3,500 year ago the stars seen by Kitane, Bull Jumper were different from today

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Keftiu Astronomy Research for Kitane, Bull Jumper

Over the course of a year, the nighttime stars appear to rotate around the earth. Different star configurations, called constellations, become associated with the seasons. For a contemporary example, the astrology signs of Cancer, Leo, and Virgo are the summer constellations.

An exception to this rule is the North Star, Polaris. In recent history, Polaris was fixed. It was believed to be always in the north.

Ancient civilization observed several cycles, from the daily cycle of the Sun to the monthly cycle of the Moon, and the annual cycle of the constellations. The objects that failed to follow these cycles were the planets (named for the Greek word wanderers).

In the last century, science has identified several longer cycles, now collectively called Milankovitch cycles. These cycles include orbital eccentricity, obliquity, and precession, with time periods of approximately 100,000 years, 41,000 years, and 25,771.5 years respectively.

For the purposes of formulating astrology for the Keftiu (3,500 years ago), the authors only considered precession.

 

The star directly above the rotational axis is the North Star. In the current era, we are fortunate that axis points to Polaris. However, this is not always true. In general, the axis points to empty space. There is no North Star.

Let’s just review the current situation. The North Star is located by finding the Big Dipper, aka Big Bear, aka Ursa Major. A couple of stars in this constellation point to Polaris. Polaris is a star at handle-end of the Little Dipper, aka Little Bear, aka Ursa Minor.

During the time of our story, there was no ideal North Star, like Polaris. However, the star closest to the north would have been the chosen North Star of the time.

For the purposes of the Keftiu, the authors renamed these two constellations with Keftiu-appropriate names: Big Double Axe and the Little Double Axe (Labrys). The North Star is on the handle end of the Little Double Axe and is called the Bull Star.

Keftiu sailors would have located the Big Double Axe and followed two stars to locate the Bull Star within the Little Double Axe. This is like the process used in the current era, except that different stars are employed, even though the polar constellations are the same.

The other effect of precession is the movement of the constellations with respect to the seasons. 3,500-years-ago represents a change of one zodiac sign. Thus, while Cancer, Leo, Virgo are summer constellations now, Leo, Virgo, and Libra would have been summer constellations in the past.

Of course, the Keftiu would have had their own names for the constellations. The authors renamed the constellations for the Keftiu as follows:

Spring: Spring Flowers, Initiates, Triton

Summer: Dolphin, Snake Goddess, Swallow

Autumn: Three Women, Octopus, Trading Ship

Winter: Bull Jumper, Papyrus, Bee

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3,500 years ago Kitane, Bull Jumper wrote in Linear A – still not decoded

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Keftiu Language and Writing Research for Kitane, Bull Jumper

Historical fiction presents a mixture of opportunities and challenges. The more remote the setting, the more the authors must fill in blanks in the historical record. My co-author and I have chosen a bronze age setting, about 3,500 years ago. The bronze age is on the boundary between history and archeology. Artifacts, pottery, ruins, and middens tend to be more important and plentiful than written records during this time.

While many cultures had developed writing by the bronze age, few of these have been deciphered. One bronze age system has been famously deciphered: Egyptian Hieroglyphics.

Many systems are on the other side of the ledger, including:

  • Harappan: Indus Valley from 3500 to 1900 BCE.
  • Olmec: Middle America from 1250 to 400 BCE.
  • Ba and Shu: Southwestern China 5th and 4th century BCE.
  • Linear A: Crete from 2500 to 1450 BCE.

In general, scientists cannot decipher writing systems without a connection to a known language. With the dearth of written evidence, writers take advantage of whatever evidence is available. We set our novel on Minoan Crete during the time when Linear A was in use, thus the written history provided little information.

Fortunately, the Minoan civilization lasted from 2600 to 1400 BCE and left many artifacts, most notably the temple/palace at Knossos. During the time of our novel, an enormous volcanic eruption preserved the Minoan settlement of Akrotiri on Thera (much like Pompeii).

While we included much of the archeological research, we also wanted to credit their written record. While scholars have not deciphered the language of Linear A, they do understand the phonetics of the alphabet. We used this limited syllabary to name our characters with one notable exception.

We took inspiration for this story from Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew where one sister is named Bianca. There is no B sound in the Linear A syllabary, but we compromised in favor of the bard. We chose Biaja for the sister’s name and used the Linear A “P” sound to spell it. Keftiu nameplates for Biaja, Kitane, and Jura employ Linear A, while the Hellene names for Tros and Paian use Linear B.

