dimanche 5 octobre 2008

Hercules 7

Hercules with flashing mace.

Bryant's The Constellations.
Hercules, stretching from just west of the head of Ophiuchus to Draco, its eastern border on the Milky Way, is one of the oldest sky figures, although not p239known to the first Greek astronomers under that name, — for Eudoxos had Ἐνγούνασι; Hipparchos, Ἐνγόνασι, i.e. ὁ ἐν γόνασι καθήμενος, Bending on his Knees; and Ptolemy, ἐν γόνασιν. Aratos added to these designations Ὀκλάζων, the Kneeling One, and Ἔιδωλον, the Phantom, while his description in the Phainomena well showed the ideas of that early time as to its character:
. . . like a toiling man, revolves
A form. Of it can no one clearly speak,
Nor to what toil he is attached; but, simply,
Kneeler they call him. Laboring on his knees,
Like one who sinks he seems; . . .
. . . And his right foot
Is planted on the twisting Serpent's head.
But all tradition even as to
Whoe'er this stranger of the heavenly forms may be,
seems to have been lost to the Greeks, for none of them, save Eratosthenes, attempted to explain its origin, which in early classical days remained involved in mystery. He wrote of it, οὐτός,º φασὶν, Ἡρακλής ἐστίν, standing upon the Ὄφις, our Draco; and some modern students of Euphratean mythology, associating the stars of Hercules and Draco with the sun-god Izhdubar1 and the dragon Tiāmat, slain by him, think this Chaldaean myth the foundation of that of the classical Hercules and the Lernaean Hydra. Izhdubar is shown on a cylinder seal of 3000 to 3500 B.C., and described in that country's records as resting upon one knee, with his foot upon the Dragon's head, just as Aratos says of his Ἐνγόνασι, and as we have it now. His well-known adventures are supposed to refer to the sun's passage through the twelve zodiacal signs, appearing thus on tablets of the 7th century before Christ. This myth of several thousand years' antiquity may have been adopted by Greece, and the solar hero changed into Hercules with his twelve familiar labors.
This constellation is said to have been an object of worship in Phoenicia's most ancient days as the sky representative of the great sea-god Melkarth. Indeed, it has everywhere been considered of importance, judging from its abundant nomenclature and illustration, for no other sky group seems to have borne so many titles.
The usual Greek name was transliterated Engonasi, Engonasis, and Engonasin down to the days of Bullialdus, with whom it appeared in the queer p240combination of Greek and Roman letters Ὁ εn Γοnacín; but the poets translated it as Genuflexus, Genunixus, and Geniculatus; Ingeniculatus with Vitruvius [IX.4.5]; Ingeniclus and Ingeniculus with Firmicus [VIII.17.4]; while Ingenicla Imago ( Ingenicla Imago may not have been written anywhere by Manilius, despite the citation "Manil. 5, 645" in Lewis & Short: in the edition of the Astronomicon found online, V.645‑647 (q.v.) reads:
Nixa genu species et Graio nomine dicta
Engonasin, cui nulla fides sub origine constat,
dextra per extremos attollit lumina Pisces. ) and Ignota Facies appear in Manilius, — his familiar line [I.315],

Nixa venit species genibus, sibi conscia causae,
being liberally translated by Creech,
Conscious of his shame
A constellation kneels without a name.
We see with other authors the synonymous Incurvatus in genu, Procidens, Prociduus, Procumbens in genua, and Incumbens in genibus; Defectum Sidus and Effigies defecta labore; and the Tetrabiblos of 1551 had Qui in genibus est.
It also was Saltator, the Leaper; Χάρωψ, the Keen-eyed One; Κορυνήτης, and Κορυνηφόρος, the equivalents of Clavator and Claviger, the Club-bearer of the Latins: all applied to the constellation in early days, from classical designations of the hero Hercules, whose own name has now become universal for it. Although we first find this in the Catasterisms, Avienus asserted that it was used by Panyasis, the epic poet of 500 B.C., and uncle of Herodotus, perhaps to introduce into the heavens another Argonaut. The Nessus of Vitruvius ( No Nessus is to be found in Vitruvius, under any spelling) came from the story of Deianira, the innocent cause of Hercules' death, when, as in the Death of Wallenstein,
Soared he upward to celestial brightness;
Nisus, from the city of Nisa; Malica, Melica, Melicartus, and Melicerta, from the name of its king, known later as Palaemon, — although some refer these to the title of the great god of Phoenicia, Melkarth, the King of the City; and Aper, from the Wild Boar slain at Elis. It was Cernuator,c the Wrestler, from the hero's skill; Caeteus, Ceteus, and Cetheus, as son of Lycaon, and so uncle or brother of Kallisto, who, as Ursa Major, adjoined this constellation; indeed, it was even known as Lycaon himself, weeping over Kallisto's transformation. Ovid's Alcides was a common poetical title, either from Ἀλκή, Strength, or from Alcaeus, Hercules' grandfather; while Almannus and Celticus came from the fact that a similar hero was worshiped by the Germans and Celts, themselves noted for strength and daring deeds, and said to have been descended from Hercules. The unexplained Pataecus and Epipataecus are from Egypt; Maceris, from Libya; while Desanaus, Desanes, and Dosanes, or Dorsanes, are said to be of Hindu origin.

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