The Conqueror

The Conqueror

An epithet applied to leading warriors of history, including the following:

Alfonso I (ca. 1109-1185). King of Portugal.
Aurungzebe the Great ( 1619, 1659-1707). The most powerful of the Moguls.
James I ( 1206, 1213-1276). King of Aragon.
Mohammed II ( 1430-1481). Sultan of Turkey.
Othman, or Osman I ( 1259, 1299-1326). Founder of the Turkish power.
Francisco Pizarro ( 1475-1541). Called el Conquistador because he conquered Peru.
William, Duke of Normandy ( 1027, 1066-1087). Called "the Conqueror" because he obtained England by conquest.

Common sense

Common sense

A general sense assumed as the medium of perception in cases where none of the five traditional senses seems to fit. This "general" common sense is often called the sixth sense. It is viewed as having the entire body as its organ or as not being in need of a special organ at all. Its name is a translation of Latin sensus communis. The signification "good sense, horse sense" is a more recent development.

It seems to imply, on the basis of eighteenth century philosophy, that what is common to all human beings must be sound.

Complementary colors, Fundamental colors

Complementary colors

Colors which, in combination, produce white light. Red and green, orange and blue, violet and yellow are complementary.

The color transmitted is always complementary to the one reflected.-- Brewster, Optics, xii.

Fundamental colors

The seven colors of the spectrum: violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red. Or red, yellow, blue, also called primary or simple colors.

Secondary colors

Those which result from the mixture of two or more primary or simple colors, such as green, which is a blend of blue and yellow.

Flag colors

Great Britain red, white, and blue.
Argentina blue and white.
Austria red, white, and red.
Belgium black, yellow, and red.
Bolivia red, yellow, and green.
Brazil green and yellow.
Bulgaria white, green, and red.
Chili white, blue, and red.
China yellow ochre.
Colombia yellow, blue, and red.
Costa Rica blue, white, red, white, and blue.
Cuba five horizontal stripes, blue and white.
Denmark red, with white cross.
Ecuador three horizontal stripes, yellow, blue, and red, the yellow being twice the width of the others.
France blue, white and red, vertical
Germany black, red and white (Imperial and Third Reich); black, red and gold (Republican).
Greece nine horizontal stripes, blue and white.
Guatemala blue, white and blue, vertical stripes.
Haiti blue and red.
Honduras blue, white, and blue, horizontal stripes.
Irish Free State orange, white and green.
Italy green, white, and red, vertical stripes.
Japan white, with red disk in center, from which spring sixteen red rays to edge.
Liberia eleven horizontal stripes, red and white.
Luxemburg red, white, and blue.
Morocco red.
Mexico green, white, and red, vertical stripes.
Monaco red and white, horizontal.
Netherlands red, white, and blue, horizontal stripes.
Nicaragua blue, white, and blue, horizontal stripes.
Norway red, with blue cross bordered with white.
Panama blue, white, red.
Paraguay red, white, blue, in horizontal stripes.
Peru red, white and red, vertical stripes.
Persia white, top edge green, bottom edge red.
Portugal blue and white.
Roumania blue, yellow, and red, vertical stripes.
Russia white, blue and red.
Salvador nine horizontal stripes, blue and white.
Serbia red, blue, and white.
Sweden blue, with yellow cross.
Switzerland red, with white cross.
Turkey white and red.
Uruguay nine horizontal stripes, blue and white.
United States stars on blue, white with red stripes.
Venezuela yellow, blue, and red, horizontal stripes.

Cinderella, Cendrillon, Aschenbrötel


In French Cendrillon and in German Aschenbrötel. Literally, the little cinder girl. Heroine of a fairy tale of very ancient, probably Eastern, origin, mentioned in German literature in the 16th century and popularized by Perrault Contes de ma mère l'oye ( 1697). Cinderella is drudge of the house, dirty with housework, while her elder sisters go to fine balls. At length a fairy enables her to go to the prince's ball; the prince falls in love her, and she is discovered by means of a glass slipper which she drops, and which will fit no foot but her own.

J. M. Barrie wrote a play entitled A Kiss for Cinderella ( 1916). The heroine is "Miss Thing, the Penny Friend," who keeps a day-nursery for war babies and, like Cinderella, has her dreams, which finally come true.

chestnut. A stale joke


A stale joke. The term is said to have been popularized in America by a Boston actor named Warren, who, on a certain apposite occasion, quoted from The Broken Sword, a forgotten melodrama by William Dimond, which was first produced in 1816 at Covent Garden. Captain Xavier, a principal character, is for ever repeating the same yarns, with variations. He is telling about one of his exploits connected with a cork tree, when Pablo corrects him, "A chestnut-tree, you mean, captain.""Bah!" replies the captain, "I say a cork-tree.""A chestnut-tree," insists Pablo. "I must know better than you," says the captain, "it was a cork-tree, I say.""A chestnut," persists Pablo. "I have heard you tell the joke twenty-seven times, and it was always a chestnut before."

April Fools' Day

April 1st, when practical jokes are in order. An April Fool is called in Franceun poisson d'Avril, and in Scotland a gowk (cuckoo). In Hindustan similar tricks are played at the Huli Festival (March 31st); so that it probably does not refer to the uncertainty of the weather, nor yet to the mockery trial of our Redeemer, the two most popular explanations. A better solution is this: As March 25th used to be New Year's Day, April 1st was its octave, when its festivities culminated and ended.

It may he a relic of the Roman "Cerealia," held at the beginning of April. The tale is that Proserpina was sporting in the Elysian meadows, and had just tilled her lap with daffodils, when Pluto carried her off to the lower world. Her mother, Ceres, heard the echo of her screams, and went in search of "the voice"; but her search was a fool's errand.



A name used with reference to the original twelve disciples of Jesus, sometimes with the addition of Matthias and Paul; also used in a general sense for the missionaries of the early church whose deeds are related in The Acts of the Apostles. The badges or symbols of the fourteen apostles:

Andrew, a cross, because he was crucified on a cross shaped like the letter x.

Bartholomew, a knife, because he was flayed with a knife.

James the Greater, a scallop-shell, a pilgrim's staff, or a gourd bottle, because he is the patron saint of pilgrims.

James the Less, a fuller's pole, because he was killed by a blow on the head with a pole, dealt him by Simeon the fuller.

John, a cup with a winged serpent flying out of it, in allusion to the tradition about Aristodemos, priest of Diana, who challenged John to drink a cup of poison. John made the sign of a cross on the cup, Satan like a dragon flew from it, and John then drank the cup, which was quite innocuous.

Judas Iscariot, a bag, because he had the bag and "bare what was put therein." ( John xii. 6).

Jude, a club, because he was martyred with a club.

Matthew, a hatchet or halbert, because be was slain at Nadabar with a halbert.

Matthias, a battle-axe, because he was first stoned, and then beheaded with a battle-axe.

Paul, a sword, because his head was cut off with a sword. The convent of La Lisla, in Spain, boasts of possessing the very instrument.

Peter, a bunch of keys, because Christ gave him the "keys of the kingdom of heaven." A cock, because he went out and wept bitterly when he heard the cock crow. ( Matt. xxvi. 75.)

Philip, a long staff surmounted with a cross, because he suffered death by being suspended by the neck to a tall pillar.

Simon, a saw, because he was sawn to death, according to tradition.

Thomas, a lance, because he was pierced through the body, at Meliapour, with a lance.

Animals in symbolism

The lamb, the pelican, and the unicorn, are symbols of Christ.

The dragon, serpent, and swine, symbolize Satan and his crew.

The ant symbolizes frugality and prevision; ape, uncleanness, malice, lust, and cunning; ass, stupidity; bantam cock, pluckiness, priggishness; bat, blindness; bear, ill-temper, uncouthness; bee, industry; beetle, blindness; bull, strength, straight-forwardness; bull-dog, pertinacity; butterfly, sportiveness, living in pleasure; camel, submission; cat, deceit; calf, lumpishness, cowardice; cicada, poetry; cock, vigilance, overbearing insolence; crow, longevity; crocodile, hypocrisy; cuckoo, cuckoldom; dog, fidelity, dirty habits; dove, innocence, harmlessness; duck, deceit (French, canard, a hoax); eagle, majesty, inspiration; elephant, sagacity, ponderosity; fly, feebleness, insignificance; fax, cunning, artifice; frog and toad, inspiration; goat, lasciviousness; goose, conceit, folly; grasshopper, old age; gull, gullibility; hare, timidity; hawk, rapacity, penetration; hen, maternal care; hog, impurity; horse, speed, grace; jackdaw, vain assumption, empty conceit; jay, senseless chatter; kitten, playfulness; lamb, innocence, sacrifice; lark, cheerfulness; leopard, sin; lion, noble courage; lynx, suspicious vigilance; magpie, garrulity; mole, blindness, obtuseness; monkey, tricks; mule, obstinacy; nightingale, forlornness; ostrich, stupidity; ox, patience, strength, and pride; owl, wisdom; parrot, mocking verbosity; peacock., pride; pigeon, cowardice (pigeonlivered); pig, obstinacy, dirtiness; puppy, empty-headed conceit; rabbit, fecundity; raven, ill luck; robin redbreast, confiding trust; serpent, wisdom; sheep, silliness, timidity; sparrow, lasciviousness; spider, wiliness; stag, cuckoldom; swallow, a sunshine friend; swan, grace: swine, filthiness, greed; tiger, ferocity; tortoise, chastity; turkey-cock, official insolence; turtle-dove, conjugal fidelity; vulture, rapine; wolf, cruelty, savage ferocity, and rapine; worm, cringing; etc.


