The Imagined Sky - Cultural Perspectives - Darrelyn Gunzburg

The Imagined Sky - Cultural Perspectives - Darrelyn Gunzburg

Images in the Heavens: A Cultural Landscape

The Imagined Sky - Cultural Perspectives - Darrelyn Gunzburg

Bernadette Brady [+-]
University of Wales Trinity St David
Bernadette Brady has a PhD in Anthropology (2012) and MA in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology (2005). She is currently a tutor in the Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture (University of Wales Trinity Saint David, UK). Her archaeoastronomical work is focused in the cultural influence of stars, the role of star phases and the cultural history of the constellations. Her publications include her work on the linking of the Egyptian Ascension mythologyof the Pyramid Texts with the phases of the stars (CRE XII proceedings, Oxbow 2012), the arguing for the use of star lines in the megalithic period (SEAC 2011 proceedings, BAR forthcoming), the cultural implications of the persistence of the shape of constellations (Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture 7(1) 2013) and the ethnographical/astrological work on the Star of Bethlehem (SEAC 2012 proceedings, Slovene Anthropological Society 2013).


The constellation images with their historically persistent nature and adaptability fulfil many contemporary definitions of culture. From the earliest Elamite seals of the fourth millennium to the list-maps in the first century CE through Ptolemy’s Almagest, the constellation images became established in Western cultures. With the invention of printing and the age of the great star atlases from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries, the constellation images continued to display cultural resistance by cartographers to Gothicise, Christianise, politicise, or simply remove them. This resilience has shown that the constellation images are in fact a living gallery of human history with images ranging from the Palaeolithic to the modern world. Furthermore, with their acceptance across a diversity of people and nations, the constellation images today have come to represent a form of world culture, in that they constitute a culture of humanity that is not linked by tribes, clans, nations, religions, or languages.

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Brady, Bernadette. Images in the Heavens: A Cultural Landscape. The Imagined Sky - Cultural Perspectives. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 234-258 Jun 2016. ISBN 9781781791684. Date accessed: 19 Jun 2024 doi: 10.1558/equinox.22672. Jun 2016

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