We resolved other vocabulary issues drawing on the written record of other cultures, both historical and current. The Minoans lived during a time where other people were writing history, notably the Myceneans (Greeks) to the north and Egyptians to the south. For example, we don’t know what the Minoans called themselves, so we used the names used by the Egyptians (Keftiu)—another word not available with the Linear A alphabet (no “F”). We took the same approach with place names which are only known by the Greek today, such as Phaistos.

In cases where we needed ancient vocabulary, we drew on known lexicons from the area, including Greek, Egyptian, and Middle Eastern languages.

We believe that this attention to details and careful decisions is much of the fun of reading and writing historical fiction. Linear A and Linear B are two similar bronze age writing systems. While archeologists have deciphered Linear B (proto-Greek), they have had no success with Linear A (Minoan). Famously, they have deciphered Egyptian hieroglyphics with the help of the Rosetta Stone. This was an exceptional achievement.

The Phaistos Disc discovered in 1908 is the most famous example of Linear A.

We have used the conceit of an educated historian (Paian) who has knowledge of both Linear A and B, writing a “history” copied into both languages, which provides a “Rosetta Stone” for Dr. Martis to find 3500 years later.

3,500 years ago the island of Thera was almost destroyed by a volcano

THERA 2018 post proof

On an island in the Middle Sea, 3500 years ago, Kitane will inherit only if she marries soon. There are plenty of suitors, but Kitane can’t decide—there is something she must do first.

The God Potidas is angry. The ground rumbles and islanders flee from the threatening volcano at Thera. Will the Goddess Jasasara intervene and save Her people?

If Kit doesn’t succeed, she’ll lose everything. Can Kitane’s renowned bull jumping convince the Goddess to help? Will she choose the right suitor?

You can support Kitane by nominating her on Kindle Scout – no cost – no obligation. https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/19GV1GDONJK28 Her story will be available on Amazon in May 2018.

Here is a map of Thera prior to the explosion of Kaimeni Island. Present day Santorini is a shadow of Thera. The priestesses warned everyone to leave when the volcano spewed clouds of smoke and shook both Thera and Keftiu with earthquakes. Kitane’s aunt, cousin, and entire family came to live at Suramarti. That was just the beginnings of changes due to this powerful volcano.

BullJumper_Front_Cover_11

3,500 years ago the Middle Sea was the home to Kitane, Bull Jumper

MIDDLE SEA 2018 post-proof (corrected)

On an island in the Middle Sea, 3500 years ago, Kitane will inherit only if she marries soon. There are plenty of suitors, but Kitane can’t decide—there is something she must do first.

The God Potidas is angry. The ground rumbles and islanders flee from the threatening volcano at Thera. Will the Goddess Jasasara intervene and save Her people?

If Kit doesn’t succeed, she’ll lose everything. Can Kitane’s renowned bull jumping convince the Goddess to help? Will she choose the right suitor?

You can support Kitane by nominating her on Kindle Scout – no cost – no obligation. https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/19GV1GDONJK28 Her story will be available on Amazon in May 2018.

Here is a map of the Middle Sea where Suramarti traders exchanged their finely decorated pottery with a variety of natural motifs. Marine images were particularly valuable. The also crafted fine jewelry. They traded with the primitive Hellene Territories for raw materials. The great island of Alashiya was a source of ore which they traded for cypress from the Hittite empire, resin from Arzawa, and gold, ebony, and ivory from the Pharaoh of Kmt. Kitane found the captain Tros to be attractive and exciting, even though her mother thought he was a pirate.

BullJumper_Front_Cover_11

Kitane, Bull Jumper: Courting and Catastrophe in the Bronze Age

2018 Keftiu map overview

2018 Keftiu map inset

On an island in the Middle Sea, 3500 years ago, Kitane will inherit only if she marries soon. There are plenty of suitors, but Kitane can’t decide—there is something she must do first.

The God Potidas is angry. The ground rumbles and islanders flee from the threatening volcano at Thera. Will the Goddess Jasasara intervene and save Her people?

If Kit doesn’t succeed, she’ll lose everything. Can Kitane’s renowned bull jumping convince the Goddess to help? Will she choose the right suitor?

You can support Kitane by nominating her on Kindle Scout – no cost – no obligation. https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/19GV1GDONJK28 Her story will be available on Amazon in May 2018.

