Origins of the “Western” Constellations

  • Roslyn M. Frank
Reference work entry


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.


Indigenous People Uniformist Model Cultural Interpretation Folk Belief Constellation Figure 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of IowaIowa CityUSA

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