Explore the etymology and symbolism of the constellations

Sagittarius

the Archer


Urania's Mirror 1825

An arrow is a pointed projectile that is shot with a bow and penetrates a distant target. Sagitta is the constellation of the arrow, and Sagittarius is the constellation of the bow or Archer. The constellation of Aquila separates these two constellations. The English word arrow (constellation Sagitta) is confounded with the archer (Sagittarius) and cognate with Latin arcus, 'bow, arch'. The English word Sagitta, arrow, is also confounded with the word Sagittarius, the archer, or 'arrow shooter'.

The word Archer comes from the Indo-European root *arku- 'Bow and arrow (uncertain which, perhaps both as a unit)'. Derivatives: arrow, arc, arcade, arch1, archer, arbalest, archivolt, archiform, arcuate, from Latin arcus, bow. [Pokorny arqu- 67. Watkins]

“The arrow (sagitta) is named for its 'keen striking' (sagax ictus), that is, its swift striking.” [The Etymologies of Isidore of Seville, 7th century AD, p.363.]

The word sagax of 'sagax ictus' should belong to the constellation of Sagittarius (rather than Sagitta), the Archer, from Latin sagire, to seek, 'seek to know'. The keywords for Sagittarius is 'I seek'. Latin sagax comes from the Indo-European root *sag- 'To seek out'. Derivatives: seek, beseech, sake¹, forsake, ramshackle, ransack, presage, (these words from Latin sagire, to perceive, 'seek to know'), sagacious (from Latin sagax, 'of keen perception'), exegesis, hegemony (from Greek hegeisthai, to lead < 'to track down'), sic2 (to set upon; attack, usually used as a command to a dog). [Pokorny sag- 876. Watkins]

There is an etymological relationship between the words sic2, and Latin sagire above. The word sic2, to set upon, attack, is usually used as a command to a dog.
Jupiter rules this constellation, but it also was the domicile, or under the protection of Artemis/Diana (according to Allen below, and Manilius p.117), the huntress who is often portrayed with a bow and arrow. In Greek mythology Artemis/Diana sicced a pack of dogs on Actaeon [1].

The Greeks called this constellation Toxeutes, the Archer, from Toxon, bow. Modern archers are known as toxophilites or 'bow lovers', toxophily is the sport of archery. The word Taxus, the yew genus and the Latin word for yew, is of the same origin as Greek toxon, bow. In Europe bows were mostly made from yew, and English bows in particular were invariably cut from yew trees. Greek toxicon, neuter of the adjective toxicos, means 'arrow poison' and poisons smeared on arrows were fired from bows (toxa or toxon) derived from the yew-tree. Our verb intoxicate originally meant 'to poison'. The 17th century herbalist Nicolas Culpepper said of Yew toxins: "it is the most active vegetable poison known in the whole world, for in a small dose it instantly induces death" [1].

This constellation had the titles Crotus (Krotos), and Croton: Krotos was a rustic spirit or satyr who consorted with the Muses on Mount Helikon, the Muses were the nine daughters of Mnemosyne and Zeus, each of whom presided over a different art or science. Krotos was a great hunter and, according to some, the inventor of the hunting bow and the rhythmic beat which accompanied music. The Muses rewarded him with a place amongst the stars as the constellation Sagittarius [2].

"Mortals who were made immortal ... Crotos (Krotos), son of Pan and Eupheme ('the well-spoken'), was put in sky by Muses as Sagittarium." - Hyginus, Fabulae 224. http://www.theoi.com/Georgikos/SatyrosKrotos.html

