dimanche 5 octobre 2008

Equuleus 6

. . . the flaming shoulders of the Foal of Heav'n.

Omar Khayyám's Rubáiyát.
Equuleus, the Foal, that modern Latin critics would turn into Eculeus, lies half-way between the head of Pegasus and the Dolphin, marked by the trapezium of 4th‑ to 5th‑magnitude stars, — α, β, γ, and δ, — although Argelander catalogues nine others, and Heis twelve down to 6.7 magnitude. Thus "the flaming shoulders" of our motto are lacking here, and the reference may be to Pegasus, to which the characterization certainly is more appropriate.
The Germans call it Füllen, the Filly, and Kleine Pferd, which with us is the Little Horse, the French Petit Cheval, and the Italian Cavallino.
Hood wrote of it about 1590:
This constellation was named of almost no writer, saving Ptolomee and Alfonsus who followith Ptolomee, and therefore no certain tale or historie is delivered thereof, by what means it came into heaven;
but we know that Geminos mentioned it as having been formed by Hipparchos, its stars till then lying in the early Dolphin. Still Hipparchos did not allude to it in his Commentary, nor did Hyginus, Manilius, or Vitruvius, a century after him.
Ptolemy catalogued it as Ἵππου Προτομή, this last word equivalent to our Bust for the upper part of an animal figure; but with later astronomers it was Equus primus and prior, as preceding Pegasus in rising; while from its inferior size come our own title and Equulus, Equiculus, and Equus Minor. Gore's translation of I'Astronomie Populaire, following Proctor, has Equus, the larger Horse being Pegasus.
Ptolemy's idea of the incompleteness of the figure was repeated in the Equi Sectio, Equi Praesectio, Sectio equina, Sectio Equi minoris, Semi-perfectus, and Praesegmen of various authors and Latin versions of the Syntaxis and of the Alfonsine Tables; the Almagest of 1551 gave Praecisio Equi.
Chrysococca's Tables had Κεφαλή Ἵππου, the Equi Caput of some Latin writers, and the Horse's Head of our day.
The Arabians followed Ptolemy in calling it Al Kiṭʽah al Faras, Part of a Horse, Chilmead's Kataat Alfaras; Al Faras al Thānī, the Second Horse, alluding either to its inferior size, or to the time of its adoption as a constellation; and Al Faras al Awwal, the First Horse, in reference to its rising before Pegasus. From the first of these comes the modern Kitalpha, sometimes applied to the constellation, and generally to the brightest star. Riccioli's Elmac Alcheras certainly is a barbarism, — not unusual, however, with him; but La Lande's rarely used Hinnulus, a Young Mule, has more to commend it.
With the Hindus it was another of their Açvini, the Horsemen, although their figuring resembled ours.
Some of the mythologists said that the constellation represented Celeris, the brother of Pegasus, given by Mercury to Castor; or Cyllarus, given to Pollux by Juno; or the creature struck by Neptune's trident from the earth when contesting with Minerva for superiority; but it also was connected with the story of Philyra and Saturn. Caesius, in modern times, associated it with the King's Horse that Haman hoped for, as is told in the Book of Esther; and Julius Schiller, with the Rosa mystica.
The constellation comes to the meridian on the 24th of September.

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