mardi 8 juillet 2008

Capricornus 10

Capricornus is usually translated as "The Sea Goat" or "The Goat-Fish", although the name literally means horned goat.

The constellation is ancient, and was one of the earliest members of the zodiac, perhaps transferred to the heavens from far older earthly concerns.
Horned animals, particularly the ibex, were worshipped icons in the prehistoric Near East, as seen on pottery as far back as 5500 BC. Often these animals appeared with pictorial representations of the 'Tree of Life' and lunar or astral symbols. That is, for thousands of years -- as attested by both pottery and cylinder seals -- this horned animal played a central part in some mythology which involved the heavens,culminating (perhaps around 2000 BC) with the sacrificial scenes depicted on Akkadian cylinder seals (below).

One respected student of the Near East, Professor Willy Hartner, late director of the Institut für Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften (Institute for the History of Natural Science) at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität in Frankfurt, has postulated that the ibex was an early constellation, which was later broken up to form Capricorn and Aquarius. [See "The Earliest History of the Constellations in the Near East and the Motif of the Lion-Bull Combat", Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Volume 24 (1965) pp 1-16.]

Hartner's Diagram 1a shows the heavens as they would have appeared in 4000 BC in Mesopotamia. He argues that a much larger constellation, The Ibex, was in place where we now have Aquarius and Capricorn.

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