|Fixed star: MERGA|
|Constellation: 38 Bootes|
|Longitude 1900: 14LIB01||Longitude 2000: 15LIB27|
|Declination 1900: +46.32'||Declination 2000: +46.07'|
|Right ascension: 14h 49m||Latitude: +57.52'|
|Spectral class: F4||Magnitude: 5.8|
h, or Fl. 38 Bootes, Merga, is a 5½ magnitude star hardly visible to the naked eye, and marks the Reaping-hook held in the left hand of the Ploughman.
This word, Merga, is from Marra, a Hoe, or Rake, used by Columella and Juvenal, and still is sometimes seen as Marrha for the star. The latter was well known to Pliny (23-79 A.D.) as Falx Italica.
[Star Names, Their Lore and Meaning, Richard Hinckley Allen, 1889].
Bootes is identified with Icarius, who was killed by some shepherds he had made drunk with a flagon of wine given him by Bacchus/Dionysus. In consideration of the grief of his daughter Erigone and their hound Maera, Jupiter placed her father in heaven as Bootes, together with herself as Virgo and the hound became one of the Dogs; some say Canis Minor, others say Canis Major.
According to Ptolemy the influence of the constellation is like that of Mercury and Saturn, though the star Arcturus is like Mars and Jupiter. It is said to give prosperity from work, strong desires, a tendency to excess, a fondness for rural pursuits, together with some liking for occultism. The Kabalists associate it with the Hebrew letter Teth and the 9th Tarot Trump, "The Hermit". [Robson*, p.32.]
"True is the name men have given him (the Bearwarden), threatening-like he presses forward as one does over a team of bullocks. To those born under Arctophylax - Arcturus, fortune herself makes bold to entrust her treasures, so that the wealth of monarchs and temple finances will be in their keeping [translator's note: custodianship is a suitable endowment for the Bearward]; they will be kings under kings and ministers of state [politicians], and be charged with the guardianship of the people or, as the stewards of grand houses, they will confine their business to the care of another's home." [Translator's note: strictly speaking Arcturus is a star, but the name is used by ancient astrologers for the whole constellation of Bootes and for the star alone, it is often difficult to distinguish which of these the authors are referring to]. [Manilius, Astronomica, 1st century AD, book 5, p.329.]