memoir 264, ISBN: 9780871692641)

Peter Collinson and the Eighteenth-Century Natural History Exchange
(American Philosophical Society Memoir 264, ISBN: 9780871692641)
by Jean O’Neill and Elizabeth P. McLean
(Paperback, 216 pages, 2008, $75.00)

Peter CollinsonCollinson’s life is a microcosm of 18th-century natural history. A gardener and naturalist by avocation, he was what we would now call a facilitator in natural science, disseminating botanical and horticultural knowledge during the Enlightenment.

He influenced the Comte de Buffon and Linnaeus. He found clients for the Philadelphia naturalist John Bartram. American plants populated great estates like those of the Dukes of Richmond, Norfolk, and Bedford, as well as the Chelsea Physic Garden, and the nurseries of James Gordon and Robert Furber. Botanic painters such as Mark Catesby and Georg Dionysius Ehret painted American plants in Collinson’s garden.

He had an unprecedented effect on the exchange of scientific information on both sides of the Atlantic, being credited for introducing more than 150 plans to horticulture. Illustrations.

“One man can make a difference,” co-author Elizabeth McLean tells Green Scene [PDF] in the September/October 2009 issue. “[Collinson] did it for love. He was self-educated, yet he made enormous contributions to natural history in the eighteenth century.”

This book has been indexed by H.W. Wilson in their “Essay and General Literature Index” for June 2009.

H.W. Wilson writes: “These essays describe the life and achievements of the Quaker Peter Collinson, an 18th century London draper and naturalist whose interest in horticulture led him to establish contact with the Philadelphia Quaker farmer and naturalist John Bartram and to import Bartram’s American plants to England.

“The consequent popularity of American plants in English gardens, reflected even in the botanic paintings of the period, have earned Collinson a place in the history of botany as a facilitator between English and American horticulture.”

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July 4, 2010 at 2:18 am Leave a comment


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