OR, MEDITATION ON THE REVOLUTIONS OF EMPIRES
Home | Prev
SIRIUS, the Dog Star.--A bright star of the first magnitude in the
mouth of the constellation Canis Major. This is the brightest star
that appears in our firmament, and is supposed by some to be the
LEPUS.--One of the southern constellations, placed near Orion,
according to Grecian fable, because it was one of the animals which
ERIDANUS.--A winding southern constellation, near the Cetus,
containing the bright star Achemar.
CETUS, the Whale.--A southern constellation, and one of the forty-
eight old asterisms. It is fabled to have been the sea monster
sent by Neptune to devour Andromeda, which was killed by Perseus.
CRATER, the Cup.--A southern constellation, near Hydra. This is
supposed by Hyainus to be the cup which Apollo gave to the Corvus,
CORVUS.--One of the old constellations in the southern hemisphere,
near Sagittarius. This bird is fabled to have been translated to
heaven by Apollo for discovering to him the infidelity of the nymph
ARGO NAVIS, the Ship.--A constellation near to the Canis Major, and
the name of the ship which carried Jason and his fifty-four
companions to Colchis in quest of the golden fleece, and was said
to have been translated into the heavens.
CANOPUS.--The name formerly given to a star in the second bend of
Eridanus. A bright star of the first magnitude in the rudder of
the ship Argo, which, according to Pliny, was visible at Alexandria
CENTAURUS.--One of the forty-eight old constellations in the
southern hemisphere, represented in the form of half man and half
horse, who was fabled by the Greeks to have been Chiron, the tutor
AVA, or ALTAR.--One of the old constellations, and fabled to have
been that at which the giants entered into their conspiracy against
the gods; wherefore Jupiter, in commemoration of the event,
transplanted the altar into the heavens.
PEGASUS.--One of the forty-eight old constellations of the northern
hemisphere, figured in the form of a flying horse.
DELPHINUS, or DOLPHIN.--A northern constellation, near Pegasus.
The Dolphin is fabled to have been translated to heaven by Neptune.
AQUILA, the Eagle.--In the Arabic Altair, but in the Persian tables
the Flying Vulture. This is one of the old constellations,
situated near Delphinus in the northern hemisphere. According to
Grecian fable, Aquila represented Ganymede or Hebe, who was
transported to heaven and made cup-bearer to Jupiter.
SAGITTA--the Dart or Arrow, called by the Arabians Schahan. One of
the old constellations in the northern hemisphere, near Aquila and
Delphinus. It is fabled to have been the arrow with which Hercules
slew the vulture that was devouring the liver of Prometheus who
was, like Jesus, crucified for loving mankind.
CYGNUS, the Swan.--An old constellation in the milky-way, between
Equus and the Dragon. This is fabled to be the swan into which
Jupiter transformed himself in order to deceive the virtuous Leda,
wife of Tyndareus, king of Sparta. The Grecian matron, like the
Jewish virgin, thus became the mother of a God.
LYRA.--A northern constellation between Hercules and Cygnus,
containing a white star of the first magnitude.
MILKY-WAY.--Galaxy, or Via Lactia.--A broad luminous path or circle
encompassing the heavens, which is easily discernible by its white
appearance, from which it derives its name. It is supposed to be
the blended light of innumerable fixed stars, which are not
distinguishable with ordinary telescopes.
HYDRA, the Serpent.--A southern constellation of great length,
which is drawn to represent a serpent. The Hydra is fabled to have
been placed in the heavens by Apollo, to frighten the Raven from
ORION, the hunter.--A constellation of the southern hemisphere with
respect to the ecliptic, but half southern and half northern with
respect to the equinoctial. It is placed near the feet of the
bull, and is composed of seventeen stars in the form of a sword,
which has given occasion to the poets to speak of Orion's sword.
He was described by the Greeks as a "mighty hunter," who for his
exploits was placed in the heavens by Jupiter, between the Canis
and the Lepus. He is believed by many to have been the "mighty
hunter" spoken of in the bible, under the name of Nimrod. (See
Gen. x: 8, 9; 1 Chron. i: 10; Micha v: 6, Job ix, 9; Amos v, 8.)
