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Bill Thayer

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

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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Each after each, ungrouped, unnamed, revolve

Brown's Aratos.

Leo Minor, the Lesser Lion,

is the French Petit Lion, the German Kleine Löwe, and the Italian Leoncino. Proctor arbitrarily changed the title to Leaena, the Lioness.

It was formed by Hevelius from eighteen stars between the greater Lion and Bear, in a long triangle with a fainter line to the south, and thus named because he said it was "of the same nature" as these adjoining constellations. Argelander assigned to it 21 components, and Heis 40.

p264 Aratos is supposed to have alluded to these "ungrouped, unnamed" stars under the hind paws of Ursa Major; and Ptolemy had some of them among the ἀμόρφωτοι of his Λέων. Ideler surmised that they were the Arabs' Al Ṭhibā᾽ wa‑Aulāduhā, the Gazelle with her Young, shown in this location on the Borgian globe; but Lach, that they were Al Haud, the Pond, into which the Gazelle sprang, as noted under Coma Berenices.

The Chinese made two asterisms of it, — Nuy Ping, an Inner Screen; and Seaou Wei; but also included our Lesser Lion with the Greater in their still greater Dragon mounting to the highest heavens, and in yet another figure, the State Chariot.

The Denderah planisphere located here the zodiacal Crab, but whether by design, or in error, is unknown; although some see in the Lesser Lion's stars, with others from the Bear's feet, a well-marked Scarab that was Egypt's idea of Cancer. This was in a part of the sky thought to have been sacred to the great god Ptah.

Fl. 46, 4.

To the lucida Hevelius applied the adjective Praecipua, Chief, which Piazzi inserted as a proper name in Palermo Catalogue. Burritt mentioned it, under the letter l, as the Little Lion, from its being the principal star in the figure.

It culminates on the 14th of April.

In Smyth's Bedford Catalogue we read that Praecipua has three distant companions, — 7½, pale gray; 13, reddish; and 12, of violet tint.

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Page updated: 16 Dec 07