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Thread: Astronomy in Africa - Gikuyu Civilization

  1. #1 Astronomy in Africa - Gikuyu Civilization 
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    The seers are well versed on gravity, stars, comets and precession. One very interesting aspect of the seers in science is; they readily have answers to mind boggling or intricate problems but only lack the language to explain their perception.

    They have names of major stars and comets because they are entrusted in that duty. The more they go deeper in tracing the movement of the stars the more they become enlightened about the heavenly bodies. In turn, the community relied on them in interpretation of heavenly signs in foretelling about the future.

    The community knew some events took place in cycles, some occurring after every decade, others after every fifty years and so forth. In order to keep a steady and accurate source of information in form of records, a college of seers was formed. It was sacerdotal in nature because of its mandate- revealing about heavenly secrets. Every individual seer became a moving encyclopedia of his discipline. In sending out the message , they go down to the lower grade of elders who offer the burnt offerings, then those elders in turn send the message further down until it reaches the ordinary members of the community.

    After keen observation of firmament bodies, they realized the accuracy in the movement of the moon, the sun and the stars. In time, they put together the acquired knowledge and became the first concept of a calendar.

    The community follows with ease the lunar calendar and the solar or seasons but their third calendar is very complicated to be understood or kept by the ordinary people. It is the seers who inform when to observe the occasion that is held once every 50 years.

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  3. #2  
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    I've moved your thread to the anthropology section. I hope you don't mind.

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  4. #3  
    Time Lord
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    I somehow suspect the tradition started in Egypt, and then the astronomer's guild left into the rural areas when the empire fell. Or maybe... those rural communities were used as the place to instruct new pupils, so they could control the flow of information to the local population. In almost all cases of an ancient technology or science being discovered, the people that knew it would keep it to themselves, making every effort not to share, so they could have job security.

    If you look, for example, at the stone mason guilds of Medieval Europe, they had all kinds of rites and rituals, none of which were very necessary in order to understand how to build stone structures. But they needed to ensure loyalty of their members before they shared their most crucial techs (techs that were very real and impressive, at least for their time.) Kind of like how a corporation might have trade secrets, but the concept of an enforceable "non-disclosure agreement" was a long way in the future for these people. The rites and oaths were the next best thing.

    Anyway, it's important not to get too turned off by the "woo" aspects. They're in there, but they're vestigial, and they're the first part the priests will likely throw at an enquirer from outside. It's likely the priests won't share the real part with anyone easily because centuries of tradition have reinforced the need to keep it secret so the guild can lord its knowledge over others (kind of a joke now, since we outsiders probably have a better understanding anyway), but it would still be interesting to know how closely they matched modern science.
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
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