"[Constellation] Sagittarius (the Archer) ... Some say that he is Crotus, son of Eupheme, nurse of the Musae. As Sositheus, writer of tragedies [C3rd BC], says, he had his home on Mount Helicon and took his pleasure in the company of the Musae (Muses), sometimes even following the pursuit of hunting. He attained great fame for his diligence, for he was very swift in the woods, and clever in the arts. As a reward for his zeal the Musae asked Jove [Zeus] to represent him in some star group, and Jove did so. Since he wished to display all his skills in one body, he gave him horse flanks because he rode a great deal. He added arrows, since these would show both his keenness and his swiftness, and he gave him a Satyrus’ tail because the Musae took no less pleasure in Crotus than Liber [Dionysos] did in the Satyri. Before his feet are a few stars arranged in a circle, which some said were a wreath, thrown off as by one at play." - Hyginus, Astronomica 2.27 http://www.theoi.com/Georgikos/SatyrosKrotos.html (These "few stars arranged in a circle" is the wreath representing the adjacent constellation Corona Australis)

Crotos was the inventor of the rhythmic beat which accompanied music, it was also said that: "When he listened to the timeless performances of the muses he expressed his delight by striking (clapping) his hands". Crotalum or crotalos was an ancient Greek and later Roman instrument similar to castanets or clappers and used to accompany dancing. Greek krotos or crotos 'the sound of rattling, beating, striking or clapping' (whence also crotein or krotein, 'to cause to rattle; to knock, beat, strike, clap'), from Indo-European base *kret- 'To beat'. Derivatives: Crotalus, the genus consisting of the rattlesnakes from Greek crotalos 'rattle', crotoxin (a crystalline neurotoxin found in the venom of rattlesnakes), dicrotism (an anomaly of the pulse, condition in which the pulse is felt as two beats per single heartbeat), tricrotism (three beats of the pulse per single heartbeat), acrotic is the absence of a pulse. [Pokorny 2. kret- 621. Watkins] From this root also comes crotaphion, the tip of the greater wing of the sphenoid bone; a point in craniometry, from Greek krotaphos 'side of the forehead, or the temple of the head ', properly meaning 'the place of beating', and related to Greek crotos 'the sound of beating' [Klein] (of the pulse). Crotaphite, means the temple or temporal fossa.

The beat of the pulse is a sign of life. The philosopher Heraclitus comments on how the name of the bow (biós) is associated with life (bíos), with a different accent on the vowels, and said "The bow has the name bios, life; its work is death" [3]. Greek bíos is the word for life, related to Latin vita, life, from the Indo-European root *gwei- 'to live'.

In astrology the zodiacal sign, Sagittarius, or its ruling planet Jupiter, governs the liver. It is said that Sagittarians tend to have an active, sensitive liver that instantly suffers from overuse of alcohol (intoxication), and susceptible to hepatitis [4]. The liver removes toxins from the blood. The English words life and liver derive from the Indo-European root *leip- 'To stick, adhere; fat'.

Sagittarius has always been a sign associated with shooting for far off goals. An arrow is shot with a bow. The constellation of Sagittarius was the German Schutze, Schutz, the Anglo-Saxons had Scytta, a manuscript of 1386 calling it the Schoter; Shoot comes from the Indo-European root *skeud 'To shoot, chase, throw'. Derivatives: shoot, shot, shut, shout, shuttle, scuttle1. [Pokorny 2. (s)keud- 955. Watkins]

The word Scythia originally means "shooter, archer", and it ultimately derived from the Proto-Indo-European root *skeud- "to shoot, throw". The Scythians or Scyths were a nation of horse-riding nomadic pastoralists.

Arrows are made from the off-shoots or cuttings of trees, the shooting of which would have caused some of these shots to have taken root in more distant places other than their usual environment. [Some of these words might belong to Sagitta, the Arrow, because for both arrows and cuttings for planting, the young shoots representing the current season's growth are used. The previous season's growth are favored for making bows].

