lundi 29 septembre 2008

Gemini 11

Then both were cleans'd from blood and dust
To make a heavenly sign;
The lads were, like their armour, scour'd,
And then hung up to shine;
Such were the heavenly double-Dicks,
The sons of Jove and Tyndar.

John Grubb, in Percy's Reliques of Ancient English Poetry.
The conception of a sky couple for these stars has been universal from remote antiquity, but our Latin title dates only from classical times, varied by Gemelli, which is still the Italian name. The Anglo-Saxons knew them as ge Twisan, and the Anglo-Normans as Frère; the modern French as Gémeaux, and the Germans as Zwillinge, Bayer's Zwilling.
While on earth these Twins were sons of Leda, becoming, after their transfer to the sky, Geminum Astrum, Ledaei Fratres, Ledaei Juvenes, and Ledaeum Sidus; Dante calling their location Nido di Leda, the Nest of Leda. Cowley, the contemporary of Milton, wrote of them as the Ledaean Stars, and Owen Meredith of our day as
The lone Ledaean lights from yon enchanted air.
They also were Gemini Lacones, — Milton's Spartan Twins and William Morris' Twin Laconian Stars; Spartana Suboles from their mother's home, and Cycno generati from her story; Pueri Tyndarii, Tyndarides, Tyndaridae, and Horace's clarum Tyndaridae Sidus, from Tyndarus, their supposed father; while the Oebalii and Oebalidae of Ovid, Statius, and Valerius Flaccus are from their grandfather, Oebalus, king of Sparta. Manilius called them Phoebi Sidus as being under Apollo's protection.
Individually they were Castor and Pollux, — Dante's and the Italians' Castore e Polluce; Apollo and HerculesTriptolemus and Iasion, Theseus and Pirithoüs. Horace wrote Castor fraterque magni Castoris; Pliny, Castores; and Statius had alter Castor from their alternate life and death that the modern James Thomson repeated in the Summer of his Seasons:
Th' alternate Twins are fix'd.
But Welcke gave an astronomical turn to these titles by seeing in the first Astor, the Starry one, and in Pollux Polyleukes, the Lightful.
With the Greeks they were Δίδυμοι, the Twins, — Riccioli's Didymi, — originally representing two of the Pelasgian Κάβειροι, but subsequently the Boeotian Διόσκυροι, — Dioscuri in Rome, — the Sons of Zeus; as also Amphion and Zethus, Antiope's sons, who, as Homer wrote, were
Founders of Thebes, and men of mighty name,
strikingly shown on the walls of the Spada Palace in Rome, and with the Farnese Bull now in the Naples Museum. Plutarch called them Ἄνακες, Lords, — Cicero's Anaces, and Σιώ, the Two Gods of Sparta; Theodoretus, Ἑφέστιοι, the Familiar Gods; others, Dii Samothraces, from the ancient seat of worship of the Cabeiri; and Dii Germani, the Brother Gods.
In India they always were prominent as Açvini, the Ashwins, or Horsemen, a name also found in other parts of the sky for other Hindu twin deities; but, popularly, they were Mithuna, the Boy and Girl, the Tamil Midhunam, afterwards changed to Jituma, or Tituma, from the Greek title.
A Buddhist zodiac had in their place a Woman holding a golden cord.
Some of the Jews ascribed them to the tribe of Benjamin, although others more fitly claimed them for Simeon and Levi jointly, the Brethren. They called them Teōmīm; the Tyrians, Tome; and the Arabian astronomers, Al Tauʼamān, the Twins; but in early Desert astronomy their two bright stars formed one of the fore paws of the great ancient Lion; although they also were Al Burj al Jauzāʼ, the Constellation of the Twins. From this came Bayer's Algeuze, which, however, he said was unrecht, thus making Riccioli's Elgeuzi and Gieuz equally wrong. Hyde adopted another form of the word, — Jauzah, the Centre, — as designating these stars' position in medio coeli, or in a region long viewed as the centre of the heavens; either because they were a zenith constellation, or from the brilliancy of this portion of the sky. Julius Pollux, the Egypto-Greek writer of our second century, derived the title from Jauz, a Walnut, as mentioned in his Onomasticon. But there is much uncertainty as to the stellar signification and history of this name, as will be further noticed under Orion.
The 1515 Almagest has the inexplicable Alioure, said to be from some early edition of the Alfonsine Tables.
The Persians called the Twins Du Paikar, or Do Patkar, the Two Figures; the Khorasmians, Adhupakarik, of similar meaning; and Riccioli wrote that they were the "Chaldaean" Tammech.
Kircher said that they were the Κλύσος, or Claustrum Hori, of the Egyptians; and others, that they represented the two intimately associated gods, Horus the Elder, and Horus the Younger, or Harpechruti, — the Harpocrates of Greece.
