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This webpage reproduces a section of
Star Names
Their Lore and Meaning

by
Richard Hinckley Allen

as reprinted
in the Dover edition, 1963

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!

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p252

In pride the Lion lifts his mane

To see his British brothers reign

As stars below.

Edward Young's Imperium Pelagi.

Leo, the Lion,

is Lion in France, Löwe in Germany, and Leone in Italy. In Anglo-Norman times it was Leun. It lies between Cancer and Virgo, the bright Denebola 5° north of the faint stars that mark the head of the latter constellation; but Ptolemy extended it to include among its ἀμόρφωτοι the group now Coma Berenices.

In Greek and Roman myth this was respectively Λέων and Leo, representing the Nemean Lion, originally from the moon, and, after his earthly stay, carried back to the heavens with his slayer Hercules, where he became the poet's Nemeaeus; Nemeas Alumnus; Nemees Terror; Nemeaeum Monstrum; and, in later times, No Animal Nemaeo truculento of Camões. It also was Cleonaeum Sidus, from Cleonae, the Argolic town near the Nemean forest where Hercules slew the creature; Herculeus; and Herculeum Astrum. But the Romans commonly knew it as Leo, Ovid writing Herculeus Leo and Violentus Leo.

Bacchi Sidus was another of its titles, that god always being identified with this animal, and its shape the one usually adopted by him in his numerous transformations; while a lion's skin was his frequent dress. But Manilius had it Jovis et Junonis Sidus, as being under the guardianship of these deities; and appropriately so, considering its regal character, and especially that of its lucida.

The Egyptian king Necepsos, and his philosopher Petosiris, taught that at the Creation the sun rose here near Denebola; and hence Leo was Domicilium Solis, the emblem of fire and heat, and, in astrology, the House of the Sun, governing the human heart, and reigning in modern days over Bohemia, France, Italy, and the cities of Bath, Bristol, and Taunton in England, and our Philadelphia. In ancient times Manilius wrote of it as ruling over Armenia, Bithynia, Cappadocia, Macedon, and Phrygia.a It was a fortunate sign, with red and green as its colors; and, according to Ampelius [Lib. Mem. 4], was in charge of the wind Thrascias mentioned by Pliny [II.120], Seneca, and Vitruvius [I.6.10] as coming from the north by a third northwest. Ancient physicians thought that when the sun was in this sign medicine was a poison, and even a bath equally harmful (!); while the weather-wise said that thunder p253foretold sedition and deaths of great men. The adoption of this animal's form for a zodiac sign has been fancifully attributed to the fact that when the sun was among its stars in midsummer the lions of the desert left their accustomed haunts for the banks of the Nile, where they could find relief from the heat in the waters of the inundation; and Pliny is authority for the statement that the Egyptians worshiped the stars of Leo because the rise of their great river was coincident with the sun's entrance among them. For the same reason the great Androsphinxb is said to have been sculptured with Leo's body and the head of the adjacent Virgo; although Egyptologists maintain that this head represented one of the early kings, or the god Harmachis. Distinct reference is made to Leo in an inscription on the walls of the Ramesseum at Thebes, which, like the Nile temples generally, was adorned with the animal's bristles; while on the planisphere of Denderah its figure is shown standing on an outstretched serpent. The Egyptian stellar Lion, however, comprised only a part of ours, and in the earliest records some of its stars were shown as a Knife, as they now are as a Sickle. Kircher gave its title there as Πιμεντεκέων, Cubitus Nili.

The Persians called it Ser or Shīr; the Turks, Artān; the Syrians, Aryō; the Jews, Aryē; and the Babylonians, Arū, — all meaning a Lion; the last title frequently being contracted to their letter equivalent to our A.

It was the tribal sign of Judah, allotted to him by his father Jacob as recorded in Genesis xlix.9, and confirmed by Saint John in The Revelation v.5; Landseer suggesting that this association was from the fact that Leo was the natal sign of Judah and so borne on his signet-ring given to Tamar.