In Greek mythology, a beautiful youth, beloved by Venus and Proserpina, who quarreled about the possession of him. Jupiter, to settle the dispute, decided that the boy should spend six months with Venus in the upper world, and six with Proserpina in the lower. Adonis was gored to death by a wild boar in a hunt.

Shakespeare has a long poem called Venus and Adonis. Shelley calls his elegy on the poet Keats Adonais, under the idea that the untimely death of Keats resembled that of Adonis. The word Adonis is used, often ironically, for any beautiful young man. In one famous instance Leigh Hunt was sent to prison for libeling George IV when Regent, and calling him "a corpulent Adonis of 50."

Adam and Eve

In the Old Testament, the first man and woman. The familiar story of their creation, sin and expulsion from the Garden of Eden is told in the first chapters of Genesis and forms the basis for Milton Paradise Lost.

Muslim beliefs add to the Bible story the tradition that--

God sent Gabriel, Michael, and Israfel one after the other to fetch, seven handfuls of earth from different depths and of different colors for the creation of Adam (thereby accounting for the varying colors of mankind) but they returned empty-handed because Earth foresaw that the creature to be made from her would rebel against God and draw down his curse on her, whereupon Azrael was sent. He executed the commission. and for that reason was appointed to separate the souls from the bodies and hence became the Angel of Death.

The earth he had taken was carried into Arabia to a place between Mecca and Tayef, where it was kneaded by the angels, fashioned into human form by God, and left to dry for either forty days or forty years. It is also said that while the clay was being endowed with life and a soul, when the breath breathed by God into the nostrils had reached as far as the navel, the only half-living Adam tried to rise up and got an ugly fall for his pains.



In Greek legend, the son of Peleus and the Nereid Thetis, and king of the Myrmidons, a Thessalian tribe. He is the hero of Homer's Iliad and became the prototype of the Greeks' conception of manly valor and beauty.

He took part in the Trojan War on the side of the Greeks as their most illustrious warrior, and slew the Trojan hero Hector. Achilles had been dipped in the Styx by his mother, which rendered him invulnerable except in the heel by which she held him and where he was fatally wounded by an arrow shot by Paris, Hector's younger brother, or, according to another version of the story, by the god Apollo who had assumed Paris' shape. heel of Achilles. The vulnerable or weak point in a man's character or in a nation.

Académic Goncourt

Académic Goncourt

A French literary society founded in 1900, consisting of ten members. It awards the Prix Goncourt.

The English Royal Academy of Arts was founded in 1768 by George III for the establishment of an art school and the holding of annual exhibitions of works by living artists.

The Royal Spanish Academy was founded at Madrid in 1713 for purposes similar to those of the French Academy.

The American Academy of Arts and Letters was founded in 1904 with a like purpose. Its membership is limited to fifty. They are chosen from the National Institute of Arts and Letters.

There is also a Royal Academy of Science at Berlin (founded 1700), at Stockholm (the Royal Swedish Academy, founded 1739), and at Copenhagen (founded 1742).

The Imperial Academy of Sciences at Petrograd was established by Catherine I in 1725.

Sphericity of the earth is of very great antiquity

As soon as trade intercourse began, many other facts helped the growth of this belief. When ships appeared in the Mediterranean, maritime people became accustomed to the sight of the mast sinking last below the horizon, or the mountain rising first as land was sighted. Little later than 2000 B.C. Semitic traders were pushing north beyond the Mediterranean towards the Tin Isles, bringing back tales of the long summer days and the long winter nights of the northern regions. They told, too, how the aspect of the night sky changed. Stars low on the northern horizon became higher in the heavens as ships sailed into the northern seas. A fact most fatal to a flat earth view was that southern constellations disappeared entirely from view. To be sure, the belief that the earth is truly spherical (or nearly so) could only be settled by showing that a degree of latitude is the same distance if measured anywhere along any meridian of longitude, and a degree of longitude in the same latitude is always of the same length. We shall come to that later. Here it suffices to remark that the belief in the sphericity of the earth is of very great antiquity, and that there were a number of good reasons to support it.

The sun is over the equator and the time of the year is supposed to be the autumn equinox. At latitude 30° star A will be visible throughout the night in autumn and invisible at midnight in spring. At latitude 60° it will be seen crossing the meridian above the pole just south of the zenith at midnight in autumn, and will be visible throughout the spring night below the pole, making its lower culmination at midnight on the spring equinox.

The Local Events

In the priestly calendar lore, magic and genuine science were inextricably entangled. The social necessity of measuring time arises from the seasonal fertility of man's biological allies, and the earliest explanations of the celestial events were frequently mixed up with man's preoccupation concerning his own fertility. What are sometimes offered as rival explanations of early practices are really different ways of saying the same thing. The phallic tension of waking and the monthly cycle of a woman's life were closely associated with sunrise and lunar phenomena in the thought of primitive man. To say that an obelisk is a sundial, and to say that it is a phallic symbol involves no contradiction. Fertility and timekeeping were very closely connected in the same social context. Man had to be disciplined into the recognition that his own world is not the centre of the astronomical universe. He had to outgrow the belief that his own person is a sufficient model of natural processes in chemistry and biology. In psychology and social science he has still to learn that individual preference is not a safe guide to the understanding of social behaviour.

As liaison officers to the celestial beings, the priests found it paid to encourage the belief that nature can be bought off with bribes like a big chief. One of their most powerful weapons was their ability to forecast eclipses. Eclipses were indisputable signs of divine disapproval, and divine disapproval provided a cogent justification for raising the divine income tax. No practical utility other than the advancement of the priestly prestige and the wealth of the priesthood can account for the astonishingly painstaking attention paid to these phenomena. The moon's track lies very close to the ecliptic. If it moved exactly in the plane of the ecliptic, there would be a central eclipse of the sun every new moon, and a total eclipse of the moon every month, at the full. Careful measurement shows that its orbit is inclined about 5° to the ecliptic (i.e. to the plane of the earth's orbit, as we now say). So the moon's path round the earth only cuts the earth's path round the sun (or the sun's apparent track around the earth) at two points called nodes, and an eclipse can only take place if the moon is at, or very near to, a node when the two nodes are in line with the sun and the earth. Relative to the fixed stars, the direction of the line which joins the nodes rotates slowly. The sun passes a particular node every 346·62 days. This is less than a year because the nodes are moving from east to west, and meet the sun before it completes its yearly circuit. So if earth, moon, nodes, and sun are in line at any time, they will be in line once more about eighteen years * later. More precisely this period is 18 years 11 1/3 days. If an eclipse occurs on a particular date somewhere on the earth's surface, another one will occur 18 years and 11 1/3 days later at a place about 120° W. on account of the odd third of a day. This cycle is still called the Saros, which is the name given to it by the Chaldean priests. It did not help people to arrange their meal-times and night journeys, to prepare for the lambing season, or to sow their crops. For the art of time reckoning the Saros had no particular use. Its discovery was prompted by a combination of superstition and racketeering. Once made, it served to direct attention to two of the basic principles of scientific geography. Observation of eclipses in different places showed that solar time is local; and confirmed the belief that the earth is a spherical object. The fact that lunar eclipses occur when the moon is practically in the ecliptic plane shows that the circular edge of the shadow on its face is the shadow of the earth itself.

