Sunday, October 12, 2008

Pleiades and mythology

Nebra Scheibe

A bronze disk [1600 BC] from Nebra, Germany is one of the oldest known representations of the cosmos. The Pleiades are displayed at the top right.

Nebra sky disk

The Pleiades


Elihu Vedder

Alcyone (mother of Hyrieus by Poseidon)
Celaeno (mother of Lycus and Eurypylus by Poseidon)
Electra (mother of Dardanus and Iasion by Zeus)
Maia (the eldest was mother of Hermes by Zeus)
Merope (the youngest was wooed by Orion and in other mythic contexts she married Sisyphus.)
Sterope (mother of Oenomaus by Ares)
Taygete (mother of Lacedaemon, by Zeus)

A paper by Amelia Sparavigna...


In the ancient Egypt seven goddesses, represented by seven cows, composed the celestial herd that provides the nourishment to her worshippers. This herd is observed in the sky as a group of stars, the Pleiades, close to Aldebaran, the main star in the Taurus constellation. For many ancient populations, Pleiades were relevant stars and their rising was marked as a special time of the year. In this paper, we will discuss the presence of these stars in ancient cultures.

Moreover, we will report some results of archeoastronomy on the role for timekeeping of these stars, results which show that for hunter-gatherers at Palaeolithic times, they were linked to the seasonal cycles of aurochs.

The Pleiades: the celestial herd of ancient timekeepers

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