Friday, 29 May 2015

Understanding the Libra constellation Myth

Libra constellation is one of the 12 zodiac constellations and lies in the southern sky. In Latin it means “the weighing scales” and is portrays scales that are held by the Greek Goddess of Justice Astraea or Dike, represented by its neighboring constellation – Virgo. Libra is the only zodiac constellation that is represented by an object instead of a mythological animal or a character.

Libra Constellation in the Sky
The four brightest stars of the Libra constellation assemble in a way that they form a quadrangle. While the Alpha and Beta Librae represent the scales’ balance beam, the Gamma and Sigma Librae signify the weighing pans. Moreover, Libra constellation is home to the oldest known star in the universe, i.e., HD 140283, which is popularly known as Methuselah.

Myths about Libra Constellation

What Greeks Thought
In ancient Greek, the part of the sky occupied by the Libra constellation was known as “Chelae”, or claws and used to consider it as a part of Scorpio constellation, where the chelae signified the scorpions claws.

Romans Association with Libra
The Roman established association with this region of the sky with the scales in first century BC. It is believed that when Rome was founded Moon was located in the Libra constellation.

Thus Romans began considering Libra as a preferred constellation and associated it with having balanced seasons along with equal length of day and night. The sun was believed to be at autumnal equinox in Libra till the year 729. The precession of the equinoxes then shifted the equinox to Virgo and now it is believed that the autumnal equinox will shift to constellation Leo in the year 2439.

Though, Romans are not the only ones who related the constellation Libra with the idea of balance, the Babylonians were the first ones to do so. They used to call it ZIB.BA.AN.NA, which translates to “the balance of heaven,” about thousands of years before Christ.

Significance of Virgo with Libra
After Libra began to be linked with balance its association with Scorpio’s claw started to fade. This made the Goddess of Justice, the Greek Astraeia or Dike, represented by constellation Virgo, grow stronger.
Since Libra was once thought to be a part of Scorpio constellation, the brightest star in Libra, i.e., Beta Librae has the name Zubeneschamali, which means “the northern claw” in Arabic. Similarly Alpha Librae is known as Zubenelgenubi, which means “the southern claw.”

In the End
Understanding the Libra constellation myth is not that simple and you require assistance of experts to help you with the topic. Thus, you need to find some source that can guide you about it. There are quite a few online service providers that can help you with the study of constellation and guide you towards understanding these myths.

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