Star Lore – Planets and Kings

Star Lore – Planets and Kings

Thousands of years ago the ancient Mesopotamians thought that each of the planets was home to the palace of a god. These beliefs influenced both the Greeks and the Romans, and changed forever the way that people think about the sky. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Edwin Krupp is the director of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles.

“We project onto the sky those things that we’ve already decided we need. And each culture, each society, chooses its own things, because they’re related to the kind of society it is. Hunter-gatherers don’t necessarily want to tell the same story about what’s going on in the sky as an empire that is engaged in conquest and massive agriculture.”

“By the time you get to people with kingdoms, clearly recognized lineages of royalty, they’re using the sky, not just to indicate the seasons for the passage of time and agriculture, and availability of food, by then there’s divinity in the sky. This power is transformed into gods, and those gods better be allies of the kings. I mean at least that’s how the kings feel. And so you see kings wearing the emblems of these gods, the crescent moon, the ray disc of the sun. In Babylonian, Mesopotamia, you’ll see reliefs of the gods accompanying the picture of the king, and we know what those gods are, they’re celestial. Not all of them, but there’s the sun, there’s the moon, there’s the planet Venus, there’s the lightning and the power of the storm. Well those are forces in nature that were clearly significant to people, and the king allied himself with them by putting them on his robes, by putting them on his crown on his head, you know.”

We’ll hear more” skylore” in future programs. If you’d like to hear about our new Pulse of the Planet CD, please visit our website at pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet is presented with support provided by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

Star Lore - Planets and Kings

Throughout history, mortals have projected their earthly beliefs onto the sky.
Air Date:01/25/2011
Scientist:
Transcript:

Star Lore - Planets and Kings

Thousands of years ago the ancient Mesopotamians thought that each of the planets was home to the palace of a god. These beliefs influenced both the Greeks and the Romans, and changed forever the way that people think about the sky. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Edwin Krupp is the director of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles.

"We project onto the sky those things that we've already decided we need. And each culture, each society, chooses its own things, because they're related to the kind of society it is. Hunter-gatherers don't necessarily want to tell the same story about what's going on in the sky as an empire that is engaged in conquest and massive agriculture."

"By the time you get to people with kingdoms, clearly recognized lineages of royalty, they're using the sky, not just to indicate the seasons for the passage of time and agriculture, and availability of food, by then there's divinity in the sky. This power is transformed into gods, and those gods better be allies of the kings. I mean at least that's how the kings feel. And so you see kings wearing the emblems of these gods, the crescent moon, the ray disc of the sun. In Babylonian, Mesopotamia, you'll see reliefs of the gods accompanying the picture of the king, and we know what those gods are, they're celestial. Not all of them, but there's the sun, there's the moon, there's the planet Venus, there's the lightning and the power of the storm. Well those are forces in nature that were clearly significant to people, and the king allied himself with them by putting them on his robes, by putting them on his crown on his head, you know."

We'll hear more" skylore" in future programs. If you'd like to hear about our new Pulse of the Planet CD, please visit our website at pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet is presented with support provided by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.