dimanche 5 octobre 2008

Pegasus 8

That poetic steed,
With beamy mane, whose hoof struck out from earth
The fount of Hippocrene.

Bryant's The Constellations.
Pegasus, called thus in Germany, but Pégase in France and Pegaso in Italy, lies north of the Urn of Aquarius and the easternmost Fish, the stars of the Great Square inclosing the body of the Horse.
Mythologically he was the son of Neptune and Medusa, sprung by his father's command from the blood of the latter which dropped into the sea after her head had been severed by Perseus; and he was named either from Πηγαί, the Springs of the Ocean, the place of his birth, or from Πηγός, Strong. He was snowy white in color, and the favorite of the Muses, for he had caused to flow their fountain Pirene on Helicon,— or Hippocrene on the Acrocorinthus, — whence came one of the constellation titles, Fontis Musarum Inventor. Longfellow prettily reproduced in modern dress this portion of the story, in his Pegasus in Pound, where "this wondrous winged steed with mane of gold," straying into a quiet country village, was put in pound; but, finding his quarters uncomfortable, made his escape, and
To those stars he soared again.
. . . .
But they found upon the greensward
Where his struggling hoofs had trod,
Pure and bright a fountain flowing
From the hoofmarks in the sod.
He seems, however, to have come back to earth again, for he was subsequently caught by Bellerophon at the waters of his fountain, and ridden by him when he slew the Chimaera, helping in the latter's destruction. By this time classical legend had given him wings, and Bellerophon sought by their aid to ascend to heaven; but Jupiter, incensed by his boldness, caused an insect to sting the steed, which threw his rider, and, as Wordsworth wrote:
Bold Bellerophon (so Jove decreed
In wrath) fell headlong from the fields of air.
Pegasus then rose alone to his permanent place among the stars, becoming the Thundering Horse of Jove that carried the divine lightning.
Ptolemy mentioned the wings as well recognized in his day; and this has continued till ours, for the sky figure is now known as the Winged Horse, — a recurrence to Etruscan, Euphratean, and Hittite ideas, for the wings are clearly represented on a horse's figure on tablets, vases, etc., of those countries, where this constellation may have been known in pre-classical times. Indeed, it is said to have been placed in the heavens by the early Aryans to represent Asva, the Sun.
Early classical mythology did not associate the Horse with Perseus, although artists and authors do not seem to have remembered this, for the celebrated picture by Rubens in the Berlin Gallery shows the winged Pegasus held by a Cupid, while Perseus in full armor is unbinding Andromeda from the rocks, Cetus raging in the waters close by; and the late Lord Leighton left unfinished his Perseus on Pegasus at the cliffs of Joppa, with the Gorgoneion in his hand; while in Troilus and Cressida Shakespeare mentioned "Perseus' horse."
The Greeks called the constellation simply Ίππος, although Aratos added ἱερός, "divine," and Eratosthenes alluded to it as Πήγασος, but distinctly asserted that it was without wings, and until after middle classical times it generally was so drawn, although loose plumes at the shoulders occasionally were added. The figure was considered incomplete, a possible reason for this being given under Aries. Thus it was characterized as ἡμιτελής and ἡμίτομος, "cut in two," or as if partly hidden in the clouds; while Nonnus had Ἡμιφανής Λίβῦς ἴππος, the Half-visible Libyan Horse. Thus the Equi Sectio used by Tycho and others for Equuleus would seem equally appropriate for this.
Euripides is said to have called it Melanippe, after a daughter of Chiron, also known as Euippe, changed by the goddess Artemis into a Black Mare and placed in the sky; but Bayer quoted from some later writer Menalippe. The Θεαιανα, or Theano, of Nonnus does not seem intelligible.
Translated from Greece by the Romans, it was Equus, and later on Equus Ales, qualified at times by the adjectives alter, major, Gorgoneus, and Medusaeus; but Isidorus and Lampridius degraded it to Sagmarius Caballus, a Pack-horse; Though Isidore refers to a caballus sagmarius, just once, Etym. XX.16.5, it is not in the context of the stars or mythology, and he is not speaking of Pegasus; merely of saddlery. Similarly, "Lampridius" — better: the author of the Historia Augusta — refers to sagmarii twice, but each time in the horsy context of normal military operations: once in the Life of Elagabalus (4.4) and once in the Life of Aurelian (7.7). La Lande cited Ephippiatus, Caparisoned; and elsewhere it was Cornipes, Horn-footed; Sonipes, Noisy-footed; and Sonipes Ales. Germanicus was apparently the first of Latin authors to style it Pegasus.
In the Alfonsine Tables it was Alatus, Winged, Secundus sometimes being added to distinguish it from Equuleus, which preceded it on the sphere; the Almagest of 1551 had Equus Pegasus, which the 17th‑century astronomers extended to Pegasus Equus alatus. Caesius cited Pegasides, and Bayer quoted Equus posterior, volans, aëreus, and dimidiatus, Bellerophon, and Bellerophontes.
Jewish legends made it the mighty Nimrod's Horse; Caesius, one of those of Jeremiah iv, 13, that "are swifter than eagles"; other pious people, the Ass on which Christ made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem; but Julius Schiller exalted it into the Archangel Gabriel. Weigel drew it as the heraldic Lüneburg Horse.
Pegasus appears on coins of Corinth from 500 to 430 B.C., and from 350 to 338 B.C., and 200 years thereafter, on the decadrachma, complete and with wings; as well as on coins of Lampsacus, Scepsis, and Carthage, — on these last with the asterisk of the sun, or with the winged disc, and the hooded snakes over its back. It is also shown on a coin of Narbonne as a sectional winged figure, and as a winged horse on a Euphratean gem, with a bull's head, a crescent moon, and three stars in the field. A coin of Panormus, the modern Palermo, has the Horse's head with what was probably intended for a dorsal plume.
Bochart said that the word is a compound of the Phoenician Pag, or Pega, and Sūs, the Bridled Horse, used for the figurehead on a ship, which would account for the constellation being shown with only the head and fore quarters; but others have considered it of Egyptian origin, from Pag, "to cease," and Sūs, "a vessel," thus symbolizing the cessation of navigation at the change of the Nile flow. From this, Pegasus seems to have been regarded, in those countries at least, as the sky emblem of a ship. In the old work the Destruction of Troye, we read of "a ship built by Perseus, and named Pegasus, which was likened to a flying horse."

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