mardi 23 septembre 2008

Perseus 8

There was the knight of fair-haired Danaë born, Perseus. ( Shield of Hercules)

Perseus, even amid the stars, must take
Andromeda in chains aetherial!

Perseus, the Champion,
is the French Persée, the Italian Perseo, and the German Perseus, formerly was catalogued as Perseus et Caput Medusae.
He is shown in early illustrations1 as a nude youth wearing the talaria, or winged sandals, with a light scarf thrown around his body, holding in his left hand the Gorgoneion, or head of Medusa-Guberna, the mortal one of the Gorgons, and in his right the ἅρπη, or falx, which he had received from Mercury. Dürer drew him thus, but added a flowing robe, a figuring that Bayer, Argelander, and Heis have followed, as they have, in the main, all of that great artist's constellation figures.
A title popular at one time, and still seen, was the Rescuer, for, according to the story, Perseus, when under obligations to furnish a Gorgon's head to Polydectes, found the Sisters asleep at the Ocean; and, using the shield of Minerva as a mirror, that he might not be petrified by Medusa's glance, cut off her head, which he then utilized in the rescue of Andromeda. Some one has written about this:
In the mirror of his polished shield
Reflected, saw Medusa slumbers take,
And not one serpent by good chance awake;
Then backward an unerring blow he sped,
And from her body lopped at once her head.
Aratos characterized the stellar hero as "stirring up a dust in heaven," either from the fact that his feet are in the celestial road, the Milky Way, or from the haste with which he is going to the rescue of Andromeda; and Manilius, describing his place in the sky, wrote:
Her Perseus joyns, her Foot his Shoulder bears
Proud of the weight, and mixes with her Stars.
His story probably was well known in Greece anterior to the 5th century B.C., for Euripides and Sophocles each wrote a drama based on Andromeda's history; and with them, as with the subsequent Greeks, he was Περσεύς, a word that may be derived from the Hebrew Pārāsh, a Horseman, although Ctesias, in his Περσικά of about 400 B.C., had Parsondas as a stellar name from Babylonia that may be this. Parasiea, current in late Indian astronomy, is only another form of the Greek original.
Ἱππότης, the Horseman, and Profugus, the Flying One, also are titles for these stars.
Classical poets called it Pinnipes, referring to the talaria; Cyllenius, the Hero having been aided by Mercury; Abantiades and Acrisioniades, from his grandfather and father; Inachides, from a still earlier ancestor, the first king of Argos; and Deferens caput Algol, Victor Gorgonei monstri, Gorgonifer, Gorgonisue, and Deferens cathenam, from the association of Perseus with Medusa and the chain of Andromeda.
Alove probably came, by some error in transcription, from Al Ghūl, more correctly applied to the star β; while Bershawish, Fersaus, and Siaush are plainly the Arabians' orthography of the Greek title, the letter P not being found in their alphabet. They, however, commonly called it Hāmil Rāʽs al Ghūl, the Bearer of the Demon's Head, which became Almirazgual in Moorish Spain, and was translated from Ulug Beg as Portans caput larvae, the same being still seen in the German Träger des Medusen Kopf.
The Celeub, Cheleub, and Chelub of the 1515 Almagest, Alfonsine Tables, and Bayer's Uranometria probably are from the Arabic Kullāb, the Hero's weapon, although Grotius and others have referred them to Kalb, a Dog, which would render intelligible the occasional title Canis.

La Lande identified the figure with the Egyptian Khem, and with Mithras of Persia, Herodotus having asserted that Perseus, through his and Andromeda's son Perses, gave name to that country and her people, who previously were the Chephenes, as descended from Chepheus, the son of Belus, identified by some with the Cepheus of the sky. The kings of Cappadocia and of Pontus, similarly descended, represented the Hero on their coins.
Cacodaemona was the astrologers' name for this constellation, with special reference to Algol as marking the demon's head; while Schickard, Novidius, and the biblical school generally said that it was David with the head of Goliath; but others of the same kind made of it the Apostle Paul with his Sword and Book. Mrs. Jameson thought that the legend of Perseus and Cetus was the foundation of that of Saint George and the Dragon, one version making this saint to have been born at Lydda, only nine miles from Joppa, the scene of Perseus' exploit.
The constellation is 28° in length, — one of the most extended in the heavens, — stretching from the upraised hand of Perseus nearly to the Pleiades, and well justifying the epithet περιμήκετος, "very tall," applied to it by Aratos. It offers a field of especial interest to possessors of small telescopes, while even an opera-glass reveals much that is worthy of observation. Argelander gives a list of 81 naked-eye stars, and Heis 136.
The former has suggested that within its boundaries may lie the possible central point of the universe, which Mädler located in the Pleiades and Maxwell Hall in Pisces, — all probably unwarranted conclusions.
δ, ψ, σ, α, γ, η, and others on the figure's right side, form a slight curve, open towards the northeast, that has been called the Segment of Perseus.

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