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Title: Ancient Egyptian Astronomy: Ursa Major - Symbol of Rejuvenation
Contributor(s): Relke, Joan Rosalind (author); Ernest, Allan (author)
Publication Date: 2002-2003
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Abstract: The constellation of Ursa Major became a major metaphor in the religious and agricultural lives of both Predynastic and Dynastic Egyptians. Evidence from astronomy, the Pyramid Texts, and tomb andcoffin imagery, plus the ethnographic parallels offered by contemporary Sudanese tribal cultures demonstrate the complex and multilayered symbolic meanings that Ursa Major inspired for both priestly and farming classes. It was related to the concept ofthe ka, the Opening of the Mouth ceremony, and the Nile inundation, and thus was a potent symbol of rejuvenation, perhaps from as early as the beginning of the Predynastic, ca. 4000 B.C.E.This article is a speculative exploration of the multiple meanings implied by the shape of Ursa Major, drawing on Egyptian astronomy, ethnography from the Sudan, and the agricultural cycle of ancient Egypt.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Archaeoastronomy, v.XVII [17], p. 64-80
Publisher: University of Texas Press
Place of Publication: Austin, United States
ISSN: 0190-9940
Field of Research (FOR): 220405 Religion and Society
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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