Christians of the Middle Ages and subsequently, who figured biblical characters throughout the heavens in place of the old mythology, called it one of Daniel's lions; and the apostolic school, doubting Thomas.

On Ninevite cylinders Leo is depicted as in fatal conflict with a bull, typifying the victory of light over darkness; and in Euphratean astronomy it was additionally known as Gisbar-namru-sa-pan, variously translated, but by Bertin as the Shining Disc which precedes Bel; the latter being our Ursa Major, or in some way intimately connected therewith. Hewitt says that it was the Akkadian Pa-pil-sak, the Sceptre, or the Great Fire; and Sayce identifies it with the Assyrian month Abu, our July-August, the Fiery Hot; Minsheu assigning as the reason for this universal fiery character of the constellation, "because the sunne being in that signe is most raging and hot like a lion."

Thus throughout antiquity the animal and the constellation always have been identified with the sun, — indeed in all historic ages till it finally appears p254on the royal arms of England, as well as on those of many of the early noble families of that country. During the 12th century it was the only animal shown on Anglo-Norman shields.

As a zodiacal figure it was of course entirely different from the ancient Asad of Arabia, that somewhat mythical Lion extending from Gemini over our Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, and parts of other constellations, both north and south of the zodiac; but the later Arabians also adopted Ptolemy's Leo and transferred to it the Asad of the early constellation. This appeared in the various corrupted forms cited by Bayer, — Alasid, Aleser, Asis, Assid, and others similar, of which Assemani gives a long list; Schickard adding Alasado and Asedaton; and Riccioli, specially mentioning Asid and Ellesed, cautioned his readers against the erroneous Alatid and Alezet.

Early Hindu astronomers knew it as Asleha, and as Sinha, the Tamil Simham; but the later, influenced by Greece and Rome, as Leya, or Leyaya, from the word Leo. It contained the 8th nakshatra, Maghā, Mighty, or Generous; as also the 9th and 10th, Pūrva, and Uttara, Phalgunī, the Former, and the Latter, Phalgunī, a word of uncertain meaning, — perhaps the Bad One, — the single station being represented by a Fig-tree, and the combined by a Bed or Couch.

Nearly the same stars were included in the 8th, 9th, and 10th manzil of Arabia as Al Jabhah, the Forehead; Al Zubrah, the Mane; and Al Ṣarfah, the Turn.

Of the sieu, however, none appear in Leo, the Chinese having adopted, instead, stations among the stars of Hydra and Crater, so that many infer that their lunar asterisms were original with themselves. In the later native solar zodiac of China the Lion's stars were the Horse, and in the earlier a part of the Red Bird; while Williams says that they also were Shun Ho, the Quail's Fire; but in the 16th century the Chinese formally adopted our Leo, translating it as Sze Tsze. The space between it and Virgo was Tae Wei, or Shaou Wei, and the western half of Leo, with Leo Minor, was regarded as a Yellow Dragon mounting upwards, marked by the line of ten stars from Regulus through the Sickle. It also was another of the Heavenly Chariots of imperial China.

Its symbol, , has been supposed to portray the animal's mane, but seems more appropriate to the other extremity; the Hyginus of 1488 and the Albumasar of 1489 showing this latter member of extraordinary length, twisting between the hind legs and over the back, the Hyginus properly locating the star Denebola in the end; but the International Dictionary, in a more scholarly way, says that this symbol is a corruption of the initial letter of Λέων. Lajard's Culte de Mithra mentions the hieroglyph of Leo p255as among the symbols of Mithraic worship, but how their Lion agreed, if at all, with ours is not known.

One of the sultans of Koniyeh, ancient Iconium, put the stellar figure on his coins.

Its drawing has generally been in a standing position, but, in the Leyden Manuscript, in a springing attitude, with the characteristic Sickle fairly represented. Young astronomers know the constellation by this last feature in the fore parts of the figure, the bright Regulus marking the handle; its other stars successively being η, γ, ζ, μ, and ε. Nor is this a recent idea, for Pliny is thought to have given it separately from Leo in his list of the constellations; but not much could have been left of the Lion after this subtraction except his tail.

