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Vorstellung Einer Gegend Des Gestirnten Himmels ... Augustus

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Vorstellung Einer Gegend Des Gestirnten Himmels ... Augustus : J. E. Bode

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An attractive star chart, one of twelve monthly maps, each extending from the German horizon to about 45 degrees altitude. This particular example looks from south to west. The map shows many of the important constellations as well as naming some of the brightest stars on the chart. This chart entitled 'Augustus' features 'Antinous', 'Schutze', 'Ophiuchus' and 'Herkules' plus other smaller constellations. To the left of the map we can see 'Antinous' -a now obsolete constellation- it's origins date back to the year 132 and the Emperor Hadrian. He had the constellation placed in the sky to honour a favourite youth of his court, who according to myth sacrificed himself in order to prolong the life of the emperor. Later astronomers recognised this constellation as the youth Ganymede, who the Greek god Zeus had brought to Olympus by his eagle Aquila, in order to serve as cup-bearer to the gods. The stars of this constellation have since been given to the constellation of Aquila. Schutze, in the lower left corner, known as 'Sagittarius', is one of the 48 constellations listed by the 2nd-century astronomer Ptolemy and remains one of the 88 modern constellations. It represents the archer and is usually depicted as a centaur holding a bow and arrow. Sagittarius is one of the largest southern constellations and lies on the Milky Way. Ophiuchus also recorded by Ptolemy, means "serpent bearer" in Latin. The snake is often associated with doctors, so Ophiuchus is often associated with healing images. The Romans associated the constellation with Asclepius, who learned the secret to immortality by watching one serpent treat another serpent with healing herbs. Zeus killed Asclepius with a lightning bolt because he didn't want everyone to be immortal, but later honoured his good deeds by giving him a spot in the heavens. Also pictured in the top right is the constellation 'Herkules' - one of the largest but least bright in the sky. The constellation is visible from both the Northern and Southern hemispheres, (albeit upside down from the Southern). Once known as Engonasin or the Kneeler in Greece, the constellation is now identified with the Greek hero Heracles, or Hercules in Roman mythology, and depicted as a hero figure standing triumphantly over a slain dragon, holding a club. The dragon is associated with Ladon, the beast with a hundred heads that guarded the Garden of the Hesperides. Johann Elert Bode was a self taught astronomer whose texts and atlases on the subject were, and remain, hugely influential.
mapmaker: J. E. Bode
place and date of publication: Berlin 1801
medium and colour: copperplate, Coloured
size in mm: 155 by 195mm (6 by 7.75 inches).
ref: 41801
literature: cf.Warner, The Sky Explored, p.34.

Price: £ 100

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