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Hamlet's Mill: An Essay Investigating the Origins of Human Knowledge And Its Transmission Through Myth Paperback – December 1, 2014

ISBN-13: 978-0879232153 ISBN-10: 0879232153

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Nonpareil Books (December 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879232153
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879232153
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,793 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


A book wonderful to read and startling to contemplate. If this theory is correct, both the history of science and the reinterpretation of myths have been enriched immensely. --Washington Post Book World

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Customer Reviews

This is an excellent book, but extremely dense.
David Shafer
That in and of itself makes this book worth your while -- it's a gift that keeps on giving, a book you can keep on reading, even after you reach the end!
David Warner Mathisen
I found this book very interesting as I have a good working knowledge of astrology and astronomy and am very keen on ancient history.
J. Wallace

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 55 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 18, 1999
Format: Paperback
The Reader will find that this book is quoted in the bibliography of many if not all recent books concerning the origins of human civilisation and the extent of knowledge possesed by our ancestors, that it has almost become a bible to modern researchers in this field. However, upon reading, it is not hard to see why this should be.
The authors show compelling evidence that myth was a way of handing down complex information in easy to manage packages within stories, and that modern man has lost all understanding of the true nature of the myth. They also boldly state that the majority of this information pertains primarily to the mechanics of celestial movements and the precessional cycle.
However, it can be at times a very heavy text and can indeed be hard to understand upon first reading, but perseverence is most rewarding. At times the text is interupted by periodic quotes of German, Latin or French which, if one does not know the language can cause the reader to feel that he/she has missed some major point of the argument. Having been published in 1969, this book is beginning to feel its age especially with the help of modern authors explaining many of its main arguments in a much more simple and effective way.
It is an excellent book, and one that you may go back upon in future to study again and again. However, it is not advised for the casual reader, and most definately not for any one with a less than passing interest in myth.
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52 of 53 people found the following review helpful By erick lashley on June 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
I must admit, this book is DEEP. The first time I read Hamlet's Mill, I was confused, but my interest was sparked. The second time, I sat in awe as I mentally organized the content. The third time, I got it. This book is not for the casual reader, but for one that is ready for a shift in his way of thinking about astronomy, history and mythology. Hamlet's Mill focuses on the symbolism of Old World mythology and the transmission of knowledge through archaic language. Refering to mythologies from Sumer, Egypt, China, Japan, Iceland and MesoAmerica, it is an indespenseable addition to anyones library interested in the transmission of knowledge through symbolism. Although not organized in a very systematic way, it is by far the most comprehensive book so far written on such subjects. Main themes include the Precession of the Equinoxes, gods as constellations, World Tree as Earth's axis, Deluge as the shifting of the visible sky and much, much more. The info along with the fairly new science of Archeoastronomy should, and one day will, bring about a paradigm in thought about the notions of early civilizations and their knowledge of the heavens in realation to man on Earth.
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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 30, 1997
Format: Paperback
I found this book to be an amazing analysis of world mythological systems. The authors are two historians of science that make a convincing argument (in my opinion) that
myths and mythical stories are, in fact, how archaic astronomy had been past from generation to generation. They
reinterperet catastrophic mythical events as reference to the precession of the equinoxes. Mythical personage (Gods, Titans, Dragons, Heroes etc.) from China to Ancient Egypt to Greece to Meso-America are shown to be, in fact, referencing constellations and their positions as these changed due to the precession of Earth's axis over centuries.

Moreover, the authors discuss myths from linguistically, culturally, temporally distinct societies and show the astonishing commonality of names, events, and motifs.
They make a cogent argument that the knowledge base of archaic people was far deeper and wider; that the archaic people have had empirical knowledge of the precession of equinoxes-a knowledge that requires at least a couple of hundred years of continuous observation to arrive at-and that they encoded their knowledge in the language of myths. This was knowledge for the elect and unlike our contemporary sciences it was not for everyone.

In addition, the authors claim that these myths are tatters of an archaic World-View that placed man in an orderely universe of change. A world view whose echoes may still be heard in the Illiad & Odyssey, Shahnameh,Timeaus, Mahabaharata, and Nihon-gi.

It is remarkable that this book, first published in 1968, has not made any waves in those circles that value such
understanding. It is also remarkable that how much more convincing the author's arguments have become in the light of the discovires chronicled by E. C.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Wayne A. VINE VOICE on August 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
The other reviews go into the details of this book well. I won't rehash all that. It's not an easy read at times and it can be a bit confusing but since I first encountered it I was convinced that this was a major work--better documented than any book that delves into the idea that ancient peoples were no dummies and that world history may not quite be what we think. In fact, I no longer look at a clear night sky quite the same way any more since reading this--the geometric plane that defines our solar system is now far too obvious to me. I often imagine what night skies must have been like 5000 or 10,000 years ago. How could we ever have assumed our ancestors weren't paying close attention and asking hard questions? (Well, actually, that's easy to answer--current humans hardly pay any attention to the night sky, barely any attention to nature as a whole. I'm no tree hugger but this is NOT GOOD)

Unfortunately, (and treat this as a warning) all my friends and not-so-friends that love A&P (Atlantis and Pyramids) material, and who should be much more critical with their reading, never seem to have the patience to get through this book and often don't even have the desire to read it. No levitating monoliths, no alien gene splicers, no global catastrophe...B-O-R-I-N-G. That's probably just as well; this is a book for grown-ups with open and questing minds who have serious interests in archeology, anthropology, technological history, astronomy, and related fields. Highly recommended.
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