This constellation represents Crotus who consorted with the Muses (muse from *men-1 'To think', maybe Delphinus), the nine sisters who embody nine talents or nine facets of the mind. When Pythagoras arrived at Croton, his first advice to the Crotoniates was to build a shrine to the Muses at the center of the city, to promote civic harmony and learning [5]. Sagittarius traditionally rules the 9th House of the zodiac, this is the house the ancients refer to as the house of the higher mind and belief systems. In Cratylus by Plato, Hermogenes asks: "What do you think of doxa (opinion), and that class of words?" and Socrates answers: "Doxa is either derived from dioxis (pursuit), and expresses the march of the soul in the pursuit of knowledge, or from the shooting of a bow (toxon); the latter is more likely, and is confirmed by oiesis (thinking), which is only oisis (moving), and implies the movement of the soul to the essential nature of each thing - just as boule (counsel) has to do with shooting (bole); and boulesthai (to wish) combines the notion of aiming and deliberating - all these words seem to follow doxa, and all involve the idea of shooting, just as aboulia, absence of counsel, on the other hand, is a mishap, or missing, or mistaking of the mark, or aim, or proposal, or object" [6]. Doxa comes from the Indo-European root *dek-1 'To take, accept'. Derivatives: decent (from Latin decere, to be fitting < 'to be acceptable'), docent, docile, doctor, doctrine, document, (these words from Latin docere, to teach < 'to cause to accept'), documentary, endocrine glands (ductless glands, capable of providing bursts of energy), dogma, dogmatic, doxology, heterodox, orthodox, paradox, (these words from Greek dokein), décor, decorate (from Latin decus, grace, ornament; 'to be appropriate, to be suitable'), decorous, dainty, deign, dignity, condign, dignify, disdain, indign, indignant, indignation, (these words from Latin dignus, worthy, deserving, fitting), dignitary, disciple, discipline, (these words from Latin discere, to learn), dowel, pandect (pandects is a complete body of laws; a legal code). [Pokorny 1. dek- 189. Watkins]

"From the Sumerians, who invented the first written Western language, we find references to the Mesopotamian god Enki masturbating, his ejaculation filling the Tigris River with flowing water" [7]. (Tigris 'arrow river' - Sagitta - Sagitta might also be the penis. Tigers only drink from flowing water and won't drink from still waters)

The star Nunki, the sigma star of Sagittarius, is identified with Enki - "of Enki, Sumerian god of waters and of most ancient city of Eridu": Jaculum was one title for Sagitta, 'jaculum' and 'ejaculate' are both derived from Latin iaculum, meaning a dart; there might be a correlation between the releasing arrows from a bow and releasing semen.

The astrological influences of the constellation given by Manilius:

"As for the Archer, when the foremost portion of his cloak rises, he will give birth to hearts renowned in war and will conduct the conqueror, celebrating great triumphs in the sight of all, to his country's citadels. Such a one will build high walls (moenia from Latin murus) one moment and pull them down the next. But if Fortune favours them too generously with success, the mark of her envy is to be seen on their faces, for she works cruel havoc upon their features. So was it that a dread warrior* paid for his victories at the Trebia, Cannae, and the Lake, even before the hour of his retreat, with such disfigurement." [Translator's note: *Hanibal who lost an eye (Livy 22.2.11: Sagittarius is one-eyed; see p.103] [Manilius, Astronomica, 1st century AD, book 4, p.267]

"But they whose lot it is to be born under the Centaur of double form delight in yoking a team, in bringing a fiery horse to obey the pliant reins, in following herds which graze all over the grasslands, and in imposing a master on every kind of quadruped and taming them: they soften tigers, rid the lion of his fierceness, speak to the elephant and through speech adapt its huge bulk to human skills in a variety of displays. Indeed, in the stars of this constellation the human form is blended with a beast's and placed above it; wherefore it has lordship over beasts. And because it carries a shaft poised on drawn bow, it imparts strength to limb and keenness to the intellect, swiftness of movement, and an indefatigable spirit." [Manilius, Astronomica, 1st century AD, book 4, p.241.]

© Anne Wright 2008.