Observation of the annual course of the sun

An observation of the annual course of the sun, therefore, unlike that of the stars -- which everywhere, no matter where, can be performed immediately -- demands a fixed place and special aids to determination. It follows that the observation of the solstices and equinoxes belongs to a much higher stage of civilization than does that of the stars. . . . It is used by the Eskimos, who have a very highly developed sense of place, and know how to make good maps. Moreover, where the sun in winter stands very low on the horizon, and for a time altogether disappears beneath it, the conditions are very favourable for the observation of its return. Older authors say that by the rays of the sun on the rocks the Eskimos can tell with tolerable accuracy when it is the shortest day; more recently we have been told of the Ammasalik that they can calculate beforehand the time of the shortest day -- and that accurately to the day -- not only from the solstitial point, but also from the position of Altair in the morning twilight. They begin their spring when the sun rises at the same spot as Altair. . . . The Incas erected artificial marks. There were in Cuzco sixteen towers, eight to the west and eight to the east, arranged in groups of four. The two middle ones were smaller than the others, and the distance between the towers was eight, ten or twenty feet. The space between the little towers through which the sun passed at sunrise and sunset was the point of the solstices. In order to verify this the Inca chose a favourable spot from which he observed carefully whether the sun rose and set between the little towers to east and west. For the observation of the equinoxes richly ornamented pillars were set up in the open space before the temple of the sun. When the time approached, the shadow of the pillars was carefully observed. The open space was circular, and a line was drawn through its centre from east to west. Long experience had taught them where to look for the equinoctial point, and by the distance of the shadow from this point they judged of the approach of the equinox. When from sunrise to sunset the shadow was to be seen on both sides of the pillar and not at all to the south of it, they took that day as the day of the equinox. This last account is for Quito, which lies just under the equator. At the spring equinox the maize was reaped and a feast was celebrated, at the autumn equinox the people celebrated one of their principal feasts. The months were calculated from the winter solstice. . . . One would suspect that this Melanesian science, like the knowledge of the stars, is borrowed from the Polynesians: for the latter understood the annual course of the sun. In Tahiti the place of the sunrise was called tataheita, that of the sunset topa-t-era. The annual movement of the sun from the south towards the north was recognized, and so was the fact that all these points of the daily approach to the zenith lay in a line. This meridian was called t'era-hwattea, the northern point of it tu-errau, and the opposite point above the horizon, or the south, toa. According to other sources the December solstice was called rua-maoro or rua-roa, the June solstice rua-poto. The Hawaiians called the northern limit of the sun in the ecliptic "the black, shining road of Kane," and the southern limit "the black, shining road of Kanaloa." The equator was named "the bright road of the spider" or "the road to the navel of Wakea," equivalent to "the centre of the world." How the Polynesians came to recognize the tropics and the equator is unfortunately unknown, but certainly they did it like other peoples by observing the solstices and equinoxes at certain landmarks. . . . Agricultural peoples in particular have developed various methods of this kind. The rice-cultivating peoples of the East Indies use various methods in order to determine the important time of sowing. Of the observation of the stars we have already spoken. Among the Kayen of Sarawak an old priest determines the official time of sowing from the position of the sun by erecting at the side of the house two oblong stones, one larger and one smaller, and then observing the moment when the sun, in the lengthening of the line of connexion between these two stones, sets behind the opposite hill. The sowing-day is the only one determined by astronomical methods. In other respects the time-reckoning is a more or less arbitrary one, and is dependent on the agriculture. Of the hollows in a block of stone at Batu Sala, in the river-bed of the upper Mahakam, it is said that they originated in the fact that the priestesses of the neighbouring tribes used formerly to sit on the stone every year in order to observe when the sun would set behind a certain peak of the opposite mountain. This date then decided the time for the beginning of the sowing. . . . The Kenyah observe the position of the sun. Their instrument is a straight cylindrical pole of hardwood, fixed vertically in the ground and carefully adjusted with the aid of plumb-lines; the possibility of its sinking deeper into the earth is prevented. The pole is a little longer than the outstretched arms of its maker and stands on a cleared space by the house, surrounded by a strong fence. The observer has further a flat stick on which lengths measured from his body are marked off by notches. The other side has a larger number of notches, of which one marks the greatest length of the midday shadow, the next one its length three days after it has begun to shorten, and so on. The shadow is measured every midday. As it grows shorter after reaching its maximal length the man observes it with special care, and announces to the village that the time for preparing the land is near at hand. In Bali and Java the seasons are determined by the aid of a gnomon of rude construction, having a dial divided into twelve parts.

The phenomena of the rising and setting of stars

One of the earliest problems in the practical geometry of a calendar priesthood arose in watching for the return of the equinoxes. One way in which the priests of antiquity fixed. With a sufficiently long piece of cord fairly high accuracy can be secured. Laying off the east and west points of the horizon to record the equinoxes was probably done in a similar way, two poles or stones being erected in line with the rising or setting sun of the summer solstice, and a third equidistant from one of them in line with it and the rising or setting sun of the winter solstice. The sun of the equinoxes would rise and set along the line bisecting the angle between the sun's positions on the solstices. The Egyptians already recognized that this could also be done by making a line at right angles to the meridian. The division of the daily shadow path into hour angles was a later device probably of Babylonian origin, and betrays the early connexion between the art of space measurement and the social necessity of recording the passage of time. The division of the equinoctial half-circle into twelve divisions is not surprising. Of all integral sub-multiples of 360° the angle 15° is the smallest whole number which we can easily make by elementary methods of construction. By knotting cords at equal lengths we can peg out an equilateral triangle. Successive bisection of the angles of the equilateral triangle then gives 30° and 15°.

The phenomena of the rising and setting of stars show that the sun changes its position relative to the fixed stars, as if retreating eastwards through a complete circle in the celestial sphere. To account for the changing height of the noonday sun and tile duration of the days and nights throughout the year, a second conception took shape. The sun appears to slip back through a track, the ecliptic, which is placed obliquely with reference to the polar axis. By about three thousand B.C. we have ample evidence that the priests of Egypt had constructed simple instruments for measuring tile angular direction of tile stars, and were accustomed to watch for tile moment when a star crosses the meridian, i.e. the great semicircle which cuts the north horizon, the Pole Star, the zenith vertically above the observer, and tile south horizon. By noting the direction of the sun from the south horizon when it crosses the meridian at noon, they were able to identify the sun's annual track through a belt of twelve star clusters, called the Zodiac, corresponding to the twelve 30-day months of the Babylonian year. The star clusters of the Zodiac are not systems of bodies with any known relation among themselves. They are simply signposts of the seasons. The times of rising and setting of a zodiacal constellation and its height above the southern horizon when it crosses the meridian correspond fairly closely with the times of sunrise and of sunset and with the height of the noon sun six months earlier or later. The names of the Zodiac star clusters are: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricornus, Aquarius, Pisces.

That two of these names are familiar to all of us draws attention to the farreaching importance of the hypothesis which gradually developed from this foundation. It is true that all the facts are equally intelligible on another view, if we bear in mind what we now know about the immense distance of the fixed stars. The sun's apparent track through the ecliptic is also explicable if we assume that our train is moving and the sun's engine is at rest. All that we can see is compatible with the more sophisticated, and for the present purpose less straightforward, hypothesis that the earth pursues a slanting annual track around the sun with its polar axis always at the same angle to the ecliptic plane. On either view we have made a very big advance in our knowledge of the earth through widening our knowledge of the heavens. We shall see this better when we have taken into account another class of events which clarified the recognition that our earth itself is a spherical body.

Observations on the rising or setting sun of the solstices

Some early calendrical monuments suggest that the equinox was fixed by observations on the rising or setting sun of the solstices (December 21st and June 21st), when the sun rises and sets at its most extreme positions towards the south and north repectively. In the figure, A and B are two poles placed in alignment with the setting sun of the winter solstice. The distance between A and C in line with the setting sun of the summer solstice is the same as the distance between A and B. Midway on its journey between the two extremes the sun rises and sets due east and west, and the lengths of day and night are equal. Hence these two days (March 21st and September 23rd) are called the equinoxes. In ancient ritual they were days of great importance. The east and west points on the horizon can be obtained by bisecting the angle BAC.

Time-keeping function of the priesthood in contemporary societies

The separation of a caste entrusted with the social responsibility of regulating the seasonal pursuits of a settled agrarian economy marks the beginning of written history. Only at this point does the need for a permanent record of events and measurements emerge. Here, also, we see history repeating itself -- or if you prefer it -- history at a standstill in backward cultures of the present day. Speaking of the time-keeping function of the priesthood in contemporary societies, Nilsson says:

As long as the determination of time is adjusted by the phases of Nature which immediately become obvious to everyone, anybody can judge of them, and should different people judge differently there is no standard by which the dispute can be settled, because the natural phases run into one another or are at least not sharply defined. The accuracy in determination demanded by time-reckoning proper is therefore lacking. Accuracy becomes possible as a result of the observation of the risings of stars, and this observation begins even at the primitive stage, but it is not a matter that concerns everyone. It requires a refined power of observation and a clear knowledge of the stars, so that the heavens can be known. This is especially the case with the commonest observations, those of the morning rising and evening setting. The observer must be able to judge, by the position of the other stars, when the star in question may be expected to twinkle for a moment in the twilight before it vanishes. The accuracy of the time-determination from the stars depends therefore upon the keenness of the observation. In this the individual differences of men soon come into play, along with a regular science which introduces the learner to the knowledge of the stars and its uses. Thus Stanbridge reports of the natives of Victoria that all tribes have traditions about the stars, but certain families have the reputation of having the most accurate knowledge; one family of the Boorung tribe prides itself upon possessing a wider knowledge of the stars than any other. . . . By the phases of the stars both occupations and seasons are regulated, and thus a standard is furnished by which to judge, and a limit is set to the indefiniteness of the phases of Nature. . . . The moon strikes the attention of everyone and admits of immediate and unpractised observation; at the most there may sometimes be some doubt for a day as to the observation of the new moon, but the next day will set all right. But because the months are fixed in their position in the natural year through association with the seasons, the indefiniteness and fluctuation of the phases of Nature penetrate into the months also, and are there even increased, for the reasons stated above. Cause for doubt and disagreement is given, the problem of the regulation of the calendar arises. Hence in the council meetings of the Pawnee and Dakota it is often hotly disputed which month it really is. So also the Caffres often become confused and do not know what month it is; the rising of the Pleiades decides the question. The Basuto in determining the time of sowing are not guided by the lunar reckoning, but fall back upon the phases of Nature; intelligent chiefs, however, know how to correct the calendar by the summer solstice. . . . The differences in intelligence already make themselves felt at an early stage, and are still more plainly shown when we come to a genuine regulation of the calendar. Some of the Bontoc Igorot state that the year has eight, others a hundred months, but among the old men who represent the wisdom of the people there are some who know and assert that it has thirteen. The further the calendar develops, the less does it become a common possession. Among the Indians, for example, there are special persons who keep and interpret year-lists illustrated with picture-writings, e.g. the calendrically gifted Anko, who even drew up a list of months. It is very significant that even where a complete calendar does exist, it will be found that this is not in use to its fullest extent among the people. . . . It follows that the observation of the calendar is a special occupation which is placed in the hands of specially experienced and gifted men. Among the Caffres we read of special "astrologers." Among the Kenya of Borneo the determination of the time for sowing is so important that in every village the task is entrusted to a man whose sole occupation it is to observe the signs. He need not cultivate rice himself, for he will receive his supplies from the other inhabitants of the village. His separate position is in part due to the fact that the determination of the season is effected by observing the height of the sun, for which special instruments are required. The process is a secret, and his advice is always followed. It is only natural that this individual should keep secret the traditional lore upon which his position depends; and thus the development of the calendar puts a still wider gap between the business of the calendarmaker and the common people. Behind the calendar stand in particular the priests. But they are the most intelligent and learned men of the tribe, and moreover the calendar is peculiarly their affair if the development has proceeded so far that value is attached to the calendar for the selection of the proper days for the religious observances. Among the priests there is formed a special class whose duty, it is to make observations and keep the calendar in order. Among the Hawaiians "astronomers (kilo-hoku) and priests" are mentioned; they handed down their knowledge from father to son; but women, kilowahine, are also found among them. Elsewhere the nobles appear alongside of the priests; thus in Tahiti it is the nobles who are responsible for the calendar, in New Zealand the priests. In the latter country there is said to have been a regular school, which was visited by priest and chiefs of highest rank. Every year the assembly determined the days on which the corn must be sown and reaped, and thus its members compared their views upon the heavenly bodies. Each course lasted from three to five months.