These same Sickle stars were a lunar asterism with the Akkadians as Gis-mes, the Curved Weapon; with the Khorasmians and Sogdians as Khamshish, the Scimetar; but with the Copts as Titefui, the Forehead.

The sun passes through Leo from the 7th of August to the 14th of September. Argelander catalogues in it 76 stars; and Heis 161.

In Leo and Virgo lay the now long forgotten asterism Fahne, of which Ideler wrote:

The Flag is a constellation of the heavens, one part in Leo and one part in Virgo. Has many stars. On the iron [the arrowhead of the staff] in front one, on the flag two, on every fold of the flag one.

This is illustrated in the 47th volume of Archaeologia, and it appeared as a distinct constellation in a 15th‑century German manuscript, perhaps the original of the work of 1564 from which Ideler quoted. Brown repeats a Euphratean inscription, "The constellation of the Yoke like a flag floated," although he claims no connection here, and associates the Yoke with Capricorn.

Il petto del lione ardente.

Dante's Paradiso.

α, Triple, 1.7, 8.5, and 13, flushed white and ultramarine.

Regulus was so called by Copernicus, not after the celebrated consul of the 1st Punic war, as Burritt and others have asserted, but as a diminutive of the earlier Rex, equivalent to the Βασιλίσκος of Ptolemy. This was from the belief that it ruled the affairs of the heavens, — a belief current, till three centuries ago, from at least 3000 years before our era. Thus, as Sharru, the King, it marked the 15th ecliptic constellation of Babylonia; in India it was Maghā, the Mighty; in Sogidana, Magh, the Great; in Persia, p256Miyan, the Centre; among the Turanian races, Masu, the Hero; and in Akkadia it was associated with the 5th antediluvian King-of-the-celestial-sphere, Amil-gal-ur, Ἀμεγάλαρος. A Ninevite tablet has:

If the star of the great lion is gloomy the heart of the people will not rejoice.

In Arabia it was Malikiyy, Kingly; in Greece, βασιλισκός ἀστήρ; in Rome, Basilica Stella; with Pliny [XVIII.235], Regia; in the revival of European astronomy, Rex; and with Tycho, Basiliscus.

So, too, it was the leader of the Four Royal Stars of the ancient Persian monarchy, the Four Guardians of Heaven. Dupuis, referring to this Persian character, said that the four stars marked the cardinal points, assigning Hastorang, as he termed it, to the North; Venant to the South; Tascheter to the East; and Satevis to the West: but did not identify these titles with the individual stars. Flammarion does so, however, with Fomalhaut, Regulus, and Aldebaran for the first three respectively, so that we may consider Satevis as Antares. This same scheme appeared in India, although the authorities are not agreed as to these assignments and identifications; but, as the right ascensions are about six hours apart, they everywhere probably were used to mark the early equinoctial and solstitial colures, four great circles in the sky, or generally the four quarters of the heavens. At the time that these probably were first thought of, Regulus lay very near to the summer solstice, and so indicated the solstitial colure.

Early English astrologers made it a portent of glory, riches, and power to all born under its influence; Wyllyam Salysbury, of 1552, writing, but perhaps from Proclus:

The Lyon's herte is called of some men, the Royall Starre, for they that are borne under it, are thought to have a royall nativitie.

And this title, the Lion's Heart, has been a popular one from early classical times, seen in the Καρδία λεόντος of Greece and the Cor Leonis of Rome, and adopted by the Arabians as Al Kalb al Asad, this degenerating into Kalbelasit, Kalbeleced, Kalbeleceid, Kalbol asadi, Calb-elez‑id, Calb-elesit, Calb-alezet, and Kale Alased of various bygone lists. Al Bīrūnī called it the Heart of the Royal Lion, which "rises when Suhail rises in Al Ḥijāz."1

Bayer and others have quoted, as titles for Regulus, the strange Tyberone and Tuberoni Regia; but these are entirely wrong, and arose from a misconception of Pliny's Stella Regia appellata Tuberoni in pectore Leonis [XVIII.235], p257rendered "the star called by Tubero the Royal One in the Lion's breast"; Holland's translation reading:

The cleare and bright star, called the Star Royal, appearing in the breast of the signe Leo, Tubero2 mine author saith.

