Ancient Astronomy and the English Public House
- The first half of the book briefly tells the history of public drinking and its associated signs, and then describes the oldest and
most interesting Seven Stars pubs in England going back to the 14th century. The second part is a discussion of the various meanings that have been proposed for the Seven Stars sign, many of them 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 retained
surviving ideas from the mythological astronomy of the ancient Mediterranean world that survived in Anglo-Saxon culture but which were lost in the areas dominated by Scandinavian values where the social and political role of drinking establishments was
distinctly different. This is a full and authoritative look at an ancient symbol that forms a small part in the building blocks of British cultural traditions.
- Now a retired zoologist, Hugh Kolb’s interest in the history of English pub names and their symbolism, came in a roundabout way from his passion for foxes. Curious about foxes in European and Middle Eastern mythology and culture, Hugh noticed
interesting patterns in the naming of British public houses and inns using the word ‘fox’. Similar patterns, which tied in with ancient British population change, emerged with the name ‘Seven Stars’. Hugh has been involved in printmaking, illustration and
design for the past fifty years. His previous publications include Country Foxes and Foxes from the Gods.
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