Fixed stars in Sagittarius
Star 1900 2000 R A Decl 1950 Lat Mag Sp
Spiculum Lagoon Nebula NGC6523 29SAG40 01CAP04 270 10 30 -24 23 00 -00 56 17 6.00 N
Alnasl gamma 29SAG52 01CAP16 270 38 56 -30 25 36 -06 58 56 3.07 K0
Polis mu 01CAP49 03CAP13 272 43 00 -21 04 26 +02 20 24 3 0 var B8
Kaus Medius delta 03CAP11 04CAP35 274 26 54 -29 51 05 -06 27 56 2.84 K2
Kaus Australis epsilon 03CAP41 05CAP05 275 12 48 -34 24 37 -11 02 37 1.95 B9
Kaus Borealis lambda 04CAP55 06CAP19 276 13 15 -25 27 04 -02 07 36 2.94 K1
Facies M22 NGC6656 06CAP54 08CAP18 278 19 30 -23 58 00 -00 44 25 5.90 C
theta 08CAP48 10CAP11 280 37 60 -27 02 39 -03 56 52 3.30 B8
Nunki sigma 10CAP59 12CAP23 283 02 29 -26 21 39 -03 26 34 2.14 B3
Ascella zeta 12CAP15 13CAP38 284 51 29 -29 10 06 -06 23 31 2.71 A4
tau 13CAP27 14CAP50 285 57 18 -27 44 43 -05 04 46 3.42 K1
Manubrium omicron 13CAP36 14CAP59 285 27 00 -21 49 00 +00 52 00 3.90 G8
Arkab Prior beta 1 14CAP23 15CAP47 289 45 42 -44 33 18 -22 08 18 4.24 B8
Arkab Posterior beta 2 14CAP26 15CAP50 289 54 09 -44 53 45 -22 29 24 4.51 A9
Albadah pi Sagittarius 14CAP51 16CAP15 286 43 00 -21 06 18 +01 26 36 3.00 F3
Rukbat alpha 15CAP14 16CAP38 290 06 23 -40 42 43 -18 22 20 4.11 B8
Terebellum omega 24CAP27 25CAP51 298 1300 -26 26 02 -05 25 01 4.80 G5

Hevelius, Firmamentum, 1690

from Star Names, 1889, Richard H. Allen

. . . glorious in his Cretian Bow,

Centaur follows with an aiming Eye,

His Bow full drawn and ready to let fly.

  -- Creech's Manlius

Sagittarius, the Archer, is the French Sagittaire, the Italian Sagittario, and the German Schutze, Bayer's Schutz, — next to the eastward from Scorpio, was Toxeutes, the Archer, and Rutor toxon, the Bow-stretcher, with Aratos; Toxeuter with other Greeks; and Toxetes with Eratosthenes, Hipparchos, Plutarch, and Ptolemy. The Belokrator cited by Hyde, though not a lexicon word, probably signifies the Drawer of the Arrow.

These were translated by Lucian and the Romans into our title, although Manilius had Sagittifer; Avienus, Sagittiger; and Cicero, Sagittipotens, a term peculiar to him. His equivalent Arquitenens, the ancient form of Arcitenens, — reappearing with Ausonius and with Al Biruni in Sachau's {Page 352} translation, — was also used by early classic writers for this constellation; although where the word is seen with Vergil it is for the god Apollo.

Flamsteed's Atlas has Sagittary, common for centuries before him; Shakespeare calling Othello's house — probably the Arsenal in Venice —  the Sagittary, i. e. bearing the zodiac sign. The word was early written Sagitary; and Sagittarie and Saagittare in Chaucer's Astrolabe, from his Anglo-Norman predecessor, De Thaun. The Anglo-Saxons had Scytta.

Columella called it Crotos, and Hyginus, Croton, the Herdsman; but how these names are applicable does not appear. (Read about the mythological satyr Crotos here)

Others have been Ippotes (hippotes meaning knight), On Horseback; Semivir, the Half Man; Taurus and Minotauros, from his fabled early shape, although now figured in equine form; while Cicero's Antepes and Antepedes may be for this, or for our Centaur (the constellation Centaurus). Cornipedes, Horn-Footed, also has been applied to it.

