or, The Constellations
by Frances Rolleston
Philologos Religious Online Books
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ASTRONOMY OF EGYPT
"And the Lord shall be known to Egypt."—Isaiah 19:21
On the Planet Venus
[A Chapter on the INDIAN ASTRONOMY, showing its correspondence with the system of "Mazzaroth," was contemplated by the Writer, and would have been appended to this work had life been prolonged. In a letter dated January 9, 1864, is the following passage.—C.D.]
"Have I told you I have lately got seven Indian Zodiacs in a Bengali Almanack, none older than Abraham, none Egyptian, but ancient Chaldean Astronomy? They came when I was very ill, and I have not written yet what I see in them, fixing the origin of these and probably all Sanscrit Astronomy to about the time of Abraham. Cancer is there, no Scarabaeus, no cattle in that sign. In the more modern, Taurus is the little humpy Hindoo Bull; in the others, a grand, but scarcely made out, fine Eastern Bull."
[Amongst Miscellaneous papers has been found the following, endorsed "For India."]
Perseus and Andromeda and Cepheus are Indian constellations.
Nipla, modern Chaldaic for Orion (Maurice). Name of the Pleaides in Sanscrit, Carteek, this constellation was called in India, "The general of the celestial armies."
Maurice thinks that the Indian mythology was formed "when the year opened in Taurus, and the Pleaides rose heliacally" (as at the antediluvian vernal equinox, F.R.). He also thinks that when the Grecia sphere was first formed, the seventh Pleiad was becoming fainter; it is said to have vanished at the siege of Troy. Hyginus says it retired as a comet to the arctic circle.
Vallancy, Oriental Collections, says that "the plan of Pagan Religion is the same every where," from antediluvian astronomy transmitted through Noah.
Saturn, from the Oriental root, sater, to hid. Satyavarmon, the Indian Urah, as hidden in the ark.
De Grunes says an Egyptian hieroglyphic for science is dew falling from heaven.
De la Loubere. The Siamese week. Planetary names nearly the same as the other Indian ones, beginning however apparently with the Sun, the first day.
[The following also appears partly to bear on the subject.]
The "Primitive Astronomer," observing the sun rise and set, who could this be but the first man?
The Greeks, by the mouth of Plato, say they learnt the little they knew of Astronomy from the Egyptians. The Egyptians [attribute] theirs to Oannes, Thoth, and Soth. The Chaldeans, whose records went back nineteen centuries in the days of Alexander, attribute the origin of theirs to Seth and Enoch. Astronomy has ever been by modern astronomers attributed to "Chaldean Shepherds"; and was not Abraham a Chaldean Shepherd, only a few generations from Noah? did he not preserve and transmit the records of those eclipses of nineteen centuries pleaded by the Babylonians to Alexander? Antediluvian records would be preserved by Noah, as was the astronomy of Seth, Soth, or Thoth, and transmitted by the sons of Noah to Egypt and Chaldea, and why not to India and China? Was it not one invention, emanating from one inventor, known to posterity by varying names?
[A few very short notes on the names of the planets, in a fragmentary state, have been found since the decease of the Writer. They were evidently intended as rough notes of matter to be incorporated with this work. Such very slight arrangement as was practicable, has been adopted in giving the substance as below in the words of the writer, without interpolation, excepting where marked by brackets. A part of the page entitled "The Planet Venus" was already in the press, as was also a part of that headed "The Pole."—C.D.]
To Seth is attributed the origin of the names of astronomy, and in his time it is said it was begun to call by the name of the Lord (Gen 4:26). This may imply the naming of the stars by names to the glory of the Lord, as is maintained in the previous pages of Mazzaroth. It may also include the having given names to the planets; from their brightness and varying position it seems likely that they were the earliest noticed and named. The names of the five that would be early noticed as bright, large moveable stars have come down to us as given in Mazzaroth, Part III, in the East, and as still in use in Europe in the West, different in sound, but in some degree corresponding in meaning.
The name Planets is derived from moveableness, so distinguishing them from the fixed stars. Seth would early perceive they derived their brightness from the light of the sun, and that they appeared to attend on him their common centre. The sun, the minister (Chald.) of light.*
* That Shemish, usually masculine, is sometimes feminine, accounts for the varying gender of the sun in different languages, as in German.
The heavens declare the glory of God, by His name El, Al, the Allah of the Oriental languages, frequently applied in the sacred writings to the Second Person of the Triune God. To this purpose the yet extant and unchanged names of the fixed stars are shown to turn; the names of the Planets were not intended to speak [directly] of the glory of the Creator or the Redeemer, but [as seen] in His work, the Lord's people, the congregation of the Lord, so called before His first coming, the Church of Christ since that coming, dark in themselves, enlightened and light-giving in the light of Christ.
