This book examines the interplay between astronomy and dynastic power in the course of ancient Egyptian history, focusing on the fundamental role of astronomy in the creation of the pyramids and the monumental temple and burial complexes. Bringing to bear the analytical tools of archaeoastronomy, a set of techniques and methods that enable modern scholars to better understand the thought, religion and science of early civilizations, Giulio Magli provides in-depth analyses of the pyramid complexes at Giza, Abusir, Saqqara and Dahshur, as well as of the Early Dynastic necropolis at Abydos and the magnificent new Kingdom Theban temples. Using a variety of data retrieved from study of the sky and measurements of the buildings, he reconstructs the visual, symbolic and spiritual world of the ancient Egyptians and thereby establishes an intimate relationship among celestial cycles, topography and architecture. He also shows how they were deployed in the ideology of the pharaoh's power in the course of Egyptian history.
Giulio Magli is Full Professor at the Faculty of Civil Architecture of the Politecnico di Milano, where he teaches the first archaeoastronomy course to be established in an Italian university. After receiving a PhD in astrophysics, his research today focuses on archaeoastronomy and the relationship between architecture, landscape and astronomy in ancient Egyptian, Incan and Bronze Age Mediterranean cultures. In addition to his many papers in this field, he is the author of Mysteries and Discoveries of Archaeoastronomy (2009) as well as one of the co-authors of the recent UNESCO-IAU thematic study on astronomy and cultural heritage. Giulio Magli has served as visiting scientist at the Polish Academy of Sciences and the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research of Bombay, India and has spoken at numerous international conferences on relativistic astrophysics, as well as on the role of astronomy in ancient cultures. His research in archaeoastronomy has been reported in National Geographic and on Discovery News and CNN.
Part I: 1. A land for eternity; 2. A king who looks at the stars; 3. The lords of the horizon; 4. A mirage from Heliopolis; 5. Sons of the Sun God; 6. The lost pyramid; Part II: 7. Renaissance at the winter solstice; 8. A valley for the kings; 9. The horizon of the Aten; 10. The last of the greats.