Greek Mythology in Astronomy

Topics: Planet, Greek mythology, Zodiac Pages: 3 (707 words) Published: May 22, 2013
Greek Mythology in Astronomy

The creatures and deities in Greek mythology are said to have connection with the astronomy and the star constellations. In this fragment of Hesiod's poem “Nymphs like the Graces, Phaesyle and Coronis and rich-crowned Cleeia and lovely Phaeo and long-robed Eudora, whom the tribes of men upon the earth call Hyades.” (Hesiod, Homeric Hymns, Epic Cycle, Homerica.  1922) titled Astronomy, he mentioned and catalogued many of the constellations based on creatures and gods in greek mythology.

Mythological aspect of the astronomy are mostly covered on the northern hemisphere, which includes the 12 zodiac constellations and some other constellations. The zodiac constellations formed an imaginary circle which the sun, moon, and seven of the nine planets orbited in the space, for example the Taurus which symbolizes the bull which describe zeus, and the form he took when he carried off the phoenician maiden, Europa.

The other constellations are the constellations located out of the imaginary circle or the "zodiac circle". One example of the constellations are the Canis Major or "Great Dog" which describe several dogs that appeared in many classical myths. One of the story about it is from the book written by Hyginus titled Poetica Astronomica:

"He is said to have been given by Jove as a guardian for Europa, and later to have come to Minos. When Minos was ill, Procris, wife of Cephalus, is said to have cured him, and received the dog as a reward for her services, as she was very fond of hunting and the dog was so swift that no beast could escape. After her death the dog came to Cephalus her husband, who brought it to Thebes with him when he came. There was a fox there which was said to be so swift that it could outrun all dogs. So when the two animals met, Jupiter, in a dilemma, as Istrus says, changed them both to stone. Some have said that this is the dog of Orion, and because Orion was devoted to hunting, the dog was...
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