Naturally sharing the character of its constellation as the Domicilium Solis, in Euphratean astronomy it was Gus-ba-ra, the Flame, or the Red Fire, of the house of the East; in Khorasmia, Achir, Possessing Luminous Rays; and throughout classical days the supposed cause of the summer's heat, a reputation that it shared with the Dog-star. Horace expressed this in his Stella vesani Leonis [Carm. III.29.19].

It was of course prominent among the lunar-mansion stars, and chief in the 8th nakshatra that bore its name, Maghā, made up by all the components of the Sickle; and it marked the junction with the adjoining station Pūrva Phalgunī; the Pitares, Fathers, being the regents of the asterism, which was figured as a House. In Arabia, with γ, ζ, and η of the Sickle, it was the 8th manzil, Al Jabhah, the Forehead. In China, however, the 8th sieu lay in Hydra; but the astronomers of that country referred to Regulus as the Great Star in Heen Yuen, a constellation called after the imperial family, comprising α, γ, ε, η, λ, ζ, χ, ν, ο, ρ, and others adjacent and smaller reaching into Leo Minor. Individually it was Niau, the Bird, and so representative of the whole quadripartite zodiacal group.

In addition to the evidence, from its nomenclature, of the ancient importance of this star is the record, although perhaps questionable, of an observation of its longitude 1985 years before the time of Ptolemy; and of a still earlier one in Babylonia, 2120 B.C., Regulus then being in longitude 92°30′, but now over 148°. Its position, and that of Spica, observed by Hipparchos, when compared with the earlier records are said to have revealed to him the phenomenon of the precession of the equinoxes. It was then in longitude 119°50′. Smyth wrote of it:

The longitude of Regulus has, through successive ages, been made a datum-step by the best astronomers of all nations.

This is the faintest of the so‑called 1st‑magnitude stars, with but 1/13 of the brightness of Sirius. It has a spectrum of the Sirian type, and is approaching the earth at the rate of 5½ miles a second. Elkin has determined its parallax as 0ʺ.089. It lies very close to the ecliptic, almost covered by the sun on the 20th of August; and, as one of the lunar stars, is much observed in navigation. It culminates on the 6th of April.

p258 The companion, about 3′ away, described "as if steeped in indigo," was discovered by Winlock to be itself closely double, 3ʺ.3 apart, at a position angle of 88°.5.

β, 2.3, blue.

Denebola — sometimes Deneb — is the modern name for this star, abbreviated from Al Dhanab al Asad, the Lion's Tail, the Greek Ἀλκαία; Bayer gave it as Denebalecid and Denebaleced; Chilmead, as Deneb Alased; and Schickard, as Dhanbol-asadi. Riccioli omitted the first syllable of the original, and called the star Nebolellesed, Nebollassid "of the Nubian astrologers," and Alazet apud Azophi, his title for Al Sufi. Elsewhere it is Nebulasit and Alesit; the Alfonsine Tables have Denebalezeth and the very appropriate Dafira, from the similar Arabic term for the tuft of coarse hair at the end of the tail in which the star lies. Proctor called distant Deneb Aleet, and there may be other degenerated forms of the original. Kazwini cited Al Aḳtāb al Asad, the Viscera of the Lion, or Al Ḳatab, a Small Saddle: inappropriate names, Ideler said, and inferred that they should be Al Ḳalb, which in the course of time might have wandered here from Regulus, the genuine Ḳalb, or Heart, of the Lion.

It marked the 10th manzil, Al Ṣarfah, the Changer, i.e. of the weather, given by Ulug Beg as the star's individual title; and Al Bīrūnī wrote of it: "The heat turns away when it rises, and the cold turns away when it disappears." Chilmead cited Asumpha, which he attributed to Alfraganus; Baily called this Serpha; and Hyde changed it to Mutatrix.

