"Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."
-- Proverbs 29:18, King James Bible (KJV)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Natural Law, Ancient Man: Astronomy, Land and Property

Think about property law and land ownership...
impossible without land survey viz. land "navigation" of some kind.

Our interest in ancient surveyors and early land and sea navigation is thus fundamental to an understanding of modern law and society. You have to know what land was measured and how that measurement was conducted, since that served as the inherited "land" basis for the nation-states which still exist today.

To understand the development of human civilization, it is important to recognize that mankind's first "scientific" technologies were arguably based on primitive "stargazing", i.e. what we modernly call "astronomy".

No less a thinker than Bertrand Russell wrote in Human Knowledge: Its Scope and  Limits (Simon and Schuster, Clarion Books, New York, 1948) that:
"Astronomy is the oldest of the sciences, and the contemplation of the heavens, with their periodic regularities, gave men their first conceptions of natural law."
Furthermore, in terms of both land survey and land or sea navigation, as written at the Wikipedia under Surveying:
"The primary way of determining one's position on the earth's surface when no known positions are nearby is by astronomic observations. Observations to the sun, moon and stars could all be made using navigational techniques. Once the instrument's position and bearing to a star is determined, the bearing can be transferred to a reference point on the earth and which can then be used as a base for further observations. Survey-accurate astronomic positions were difficult to observe and calculate and so tended to be a base off which many other measurements were made. Since the advent of the GPS system, astronomic observations are rare as GPS allows positions to be determined adequately over most of the surface of the earth."
Since human survival has at all times depended on either ownership, control of or access to actual physical territory on our planet Earth, that same astronomy served as the simplest way to map out that territory, with maps made to mirror the ever-present and ready-made sky map of the heavens, "as above, so below". At our Megaliths.net website on megalithic cultures we write:
"As observed by Alice Cunningham Fletcher (Alice C. Fletcher) in her 1902 publication in the American Anthropologist, there is ample evidence that some ancient cultures, e.g. the Pawnee in Nebraska, geographically located their villages according to patterns seen in stars of the heavens. FLETCHER, A. C. (1902), STAR CULT AMONG THE PAWNEE —A PRELIMINARY REPORT. American Anthropologist, 4: 730–736. doi: 10.1525/aa.1902.4.4.02a00050."
To the importance of astronomy for ancient peoples we can add timekeeping, as written at Curious About Astronomy:
"In ancient times, the practical need for timekeeping and navigation was one of the primary reasons for the study of astronomy. The celestial origins of timekeeping and navigation are still evident. "
In spite of the above observations, anthropologists and archaeologists worldwide generally proceed in their academic work as if the ancients knew more or less nothing of astronomy and, furthermore, placed little or no importance upon it for land survey, navigation, timekeeping and chronology, whereas the probative evidence that we have increasingly found presents exactly the opposite picture. Astronomy DOMINATED the ancient world.