Sometimes the whole was personified by its parts, as with Aratos, where we see Toxon, the Bow, the Arcus of Cicero and Germanicus; and the Haemonios Arcus of Ovid; in Egypt, where it is said to have been known as an Arrow held in a human hand; and with Ovid again in Thessalicae Sagitta, Thessaly being the birthplace of the Centaurs. This induced Longfellow's lines in his Poets' Calendar for November:

With sounding hoofs across the earth I fly,

A steed Thessalian with a human face.

And it has been Sagitta arcui applicata; or plain Telum with Capella of Carthage. Bayer cited Pharetra, the Quiver, and, recurring to the Bow, Elkausu or Elkusu, Schickard's Alkauuso, from the Arabic Al Kaus. The translator of Ulug Beg added to its modern name quem etiam Arcum vocant, which the Almagest of 1515 confirmed in its et est Arcus. It was the Persian Kaman and Nimasp; the Turkish Yai; the Syriac Keshta and the Hebrew Kesheth; Riccioli's Kertko, "from the Chaldaeans"; all signifying a Bow, whence some early maps illustrated Sagittarius simply as a Bow and Arrow. This was an idea especially prevalent in Asiatic astronomy.

Among the Jews it was the tribal symbol of Ephraim and Manasseh, from Jacob's last words to their father Joseph, "his bow abode in strength."

Novidius claimed it as Joash, the King of Israel, shooting arrows out of "the window eastward," at the command of the dying Elisha; but the {Page 353} biblical set generally identified it with Saint Matthew the Apostle, although Caesius claimed that Sagittarius was Ishmael.

The formation of this constellation on the Euphrates undoubtedly preceded that of the larger figure, the Centaur Chiron (the constellation Centaurus); but the first recorded classic figuring was in Eratosthenes' description of it as a Satyr, probably derived from the characteristics of the original Centaur, Hea-bani (Heabani), and it so appeared on the more recent Farnese globe. But Manilius mentioned it, as in our modern style, mixtus equo, and with threatening look, very different from the mild aspect of the educated Chiron, the Centaur of the South (Centaurus); while it sometimes is given in later manuscripts and maps with flowing robes; but his crown (the constellation Corona Australis) always appears near his fore feet, and his arrow is always aimed at the Scorpion's heart.

Dupuis said that it was shown in Egypt as an Ibis or Swan; but the Denderah zodiac has the customary Archer with the face of a lion added, so making it bifaced. Kircher gave its title from the Copts as IIemaere, Statio amoenitatis.

The illustrated manuscript partly reproduced in the 47th volume of Archaeologia has a centaur-like figure, Astronochus, which, perhaps, is our Archer; but the title is of unexplained derivation, unless it be the Star-holder, as Ophiuchus is the Serpent-holder, and Heniochus, the Rein-holder.

It is in this same manuscript that is illustrated a sky group, Joculator, [Allen notes: The Latin word, the equivalent of the early French Jongleur, is seen with old Bishop Thomas Percy for a Minstrel, applied to King Alfred] usually rendered the "Jester," and representing the Court Fool of mediaeval days; but I find no trace of this elsewhere.

We have already noticed the confusion in the myths and titles of this zodiacal Centaur with those of the southern Centaur (the constellation Centaurus), some thinking Sagittarius the Chiron of the Greeks, — Chiron with Hyginus and the Romans; although Eratosthenes and others, as did the modern Ideler, understood this name to refer to the Centaur proper (the constellation Centaurus). Ovid's Centaurus, however, and Milton's Centaur are the zodiac figure (Sagittarius), as has been the case with some later poets; James Thomson writing in the Winter of his Seasons:

Now when the chearless empire of the sky

To Capricorn the Centaur Archer yields.

Early tradition made the earthly Chiron (the constellation Centaurus) the inventor of the Archer constellation (Sagittarius) to guide the Argonauts in their expedition to Colchis; although, and about as reasonably, Pliny said that Cleostratos originated it, with Aries, during the 6th or 5th century B.C. As to this we may consider {354} that, while Cleostratos, possibly, was the first to write on it, certainly none of the Greeks gave it form or title, for we see abundant evidence of its much greater antiquity on the Euphrates.

