lundi 29 septembre 2008

Gemini 12

They seem to have been a common object of adjuration among the Romans, and, indeed, as such have descended to the present time in the boys' "By Jiminy!" while the caricature of 1665, Homer A la Mode, had, as a common expression of that day, "O Gemony!" And theatre-goers will recall the "O Gemini!" of Lucy in Sheridan's Rivals.
Astrologers assigned to this constellation guardianship over human hands, arms, and shoulders; while Albumasar held that it portended intense devotion, genius, largeness of mind, goodness, and liberality. With Virgo it was considered the House of Mercury, and thus the Cylenius tour of Chaucer; and a fortunate sign, ruling over America, Flanders, Lombardy, Sardinia, Armenia, Lower Egypt, Brabant and Marseilles; and, in ancient days, over the Euxine Sea and the river Ganges. High regard, too, was paid to it in the 17th century as being peculiarly connected with the fortunes of the south of England and the city of London; for the Great Plague and Fire of 1665 and 1666 occurred when this sign was in the ascendant, while the building of London Bridge and other events of importance to the city were begun when special planets were here. But two centuries previously it thought that whoever happened to be born under the Twins would be "ryght pore and wayke and lyf in mykul tribulacion." Chinese astrologers asserted that if this constellation were invaded by Mars, war and a poor harvest would ensue.
Ampelius assigned to it the care of Aquilo, the North Wind, the Greek Boreas that came from the north one third east.
Its colors were white and red like those of Aries, and it was the natal sign of Dante, who was born on the 14th of May, 1265, when the sun entered it for the first time in that year. He made grateful acknowledgment of this in the Paradiso:
p229 O glorious stars, O light impregnated
With mighty virtue, from which I acknowledge
All of my genius, whatsoe'er it be;
and called them gli Eterni Gemelli. How like this is to Hesiod's reference to the Muses!
To them I owe, to them alone I owe,
What of the seas, or of the stars, I know.
The sign's symbol, ♊, has generally been considered the Etrusco-Roman numeral, but Seyffert thinks it a copy of the Spartans' emblem of their Twin Gods carried with them into battle. Brown derives it from the cuneiform zzz, the ideograph of the Akkad month Kas, the twins, the Assyrian Simānu, corresponding to parts of our May and June when the sun passed through it. The constellation was certainly prominent on the Euphrates, for five of its stars marked as many of the ecliptic divisions of that astronomy.
The Gemini were the Ape of the early Chinese solar zodiac, and were known as Shih Chin; Edkins, calling it Shi Chʽen, says that this title was transferred to it from Orion. Later on the constellation was known as Yin Yang, the Two Principles; and as Jidim, an important object of worship.
The Reverend Mr. William Ellis wrote, in his Polynesian Researches, that the natives of this islands knew the two stars as Twins, Castor being Pipiri and Pollux Rehua; and the whole figure Na Ainanu, the Two Ainanus, one Above, the other Below, with a lengthy legend attached; but the Reverend Mr. W. W. Gill tells the same story, in his Myths and Songs of the South Pacific, as belonging to stars in Scorpio. The Australian aborigines gave them a name signifying Young Men, while the Pleiades were Young Girls; the former also being Turree and Wanjil, pursuing Purra, whom they annually kill at the beginning of the intense heat, roasting him by the fire the smoke of which is marked by Coonar Turung, the Great Mirage. The Bushmen of South Africa know them as Young Women, the wives of the eland, their great antelope.
Aristotle has left an interesting record of the occultation, at two different times, of some one of the stars of Gemini by the planet Jupiter, the earliest observation of this nature of which we have knowledge, and made probably about the middle of the 4th century B.C.
The southern half of the constellation lies within the Milky Way, α and β, on the north, marking the heads of the Twins between Cancer and Auriga, and noticeably conspicuous over setting Orion in the April sky.
Argelander enumerates 53 naked-eye stars, and Heis 106.
Starry Gemini hang like glorious crowns
Over Orion's grave low down in the west.
Tennyson's Maud.

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