Here is a map of Kitane’s world. It centers around the architectural masterpiece of Knossos with its 1,300 rooms and 24,000 square meters of space. A short distance north is the harbor of Amnisos where her family’s trading business has warehouses. Her family lives at the Suramarti villa a day’s journey west of Knossos. Another day farther is the sacred site of Mount Ida.

BullJumper_Front_Cover_11

 

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Paperback, Kindle (on sale), and free on KU and KOLL.

Excerpt from 5-star Amazon review for DARWIN’S PARADOX
An uplifting story for troubled times.

I’m usually a science fiction reader, but the medical thriller angle caught my attention.

Once I started reading I could not stop … Next morning I sat down to read “just one chapter” before starting the day. Finished the book instead.

Loved the characters, the various cultures, the different views on reality and life of each. …characters did not exhibit all the “trite and true” behaviors that make me delete a book from Kindle before finishing it.

While it was a very good medical thriller, it was an even better portrayal of some of the better aspects of humanity. A nice uplifting story for troubled times.

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Pandemic Mysteries – Kindle Sale. Stand-alone novels on sale.
Book 1: Darwin’s Paradox: An international science mystery – http://amzn.to/2nmrukh
Book 2: Plague of Equals: An international science thriller – http://amzn.to/2mkfrmJ
Paperback, Kindle (on sale), and free on KU and KOLL.

MORE AMAZON REVIEWS for Plague of Equals

“…it takes you away and brings you back home, a little richer.”

“The accuracy and humor of the conversation between scientists was amazing”

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“multiple storylines … everything ties in right at the end.”

“A well written and enjoyable read that combines extensive technical knowledge with an easy, effortless prose that weaves a multi-layered web of plots into a greater arc as well as any author, all without a soapbox or riding around on a high horse.”

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Paperback, Kindle (on sale), and free on KU and KOLL.

GOODREADS REVIEWS for Plague of Equals

Excerpts from Goodreads reviews (4.5 stars):

“This is not your ordinary international suspense thriller.”

“It kept me reading, and it kept me guessing.”

“It’s got all the stereotypes, but beware of falling into the trap of thinking the stereotypes are valid.”

“Having a scientific background and (full disclosure) working in the drug development/clinical trial field, … It is a fascinating hypothesis and one I did NOT see coming.”

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Book 1: Darwin’s Paradox: An international science mystery – http://amzn.to/2nmrukh
Book 2: Plague of Equals: An international science thriller – http://amzn.to/2mkfrmJ
Paperback, Kindle (on sale), and free on KU and KOLL.

Equals…

“I’ve been meaning to let you know I’ve read your book and enjoyed it very much. Maintained my interest, enjoyed the characters, appreciated the controversy, and was pleased with the conclusion – love the idea of a ‘live long kill young’ virus – very creative – I did not see that coming.”

Plague of Equals is science fiction with the emphasis on SCIENCE. Central to the plot is a worldwide epidemic that has the scientists baffled.

As in the real world, baffled scientists open the door for people with preconceived agendas and ulterior motives to exploit the uncertainty to their own ends.

In this story, the scientists do what scientists always do … they find the truth. The truth is surprising to both scientific and non-scientific readers. Enjoy.

US/UK Kindle Sale ends March 10. Free on KU and KOLL

International Peace Sale/Multicultural Fiction 50% off ends March 10 #biology #RRBC #Mustread @scifirtg

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Pandemic Mysteries – Kindle Sale. Stand-alone novels on sale.
Book 1: Darwin’s Paradox: An international science mystery – http://amzn.to/2nmrukh
Book 2: Plague of Equals: An international science thriller – http://amzn.to/2mkfrmJ
Paperback, Kindle (on sale), and free on KU and KOLL.

Excerpt from 5-star Amazon review for DARWIN’S PARADOX
An uplifting story for troubled times.

I’m usually a science fiction reader, but the medical thriller angle caught my attention.

Once I started reading I could not stop … Next morning I sat down to read “just one chapter” before starting the day. Finished the book instead.

Loved the characters, the various cultures, the different views on reality and life of each. …characters did not exhibit all the “trite and true” behaviors that make me delete a book from Kindle before finishing it.

While it was a very good medical thriller, it was an even better portrayal of some of the better aspects of humanity. A nice uplifting story for troubled times.

US/UK Kindle Sale ends March 10. Free on KU and KOLL

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