The Twins were placed in the sky by Jove, in reward for their brotherly love so strongly manifested while on earth, as in the verses of Manilius:
Tender Gemini in strict embrace
Stand clos'd and smiling in each other's Face;
and were figured as Two Boys, or Young Men, drawn exactly alike:
So like they were, no mortal
Might one from other know;
or as Two Infants, Duo Corpuscula. But Paulus Venetus and other illustrators of Hyginus showed Two Angels, and the Venetian edition of Albumasar of 1489 has two nude seated figures, a Boy and a Girl, with arms outstretched upon each other's shoulders.
The Leyden Manuscript shows two unclad boys with Phrygian caps, each surmounted by a star and Maltese cross; one with club and spear, the other with a stringed instrument. Bayer had something similar, Pollux, however, bearing a peaceful sickle.
Caesius saw here the Twin Sons of Rebecca, or David and Jonathan; while other Christians said that the stars together represented Saint James the Greater; or, to go back to the beginning of things, Adam and Eve, who probably were intended by the nude male and female figures walking hand in hand in the original illustration in the Alfonsine Tables. A similar showing appears, however, on the Denderah planisphere of 1300 years previous.
The Arabians drew them as Peacocks, from which came a mediaeval title, Duo Pavones; some of the Chaldaeans and Phoenicians, as a Pair of Kids following Auriga and the Goat, or as Two Gazelles; the Egyptians, as Two Sprouting Plants; and Brown reproduces a Euphratean representation of a couple of
small, naked, male child-figures, one standing upon its head and the other standing upon the former, feet to feet; the original Twins being the sun and moon, when the one is up the other is generally down;
a variant representation showing the positions reversed and the figures clothed.
Another symbol was a Pile of Bricks, referring to the building of the first city and the fratricidal brothers — the Romulus and Remus of Roman legend; although thus with a very different character from that generally assigned to our Heavenly twins. Similarly Sayce says that the Sumerian name for the month May-June, when the sun was in Gemini, signified "Bricks" (?).
In classical days the constellation was often symbolized by two stars over a ship; and having been appointed by Jove as guardians of Rome, they naturally appeared on all the early silver coinage of the republic from about 269 B.C., generally figured as two men on horseback, with oval caps, surmounted by stars, showing the halves of the egg-shell from which they issued at birth. On the denarii, the "pence" of the good Samaritan, they are in full speed as if charging in the battle of Lake Regillus, and the sestertii and quinarii have the same; but even before this, about 300 B.C., coins were struck by the Bruttii of Magna Graecia, in Lower Italy, that bore the heads of the Twins on one side with their mounted figures on the other. The coins of Rhegium had similar designs, as had those of Bactria.
For their efficient aid in protecting their fellow Argonauts in the storm that had nearly overwhelmed the Argo, the Gemini were considered by the Greeks, and even more by the Romans, as propitious to marines, Ovid writing in the Fasti:
Utile sollicitare sidus utrumque rati,
which moral John Gower, the friend of Chaucer, rendered:
A welcome couple to a vexed barge;
and Horace, in his Odes , as translated by Mr. Gladstone:
So Leda's twins, bright-shining, at their beck
Oft have delivered stricken barks from wreck.
In The Acts of the Apostles, xxviii.11, we read that the Twin Brothers were the "sign," or figurehead, of the ship in which Saint Paul and his companions embarked after the eventful fight that had ended in shipwreck on Malta; or, as Tindale rendered it in 1526:
a ship of Alexandry, which had wyntred in the Yle, whose badge was Castor and Pollux,—
the Greek Alexandria, and Ostia, the harbor of Rome, specially being under the tutelage of the Twins, who were often represented on either side of the bows of vessels owned in those ports.
The incident of the storm in the history of the Twins seems to have associated them with the electrical phenomenon common in heavy weather at sea, and well known in ancient times, as it is now. Pliny described it at lengthº in the Historia Naturalis and allusions to it are frequent in all literature; the idea being that a double light, called Castor and Pollux, was favorable to the mariner. Horace designated this as Fratres Helenae, lucida sidera, rendered by Mr. Gladstone "Helen's Brethren, Starry Lights"; Rabelais wrote:
He had seen Castor at the main yard arm;
and our Bryant:
resplendent cressets which the Twins
Uplifted in their ever-youthful hands.
A single light was "that dreadfull, cursed, and threatening meteor called Helena," — the sister of the Twins that brought such ill luck to Troy.
In modern times these lights are known as Composant, Corporsant, and Corpusant, from the Italian Corpo Santo; Pigafetta ending one of his descriptions of a dangerous storm at sea with "God and the Corpi Santi came to our aid"; and as the Fire of Saint Helen, Saint Helmes, or Telmes — San Telmo of Spain; or of San Anselmo, Ermo, Hermo, and Eremo, from Anselmus, or Erasmus, bishop of newspaper, martyred in Diocletian's reign. Ariosto wrote of it, la disiata luce di Santo Ermo; and in Longfellow's Golden Legend the Padrone exclaims:
Last night I saw Saint Elmo's stars,
With their glittering lanterns all at play
On the tops of the masts and the tips of the spars,
And I knew we should have foul weather to‑day.
The phenomenon also has been called Saint Anne's Light; and some one has dubbed it Saint Electricity. In recent centuries, with seamen of the Latin races, its has been Saint Peter and Saint Nicholas; the former from his walking on the water, and the latter from the miracles attributed to him of stilling the storm on his voyage to the Holy Land when he restored to life the drowned sailor, and again on the Aegean Sea. These miracles have made Nicholas the patron saint of all Christian maritime nations of the south of Europe, and famous everywhere. In England alone 376 churches are dedicated to him, — more than to that country's Saint George.
In Eden's translation from Pigafetta's account of his voyage with Magellan, 1519‑1522, we read that when off the coast of Patagonia the navigators
were in great daungiour by tempest. But as soon as the three fyers cauled saynte Helen, saynte Nicolas, and saynt Clare, appered upon the cabels of the shyppes, suddeynely the tempest and furye of the wyndes ceased. . . the which was of such comfort to us that we wept for joy.
This Saint Clare is from Clara d'Assisi, the foundress the order of Poor Clares in the 13th century, by whose rebuke the infidel Saracens were put to flight when ravaging the shores of the Adriatic. Von Humboldt mentioned in Cosmos another title, San Pedro Gonzalez, probably Saint Peter of Alcantara, another patron saint of sailors, "Walking on the water through trust in God."
A few words as to Pigafetta may be not uninteresting. His work is described in Eden's Decades as
A briefe declaration of the vyage or navigation made abowte the worlde. Gathered owt of a large booke wrytten hereof by Master Antonie Pygafetta Vincentine [i.e. from Vincenza], Knyght of the Rhodes and one of the coompanye of that vyage in the which, Ferdinando Magalianes a Portugale (whom sum calle Magellanus) was generall Capitayne of the navie.
Pigafetta was knighted after his return to Seville in the ship Victoria that Transilvanus wrote was "more woorthye to bee placed among the starres then that owlde Argo." And it was from Eden's translation of this "large booke" that Shakespeare is supposed to have taken his Caliban of the Tempest, whose "dam's god, Setebos," was worshiped by the Patagonians. Indeed Caliban himself seems to have been somewhat of an astronomer, for he alludes to Prospero as having taught him how
To name the bigger light, and how the less,
That burn by day and night.
The Gemini were invoked by the Greeks and Romans in war as well as in storm. Lord Macaulay's well-known lines on the battle of Lake Regillus, 498 B.C., one of his Lays of Ancient Rome, have stirred many a schoolboy's heart, as Homer's Hymn to Castor and Pollux did those of the seamen of earliest classical days. Shelley has translated this last:

Ye wild-eyed muses! sing the Twins of Jove,
. . . . . .
. . . mild Pollux, void of blame,
And steed-subduing Castore, heirs of fame.
These are the Powers who earth-born mortals save
p228 And ships, whose flight is swift along the wave,
When wintry tempests o'er the savage sea
Are raging, and the sailors tremblingly
Call on the Twins of Jove with prayer and vow,
Gathered in fear upon the lofty prow,
And sacrifice with snow-white lambs, the wind
And the huge billow bursting close behind,
Even then beneath the weltering waters bear
The staggering ship — they suddenly appear,
On yellow wings rushing athwart the sky,
And lull the blasts in mute tranquillity,
And strew the waves on the white ocean's bed,
Fair omen of the voyage; from toil and dread,
The sailors rest rejoicing in the sight,
And plough the quiet sea in safe delight.

Aucun commentaire: