Advertisement

Origins of the “Western” Constellations

  • Roslyn M. Frank
Reference work entry

Abstract

The development of the 48 Greek constellations is analyzed as a complex mixture of cognitive layers deriving from different cultural traditions and dating back to different epochs. The analysis begins with a discussion of the zodiacal constellations, goes on to discuss the stellar lore in Homer and Hesiod, and then examines several theories concerning the origins of the southern non-zodiacal constellations. It concludes with a commentary concerning the age and possible cultural significance of stars of the Great Bear constellation in light of ethnohistorical documentation, folklore, and beliefs related to European bear ceremonialism.

Keywords

Indigenous People Uniformist Model Cultural Interpretation Folk Belief Constellation Figure 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  1. Allen RH (1963 [1899]) Star names: their lore and meaning. G. E. Stechert, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  2. Aujac G (1987) Greek cartography in the early Roman world. In: Harley JB, Woodward D (eds) The history of cartography, vol I. Cartography in prehistoric ancient, and medieval Europe and the Mediterranean. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp 161–176Google Scholar
  3. Belmonte JA (1999) Las Leyes del Cielo: Astronomía y Civilizaciones Antiguas. Temas de Hoy, MadridGoogle Scholar
  4. Berezkin YE (2005) The cosmic hunt. Folklore: Electronic Journal of Folklore 31:79–100. http://www.folklore.ee/folklore/vol31/berezkin.pdf.
  5. Crommelin ACD (1923) The ancient constellation figures. In: Phillips TER, Steavenson WH (eds) Hutchinson’s splendor of the heavens: a popular authoritative astronomy, vol 2. Hutchinson, London, pp 640–669Google Scholar
  6. Delambre JBJ (1965 [1817]) Histoire de l’Astronomie Ancienne, vol 1. Johnson Reprint Corporation, New York/LondonGoogle Scholar
  7. Dicks D (1970) Early Greek astronomy to aristotle. Cornell University Press, IthacaGoogle Scholar
  8. Frank RM (1996) Hunting the European sky bears: when bears ruled the Earth and guarded the Gate of Heaven. In: Koleva V, Dimiter Kolev D (eds) Astronomical traditions in past cultures. Institute of Astronomy, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, National Astronomical Observatory Rozhen, Sofia, pp 116–142Google Scholar
  9. Frank RM (2000) Hunting the European sky bears: Hercules meets Hartzkume. In: Belmonte JA, Esteban C (eds) Archaeoastronomy and astronomy in culture: exploring diversity. OAMC, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, pp 295–302Google Scholar
  10. Frank RM (2008) Evidence in favor of the Palaeolithic Continuity Refugium Theory (PCRT): Hamalau and its linguistic and cultural relatives. Part 1. Insula: Quaderno di Cultura Sarda 4:91–131, http://tinyurl.com/Hamalau
  11. Frank RM (2009) Evidence in favor of the Palaeolithic Continuity Refugium Theory (PCRT): Hamalau and its linguistic and cultural relatives. Part 2. Insula: Quaderno di Cultura Sarda 4:91–131, http://tinyurl.com/Hamalau.
  12. Frank RM (in press) Hunting the European Sky Bears: Revisiting Candlemas Bear Day and World Renewal Ceremonies. Insula: Quaderno di Cultura Sarda. http://tinyurl.com/Hamalau
  13. Frank RM, Arregi Bengoa J (2001) Hunting the European sky bears: on the origins of the non-zodiacal constellations. In: Ruggles CLN, Prendergast F, Ray T (eds) Astronomy, cosmology and landscape. Ocarina Press, Bognor Regis, pp 15–43Google Scholar
  14. Gingerich O (1984) Astronomical scrapbook. The origin of the zodiac. Sky Telesc 67(March):218–220ADSGoogle Scholar
  15. Krupp EC (1991) Beyond the blue horizon: myths and legends of the Sun, Moon, Stars and Planets. HarperCollins, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  16. Maunder EW (1922 [1908]) The astronomy of the bible, 4th edn. The Epworth Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  17. Ovenden MW (1966) The origin of the constellations. Philos J 3(1):1–18Google Scholar
  18. Proctor RA (1877) Myths and marvels of astronomy. G.P. Putnam’s Sons, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  19. Ridpath I (1995) Origin of the constellations. Astron Now 9(9):40–43ADSGoogle Scholar
  20. Rogers JH (1998a) Origins of the ancient constellations: I. The Mesopotamian traditions. J Br Astron Assoc 108(1):9–28ADSGoogle Scholar
  21. Rogers JH (1998b) Origins of the ancient constellations: II. The Mediterranean traditions. J Br Astron Assoc 108(2):79–98ADSGoogle Scholar
  22. Roy AE (1984) The origins of the constellations. Vistas in Astronomy 27:171–197ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Ruggles CLN (2005) Ancient astronomy: an encyclopedia of cosmologies and myth. ABC-CLIO, Santa BarbaraGoogle Scholar
  24. Schaefer BE (2002) The latitude and epoch for the formation of the southern Greek constellations. Journal for the History of Astronomy 33:313–350ADSGoogle Scholar
  25. Schaefer BE (2006) The origin of the Greek constellations. Scientific American (Nov) 1106:96–101CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of IowaIowa CityUSA

Personalised recommendations