mercredi 1 octobre 2008

Auriga 9

Thou hast loosened the necks of thine horses, and goaded their flanks with affright,
To the race of a course that we know not on ways that are hid from our sight.
As a wind through the darkness the wheels of their chariot are whirled,
And the light of its passage is night on the face of the world.

Algernon Charles Swinburne's Erechtheus
Auriga, the Charioteer or Wagoner, in early days the Wainman, is the French Cocher, the Italian Cocchiere, and the German Fuhrmann.
It is a large constellation stretching northward across the Milky Way from its star γ, which also marks one of the Bull's horns, to the feet of Camelopardalis, about 30° in extent north and south and 40° east and west; and is shown as a young man with whip in the right hand, but without a chariot, the Goat being supported against the left shoulder and the Kids on the wrist. This, with some variations, has been the drawing from the earliest days, when, as now, it was important, chiefly from the beauty of Capella and its attendant stars so prominent in the northwest in the spring twilight, and in the northeast in early autumn. But the Hyginus of 1488 has a most absurd Driver in a ridiculously inadequate four-wheeled car, with the Goat and Kids in their usual position, the reins being held over four animals abreast — a yoke of oxen, a horse, and a zebra (!); while the Hyginus of Micyllus, in 1535, has the Driver in a two-wheeled cart with a pair of horses and a yoke of oxen all abreast. A Turkish planisphere shows these stars depicted as a Mule, and they were so regarded by the early Arabs, who did not know — at all events did not picture — the Driver, Goat, or Kids. In this form Bayer Latinized it as the Mulus clitellatus, the Mule with Panniers.
Ideler thinks that the original figure was made up of the five stars α, β, ε, ζ, and η; the Driver, represented by α, standing on an antique sloping Chariot marked by β; the other stars showing the reins. But later on the Chariot was abandoned and the reins transferred to their present position, the Goat being added by a misunderstanding, the word Ἄιξ, analogous to Ἀιγίς, simply meaning a Storm Wind that, apparently, in all former times the stars α, η, and ζ have portended at their heliacal rising, or by their disappearance in the mists. Still later to α as the Goat were added the near-by η and ζ as her Kids, the Ἔριφοι, — an addition that Hyginus said was made by Cleostratos.
But the results of modern research now give us reason to think that the constellation originated on the Euphrates in much the same form as we have it, and that it certainly was a well-established sky figure there millenniums ago. A sculpture from Nimroud is an almost exact representation of Auriga with the Goat carried on the left arm; while in Graeco-Babylonian times the constellation Rukubi, the Chariot, lay here nearly coincident with our Charioteer, perhaps running over into Taurus.Varro mentions an astrological Goat, "not far from the Bull" — with a hint of a joke that even heavenly goats are not something you want noshing off your choice fields (i.e., the zodiac)!
Ἑνίοχος, the Rein-holder, was transcribed Heniochus by Latin authors, and personified by Germanicus and others as Erechtheus, or more properly Erichthonius, son of Vulcan and Minerva, who, having inherited his father's lameness, found necessary some means of easy locomotion. This was secured by his invention of the four-horse chariot which not only well became his regal position as the 4th of the early kings of Athens, but secured for him a place in the sky. Manilius thus told the story:

Near the bent Bull a Seat the Driver claims,
Whose skill conferr'd his Honour and his Names.
His Art great jove admir'd, when first he drove
His rattling Carr, and fix't the Youth above.
Vergil had something similar in his 3d Georgic.

These names appear as late as the 17th century with Bullialdus and Longomontanus, Riccioli writing Erichtonius.
Others saw here Myrtilus, the charioteer of Oenomaus, who betrayed his master to Pelops; or Cillas, the latter's driver; Pelethronius, a Thessalian; and Trethon; while Euripides and Pausanias identified him with the unfortunate Hippolytus, the Hebrew Joseph of classical literature. Additional titles in Greece were Ἁρμελάτης, Διφρηλάτης, Ἱππηλάτης, and Ἐλάσιππος, all signifying a Charioteer; while La Lande's Bellerophon and Phaëthon are appropriate enough, and his Trochilus may be, if the word be degenerated from τροχᾶλός, running; but his Absyrthe, correctly Ἄψυρτος, the young brother of Medea, is unintelligible.
Although Auriga was the usual name with the Latins, their poets called it Aurigator; Agitator cursus retinens habenas; Habenifer and Tenens habenas, the Charioteer and the Rein-holder; some of these titles descending to the Tables and Almagests down to the 16th century. Arator, the Ploughman, appeared with Nigidius and Varro for this, or for Boötes; in fact the same idea still holds with some of the Teutonic peasantry, among whom Capella and the Kids are known as the Ploughman with his Oxen. Grimm mentions for the group Voluyara, as stars that ploughmen know. The Acator occasionally seen may be an erroneous printing of Arator.
From the Goat and Kids came Custos caprarum, Habens capellas, Habens haedos, and Habens hircum. Habens oleniam capram and Oleniae sidus pluviale Capellae of Ovid's Metamorphoses are from the Ὠλενίνην of Aratos, thought to be derived from ὠλένη, the wrist, on which the Kids are resting. Some, however, with more probability have referred the word to Olenus, the father and birthplace of the nymph Amalthea in ancient Aetolia.
Isidorus of Hispalis This early Hispalis, the modern Seville, was the site of the first European observatory of our era, erected by the Moor Geber in 1196 — Saint Isidore — called it Mavors, the poetical term for Mars, the father of Romulus and so the god of the shepherds; Nonius, the Portuguese Pedro Nuñez of the 16th century, similarly said that it was Mafurtius; and Bayer found for it Maforte; but his Ophiultus, probably a Low Latin word also applied to α, seems to be without explanation.
Some have thought that Auriga was Horus with the Egyptians; but Scaliger said that the Hora of the translation of Ptolemy's Τετράβιβλος should be Roha, Bayer's Roh, a Wagoner; Beigel, however, considered it a misprint for Lora, the Reins.
The barbarous Alhaior, Alhaiot, Althaiot, Alhaiset, Alhatod, Alhajot, Alhajoth, Alhojet, Alanac, Alanat, and Alioc, — even these perhaps do not exhaust the list, — used for both constellation and lucida, are probably degenerate forms of the Arabs' Al ʽAnz and Al ʽAyyūḳ, specially applied to Capella as the Goat, which they figured as the desert Ibex, their Bādan; and Ideler thinks that this may have been the earliest Arabic designation for the star.
The 1515 Almagest says, "et nominatur latine antarii . . . id est collarium," this Collarium perhaps referring to the collar in the Charioteer's harness; but the Antarii has puzzled all, unless it be Professor Young, who suggests that it may be the reins diverging from the Driver's hand like guy-ropes, which the original means as used by Vitruvius in his description of a builder's derrick.
The Arabians translated the classic titles for the Rein-holder into Al Dhu al ʽInān, Al Māsik al ʽInān, and Al Mumsik al ʽInān, — Chilmead's Mumassich Alhanam; but the rabbi Aben Ezra2 mixed things up by calling the figure Pastor in cujus manu est frenum.
Some have illustrated it as Saint Jerome, but Caesius likened it to Jacob deceiving his father with the flesh of his kids; and Seiss says that it represents the Good Shepherd who laid down his life for the sheep. A Chariot and Goat are shown on the coins of consular Rome, and a Goat alone on those of Paros, that may have referred to this constellation.
Argelander counts 70 naked-eye stars here, and Heis 144.

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