Cuneiform inscriptions designate Sagittarius as the Strong One, the Giant King of War, and as the Illuminator of the Great City, personifying the archer god of war, Nergal or Nerigal, or under his guardianship, as the Great Lord [Allen notes: This may be seen in the Mandaeans' name to-day — Nerig — for the planet Mars]. This divinity is mentioned in the Second Book of Kings, xvii, 30. An inscription, on a fragment of a planisphere, transcribed by Sayce as Utucagaba, the Light of the White Face, and by Pinches as Udgudua, the Flowing (?) Day, or the Smiting Sun Face, is supposed to be an allusion to this constellation; while on this fragment also appear the words Nibat Anu, which accord with an astrolabe of Sennacherib, and were considered by George Smith as the name of its chief star. Another inscribed tablet, although somewhat imperfect, is thought to read Kakkab Kastu, the Constellation, or Star, of the Bow, — in Akkadian Ban, — indicating one or more of the bow stars of the Archer. This will account for the Toxon of Aratos and the Arcus of the Latins, Sayce agreeing with this in his rendering Mulban, the Star of the Bow. Pa and (khut?), Dayspring, also seem to have been titles, the latter because our Archer was a type of the rising sun. Upon some of the boundary stones of Sippara (Sepharvaim of the Old Testament), a solar city, Sagittarius "appears sculptured in, full glory." In Assyria it always was associated with the ninth month, Kislivu, corresponding to our November-December, with which we have already seen Orion associated. From all the foregoing it would seem safe to assume the Archer to be of Euphratean origin.

India also claimed Sagittarius for its zodiac of 3000 years ago, figured as a Horse, Horses head, or Horseman, — Acvini, — a word that appeared in Hindu stellar nomenclature in different parts of the sky. Al Biruni said that the constellation was the Sanskrit Dhanu, or Dhanasu, the Tamil Dhamsu, given by Professor Whitney as Dhanus; while we have a very early statement that the stars of the bow and human part of the Archer represented the fan of lions' tails twirled by Mula, the wife of Chandra Gupta, the Sandrokottos of 300 B.C., ruler over the Indian kingdom Maurya and the Gangaridae and Prasii along the Ganges. But in later Indian astronomy it became Taukshika, derived from the Greek Toxotes.

The Hindus located here another of their double nakshatras (Moon Mansion), the 18th and 19th, the Former and the Latter Ashadha, Unconquered, which, in the main, were coincident with the manazil and sieu of the same numbering. These were under the protection of the divinities Apas, Waters, and Vicve {Page 355} Devas, the Combined Gods; each being figured as an Elephants Tusk, and both together as a Bed.

In ancient Arabia the two small groups of stars now marking the head and the vane of the Archer's arrow were of much note as relics of still earlier asterisms, as well as a lunar station. The westernmost of these, — gamma, delta, epsilon, and eta —  were Al Naam al Warid, the Going Ostriches; and the easternmost, — sigma, zeta, phi, chi, and tau, — Al Naam al Sadirah, the Returning Ostriches, passing to and from the celestial river, the Milky Way, with the star lambda for their Keeper. Ideler thought it inexplicable that these non-drinking creatures should be found here in connection with water, and Al Jauhari compared the figures to an Overturned Chair, which these stars may represent. But Al Biruni said that Al Zajjaj had a word that signifies the Beam over the mouth of a well to which the pulleys are attached; while another authority said that pasturing Camels, or Cattle, were intended. There evidently is much uncertainty as to the true reading and signification of this title. All of the foregoing stars, with mu1 and mu2, were included in the 18th manzil, Al Naam.

