In Dark Land, Dark Skies, astronomer Martin Griffiths subverts conventional astronomical thought by eschewing the classical naming of constellations and investigating Welsh and Celtic naming. Ancient peoples around the world placed their own myths and legends in the heavens, though these have tended to become lost behind the dominant use of classical cultural stories to name stars. In many cases it is a result of a literary culture displacing an oral culture.
Griffiths has researched past use of Welsh heroes from the Mabinogion in the naming of constellations and his new book is an interesting and provocative combination of a new perspective on Welsh mythology and an astronomy guidebook.
Modeled on the principles of Star-Names and Their Meanings by Richard Hinckley Allen (1899) Dark Land, Dark Skies is an informative guide to star-gazing which will be welcomed by the amateur and professional astronomer alike. The book includes fifty-two star charts covering the entire celestial year to aid identification of the changing constellations and 80 photographs of astronomically interesting objects, and Griffiths’ practical commentary is accompanied by his alternative, Welsh-orientated interpretation of the night sky.
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