PERSEUS.--This constellation is named from Perseus, the son of
Jupiter by Danae, who was translated into the heavens by the
assistance of Minerva, for having released Andromeda from her
confinement on the rock to which she was chained. He is
represented in the preceding illustration holding a drawn sword in
his right hand and in his left the head of Medusa, the Gorgon,
whose terrifying appearance changed all who beheld her into stone,
and whom he had destroyed with the assistance of the wings he had
borrowed from Mercury, the helmet from Pluto, the sword from
Vulcan, and the shield from Minerva.
JOSEPH'S STABLE; AURIGA, the Wagoner:--A northern constellation
between Perseus and Gemini, represented by the figure of an old man
supporting a goat. He is said to have been taken to heaven by
Jupiter after the invention of wagons.
URSA MAJOR, the Bear.--One of the prominent northern
constellations, situated near the north pole. It contains the
stars called the Dipper. Ursa Minor contains the pole-star, which
is shown in the extremity of the tail of the bear.
ANDROMEDA.--A northern constellation, represented by a woman
chained; as, according to Grecian fable, Andromeda, the daughter of
Cassiopia, was bound to a rock by the Nereides, and afterwards
released by Perseus. Minerva changed her into a constellation
after her death, and placed her in the heavens.
DRACO OR DRAGON.--A northern constellation, supposed to represent
the Dragon that guarded the Hesperian fruit, and was killed by
Hercules. It is said that Juno took it up to heaven and placed it
among the constellations.
BOOTIS, the Ox driver: so called because this constellation seems
to follow the Great Bear as the driver follows his oxen. Bootis is
represented as grasping in his right hand a sickle and in his left
a club, and is fabled to have been Icarius, who was transported to
heaven because he was a great cultivator of the vine; for when
Bootes rises the works of ploughing and cultivation go forward.
CORONA BOREALIS. Northern Crown.--One of the old northern
constellations, between Hercules and Bootes.
CORONA AUSTRALIS--Southern Crown.--One of the old constellations in
the southern hemisphere, between Sagittarius and Scorpio. The
Corona were fabled to be Menippe and Metioche, two daughters of
Orion, who sacrificed themselves at the suggestion of an oracle, to
protect Boeotia, their native country, from the ravages of a
pestilence: it being the belief of idolatrous nations that an angry
god could be propitiated by human sacrifices, and that the death of
the innocent might atone for the sins of the guilty. The deities
of Hades were astonished, it is said, at the patriotism and
devotion of these Grecian maidens, who had so generously and
uselessly sacrificed their lives. After their death two stars were
seen to issue from the altars that still smoked with their blood,
and these stars were placed in the heavens in the form of a crown
CEPHEUS AND CASSIOPIA.--One of the old asterism in the northern
hemisphere, near the pole. According to Grecian fables, Cassiopia
and her husband Cepheus, king of Etheopia, were placed among the
constellations to witness the punishment inflicted on their
TRIANGULARIUM.--A name for both one of the old and new
constellations in the northern hemisphere, between Andromeda and
SERPENTARIUS, called Ophiucus, is a constellation in the northern
hemisphere, between Scorpio and Hercules.
HERCULES, one of the old northern constellations. In Grecian
mythology it was taught and believed that Hercules, the Theban, was
born of a human mother and an immortal father, like other so-called
saviours of mankind. His mother, the fair Alcmena, wife of
Amphitryon, having found favor in the eyes of the god Jupiter, soon
fell an unwilling victim to his celestial wiles. The life of the
infant Hercules, born of this unnatural union, was threatened by
the jealous Juno, the same as the life of the infant Jesus was
threatened by the tyrant Herod. Like Jesus, Hercules devoted his
life to the benefit of the human race, and like Jesus he was also
worshipped after his death as a God in heaven. He is shown in the
astrological chart, enveloped in the skin of the lion he has slain,
with his club upraised, and his foot placed threateningly above the
head of the Dragon, as if about to fulfill the scriptural prophecy,
that "the seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head."