dimanche 5 octobre 2008

Ursa Major 14

Another version substituted her divine mistress Ἄρτεμις — also known to the Greeks as Καλλίστη, the Roman Diana — for the nymph of the celestial transformation; the last Greek word well describing the extreme beauty of this constellation. La Lande, however, referred the title to the Phoenician Kalitsah, or Chalitsa, Safety, as its observation helped to a safe voyage.
Among its names from the old story are Kallisto herself; Lycaonia, Lycaonia Puella, Lycaonia Arctos, from her father, or grandfather, king of the aboriginal race that was known as late as Saint Paul's day, with the distinct dialect alluded to in the Acts of the Apostles, xiv.11; Dianae Comes and Phoebes Miles are from her companionship in arms with that goddess; and it was one of the
arctos oceani metuentes aequore tingi,
because Tethys, at Juno's instigation, had forbidden Kallisto to enter her watery dominions. Yet Camões, from a lower latitude, wrote of As Ursas:
We saw the Bears, despite of Juno, lave
Their tardy bodies in the boreal wave.
Ovid's arctos aequoris expertes; immunemque aequoris Arcton; liquidique immunia ponti, and utraque sicca, were from the fact that, being circumpolar, neither of the Bears sets below the ocean horizon. This was a favorite conceit of the poets, and astronomically correct during millenniums before and centuries after Homer's day, although not so in recent times as to the Greater, except in high latitudes. Chaucer reproduced this in his rendering of the De Consolatione Philosophiae by Boëtius, whom he styles Boece:
Ne the sterre y‑cleped "the Bere," that enclyneth his ravisshinge courses abouten the soverein heighte of the worlde, ne the same sterre Ursa nis never‑mo wasshen in the depe westrene see, ne coveiteth nat to deyen his flaumbe in the see of the occian, al‑thogh he see other sterres y‑plounged in the see;
our Bryant rendering this idea:
The Bear that sees star setting after star
In the blue brine, descends not to the deep.
Poetical titles induced by the legend of Arcas were Virgo Nonacrina and Tegeaea Virgo, from the Arcadian towns Nonacris and Tegea; Erymanthis, perhaps the Erymanthian Boar that Hercules slew, but more probably the Erymanthian Bear; Maenalia Arctos, Maenalis, and Maenalis Ursa, from those mountains; Parrhasis, Parrhasia Virgo, and Parrhasides Stellae, from the tribe, although Pluche went farther back for this to the Phoenician pilots' Parrasis, the Guiding Star, — the Hebrews' Pharashah. Sophocles wrote of it in the Oedipus as Arcadium Sidus, ( Something is wrong here; Sophocles was a Greek author, and could not have called our Bear by a Latin name ) referring to the whole country of Arcadia, the Switzerland of Greece, famous in the classical world for its wild mountain scenery; and very early silver coins of Mantinea showed the Bear as mother of the patron god.
Such has been the myth of this constellation current for at least three millenniums; but Mueller discards it all, and says:
The legend of Kallisto, the beloved of Zeus and mother of Arkas, has nothing to do with the original meaning of the stars. On the contrary, Kallisto was supposed to have been changed into the Arktos or Greater Bear because she was the mother of Arkas, that is to say, of the Arcadian ( Lucian, in De Astrologia, wrote that "the Arcadians were an ignorant people and despised astronomy"; and Ovid graphically described their great antiquity and primitive mode of life, well justifying their title of the Bear Race, his lines being quaintly translated by Gower:
Therefore they naked run in sign and honour
Of hardiness and that old bare-skinned manner.) or bear race, and her name, or that of her son, reminded the Greeks of their long established name of the northern constellation.
Aratos' version of the legend, from very ancient Naxian tradition, made the two Bears the Cretan nurses of the infant Jupiter, afterwards raised to heaven for their devotion to their charge. From this came the Cretaeae sive Arctoe of Germanicus; but Lewis said:
This fable is inconsistent with the natural history of the island; for the ancients testify that Crete never contained any bears or other noxious animals.
Subsequent story changed the nurses into the Cretan nymphs Helice and Melissa. Hyginus and Germanicus also used the masculine form Ursus as well as Arctus.
The Hebrew word ʽĀsh or ʽAyish in the Book of Job, ix.9, and xxxviii.32, supposed to refer to the Square in this constellation as a Bier, not a Bear, was translated Arcturus by Saint Jerome in the Vulgate: and this was adopted in the version of 1611 authorized by King James. Hence the popular belief that the Bible mentions our star α Boötis; but Umbreit had already corrected this to "the Bear and her young," and in the Revision of 1885 the patriarch talks to us of "the Bear with her train," these latter being represented by the three tail stars. Von Herder strangely rendered the first of these passages "Libra and the Pole Star, the Seven Stars"; but the second, more correctly, as "the Bear with her young" feeding around the pole; or, by another tradition, the nightly wanderer, a mother of the stars seeking her lost children, — those that no longer are visible. The Breeches Bible has this marginal note to its word Arcturus: "The North Star, with those that are about him."

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