With the 4th‑magnitude Fl. 93, it constituted the 10th nakshatra, Uttara Phalgunī, and was the junction star with the adjacent Hasta; the regents of this and the next asterism, the Pūrva Phalgunī, being the Adityas, Āryaman and Bagha. Al Bīrūnī, however, said that Hindu astronomers pointed out to him a star in Coma Berenices as forming the lunar station with Denebola; and they claimed that the great scientific attainments of Varāha Mihira were due to his birthday having coincided with the entrance of the moon into Uttara Phalgunī.

The Chinese knew it, with four small neighboring stars, as Woo Ti Tso, the Seat of the Five Emperors, surrounded by twelve other groups, variously named after officers and nobles of the empire.

In Babylonian astronomy it marked the 17th ecliptic constellation, Zibbat A., the Tail of the Lion, although Epping gives this with considerable doubt as to its correctness. Other Euphratean titles are said to have been Lamash, the Colossus; Sa, Blue, the Assyrian Samu; and Mikid-isati, the p259Burning of Fire, which may be a reference to the hot season of the year when the sun is near it.

The Sogdians and Khorasmians had a similar conception of it, as shown in their titles Widhu and Widhayu, the Burning One; but the Persians called it Avdem, the one in the Tail. Hewitt writes of it as, in India, the Star of the Goddess Bahu, the Creating Mother.

With θ, it was the Coptic Asphulia, perhaps the Tail; but Kircher had a similar Ἄσπολια, in Virgo, as from Coptic Egypt.

Denebola was of unlucky influence in astrology, portending misfortune and disgrace, and thus opposed to Regulus in character as in position in the figure.

Its spectrum is Sirian, and it is approaching our system at the rate of about twelve miles a second. It comes to the meridian on the 3d of May, and, with Arcturus and Spica, forms a large equilateral triangle, as also another similar with Arcturus and Cor Carioli, these, united at their bases, constituting the celebrated Diamond of Virgo.

Several small stars, some telescopic, in its immediate vicinity, are the Companions of Denebola.

γ, Double and perhaps binary, 2.2 and 3.5, bright orange and greenish yellow.

Smyth wrote of this that it

has been improperly called Algieba, from Al jeb‑bah, the forehead; for no representation of the Lion, which I have examined, will justify that position, —

a well-founded criticism, although as, after Regulus, it is the brightest member of the manzil Al Jabbah, it may have taken the latter's title. The star, however, is on the Lion's mane, the Latin word for which, Juba, distinctly appeared for γ with Bayer, Riccioli, and Flamsteed. Hence it is not at all unlikely that Algieba, — also written Algeiba, — is from the Latin, Arabicized either by error in transcription or by design.

Sir William Herschel discovered its duplicity in 1782, and Kitchiner asserted that this and α Lyrae are only stars upon which he ventured to use his high telescopic power of 6450. In 1784 he saw both components of γ white, and in 1803 he announced their binary (?) character. They now are 3ʺ.7 apart, at a position angle of 114°; and according to Doberck have a period of revolution of about 402.62 years, although this is very uncertain, for "since the first reliable measures of distance the change to this time is only 12°."

p260 γ is in approach toward us at the rate of about twenty-four miles a second, the greatest velocity toward our system of any star noted by the Potsdam observers, yet only half that of ζ Herculis as determined at Poulkowa. Its spectrum is Solar.

δ, Coarsely triple, 2.7, 13, and 9, pale yellow, blue, and violet.

Zosma and Zozma are from ζῶσμα, an occasional form of ζῶμα, the Girdle, found in the Persian Tables; but it propriety as a stellar title is doubtful, for the star is on the Lion's rump, near the tail.

Ulug Beg very correctly termed it Al Ṭhahr al Asad, the Lion's Back, which has become Duhr and Dhur of modern catalogues.

With θ, on the hind quarter, it constituted the 9th manzil, Al Zubrah, the Mane, and itself bears this name as Zubra, — strange titles for star and station so far away from that feature of the animal. δ and θ also were Al Kāhil al Asad, the Space between the Shoulders of the Lion; and Al Ḣarātān, sometimes transcribed Chortan, and translated the Two Little Ribs, or the two Khurt, or Holes, penetrating into the interior of the Lion; but all these seem as inapplicable as are the other titles.