When the Arabian astronomers brought to Europe, under the patronage of Alphonso, king of Castile, the ancient names of the fixed stars now in use among us, the planets were found familiarly and universally known by names in use among the Romans. These names the Romans appear to have found in use in that early Italy, of which they preserved other fragmentary traces in their language, referable, like all other ancient words, to the first language of mankind. These names so originating and so transmitted to us, are still in use, and are to be explained by the Noetic or Hebrew roots they contain.
The inventors of Astronomy could not omit the Planets in the nomenclature of the stars, by which they desired to make the heavens declare the glory of God. The evidence of that design is in the names themselves.
Jupiter,* the Lord hath set free (1 Chron 9:34; 2 Chron 23:10)
Mars,** the wounded
Earth, the broken
Venus,*** the beloved
Mercury,^ going and returning again
* Jah, corrupted into Ja, offers no difficulty to the Bible student. "Praise Him in His name Jah," will occur to every one such. Pether, or Piter, to open as a gate, as a line of descent, whence Pater and Father in modern languages, to set free. "Setting free" originates a stream of water and a course of events; and the line of a pedigree is originated by the father, man by Adam, the Jews by Abraham. So Pater may be referred to the Hebrew root Patar, whence "Pater," Latin, &c. One meaning of Zedek, the Oriental name of Jupiter, is to set free by justifying.
** Mars, the wounded, as Christ for His Church, His Church in Him.
*** Venus, in all countries and languages feminine, the Church from Adam downwards.
^ Mercury, whose old Italian name Mercurius has the Hebrew roots, from afar returning; whose Greek name means coming.
The first three planets and the fifth in the Heb. and Arab. are not feminine, but masculine; the fourth in all languages feminine, as the "congregation of the Lord" in the Old Testament, and the Christian Church always feminine; "reposing," "set free," "by blood," applying to both genders, as "returning," the masculine always including the feminine when needful. In the ancient names, however, the gender of the fourth is doubtful, like the Church, including both. Zedek, "set free," applies to both genders; the Ja, masculine, is a post-Noetic addition.
The Coptic names of the Planets, given by Montucla from Ulugh Beigh, are Rephan, Saturn; Picheus, Jupiter; Melochk, Mars; Surath or Athor, Venus; Thauth, Mercury.
The Rabbinical names, as given by Sebastian Munster, are "Sabbater, rest; Zedek, just; Ma'adim, red; Nogah, splendid; Mercurium, Cochab, or Catab, as it is written."
Kronos, the Greek name of Saturn, resting. rq Arab. quievit, Proverbs 17:27, Marg. cool.
Latin, Saturn from rxs, hid (as Latium).
HOUSES OF THE PLANETS
From remote antiquity such have been called "the houses," or appropriate stations of the five planets, the sun, and the moon. Belonging to Mars, who bruises and is bruised, are Aries, the Lamb bruised, wounded in sacrifice, and Scorpio, where He who should come is shown as bruised.
Venus: Libra, redemption; Taurus, deliverance.
Jupiter: Sagittarius, deliverance by Him coming forth; Pisces, whose are the congregation.
Saturn: Capricornus, the sacrifice slain; Aquarius, the water of purification.
Mercury: Virgo, the branch; Gemini, the two comings.
It seems probable that these agreements must have been arranged by the discoverers of the planets, the inventors of the emblems of the signs.
ON THE PLANET VENUS
In the Egyptian Planisphere this planet is delineated as a woman, under her name Athor, she who cometh; the Christian Church, or the Church of God, in all ages. She is in a kneeling position under her house Taurus, seven stars, the Pleiades, before her. As after the time of the siege of Troy tradition says one vanished, this figure refers to a date previous to that time, 1000 BC. The swine, enemy of the Serpent, is after; the Ram, of the sign Aries, with the circle of a complete era on his head, before.
From the little respect paid by the Egyptians to the planets, compared with that paid to the more brilliant of the fixed stars, it may be inferred that they knew them to be but earths, while the stars were suns, probably by tradition from the great founder of the science, the Hermes Trismegistus of Egypt and Greece, the great, thrice great, who did not share the destiny of other men, the Prophet Enoch, of whom is recorded, "God took him."
