Pyramid

DR. ANTHONY F. AVENI

Professor Emeritus

Dr. Anthony F. Aveni is the Russell Colgate Distinguished University Professor of Astronomy, Anthropology, and Native American Studies, Emeritus, at Colgate University.

 

LATEST BOOKS

Aveni has written or edited more than 40 books.

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April 2021

An accessible exploration of how diverse cultures have explained humanity’s origins through narratives about the natural environment


Drawing from a vast array of creation myths—Babylonian, Greek, Aztec, Maya, Inca, Chinese, Hindu, Navajo, Polynesian, African, Norse, Inuit, and more—this concise illustrated book uncovers both the similarities and differences in our attempts to explain the universe.


Anthony Aveni, an award-winning author and professor of astronomy and anthropology, examines the ways various cultures around the world have attempted to explain our origins, and what roles the natural environment plays in shaping these narratives. The book also celebrates the audacity of the human imagination.
 
Whether the first humans emerged from a cave, as in the Inca myths, or from bamboo stems, as the Bantu people of Africa believed, or whether the universe is simply the result of Vishnu’s cyclical inhales and exhales, each of these fascinating stories reflects a deeper understanding of the culture it arose from as well as its place in the larger human narrative.

October 2019

Follow an epic animal race, a quest for a disembodied hand, and an emu egg hunt in constellation stories from diverse cultures
 
"Aveni skillfully guides us around the awesome night sky through the imagination of different peoples around the world, past and present. A wonderful treasury of cultural astronomy."—Jacqueline Mitton, author of Zoo in the Sky

We can see love, betrayal, and friendship in the heavens, if we know where to look. A world expert on cultural understandings of cosmology, Anthony Aveni provides an unconventional atlas of the night sky, introducing readers to tales beloved for generations. The constellations included are not only your typical Greek and Roman myths, but star patterns conceived by a host of cultures, non‑Western and indigenous, ancient and contemporary.
 
The sky has long served as a template for telling stories about the meaning of life. People have looked for likenesses between the domains of heaven and earth to help marry the unfamiliar above to the quotidian below. Perfect reading for all sky watchers and storytellers, this book is an essential complement to Western mythologies, showing how the confluence of the natural world and culture of heavenly observers can produce a variety of tales about the shapes in the sky.

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April 2017

In anticipation of solar eclipses visible in 2017 and 2024, an exploration of the scientific and cultural significance of this mesmerizing cosmic display

Since the first humans looked up and saw the sun swallowed by darkness, our species has been captivated by solar eclipses. Astronomer and anthropologist Anthony Aveni explains the history and culture surrounding solar eclipses, from prehistoric Stonehenge to Babylonian creation myths, to a confirmation of Einstein’s theory of general relativity, to a spectacle that left New Yorkers in the moon’s shadow, to future eclipses that will capture human imaginations.
 
In one accessible and engaging read, Aveni explains the science behind the phenomenon, tracks eclipses across the ancient world, and examines the roles of solar eclipses in modern times to reveal the profound effects these cosmic events have had on human history. Colored by his own experiences—Aveni has witnessed eight total solar eclipses in his lifetime—his account of astronomy’s most storied phenomenon will enthrall anyone who has looked up at the sky with wonder.

 

CONTACT

Department of Physics & Astronomy
Ho Science Center
Colgate University
13 Oak Drive
Hamilton, NY 13346

315-228-7214