In India they marked the corresponding nakshatra, Pūrva Phalgunī, δ being the junction star between the two Phalgunī asterisms.

On the Euphrates they were Kakkab Kua, the constellation of the god Kua, the Oracle; and in Egypt, according to Hewitt, Mes‑su, the Heart of Su. In Sogdiana they were Wadha, the Wise; in Khorasmia, Armagh, the Great; and with the Copts Pikhōrion, the Shoulder.

In China δ was Shang Seang, the Higher Minister of State.

Its spectrum is Sirian, and the star is approaching our system at the rate of about nine miles a second.

Flamsteed observed it and 6 Virginis on the 13th of December, 1690, with the object which nearly a century later proved to be the planet Uranus. He made record of the observation, but without any thought of having seen a hitherto unknown member of our system.

ε, 3.3, yellow.

The Arabians designated this as Al Rās al Asad al Janūbiyyah, the Southern Star in the Lion's Head; but by us it is practically unnamed, although the Century Cyclopedia says "rather rarely Algenubi." With μ, it was Al Ashfār, the Eyebrows, near to which they lie.

It marked the 14th ecliptic constellation of Babylonia, Rishu A., the Head of the Lion.

p261 The Chinese knew these two stars as Tsze Fe; while ε, individually, was Ta Tsze, the Crown Prince.

ζ, Double, 3.7 and 6,

Is Burritt's Adhafera, Aldhafara, and Aldhafera, by some confusion perhaps with Al Ashfār of the near-by ε and μ. It is on the crest of the mane, and was one of the manzil Al Jabhah; sometimes taking the latter's name, as in Baily's edition of Ulug Beg.

From a point a little to the west of ζ, and not much farther from γ,3 issue the Leonids, the meteor stream of November 9th to 17th, its maximum now occurring on the 13th-14th, which about every thirty-three years has furnished such wonderful displays, the last in 1866 and the next due in 1899.

Their first noticed appearance may have been in the year 137, since which date the stream has completed fifty-two revolutions. According to Theophanes of Byzantium, the shower was seen from there in November, 472; but the late Professor Newton, our deservedly great authority on the whole subject of meteors, commenced his list of the Leonids with their appearance on the 13th of October, 902, the Arabian Year of the Stars, during the night of the death of King Ibrahim ben Ahmad, and added:

It will be seen that all these showers are at intervals of a third of a century, that they are at a fixed day of the year, and that the day has moved steadily and uniformly along the calendar at the rate of about a month in a thousand years.

Oppolzer's and Leverrier's observations showed the identity of their orbit with that of Tempel's comet, I of 1866; and they are supposed to have entered our system by some comparatively recent action, as they still come in shoals and are not lengthened out in a continuous line. It was suggested by Leverrier, and confirmed by Adams, that Uranus may have produced this effect early in the year 126 of our era.

Apparently the most remarkable showers in the long Leonid history were the one observed by Von Humboldt and his companion Bonpland on the 12th of November, 1799, from Venezuela, and by various other observers throughout the western hemisphere; and that of November 13, 1833, splendidly seen from this country. The lesser one of the 13th-14th of November, 1866, was more especially noticeable from the Old World, and others, remarkable yet gradually declining, were annually seen from 1867 to 1869.

These meteors appear at an elevation of from sixty-one to ninety-six miles, during the latter part of the night, at a speed of forty-four miles a p262second,4 and generally are characterized by a greenish, or bluish, tint, with vivid and persistent trains. It probably was to them that Milton alluded in his

Swift as a shooting star

In Autumn thwarts the night.

The stream seems to be lengthening, and consequently thinning out, so that the great displays of long period may eventually cease, while the annual may become more brilliant than now.

Many other meteor streams are visible about the same time as the Leonids, Mr. W. F. Denning having given a list of sixty-eight; the brightest of these, the Ursids, being often mistaken by the casual observer for the Leonids, as their radiant, near μ Ursae Majoris, is less than 20° distant from the radiant in Leo.

