Stars. The ancient peoples of the Earth first worshiped them, and assigned them the power to direct the fate of each human being. Shakespeares Cassius laments, The fault, dear Brutus, is not in the stars, but in ourselves. The late Carl Sagan, in describing the physical connectedness of human being to the rest of the universe, said, We are all made of star stuff, and in those seven words summed up the mystery of where we came from and where we are going.
The stars were intimately connected with the development of human civilization, first because they enabled early farmers to judge the passage of the seasons and know when to plant or harvest their crops. The patterns in the night sky would change as the Earth rotated, and the people above the equator knew that when Orion was completely visible, winter was on the way.
The stars, and especially Polaris, or the North Star, also made seafaring navigation possible. Ancient sailors would be able to get a fix on their locations simply by seeing how high the North Star was above the horizon. Without the stars to steer by, the Europeans arrival in the New World might have been delayed until the aviation era!