History, Cosmology
Mythology, Astronomy

The Imagined Sky

Cultural Perspectives

Edited by Darrelyn Gunzburg
ISBN: 9781781791677
15 Jun 2016
Paperback, Hardcover; 286 pages

The sky forms fifty percent of our visual world and as such has a voice across cultures. This sky-voice is informed by human images, dreams, and aspirations and thus is complex and contains great diversity. The inherent nature of this sky-voice is transmitted from one generation to another through text, image, oral tradition, physical mapping, and painted description.

This volume, written by some of the most noted scholars in their fields, acknowledges the presence of such a voice, from the sky’s movement mirrored in the archoeastronomy of British prehistory, the apocalyptic myths of comets and meteors, sky cartography reflected in European globes and frescoes, Australian aboriginal sky myths, the issue of disappearing dark skies, contemporary reflections on the sky, and the recognition that sky imagery has persisted in similar forms since its potential roots in the Palaeolithic period.

These eleven essays offer critical engagement in understanding the sky in human imagination and culture and contribute to this new field emerging within the academy.


Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
    ~ Darrelyn Gunzburg
  • The Strange History of British Archaeoastronomy
    ~ Ronald Hutton
  • Comets and Meteors: The Ignored Explanations for Myths and the Apocalypse
    Patrick McCafferty
  • Imagery and Narrative in an Ancient Horoscope: P.Lond. 130 (Greek Horoscopes No. 81)
    ~ Roger Beck
  • Reflections on the Farnese Atlas: Exploring the Scientific, Literary and Pictorial Antecedents of the Constellations on a Graeco-Roman Globe
    ~ Kristen Lippincott
  • Giotto’s Sky: The Fresco Paintings of the First Floor Salone of the Palazzo della Ragione, Padua, Italy
    ~ Darrelyn Gunzburg
  • Astrology as a Social Framework: The ‘Children of Planets’, 1400–1600
    ~ Geoffrey Shamos
  • Mapping the Heavens: The Ceiling of the Sala Bologna in the Vatican Palace
    ~ Emily A. Urban
  • Cosmos, Culture and Landscape: Documenting, Learning and Sharing Australian Aboriginal Astronomical Knowledge in Contemporary Society
    ~ John Goldsmith
  • At Night’s End
    ~ Tyler Nordgren
  • Reach for the Stars! Light, Vision and the Atmosphere
    ~ Tim Ingold
  • Images in the Heavens: A Cultural Landscape
    ~ Bernadette Brady
  • Index
    ~ Darrelyn Gunzburg


This is a rich and varied collection of eleven essays dealing with the role of the sky in human imagination and culture. The disciplinary mix is wide, including history and history of art, classics, cartography and social anthropology. Collectively the authors make a compelling case for the importance of the sky and its interpretation in human cultures from the beginning of recorded history, and almost certainly well before that, to the present.
~ Journal of Skyscape Archaeology


Darrelyn Gunzburg is a professional consulting and teaching astrologer. She gained her formal qualifications in 1988 (FAA Diploma), taught astrology at TAFE (with Bernadette Brady) in 1989, and then in 1990 opened their own school, Astro Logos Ltd, dedicated to the education and qualification of practicing astrologers. Astro Logos is now 30 years old. Apart from course material for our school she’s written two astrological books: Life After Grief: An Astrological Guide to Dealing with Loss (The Wessex Astrologer, 2004), and AstroGraphology, the hidden link between your horoscope and your handwriting (The Wessex Astrologer, 2009.)

Scroll to Top