lundi 29 septembre 2008

Leo 14

In pride the Lion lifts his mane
To see his British brothers reign
As stars below.
Edward Young's Imperium Pelagi.

Leo, is Lion in France, Löwe in Germany, and Leone in Italy. In Anglo-Norman times it was Leun. It lies between Cancer and Virgo, the bright Denebola 5° north of the faint stars that mark the head of the latter constellation; but Ptolemy extended it to include among its ἀμόρφωτοι the group now Coma Berenices.
In Greek and Roman myth this was respectively Λέων and Leo, representing the Nemean Lion, originally from the moon, and, after his earthly stay, carried back to the heavens with his slayer Hercules, where he became the poet's Nemeaeus; Nemeas Alumnus; Nemees Terror; Nemeaeum Monstrum; and, in later times, No Animal Nemaeo truculento of Camões. It also was Cleonaeum Sidus, from Cleonae, the Argolic town near the Nemean forest where Hercules slew the creature; Herculeus; and Herculeum Astrum. But the Romans commonly knew it as Leo, Ovid writing Herculeus Leo and Violentus Leo.
Bacchi Sidus was another of its titles, that god always being identified with this animal, and its shape the one usually adopted by him in his numerous transformations; while a lion's skin was his frequent dress. But Manilius had it Jovis et Junonis Sidus, as being under the guardianship of these deities; and appropriately so, considering its regal character, and especially that of its lucida.
The Egyptian king Necepsos, and his philosopher Petosiris, taught that at the Creation the sun rose here near Denebola; and hence Leo was Domicilium Solis, the emblem of fire and heat, and, in astrology, the House of the Sun, governing the human heart, and reigning in modern days over Bohemia, France, Italy, and the cities of Bath, Bristol, and Taunton in England, and our Philadelphia. In ancient times Manilius wrote of it as ruling over Armenia, Bithynia, Cappadocia, Macedon, and Phrygia. It was a fortunate sign, with red and green as its colors; and, according to Ampelius, was in charge of the wind Thrascias mentioned by Pliny, Seneca, and Vitruvius as coming from the north by a third northwest. Ancient physicians thought that when the sun was in this sign medicine was a poison, and even a bath equally harmful (!); while the weather-wise said that thunder foretold sedition and deaths of great men. The adoption of this animal's form for a zodiac sign has been fancifully attributed to the fact that when the sun was among its stars in midsummer the lions of the desert left their accustomed haunts for the banks of the Nile, where they could find relief from the heat in the waters of the inundation; and Pliny is authority for the statement that the Egyptians worshiped the stars of Leo because the rise of their great river was coincident with the sun's entrance among them. For the same reason the great Androsphinx is said to have been sculptured with Leo's body and the head of the adjacent Virgo; although Egyptologists maintain that this head represented one of the early kings, or the god Harmachis. Distinct reference is made to Leo in an inscription on the walls of the Ramesseum at Thebes, which, like the Nile temples generally, was adorned with the animal's bristles; while on the planisphere of Denderah its figure is shown standing on an outstretched serpent. The Egyptian stellar Lion, however, comprised only a part of ours, and in the earliest records some of its stars were shown as a Knife, as they now are as a Sickle. Kircher gave its title there as Πιμεντεκέων, Cubitus Nili.
The Persians called it Ser or Shīr; the Turks, Artān; the Syrians, Aryō; the Jews, Aryē; and the Babylonians, Arū, — all meaning a Lion; the last title frequently being contracted to their letter equivalent to our A.
It was the tribal sign of Judah, allotted to him by his father Jacob as recorded in Genesis xlix.9, and confirmed by Saint John in The Revelation v.5; Landseer suggesting that this association was from the fact that Leo was the natal sign of Judah and so borne on his signet-ring given to Tamar.
Christians of the Middle Ages and subsequently, who figured biblical characters throughout the heavens in place of the old mythology, called it one of Daniel's lions; and the apostolic school, doubting Thomas.
On Ninevite cylinders Leo is depicted as in fatal conflict with a bull, typifying the victory of light over darkness; and in Euphratean astronomy it was additionally known as Gisbar-namru-sa-pan, variously translated, but by Bertin as the Shining Disc which precedes Bel; the latter being our Ursa Major, or in some way intimately connected therewith. Hewitt says that it was the Akkadian Pa-pil-sak, the Sceptre, or the Great Fire; and Sayce identifies it with the Assyrian month Abu, our July-August, the Fiery Hot; Minsheu assigning as the reason for this universal fiery character of the constellation, "because the sunne being in that signe is most raging and hot like a lion."
