The Gwich’in Boy in the Moon and Babylonian Astronomy

Wayne Horowitz, Alestine Andre and Ingrid Kritsch

Abstract

The Gwich’in narrative of “The Boy in the Moon” tells the story of how the face of the Moon came to be seen as it is today in the skies over the Gwich’in homeland in the Canadian Arctic and Alaska. This article uses the methodology of “comparative ethnoastronomy” to explore the story of “The Boy in the Moon” and its place in Gwich’in culture to inform on a Babylonian tradition of a Lion Man in the Moon. The study makes use of a wide variety of documentary evidence ranging in time from millenniaold cuneiform tablets from Babylonia to modern works on the anthropology of the Gwich’in and interviews with tribal elders, and it concludes with some thoughts on the shared human experience of looking at the sky.

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