θ, 3.5,

in the manzil Al Zubrah, shares with δ the title Al Ḣarātān, Al Bīrūnī saying that "when they rise Suhail is seen in Al Izak," — wherever this may be. The Century Cyclopedia gives Chort as the individual name, from the combined title. Ulug Beg substituted the 5th‑magnitude Fl. 72 for δ as the second member of the manzil, his translator placing them in coxis, "in the hips," as does the Heis Atlas.

In China it was Tsze Seang, the Second Minister of State.

ι, Binary and perhaps variable, 4.6 and 7.4, yellowish — possibly varying.

Reeves mentioned this as Tsze Tseang, the Second General.

The lesser star is suspected of change in color and in brilliancy down to the 9th magnitude. The components now are about 2ʺ.6 apart, at a position angle of 57°.

κ, Double, 4.8 and 10.5, yellow and blue.

This was designated by Ulug Beg as Al Minhar al Asad, the Lion's Nose, still correct for it as laid down on the Heis Atlas, although now never used as a star-title.

The components are 3ʺ apart, at a position angle of 203°.8.

p263 λ, 4.8, red.

Alterf is from Al Tarf, the name for the 7th manzil, which it formed with ξ Cancri. The word has generally been rendered the Glance, i.e. of the Lion's eye, although on modern maps the star lies in the open mouth, where Ptolemy located it. But it also had the secondary meaning of the Extremity, still more appropriate here, and so understood by Ideler.

μ, 4.3, orange,

and ε were Al Ashfār, the Eyebrows; but, singly, the Arabians designated μ as Al Rās al Asad al Shamāliyy, the Lion's Head towards the South, which, by abbreviation, has become Rasalas in modern lists; and sometimes, but very insufficiently, plain Alshemali. Al Nasr al Dīn mentioned ε and μ as "a whip's length apart," a common expression for measurement among the Arabs, here indicating a little more than 2°.

π, a 5th‑magnitude red star, was the Chinese Yu Neu, the Honorable Lady.

ρ, a 4th‑magnitude, marked the 16th ecliptic constellation of Babylonia, Maru-sha-arkat-Sharru, that Epping translated the Fourth Son (or the Four-Year-Old Son) behind the King.

σ, 4.1, is the Chinese Shang Tseang, the Higher General.

χ, a 5th‑magnitude, with c and d, was Ling Tae, a Wonderful Tower, and ψ, a double of the 6th and 10th magnitudes, bright orange and bluish white in color, was Tsew Ke, a Wine-flagon, but this included ξ and ω Leonis with κ and ξ Cancri.


The Author's Notes:

1 The province containing Mecca, Medina, and Jiddah, and reaching to Tehama, the low land bordering on the Red Sea.

2 This was Lucius Tubero, the intimate literary friend of Cicero.

3 When first observed the radiant point was in Cancer.

4 It is owing to this great velocity that no Leonid has ever been known to reach the earth's surface, its substance being dissipated by the intense heat occasioned by the resistance of the atmosphere.


Thayer's Notes:

a Both today and in Antiquity, the rulerships of countries and geographical regions were unsettled, every astrologer pretty much having their own set. Llewellyn George's A to Z Horoscope Maker and Delineator (1910 and subsequent printings), a standard astrological reference, gives the overlapping list, p673:

Alps, Apulia, Bohemia, Chaldea, France, Italy, Ancient Phoenicia near Tyre and Sidon, Northern Roumania, Sicily

plus a dozen towns, some of which, like Portsmouth and Bombay, are not in those countries; as for Antiquity, Ptolemy's list for Leo (Tetrabiblos, II.3, Cam.2 p73), was almost completely different from the one given by Allen. It should also further be noted — since there is a sort of slippage in our author here — that Ptolemy's system, like those of most astrologers, relates to the zodiacal signs, not the constellations.

b By this Great Man-Sphinx the Sphinx of Gizeh is of course meant.


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