Thus throughout antiquity the animal and the constellation always have been identified with the sun, — indeed in all historic ages till it finally appears p254on the royal arms of England, as well as on those of many of the early noble families of that country. During the 12th century it was the only animal shown on Anglo-Norman shields.
As a zodiacal figure it was of course entirely different from the ancient Asad of Arabia, that somewhat mythical Lion extending from Gemini over our Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, and parts of other constellations, both north and south of the zodiac; but the later Arabians also adopted Ptolemy's Leo and transferred to it the Asad of the early constellation. This appeared in the various corrupted forms cited by Bayer, — Alasid, Aleser, Asis, Assid, and others similar, of which Assemani gives a long list; Schickard adding Alasado and Asedaton; and Riccioli, specially mentioning Asid and Ellesed, cautioned his readers against the erroneous Alatid and Alezet.
Early Hindu astronomers knew it as Asleha, and as Sinha, the Tamil Simham; but the later, influenced by Greece and Rome, as Leya, or Leyaya, from the word Leo. It contained the 8th nakshatra, Maghā, Mighty, or Generous; as also the 9th and 10th, Pūrva, and Uttara, Phalgunī, the Former, and the Latter, Phalgunī, a word of uncertain meaning, — perhaps the Bad One, — the single station being represented by a Fig-tree, and the combined by a Bed or Couch.
Nearly the same stars were included in the 8th, 9th, and 10th manzil of Arabia as Al Jabhah, the Forehead; Al Zubrah, the Mane; and Al Ṣarfah, the Turn.
Of the sieu, however, none appear in Leo, the Chinese having adopted, instead, stations among the stars of Hydra and Crater, so that many infer that their lunar asterisms were original with themselves. In the later native solar zodiac of China the Lion's stars were the Horse, and in the earlier a part of the Red Bird; while Williams says that they also were Shun Ho, the Quail's Fire; but in the 16th century the Chinese formally adopted our Leo, translating it as Sze Tsze. The space between it and Virgo was Tae Wei, or Shaou Wei, and the western half of Leo, with Leo Minor, was regarded as a Yellow Dragon mounting upwards, marked by the line of ten stars from Regulus through the Sickle. It also was another of the Heavenly Chariots of imperial China.
Its symbol, ♌, has been supposed to portray the animal's mane, but seems more appropriate to the other extremity; the Hyginus of 1488 and the Albumasar of 1489 showing this latter member of extraordinary length, twisting between the hind legs and over the back, the Hyginus properly locating the star Denebola in the end; but the International Dictionary, in a more scholarly way, says that this symbol is a corruption of the initial letter of Λέων. Lajard's Culte de Mithra mentions the hieroglyph of Leo as among the symbols of Mithraic worship, but how their Lion agreed, if at all, with ours is not known.
One of the sultans of Koniyeh, ancient Iconium, put the stellar figure on his coins.
Its drawing has generally been in a standing position, but, in the Leyden Manuscript, in a springing attitude, with the characteristic Sickle fairly represented. Young astronomers know the constellation by this last feature in the fore parts of the figure, the bright Regulus marking the handle; its other stars successively being η, γ, ζ, μ, and ε. Nor is this a recent idea, for Pliny is thought to have given it separately from Leo in his list of the constellations; but not much could have been left of the Lion after this subtraction except his tail.
These same Sickle stars were a lunar asterism with the Akkadians as Gis-mes, the Curved Weapon; with the Khorasmians and Sogdians as Khamshish, the Scimetar; but with the Copts as Titefui, the Forehead.
The sun passes through Leo from the 7th of August to the 14th of September. Argelander catalogues in it 76 stars; and Heis 161.
In Leo and Virgo lay the now long forgotten asterism Fahne, of which Ideler wrote:
The Flag is a constellation of the heavens, one part in Leo and one part in Virgo. Has many stars. On the iron [the arrowhead of the staff] in front one, on the flag two, on every fold of the flag one.
This is illustrated in the 47th volume of Archaeologia, and it appeared as a distinct constellation in a 15th‑century German manuscript, perhaps the original of the work of 1564 from which Ideler quoted. Brown repeats a Euphratean inscription, "The constellation of the Yoke like a flag floated," although he claims no connection here, and associates the Yoke with Capricorn.

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