The Egyptian year: heliacal rising of Sirius

The number of days which elapse between the rising of a star just before sunrise or its setting just before sunset on two successive occasions is the period in which the sun gets back to its same position relative to the fixed stars. The Egyptian year of 365 days was based on the heliacal rising of Sirius, the brightest star in the sky. Sirius is a winter star, rising at sunset about the beginning of January. Early in March it is already setting by midnight. After being invisible throughout the night in June, Sirius reappears on the eastern horizon a few minutes before sunrise on a day in July. This happened at the time when the flooding of the Nile brought assurance of food and prosperity to the Middle Kingdom. The advanced state of astronomical knowledge in the calendar civilizations of antiquity need not surprise us, when we take stock of the astronomical knowledge of living peoples whose cultural development is in other respects very primitive. The following extracts from Nilsson† monograph Primitive Time Reckoning, are instructive:

Time-indications from the phases of the climate and of Nature are only approximate: they themselves, like the concrete phenomena to which they refer, are subject to fluctuation. . . . In general, primitive man takes no notice of these variations: the Banyankole, for instance, are indifferent as to whether the year is one or even three weeks longer or shorter, i.e. whether the rainy season opens so much earlier or later. The days are not counted exactly, but the people are content with the concrete phenomenon. More accurate points of reference are, however, especially desirable for an agricultural people, since, although the right time for sowing can be discerned from the phenomena and general conditions of the climate, yet a more exact determination of time may be extremely useful. The possibility of such a determination exists -- and that at a far more primitive stage than that of the agricultural peoples -- in the observation of the stars, and especially in the observation of the so-called "apparent" or, more properly, visible risings and settings of the fixed stars, the importance of which has already been explained. The observation of the morning rising and evening setting is extraordinarily widespread, but other positions of the stars, e.g. at a certain distance from the horizon, are also sometimes observed. The Kiwai Papuans also compute the time of invisibility of a star. When a certain star has sunk below the western horizon they wait for some nights during which the star is "inside"; then it has "made a leap," and shows itself in the east in the morning before sunrise. . . . Stellar science and mythology are therefore widespread among the primitive and extremely primitive peoples, and attain a considerable development among certain barbaric peoples. Although this must be conceded, some people are apt to think that the determination of time from the stars belongs to a much more advanced stage: it is frequently regarded as a very learned and very late mode of time-reckoning. Modern man is almost entirely without knowledge of the stars; for him they are the ornaments of the night-sky, which at most call forth a vague emotion or are objects of a science which is considered to be very difficult and highly specialized, and is left to the experts. It is true that the accurate determination of the risings and settings of the stars does demand scientific work, but not so the observation of the visible risings and settings. Primitive man rises and goes to bed with the sun. When he gets up at dawn and steps out of his hut, he directs his gaze to the brightening east, and notices the stars that are shining just there and are soon to vanish before the light of the sun. In the same way he observes at evening before he goes to rest what stars appear in the west at dusk and soon afterwards set there. Experience teaches him that these stars vary throughout the year, and that this variation keeps pace with the phases of Nature, or, more concretely expressed, he learns that the risings and settings of certain stars coincide with certain natural phenomena. . . . Just as the advance of the day is discerned from the position of the sun, so the advance of the year is recognized by the position of certain stars at sunrise and sunset. Stars and sun alike are the indicators of the dial of the heavens. A determination of this kind, however, is not so accurate as that from heliacal risings and settings. Hence the latter pass almost exclusively or at least preeminently under consideration wherever, as in Greece, a calendar of the natural year is based upon the stars: sometimes, however, the upper culmination is given. . . . In order to determine the time of certain important natural phenomena it is therefore sufficient to know and observe a few stars or constellations with accuracy and certainty. The Pleiades are the most important. It has been asked why this particular constellation, consisting as it does of comparatively small and unimportant stars, should have played so great a part, and the answer is chiefly that its appearance coincides (though this is true of other stars also) with important phases of the vegetation. . . . An account of the Bushmen shows how extremely primitive peoples may also observe the risings of the stars, may connect them with the seasons, and -- which is indeed somewhat rare -- may even worship them. . . . Canopus and Sirius appear in winter, hence the cold is connected with them. . . . The Hottentots connect the Pleiades with winter. These stars become visible in the middle of June, that is, in the first half of the cold season, and are therefore called "Rimestars," since at the time of their becoming visible the nights may be already so cold that there is hoar-frost in the early morning. The appearance of the Pleiades also gives to the Bushmen of the Auob district the signal for departure to the tsama field. . . . A tribe of Western Victoria connected certain constellations with the seasons. . . . The winter stars are Arcturus -- who is held in great respect since he has taught the natives to find the pupae of the wood-ants, which are an important article of food in August and September -- and Vega, who has taught them to find the eggs of the mallee-hen, which are also an important article of food in October. The natives also know and tell stories of many other stars. Another authority states that they can tell from the position of Arcturus or Vega above the horizon in August and October respectively when it is time to collect these pupae and these eggs. . . . For example, when Canopus at dawn is only a very little way above the eastern horizon, it is time to collect eggs; when the Pleiades are visible in the east a little before sunrise, the time has come to visit friends and neighbouring tribes. The Chukchee form out of the stars Altair and Tarared in Aquila a constellation named pchittin, which is believed to be a forefather of the tribe who, after death, ascended into heaven. Since this constellation begins to appear above the horizon at the time of the winter solstice, it is said to usher in the light of the new year, and most families belonging to the tribes living by the sea bring their sacrifices at its first appearing. . . . The South American Indians
have much greater knowledge of the stars, and in consequence frequently connect stellar phenomena, especially those of the Pleiades, with phases of Nature. In north-west Brazil the Indians determine the time of planting from the position of certain constellations, in particular the Pleiades. If these have disappeared below the horizon, the regular heavy rains will begin. The Siusi gave an accurate account of the progress of the constellations, by which they calculated the seasons, and in explanation drew three diagrams in the sand. No. 1 had three costellations: -- "a Second Crab," which obviously consists of the three bright stars west of Leo, "the Crab," composed of the principal stars of Leo, and "the Youths," i.e. the Pleiades. When these set, continuous rain falls, the river begins to rise, beginning of the rainy season, planting of manioc. No. 2 had two constellations: -- "the Fishing Basket," in Orion, and kakudzuta, the northern part of Eridanus, in which other tribes see a dancing implement. When these set, much rain falls, the water in the river is at its highest. No. 3 was "the Great Serpent," i.e. Scorpio. When this sets there is little or no rain, the water is at its lowest. The natives of Brazil are acquainted with the course of the constellations, with their height and the period and time of their appearance in, and disappearance from the sky, and according to them divide up their seasons. . . . In Africa also the observation of the stars, and above all the Pleiades, is widespread. In view of the dissemination of this knowledge all over the world it is making a quite unnecessary exception to state that it came into Africa from Egypt. Moreover, this assertion does not correspond with the facts, since among the Egyptians Sirius, and not the Pleiades, occupied the chief place. . . . The Melanesians of Banks Island and the northern New Hebrides are also acquainted with the Pleiades as a sign of the approach of the yam-harvest. The inhabitants of New Britain ( Bismarck Archipelago) are guided in ascertaining the time of planting by the position of certain stars. The Moanu of the Admiralty Islands use the stars as a guide both on land and at sea, and recognize the season of the monsoons by them. When the Pleiades (tjasa) appear at nightfall on the horizon, this is the signal for the north-west wind to begin. But when the Thornback (Scorpio) and the Shark (Altair) emerge as twilight begins, this shows that the south-east wind is at hand. When the "Fishers' Canoe" (Orion, three fishermen in a canoe) disappears from the horizon at evening, the south-east wind sets in strongly: so also when the constellation is visible at morning on the horizon. When it comes up at evening, the rainy season and the north-west wind are not far off. When "the Bird" (Canis major) is in such a position that one wing points to the north but the other is still invisible, the time has come in which the turtles lay eggs, and many natives then go to the Los-Reys group in order to collect them. The Crown is called the "Mosquito-star," since the mosquitoes swarm into the houses when this constellation sets. The two largest stars of the circle are called pitui and papai: when this constellation becomes visible in the early morning, the time is favourable for catching the fish papai. The natives of the Bougainville Straits are acquainted with certain stars, especially the Pleiades: the rising of this constellation is a sign that the kai-nut is ripe: a ceremony takes places at this season. On Treasury Island a grand festival is held towards the end of October, in order -- so far as could be ascertained -- to celebrate the approaching appearance of the Pleiades above the eastern horizon after sunset. In Ugi, where of all the stars the Pleiades alone have a name, the times for planting and taking up yams are determined by this constellation. In Lambutjo the year is reckoned according to the position of the Pleiades. . . . When the stars indicate this or that event, the primitive mind, as so often happens, is unable to distinguish between accompanying phenomena and causal connexion; it follows that the stars are regarded as authors of the events accompanying their appearance, when these take place without the interference of man. So in ancient Greece the expressions (a certain star) "indicates" or "makes" certain weather were not kept apart, and the stars were regarded as causes of the atmospheric phenomena. A similar process of reasoning is not seldom found among primitive peoples, and a few instances have already been given, such as the warning-incantation of the Bushmen against Canopus and Sirius, the name given to the Pleiades among the Bakongo ("the Caretakers-who-guard-the-rain"), and the belief that the rain comes from them, the myth of the Euahlayi tribe that the Pleiades let ice fall down on to the earth in winter and cause thunderstorms, in other words send the rain, and the belief of the Marshall Islanders that the various positions of certain stars cause storms or good winds.

