9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Dense, fascinating, but hypocritical,
By A Customer
This review is from: Hamlet's Mill: A Essay Investigating the Origins of Human Knowledge and Its Transmission Through Myth (Paperback)
There are quite a small number of books that deal with polar/axial mythology - other good ones include Geoffrey Ashe's 'The Ancient Wisdom' and Joscelyn Godwin's 'Arktos' - and this one definitely ranks with the 'essential' books in this area. The arguments for ancient knowledge of precession are convincing, if scattered, but I am perplexed at the authors' apparent hypocrisy. At the outset, they lambast scholarly 'anti-primitive' biases, saying that classical Greek sources act as an irresistable 'magnet' for mythographers; they also quote at length evidence about the sophistication of the pre-civilized African Dogon tribe. And yet by the end of the book they nominate Plato as 'grand judge and jury' on the authenticity of archaic myth, and never really manage to steer far from the 'Classical Magnet' - only a few thousand years earlier and a little to the east, in Mesopotamia. They seem unable to accept that 'pre-civilized' cultures could have originated complex astronomical myths, despite this being one of their initial arguments! And of course, they are unswervingly reductionist about myth. They reject 'geographical' and 'fertility cult' interpretations as "too simplistic", and then reduce *everything* to the revolving heavens!! All in all, very useful as a source of ideas if you're interested in this area, but it fails as a total argument.