So I’m reading the “Little House” books again, which take place in the 1880’s, and at one point Laura asks Ma about the moon and Ma says that it’s like the earth, but tiny and cold and nothing grows there. I was struck and started wondering how your average, uneducated, backwoods person like Ma knew anything about the moon in 1880.
How much did people know about stuff other than what was immediately around them, when? How did Ma know about the moon other than “that there white thing in the sky?”
How can I learn about what people knew and when, and what was common knowledge at what point, and to what extent, about things like astronomy and science throughout history?