The Changing Heavens

The successive positions of the sun in the heavens during its annual retreat below the eastern horizon in the circle called the ecliptic were mapped out by the ancient priesthoods in milestones corresponding to the twelve months of the year. These milestones, the zodiacal constellations, were groups of stars whose rising and setting positions roughly corresponded to that of the sun at a particular season. Owing to the slow rotation (precession of the equinoxes) of the equinoctial circle about the ecliptic, the sun's position among the fixed stars at a particular season is not the same as it was in ancient times, here shown. When the sun occupies the position of Aries (i.e. is seen in the same direction as Aries would be seen if visible), it sets and rises with the latter, which is therefore invisible. A month later, when the sun is in Taurus, Taurus rises and sets with the sun and is invisible. Aries is seen rising just before sunrise where the sun rose a month earlier. When the sun was in Aries, Taurus would have been setting for about an hour after sunset where the sun would sink below the horizon a month later. The constellations corresponding to the sun's position during the summer months (Taurus and Virgo, Gemini and Leo, Cancer) had northerly risings and settings, describing large arcs and therefore remaining long above the horizon in the winter night sky. The constellations mapping out the sun's position in the winter months (Pisces and Scorpio, Aquarius and Sagittarius, Capricorn) have southerly risings and settings, describing short arcs above the horizoin and being conspicuous during the short summer nights.

The Annual Events

In regulating the seasonal requirements of a pastoral and grain economy, the determination of the year was of supreme importance. The continuity of careful observations which preceded, and the precision involved in settling the exact length of the year, entitle this achievement to be regarded as one of the half-dozen great cultural feats in the history of mankind. Since the Egyptian priests had already established a year of 365 days by 4241 B.C., we may conclude that the recognition of the year as a unit of time antedates the beginnings of the great calendar civilizations. Associated with the passage of the seasons in the everyday life of neolithic man, two classes of events contributed to the first crude appreciation of the year as a natural unit of time. One is concerned with the behavior of the stars, the other with that of the sun's shadow.

The stars rise earlier every night. If a star is seen rising exactly at sunset on a particular day, it will be seen well above the horizon when the sun sets a few weeks later. If a star is in the west at sunrise and in the east at sunset in March, it will reach its highest point in the sky when the sun goes down, about three full moons later, i.e. at the end of June. After six months it will be already setting in the west at sunset, unless it is very near the pole. If it is a circumpolar star, as are those in the constellations of Cassiopeia and of the Great Bear in our latitude, it will be sloping down towards the northern horizon. A circumpolar star seen at midnight directly above the pole, will be seen directly below the pole ("lower culmination") at midnight six months later.

The majority of the stars are below the horizon at lower culmination. So they are only visible after nightfall during part of the year. At midwinter, in the latitude of London, Orion, with its three bright stars forming the belt, is visible most of the night, rising just after sunset and setting in the early morning hours before sunrise. By March 21st (vernal equinox) it has reached its highest point (crosses the meridian) in the heavens at sunset, and is seen setting about midnight. By midsummer it sets before sunrise and has not yet risen by sunset. So it is invisible in the summer sky.

All these appearances occur with perfect regularity after the lapse of the same number of full moons. Thus the sun's apparent position among the fixed stars is not constant. Since the stars rise earlier every day, the sun, while, partaking of the apparent diurnal rotation of the celestial sphere, also seems to be slipping back a little in the opposite direction, like the moon only not so fast. In the course of a year it slips back through a complete circle to its original position. A common early estimate of the time taken to do so was twelve 30-day months or 360 days, hence the division of the great circle of the sun's track in the heavens into the three hundred and sixty degrees which have persisted to our own time. From the standpoint of an earth-observer, the constellations cross the meridian above the pole at midnight, when the sun occupies a position on the opposite side of the celestial sphere. When the sun is on the same great semicircle joining the celestial poles, they will pass over the horizon of the observer by day. Consequently they will not be visible to the naked eye, being screened by the brightness of the sun.

The Monthly Cycle of the Moon's Phases

An interval of roughly thirty days separates one full moon or new moon from another. The two half moons, the first "quarter" when waxing and the third "quarter" when waning, complete the division of the month into quarters, which roughly correspond to our week. Near the sea it is noticed that the tides are exceptionally), high when the moon is invisible through the whole night (new moon) and when it is full. At first and third quarter (half moons) the high-water mark is exceptionally low. The most important thing connected with the changing appearance of the moon is that as the moon waxes and wanes it rises towards the east a little later every day. At first quarter it is already high in the heavens at sunset, setting about midnight. The full moon rises about sunset, is at its highest about midnight, and sets towards sunrise. At the third quarter the waning moon does not rise till about midnight, is seen at its highest point ("crosses the meridian") about sunrise, and is visible during the morning by daylight.

The Monthly Events

Strictly speaking in order of time, the first class of uniformities from which the measurement of time proceeded were in all probability the lunar phenomena, from which we got the grouping of days into months and weeks (quarter months).

There are still backward peoples who have not learned to reckon in years of equivalent length. The recognition of the month is wellnigh universal even among hunting tribes with no settled agriculture. Moonlight is a circumstance of enormous importance in the everyday life of people who have crude means of artificial illumination. Even today in remote parts of the country the time of full moon is chosen for a long night journey.

The moon seems to partake of the general motion of the celestial sphere, rising in the east and setting in the west. If it rises at the same time as a particular star cluster on a particular night in the month, the same constellation will rise a little earlier than the moon on the night following. A week later it would already be above the pole at moonrise. Thus the moon itself seems to be slipping backwards in the opposite direction to the apparent rotation of the sun and fixed stars, so that it gets back to where it was before after a definite interval of days and nights, i.e. what we call roughly a month. Alternatively we may say that it rotates round the earth in about a month in the same direction as the earth's axial or diurnal motion. Whichever way we look at it, the moon has a motion of its own, independent of the apparent motion of the fixed stars.

Meridian of the heavens

Although the facts are equally explicable on the alternative assumption that the stars are fixed and that the earth is revolving about the same axis in the opposite direction to the apparent revolution of the celestial sphere, the earlier and less sophisticated view embodied a tremendous gain. It involved the first step towards a world map. In counting the shadow hours and learning to use the star clock, man had begun to use geometry. He had begun to find his local bearings in cosmic and terrestrial space. An important step towards an art of measurement was made when men began to trace circles on the sand or the soft earth around the shadow pole to mark the moment when the shadow was shortest. In discovering the constant direction of the noon shadow pointing to the pole, they fixed two planes of reference. One is the horizontal plane, the north and south points of which divide the observer's terrestrial horizon into an easterly and a westerly half. The other was bounded by the great semicircle or Meridian of the heavens, with its highest point, the zenith, directly overhead. The axle of the heavenly clock of star transit and shadow connected the Pole Star to the earthly pole in the meridian plane. Sun, moon, and stars are highest in the heavens where the circles they describe on the surface of the celestial sphere cut the meridian.

