jeudi 18 septembre 2008


Among the earliest of human records written, the ancient Egyptians identified this constellation as Tawaret, the goddess of the northern sky in their pantheon of deities. Considered as ever-vigilant because the constellation never set, she was depicted a fierce protective goddess whose body was a composite of crocodile, human, lioness, and hippopotamus parts.
There are a number of other myths behind the constellation. The Greeks named it Draco, due to its resemblance to a dragon [1], although alternative interpretations exist, such as the legend of the Mother Camels.
In the most famous of the myths, Draco represents Ladon, the hundred-headed dragon who guarded the golden apples of the Hesperides. The eleventh of The Twelve Labours of Heracles was to steal the golden apples. He put Ladon to sleep with music, allowing him to freely take the golden apples. According to the legend, Hera later placed the dragon in the sky as the constellation Draco. Due to its position and nearby constellations in the zodiac sign of Libra (i.e. Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, and Boötes), the group of constellations can be seen to tell the tale of the eleventh labour.
In another Greek legend, Draco represents the dragon killed by Cadmus before founding the city of Thebes, Greece. In a third legend, it represents the dragon that guarded the Golden Fleece and was killed by Jason. The fact that the stars of this circumpolar constellation never set plays an important part in its mythologies.
In Roman legend, Draco was killed by the goddess Minerva and tossed into the sky upon his defeat.

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