The 19th manzil (Moon Mansion) lay in the vacant space from the upper part of the figure toward the horns of the Sea-Goat, and was known as Al Baldah, the City, or District, for this region is comparatively untenanted. It was marked by one scarcely distinguishable star, probably pi, and was bounded by six others in the form of a Bow, the Arabs' Kaus, which, however, was not our Bow of Sagittarius. It also was Al Kiladah, the Necklace; and Al Udhiyy, the Ostrich's Nest, marked by our tau, nu, psi, omega, alpha, and zeta; while the space between this and the preceding mansions was designated by Al Biruni as "the head of Sagittarius and his two locks." In his discussion of this subject, quoting, as he often did, from Arab poets, he compared this 19th manzil to "the interstice between the two eyebrows which are not connected with each other," — a condition described by the word 'Ablad, somewhat similar to the Baldah generally applied to it.

The 18th sieu, (Moon Mansion of the Chinese) Ki, a Sieve, anciently Kit, was the first of these groups; and the 19th, Tew, Tow, or Nan Tow, a Ladle or Measure, anciently Dew, was the second; both being alluded to in the She King:

In the south is the Sieve

Idly showing its mouth…

But it is of no use to sift;

the commentator explaining that the two stars widest apart were the Mouth, and the two closer together the Heels; but he does not give the connection of these with the Sieve. And of the second group:

{Page 356} In the north is the Ladle

Raising its handle to the west

But it lades out no liquor;

so that our Milk Dipper, zeta (Ascella), tau, sigma (Nunki), phi, and lambda (Kaus Borealis), in the same spot, is not a modem conceit after all. The stars of this Ladle were objects of special worship in China for at least a thousand years before our era; indeed, also were known as a Temple.

The whole constellation was the Chinese Tiger, Williams giving, as another early name, Seih Muh, the Cleft Tree, or Branches cut for fire-wood, and the later name, from the Jesuits, Jin Ma, the Man-Horse. A part of it was included with Scorpio, Libra, and some of Virgo's stars in the large zodiacal division the Azure Dragon. The astrologers incorporated it with Capricomus in their Sing Ki.

Astrologically the constellation was the House of Jupiter, that planet having appeared here at the Creation, a manuscript of 1386 calling it the Schoter "ye principal howce of Jupit "; although this honor was shared by Aquarius and Leo. Nor did Jupiter monopolize its possession, for it also was the domicile of Diana, one of whose temples was at Stymphalus, the home of the Stymphalian birds. These last, when slain by Hercules, were transferred to the sky as Aquila, Cygnus, and Vultur Cadens (Lyra), and are all paranatellons of Sagittarius, as has been explained under Aquila. Thus the constellation was known as Dianae Sidus. It inclined to fruitfulness, a character assigned to it as far back as the Babylonian inscriptions; and was a fortunate sign, reigning over Arabia Felix, Hungary, Liguria, Moravia, and Spain, and the cities of Avignon, Cologne, and Narbonne; while Manilius said that it ruled Crete, Latium, and Trinacria. Ampelius associated it with the south wind, Auster, and the southwest wind, Africus; Aries and Scorpio being also associated with the latter. Yellow was the color attributed to it, or the peculiar green sanguine; and Arcandum in 1542 wrote that a man born under this sign would be thrice wedded, very fond of vegetables, would become a matchless tailor, and have three special illnesses, the last at eighty years of age. Such was much of the science of his day!

Sagittarius is shown on a coin of Gallienus of about A.D. 260, with the legend Apollini Conservatori; and on those of King Stephen emblematic of his having landed in England in 1135 when the sun was here.

La Caille took the star eta out of this constellation for the beta of his new Telescopium. This was the 25th of Ptolemy's list in the sphuron, or pastern (or sphere?), which would indicate that with him the feet had a very different situation from that on the present maps.

{Page 357} The symbol of the sign, , shows the arrow with part of the bow.

The sun passes through the constellation from the 16th of December to the 18th of January, reaching the winter solstice1 near the stars mu (Polis) on the 21st of December, but then of course in the sign Capricorn.

A noticeable feature in the heavens lies within the boundaries of Sagit­tarius, an almost circular black void near the stars mu and delta, showing but one faint telescopic star; and to the east of this empty spot is another of narrow crescent form.

[Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning, Richard H. Allen, 1889.]