Diurnal Motion of the Stars

The stars appear to describe circular arcs parallel to one another about an axis which joins the observer to the celestial pole. Those nearest the pole -- the circumpolar stars, like A here seen at lower culmination, never sink below the horizon and may, therefore, be seen crossing the meridian below the pole. Other northerly stars, such as B, describe large arcs over the horizon and so remain above it more than 12 hours between rising and setting north of the east and west points. Stars (e.g. C) lying on the great equinoctial circle which cuts the east and west points (i.e. stars which rise due cast and set due west) remain above the horizon for half the 24 hours of the diurnal cycle. Stars (like D) which lie south of the equinoctial rise and set towards the southern horizon and are below it more than 12 out of the 24 hours. The majority of stars in a northern latitude cross the meridian south of the zenith. Hence sailors speak of the transit of a star as its "southing."

The exception of the "circumpolar" stars

In twenty-four hours the whole dome of heaven, including the moon, sun, and fixed stars, rotates about an axis which joins the observer to the celestial pole, whose position is approximately marked by the Pole Star. With the exception of the "circumpolar" stars, which are too near the pole to dip under the horizon, the heavenly bodies all appear to rise upwards from the eastern boundary and to sink below the western boundary of the horizon plane. In this motion, called the apparent diurnal motion of the celestial sphere, the fixed stars retain the same position relative to one another, so that at any place the time between the risings or settings of any two stars and the direction in which any star is seen rising or setting are always the same. Relative to the rising of any fixed star, the moon and the sun each rise a little later on successive days. They thus seem to be slipping backwards below the eastern margin of the horizon plane. The sun takes 365 1/4 days to retreat eastwards till it is again in the same position relative to a fixed star, i.e. it slips under the horizon plane eastwards through approximately one degree per day. The moon takes 27 1/3 days to do so, but, as the sun is slipping back, though more slowly, in the same direction it takes a little longer, namely, 29 1/2 day to return to the same position relative to the sun. In the figure new moon would occur about January 7th and the next new moon about February 5th. At last quarter the moon is 90° west of the sun, rising about midnight and reaching its highest point in the heavens about 6 A.M., when its easterly half is visible. At first quarter it sets about midnight, reaching its highest point in the heavens (meridian transit) at about 6 P.M., when its westerly face is illumined.

Poles or stone pillars to mark off the day by the direction and length of the shadow

When men began to stick up poles or stone pillars to mark off the day by the direction and length of the shadow, they would notice that the noon shadow always points to the same spot on the horizon, and that the Pole Star remains throughout the night exactly above it. As the night passed they would see the other stars revolve about the Pole Star in an anti-clockwise direction, from east to west above it, like the sun. They would long since have known that star clusters nearest the pole, the "circumpolar" stars, never sink below the horizon, trailing from west to east below the pole, and from east to west above it. As the noon shadow divided the day, the signal of midnight would be when a star cluster, rising at sunset on the eastern horizon and setting at sunrise on the western horizon, was directly above the pole. These clusters or "constellations" received fanciful names redolent with the preoccupations of everyday life in an agrarian economy. Herdsmen watching the night pass would find it just as easy to recognize intervals of night time equivalent to the shadow hours of the day. The much despised yokel, who has not upholstered his brain with the urban superstitions of all the ages, is often adept in using the star clock. A little practice while camping out is sufficient to enable you to tell the time by the stars with an error scarcely more than quarter of an hour.

Centuries before city life began, man had begun to fumble for a connected account of the regularities forced on his attention. He already knew that sun, moon, and stars partake of the same daily and nightly motion about one central point in the heavens. As they stand, the facts with which primitive man was familiar in his everyday life are capable of being looked at in two ways. When we are passing another train, we cannot at once tell whether we are at rest and the other one is in motion, or vice versa. So we cannot tell whether we are going east to meet the sun and rising stars, or whether they are moving west to meet us. In the train we can settle the issue by looking out of the opposite window. We put ourselves in the position of the man on the platform. Primitive man had no knowledge of what the two trains would look like from the platform. Having no other court of appeal, he inclined to his first impression that the sun and stars were rushing past him.

In the priestly lore of the earliest calendar civilizations the picture pieced together was something like this. The stars, moon, and sun were all on the surface of a great sphere, of which we only see one half at a time. The stars become visible when the sun is in the celestial hemisphere below our horizon. The celestial sphere revolves around an axis joining the Pole Star to some fixed spot on the earth -- the North Pole, as we call it today. It completes its revolution in a day and a night, revolving in an anti-clockwise direction from the standpoint of a person looking upwards towards the North Pole Star.

Sky from the Pyramids

The noon or shortest shadow of the Obelisk or shadow clock points due north towards the celestial pole. At the equinoxes (March 21st and September 23rd) the sun rises due east and sets due west, and the observer is at the centre of its semicircular track, called the equinoctial or celestial equator. The angle A which the sun makes with the horizon is called its altitude. The angle Z which it makes with the vertical is its zenith distance. The altitude of the Pole Star is very nearly constant, and on the equinoxes the z.d. of the noon sun is practically equal to the altitude of the Pole Star. Hence the plane of the equinoctial is at right angles to the axis which passes through the observer and the celestial pole. The stars and moon pass over the horizon in circular arcs parallel to that of the sun's transit, rising on the eastern side and setting on the western side of the meridian, or arc, which passes through the north and south points of the horizon, the pole, and the zenith directly overhead.

Diagrammatic view as we might see the sky from the Pyramids today in late summer. The two constellations shown, being very near the pole, do not set below the horizon. Six months later Cassiopeia would be seen sinking after sunset and rising just before sunrise.

The Diurnal Events

First we have to reckon with the diurnal events. At daybreak and nightfall the shepherd, as he stands at the door of his hut, sees the sun rising in different positions at different times of the year, but always towards one side of the horizon. He watches it, as it sets in different positions at different times of the year, but always towards the opposite side of the horizon. So he learns to distinguish an eastern horizon of sunrise and a western horizon of sunset. In the region north of the tropics, where the neolithic agrarian economy began, the sun travels over the heavens obliquely, so that the noon shadow is always on one side of the line joining the eastern and western horizons. The sun's shadow shortens as day wears on till the sun itself is highest in the heavens, and then lengthens again as it points more and more towards the place of the rising sun. The noon or shortest shadow divided the working day of the cultivator into morning and afternoon. Fisher folk would be familiar with other time signals besides the daily changes of the sun and stars. They would see how high and low water at the tide marks would happen twice in a day and a night. Before there was any settled husbandry, hunting and food-gathering tribes had learned to recognize familiar star clusters, like the Dipper or Great Bear and Cassiopeia, when night fell; to know how they change their position like the sun as night goes on, and to notice how one star, the Pole Star, is always seen above the same point on the horizon, in the same place at sunset and at sunrise.

The Astronomical Orientation of the Great Pyramid

The Pyramid of Cheops and that of Sneferu are constructed on a common geometrical plan. The perimeter of the four sides, which face exactly the north, south, east, and west, has the same ratio to the height as the ratio of the circumference to the radius of a circle, i.e. 2 x 3 1/7, or 2π. According to Flinders Petrie: "The squareness and level of the base is brilliantly true, the average error being less than a ten-thousandth of the side in equality, squareness, and level." At its transit across the meridian, the rays of Sirius, the dog star, whose heliacal rising announced the beginning of the Egyptian year and the flooding of the sacred river which brought prosperity to the cultivators, were at right angles to the south face of the Great Pyramid, and shone straight down the ventilating shaft into the royal chamber, illuminating the head of the dead Pharaoh. The main opening, and a second shaft leading to the lower chamber, conveyed the light of the Pole Star, which was then the star a in the constellation Draco, at its lower transit, three degrees below the true celestial pole.

The Beginning of Science

We start with the conquest of time and distance. That is to say, the kind of knowledge we need to keep track of the seasons and to find our whereabouts in the world we inhabit. One depends upon the other. Making a calendar and navigating a ship depend on the same kind of knowledge, and we shall not be able to keep the two issues apart. Much of the mystery which enshrouds contemporary discussion of Relativity will present no difficulty if the use of the ship's chronometer is grasped firmly at the outset. All measurements of time depend on making measurements in space, and localization in space depends on measurements of time.

We used to think of man as a tool-bearing animal, and to divide the preliterate stage of his existence into an old stone age and a new stone age. We now know that the social achievements of mankind before the beginning of the written record include far more important things than the perfection of axes and arrowheads. Three discoveries into which he blundered many millennia before the dawn of civilization in Egypt, Sumeria, or Turkestan, are specially significant. With the aid of the dogs which followed him and prowled about his camp fires, he began to herd instead of to hunt. He learned to scatter millet and barley, to store grain to consume when there were no fruits to gather. He collected gold nuggets and bits of meteoric iron, and, it may be, noticed the formation of copper from the green pigment that he used for adornment, when it was heated in the embers. The sheep is an animal with seasonal fertility, and cereal crops are largely annual. In domesticating the sheep and learning to sow cereals, man therefore made a fateful step. The recognition of the passage of time now became a primary
necessity of social life. In learning to record the passage of time man learned to measure things. He learned to keep account of past events. He made structures on a much vaster scale than any which he employed for purely), domestic use. The arts of writing, architecture, numbering, and in particular geometry, which was the offspring of star lore and shadow reckoning, were all by-products of man's first organized achievement, the construction of the calendar. Shakespeare anticipated Sir Norman Lockyer when he wrote: "Our forefathers had no other books but the score and the tally."

