Star Lore of All Ages; A Collection of Myths, Legends, and Facts Concerning the Constellations of the Northern Hemisphere by William Tyler Olcott

Excerpt from book: AQUARIUS THE WATER BEARER While by the Horse’s head the Water-Pourer Spreads his right hand. Aratos. The astronomers of all nations, with the exception of the Arabians, have adopted the figure of a man pouring water from a jar or pitcher to express this constellation. The Arabs, being forbidden by law to draw the human figure, have represented this sign by a saddled mule carrying on his back two barrels of water, and sometimes by only a water bucket. They called the constellation Al- Dawl, the Well Bucket, and not the Water Bearer. For some reason, all the ancients imagined that the part of the sky occupied by the Water Bearer and neighbouring constellations contained a great celestial sea. Here we find the Whale, the Fishes, the Dolphin, the Southern Fish, the Sea Goat, the Crane, (a wading bird), and even Erida- nus, the River Po, is sometimes shown as having its source in the Waterman’s Bucket. It also seems appropriate that Pegasus is situated in this region of the sky, for the winged horse was the Phoenician emblem of navigation, and the star Markab, as Alpha Pegasi was called by the Arabs, signifies a ship or vehicle. According to Ideler, the reason for this designation of the Sea for this region of the heavens is because the sun passes through this part of the sky during the rainy season of the year. An Egyptian legend averred that the floods of the Nile were caused by the Water Bearer sinking his huge urn intothe fountains of the river to refill it, and accordingly this constellation represented to the Egyptians the rainy period of the winter season. However, the Egyptians were probably indebted to some other people for their knowledge of this constellation, for Egypt is not a land subject to heavy rains. Aquarius is represented even on very …

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