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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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Junonis volucrem, quae caudā sidera portat.

Ovid's Metamorphoses.

Pavo, the Peacock,

lying south of Sagittarius and the Southern Crown, is one of Bayer's twelve constellations, and the Italian Pavone, the French Paon, the German Pfau.

 p321  The title is an appropriate one for enduring stars, as this bird has long been a symbol of immortality, fancifully said to be from the annual renewing of its feathers; but this is common to all birds, and the symbolism probably is from the fact that its starry tail rendered the peacock sacred to Juno, the immortal queen of the heavens, and thus in classical times, as in the days of chivalry, an object of adjuration. This bird was still further astronomical in originally having been Argos, the builder of the ship Argo, who was changed by Juno to a peacock when his vessel was transferred to the sky, where he has since rejoined her.

In China the constellation was Joo Tseo, their translation of our word.

Julius Schiller united it with Indus in his biblical figure "S. Job."

Gould catalogued 129 component stars, from the 2d to the 7th magnitudes, but none seem to be individually named, as is the case among all the new southern figures.

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Page updated: 10 Oct 07