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Astronomy, Weather, and Calendars in the Ancient World: Parapegmata and Related Texts in Classical and Near-Eastern Societies

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By: Daryn Lehoux

580 pages, 24 b/w illustrations

Cambridge University Press

Paperback | Jul 2012 | #198171 | ISBN-13: 9781107404779
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £28.99 $35/€33 approx
Hardback | Aug 2007 | #198170 | ISBN-13: 9780521851817
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £83.00 $102/€93 approx

About this book

The focus of this book is the interplay between ancient astronomy, meteorology, physics and calendrics. It looks at a set of popular instruments and texts (parapegmata) used in antiquity for astronomical weather prediction and the regulation of day-to-day life. Farmers, doctors, sailors, and others needed to know when the heavens were conducive to various activities, and they developed a set of fairly sophisticated tools and texts for tracking temporal, astronomical, and weather cycles. For the first time the sources are presented in full, with an accompanying translation. A new and comprehensive analysis explores questions such as: What methodologies were used in developing the science of astrometeorology? What kinds of instruments were employed and how did these change over time? How was the material collected and passed on? How did practices and theories differ in the different cultural contexts of Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece and Rome?

This is the first monograph on parapegmata in some time and the most comprehensive to date. [...] Lehoux has provided [an] exhaustive study [...] with an engaging discussion of the historical and intellectual implications of these sources. This work will be essential for anyone working on ancient astronomy, calendrics or related areas.
- Journal of the History of Astronomy

"[...] engagingly written, with occasional comparisons to varieties of popular weather forecasting in twentieth-century rural Canada [...] This book will deservedly become the fundamental source for its subject." - Metascience


Part I. Parapegmata and Astrometeorology 1. The rain in Attica falls mainly under Sagitta 2. Spelt and Spica 3. De signis 4. When is thirty days not a month? 5. Calendars, weather, and stars in Babylon 6. Egyptian astrometeorology 7. Conclusion Part II. Sources - Catalogue of extant parapegmata - Extant parapegmata Appendix 1. Authorities cited in parapegmata Appendix 2. Tables of correspondence of parapegmata

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Daryn Lehoux is Lecturer in Roman History, Classics and Ancient History at the University of Manchester.

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