SEVEN STARS: Ancient Astronomy and the English Public House

Book number: 92334 Product format: Paperback Author: HUGH KOLB

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Bibliophile price £5.00
Published price £15


Many histories of inns, taverns and the English public house have been written over the past 150 years, but the name the Seven Stars stands out as a special case. Compared to many other images used for pub signs, the depiction of seven stars has a wide range of cultural and literary associations. They appear in religious and astronomical context, in the Bible, have been adopted by the Freemasons. This special book traces the meaning and origins of the sign back 1,500 years to the legal codes of the Anglo-Saxons and beyond that to the mythological astronomy of the ancient Mediterranean region. It is believed that the sign of the Seven Stars originated in the star cluster of the seven Pleiades which was considered to be a bunch of grapes in the sky in a Dionysian and Bacchic world view, and therefore used as a suitable tavern sign. The first half of the book briefly tells the history of public drinking and the oldest and most interesting Seven Stars pubs going back to the 14th century. The first image is of Ye Olde Seven Stars, Withy Grove Manchester in 1908, a half timbered house displaying the sign 'The oldest licensed house in Great Britain licensed over 540 years.' The second part of the book is a discussion of the various meanings that have been proposed, many based on ideas from ancient astronomy. The distribution of the older pubs with the name is closely related to the areas of the Saxon and Mercian law codes that were in operation after the Danish invasions of the 9th and 10th centuries. The conclusion is that the symbolism involved retains surviving ideas from the mythological astronomy but were lost in the areas dominated by Scandinavian values where the social and political role of drinking establishments was distinctly different. Featuring rare archive photographs of interiors decorated with clocks and badges and banners, the book delves into religious symbolism and the Immaculate Conception, the Book of Enoch, the Masons, the solar system, the Seven Stars of Taurus, stars and monasteries and how the hexagram or six pointed star was a symbol for beer in parts of Germany in the Middle Ages and still found to the present day. Beautifully illustrated in colour throughout this large format 240 page softback.

Additional product information

ISBN 9781911604976

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