Science began when man started to plan ahead for the seasons, because planning ahead for the seasons demanded an organized body of continuous observations and a permanent record of their recurrence. In an age of wireless transmission, of mechanical clocks and cheap almanacs, we take time for (granted. Before there were any clocks or simpler devices like the hour-glass or the clepsydra for recording the passage of time, mankind had to depend on the direction of the heavenly bodies, sun by day and the stars by night. Already in the hunting and food gathering stage the human race had probably learned to associate changes in vegetation, the mating habits of animals, and the recurrence of drought or floods, with the rising and setting of bright stars and star clusters immediately before sunrise or in evening twilight. When the great agrarian revolution reached its climax in the dawn of city life, a technique of timekeeping emerged as its pivotal achievement. What chiefly remain to record the beginnings of an orderly routine of settled life in cities are the vast structures which bear eloquent witness to the primary social function of the priesthood as custodians of the calendar. The temple, with its corridor and portal placed to greet the transit of its guardian star or to trap a thin shaft of light from the rising or setting sun of the quarter-days; the obelisk or shadow clock; the Pyramids facing equinoctial sunrise or sunset, the pole and the southings of the bright stars in the zodiac; the great stone circle of Stonehenge with its sight-line pointing to the rising sun of the summer solstice -- all these are first and foremost almanacs in architecture. Nascent science and ceremonial religion had a common focus of social necessity in the observatory-temple of the astronomer-priest. That we still divide the circle into 360 degrees, that we reckon fractions of a degree in minutes and seconds, remind us that men learned to measure angles before they had settled standards of length or area. Angular measurement was the necessary foundation of timekeeping. The social necessity of recording the passage of time forced mankind to map out the heavens. How to map the earth came later as an unforeseen result.

It is a common belief that mathematics is the hallmark of science, and some people are apt to imagine that the introduction of a little mathematics into subjects like economics entitles them to rank as genuine science. The truth is that science rests on the painstaking recognition of uniformities in nature. In no branch of science is this more evident than in astronomy, the oldest of the sciences, and the parent of the mathematical arts. Between the beginnings of city life and the time when human beings first began to sow corn or to herd sheep, ten or twenty thousand years -- perhaps more -- may have been occupied in scanning the night skies and watching the sun's shadow throughout the seasons. Mankind was learning the uniformities which signalize the passage of the seasons, becoming aware of an external order, grasping slowly that it could only be commanded by being obeyed, and not as yet realizing that it could not be bribed. There is no hard and sharp line between the beginnings of science and what we now call magic. Professor Elliot Smith rightly says that magic is the discarded science of yesterday. The first priests were also the first scientists and the first civil servants. As custodians of the calendar, they created an organized body of reliable knowledge from the common experience of herdsman and cultivator.

To understand how a science of astronomy is possible, we have to acquaint ourselves with uniformities of nature, once familiar features of the everyday life of mankind. They are no longer part of the everyday life of people who live in large cities. So, many readers of this book will need to be told what they are. Looking at them retrospectively we can arrange them under four headings.

Language: idiolects and dialects

Since idiolects and dialects may differ somewhat independently in any of their constituent systems or subsystems and also in the ways these systems articulate with one another, it behooves us to ask which kind of difference is more likely to be productive of mutual misunderstanding or mutual unintelligibility: difference within any one system or difference in the articulation of two systems with each other. Offhand, we expect that difference in the articulation of two systems -- say the phonological and the morphological, or the morphological and the semantic -- will be more quickly productive of misunderstanding than will difference within any one system itself. This judgment seems reasonable, also, in light of what we know about systems in general. Variation within any subsystem has less effect on the larger system of which it is a part than does variation in the way the several subsystems articulate with one another; for the structure of the larger system is most immediately characterized by the pattern of subsystem articulation.

Given little difference in the other systems, two speakers can differ considerably in their phonological systems without seriously impairing their ability to understand one another. We may have to take a little time to get used to one another, but most of us have little difficulty. understanding people who speak our language with quite thick foreign accents. People learning a second language tend to use the distinctive features of their first language as a basis for distinguishing and pronouncing the phonemes of the second. Consequently they miss some phoneme distinctions entirely, just as a native German speaker tends, when speaking English, to fuse the phonemes // (voiced th) with /d/ and /þ/ (voiceless th) with /t/.

Some differences in morphological systems can also have little effect on mutual intelligibility. The rules governing the height of final vowels in compound words illustrated earlier for the Romónum dialect of Truk vary considerably among Truk's several dialects. The same nine vowel phonemes (see footnote 6) appear in all of these dialects, but the rules of vowel harmonics differ from one to the next, so that we find sópwótiw ("lower district") as well as sópwu-tiw, and sópwo-wu ("outer district") and sapwo-wu as well as sópwu-wu or sópwu-u.

Misunderstanding is bound to develop rapidly, however, with differences in the semantic system, that is, with the way concepts are mapped into morphs, words, and other expressions. By assigning to ordinary words in the Trukese language a set of different denotations, members of a traditional group of political specialists in Truk are able to speak in public and convey messages to one another that are not understood by the uninitiated. Thus the Trukese word aaw ordinarily denotes the large tree Ficus carolinensis, but in this special argot it denotes the son of a chief, ordinarily referred to by another expression. Speakers of this argot use Trukese phonology, morphology, and syntax with only minor alterations, but by assigning special meanings to the words they use, they make themselves unintelligible to other speakers of Trukese. By the criterion of mutual intelligibility, they speak a different language.

When we think of learning a new language, although we recognize that it may involve learning some new rules of grammar, most of us think of the task as primarily one of learning a new vocabulary to represent the same old things. What we call a house in English is called maison in French and iimw in Trukese. We may later discover that the class of phenomena designated by house is not identical with the classes of phenomena designated by maison or iimw and that thinking in French or Trukese involves in each case somewhat different percepts and concepts than does thinking in English. But even if this were not the case, if French and English had the same phonology, the same patterns of morphological construction, and the same principles of syntax, and if the words in one language denoted the same things that the words in the other did, if at the same time the shapes of the words in the two were always different, the same shapes never designating the same things, we would regard them as different languages.

The matter of variance boils down to this, then: so long as we can recognize in the speech of another the code functions of our own idiolect, his speech is intelligible to us. If the denotations of his words are altered so as to have little correspondence with the denotations of the phonologically like words in our own idiolect, or if the phonological shapes of his words with the same denotations are altered beyond our ability to recognize them, in either case mutual intelligibility is lost. Considerable variance is possible within these limits without such loss. Two people speak the "same" language, then, if the variance between their idiolects does not exceed these limits.

But this is not the end of the matter. The problem of definition is actually more complicated. When space technicians start talking about space technology or linguists start talking about technical matters pertaining to language, a layman finds himself unable to understand what is being said. Does this mean that the layman and space technician speak different languages? In one sense it does. The layman recognizes that he has to learn the "language" of space technology, the special vocabulary and the concepts that comprise its denotations. But in another sense, the layman and the specialist both speak English (or whatever), for they communicate readily about nontechnical matters; and even when he talks about his specialty, the space technician uses ordinary English words according to English grammar intermixed with a specialized vocabulary. There is obviously a difference between the situation where two people both have knowledge of similar subjects but cannot communicate with each other about them and the situation where they can communicate about subjects of which they both have knowledge but not about other subjects. In the former case, the two speak different languages; in the latter case they speak the "same" language, but with varying degrees of competence in the several subject matters for which it serves as a code.

The child is under the authority of his parents

In the American society as in most societies, the child is under the authority of his parents by informal custom and by formal law. The cultural mores are reinforced by no lesser sanctions than the religious norms of the Judeo-Christian heritage, threatening whoever disobeys parental dictates with damnation. The problem of this arrangement, which has significant implications for the process of adolescence, lies in the fact that the individual, conditioned to one kind of behavior in childhood, must shift to the opposite as an adult. This, obviously, raises the question of the time and manner of transition from one to the other -- a question that remains largely unanswered in the American society.

As would be a natural inclination in probably every culture, Americans tend to accept as universal the custom of viewing the adult-child, or specifically the parent-child, relationship in the light of a dominancesubmission arrangement. The ethnocentrism of this assumption is illustrated by anthropological data pointing out that other cultures have employed different patterns of intergenerational relations. As a typical example, a Crow Indian father was reported to express his pride over his son's independent and, from our cultural point of view, almost insolent, behavior in spite of the fact that his own wishes were frustrated by the son's intractability. 28 The child-training practices among the Mohave Indians are also strikingly nonauthoritarian, and an anthropologist has reported the following episode:

The child's mother was white and protested to its father (a Mohave Indian) that he must take action when the child disobeyed and struck him. "But why?" the father said, "he is little. He cannot possibly injure me." He did not know of any dichotomy according to which an adult expects obedience and a child must accord it. If his child had been docile he would simply have judged that it would become a docile adult -- an eventuality of which he would not have approved.

It appears, thus, that a number of cultures are strikingly free of patterns of authoritarianism and observe a symmetrical relationship that precludes the "freezing" of the child-adult relationship into a dominance-f submission relationship. In some of the so-called primitive cultures, the very terminology of address between father and son reflects this reciprocal relationship. The two individuals essentially are equals whose terms of relationship never change through their lifetime, similar to the reciprocal privileges and obligations which in our society exist only between age mates. When the son becomes a parent, he will establish the same reciprocal relationship with his child. Usually, in societies with this type of equalitarian father-son relationship, the actual paternal figure with disciplining function is a close male relative, such as the mother's brother among the Trobriand Islanders. The father-son relationship is, therefore, a continuous unchanging relationship which is enjoyed throughout life. For the purpose of this discussion, the significance of such kinship conventions lies in the fact that the child is allowed to practice from infancy on the same form of behavior upon which he may rely as an adult. Childrearing practices of this nature make it unnecessary for behavior to be polarized into first submission and then dominance.

In conclusion, the American culture contains a number of important child-adult dichotomies which exert considerable strain on both the interpersonal process and the personality system. The main impact of this situation is felt by the young individual at the time when he finds himself between the two relatively well-defined roles, since the cultural blueprint lacks clear directives as to the exact time of termination of one role and the assumption of the next. The American adolescent is thrown in between the cultural dichotomies and is not clear in which situations and to what degree the nonresponsibility of the child and the complete responsibility of the adult apply to him. Likewise, he experiences feelings of frustration or guilt concerning his sexual needs and activities since the culture has not yet accorded him adult status, which presumably coincides with sexual maturity. Finally, he faces the serious problem of readjustment to a new position in the authority pattern of the society. During the time of transition, he experiences ambiguity in respect to freedom of activities, responsibilities, and allocation of power.

Responsibility vs. Nonresponsibility

As an illustration of more relaxed role differentiation, the Canadian Ojibwa allow their children to engage in adult activities as soon as they are physically capable. The Indians of this tribe gain their livelihood by trapping animals, and the nuclear family lives the winter months alone on their extensive frozen hunting grounds. The boy accompanies the father on hunting trips and brings in his catch to his sister as his father does to his mother. It is the girl's responsibility to prepare the meat and skins for her brother just as the mother does for her husband. By the time the boy reaches 12 years, he usually operates his line of traps on a hunting territory of his own and returns to his parents' house only occasionally to bring the meat and skins to his sister. A child of this tribe is consistently taught at an early age to rely upon himself and to see the world of the adult as not much different from the world of the young.

The child-rearing practices of the American culture handle this matter differently. The inside worlds of industry, business, professions, and labor are relatively inaccessible and largely unknown to the child. He does not make any contribution to the divsion of labor until he is in his late teens or early twenties. And then he assumes adult responsibilities in an abrupt fashion and not as a natural and gradual expansion of previous activities that were similar or identical. There is no such early partaking of adult functions as, for example, among the Cheyenne Indians who made a feast of the little boy's first snowbird catch. The Cheyenne boy was presented with a toy bow at birth and all through his childhood used serviceable bows which were made for him by the man of the family. He was taught in a graded series how to hunt animals and birds, beginning with those most easily taken. As he brought in the first of each species, his family made a feast of it and accepted his contributions as gravely as they did the buffalo his father brought home. When the boy finally killed his first buffalo, it represented the terminal phase of his childhood conditioning rather than the abrupt assumption of an adult role from which his childhood experience had been discrepant.

In many of these tribal societies, the child-rearing techniques achieve a continuity of activities that is not limited to certain daily nurturing patterns but is extended to include responsibilities that, in our society, are reserved to adults. For example, in the white United States population a child is conditioned to eat three meals a day. The child comes to consider this a normal and natural routine and carry it over to adult life without much thought or difficulty. However, in other areas of life, Americans do not engage in such uniform and consistent conditioning. A child is declared nonresponsible in respect to serious adult work and, as a matter of fact, is even prevented from playfully imitating most adult responsibilities, since they are invisible to him. Americans tend to consider it a universal rule that the child wants to play and that the adult has to work, forgetting that in many societies the mothers take their babies along to their daily work, carrying them in shawls or baskets close to the body. With the mother doing her work in this fashion in garden or field, the child has an opportunity to observe adult work. As soon as the child is old enough to run about, he takes on tasks that are important and yet suited to his strength -- thereby precluding the formation of a dichotomy of work and play. Adult tasks are gradually introduced to the child while elders give patient advice, yet do not offer to do the task in the child's place.

The American society proceeds differently. Even the law reflects these differences and provides that a child cannot be accused of a crime but only of "delinquency." Then, the legal and moral burden is still the parents' because the child presumably has not yet reached the "age of legal responsibility." The question of when the social and legal reaction to a child's "delinquency," either in terms of penalty or correction, is commensurate with the child's understanding of his delinquent act raises a most difficult issue. There has been suspicion lately that permissive and "understanding" attitudes toward juvenile delinquents may be inappropriate and may defeat the purpose of prevention as well as "rehabilitation," since permissive counseling will only reinforce and reward the delinquent pattern. What is needed, according to some psychiatric experts, is a new approach, a "Reality Therapy" that readjusts social reactions to make them more commensurate with the understanding that the juvenile may actually have of his acts. Readjustment of the law machinery in this direction would mean that in the future the juvenile would be held responsible for his deeds to a greater extent than is currently customary.

The Child - Adult Dichotomies of Cultural Values

Besides the dichotomies of opposite value patterns that cut through the whole American culture, there is a division of values that distinguishes between those applicable to the child and those applicable to the adult. The American culture upholds this age-determined double standard more emphatically than most other societies and submits relatively well-defined expectations to each age group. However, the more discrete and isolated the status of child is from the status of adult, the more ambiguous and difficult is the transition from one to the other. In other words, the more distinct the dichotomous pattern, the more intense the status discontinuity experienced by the adolescent. Anthropologist Ruth Benedict is known for exploring the cultural qualities separating these two statuses, and the following discussion relies heavily on her work.

No culture in the world can ascribe the same blueprint to all participants. Humans at different chronological stages have different needs and capabilities; nowhere is a child required to act like an adult, and neither is a mature and healthy adult allowed to act like a child for any length of time. The differences which various cultures have in respect to time of role transition and to degree of role distinction vary greatly. In some societies, mostly the small and so-called primitive societies, children assume adult roles at an early age, while in the large and modern societies, as in the American, children grow into adulthood via a nondescript phase that separates adulthood from childhood by as many as 6 to 10 years. In respect to the degree of role differentiation, the American culture goes to great lengths in emphasizing contrasts between the role of the child and the role of the adult, prescribing for each entirely distinct sets of expectations in a number of life sectors. This principle can be exemplified by a number of specific opposite role expectations.

Individualism vs. Conformity

Americans are eager to report that their country was settled, cultivated, and advanced by "rugged individuals." The "individual," in the American conception, is an independent and inventive agent, relatively autonomous and morally responsible to himself. A proliferation of specific propositions concerning "human nature" was derived from this ethnocentric premise. For example, a man was ideally allowed to voice his disagreement with the decisions and practices of the authorities, he was expected to choose the occupation of his preference and be self-supporting, and he was encouraged to follow his own convictions and beliefs. While these cultural propositions are still maintained, at least on the ideal level, in reality a considerable degree of dependency and conformity has developed. A number of regulations have been introduced, presumably guaranteeing security and consistency of economic well-being for all Americans; these include, for example, such institutions as Social Security, Medicare, obligatory retirement funds, and other similar measures. Critics call these measures "welfare state" practices and claim that freedom is no longer clearly tied to a social system of private property and passive government. In the opinion of many Americans, this trend threatens standards of individualism by unduly restricting personal determination, decisions, and choices.

In the industrial realm, modern technology and its efficiency have resulted in establishing norms and standards for production as well as consumption. The American emphasis on efficiency and expediency has always been of fascination to outside observers. The Germans coined the term Fordismus to describe the standardization, mass production, and "streamlined" efficiency of the American industry and business world, assuming that Ford represented the protoype of American productivity. In the course of this growing industrial efficiency and expediency, individualistic and creative participation in the production process has become greatly reduced for the vast majority of employees. There is even a question whether the product itself meets standards of individuality and uniqueness, since it has been mass-produced and is designed to suit the tastes of thousands of people.

American youth, on one hand, are brought up in the knowledge of American history, which includes many well-known and glorified examples of "rugged individualism," and are encouraged to emulate this "truly American" trait. On the other hand, however, American youth are constantly challenged to conform to national and patriotic standards requiring high degrees of conformity to majority opinion. Although these conflicting values have of course been a natural part of any era, they appear to have been unusually intense during the late 1960's when dissent and counterdissent concerning the war in South Vietnam ran high. Some of the basic questions that emerged for the sociological observer concerned the surprisingly widespread public opinion which perceived dissent not as an expression of independent individual thinking and believing but as subversive and "un-American" conduct. If one studies, in addition, reliable national survey data that captures the mood of contemporary American teen-agers, one is inclined to conclude that the original "rugged individualism" is now juxtaposed with a strong emphasis on conformity. This emphasis stood out in survey data published by the Purdue University opinion research center, showing that "more than 50 per cent [of the teen-agers] think the large mass of us in the United States simply aren't capable of deciding for ourselves what's right and what's wrong."

It appears then that there is a serious discrepancy between the American ideal of "rugged individualism" and its actual implementation. A teen-ager has to learn carefully that this blueprint for American individualism is not generalizable and that there are definite areas of limitations and prohibitions. The fact of non-generalizability destroys the simplicity and predictability of always responding to the same cue in identical or similar ways, thereby complicating the learning process and rendering the behavioral blueprint ambiguous and situational.