The Egyptians knew, what the Greeks did not for a long time, that the morning and the evening star were the same planet: Pythagoras is said to have been the first who pointed out this fact to the Greeks; he is also said to have acquired his astronomy with other knowledge in Phoenicia. What the Phoenicians then knew must have been known to the Hebrews, at that time a highly civilized nation, and having had the instruction of Solomon. They therefore must have recognized the planet under both its aspects. As an evening star it is not mentioned in Scripture, and it is doubtful whether it is alluded to as a morning star, except in the Apocalypse. In Isaiah 14:12, Lucifer is in the original Hillel, the shining, the brilliant, a name which has no affinity with any extant of the planet Venus, though much with many names of the Sun, as Heli, Sanscrit, and Helios, Greek. If, however, from the mythology of the ancients, we may infer the original symbolization of the planet Venus, as a type of the Church of Him who was to come, the Sun of Righteousness (Mal 4:2), both these aspects will be found expressive and suitable. Before the first coming, the Church as the morning star, heralded the Sun by prophecy; and in the evening star typified the declension of the Jewish dispensation, still however transmitting some rays of the splendour of the promised Messiah. After the Sun of the first coming was set, the twilight of the great apostasy began to close around; when the Church, as the planet Venus, receding from the source of light, became less bright, even while increasing in apparent magnitude, it might well be typified by the evening star; again approximating to the Sun, disappearing from our sight, to rise in renewed splendour as the morning star announcing His return.
Venus, the beloved, the bright, the star of evening, descending and declining in brilliancy after the departure of the sun, but to return as the morning star with increased splendour at his reappearance,—by all tradition spoken of as the bride of a divine person, of Mars or of Odin,—is an expressive and suitable type of the Church, falling away and to be restored at the second coming of her Lord, as the bride of Christ, the Lamb's wife of the Apocalyptic vision. The invariableness of this tradition is the more remarkable, as the Germans and other northern nations made the moon masculine, as in the well-known legend of Anningait and Ajut among the Laplanders.
This planet was considered sacred to the Assyrian goddess Baltis, hl(b, who is represented with a star on her head, and standing on a lion. "A female divinity called by Diodorus Siculus, Hera (who bears, rh), held in her right hand a serpent by the head, and in the other a sceptre," probably originally a branch. Layard identifies her with Astarte,* starry, rhc, and Mylitta, bringing forth, hdly
* Zohara is the Arabic name for the planet Venus.
"You ought, if possible, to get a sight of Lepsius' Introduction. Only one volume is out, and not translated. I hold him to be a great charlatan in many things, but as regards scholarship he is unrivalled; and in this volume every thing that can be said on Greek and Egyptian astronomy is to be found. It is a quarto of magnificent print, and I can lend it you if you like. If you look to Pliny, Hist. Nat. ii. 6, you will see what he says about Pythagoras and the evening star. The Greeks strictly called Hesperus the evening star, Phosphorus the morning star; the Latins, Lucifer and Vesperugo.
"What Lepsius says is briefly this, 'Authorities are then given.' The fifth planet, the star of Aphrodite, is called by the Greeks Heosphoros, called by Aristotle Hera. The morning star is Sion or Toone, Toone being morning. Kircher said the Coptic for Venus was Souroh."* (C.H. Cottrell)
* Heb. hrx#, star of twilight.
A Spanish missionary wrote in Mexican (1529) the traditions of their religion, &c., which he had gathered from the Mexicans themselves. This is published in vol. vi. of Lord Kingsborough's great work. (B.M.)
At Palenque is found a vulture slaying a serpent, and the cross among sacred emblems; also, a woman and child, holding a branch, receiving offerings; also, seven stars on a blue ground, probably the Pleiades (?); and a man and woman with a sword between them.
Many Hebrew words may be found in the dialects of the Indians, as Abba, father.
The name of the sun was Naolin, hl(n, who arises, comes. (Lord Kingsborough, B.M.)
When the sign Aries (the white rabbit) arrived, they fasted for the fall of the first man.
Much has been written on the Cabiri of Samothracia, the three potent divinities. Cabir appears to have been the Gentile equivalent of Cherub, "like the mighty," Cabiri being "like the strong" or "mighty," also, though from a different root. The triad of the Greeks and Romans was, of the god of the heavens, the god of the sea, and the god of the infernal regions, or separate state; but the Egyptians and Oriental heathen made theirs of father, son, and mother. (This mother was however not like the Freya of the Scandinavians, but represented the planet Venus; she was Isis, Isha, the woman of Genesis 3:15, and of the sign Virgo.) Such, too, we find it in Mexico; while in Polynesia we find it of father, son, and bird, as may be seen in the London Missionary Museum.
[The following is an extract from a letter of the clergyman referred to earlier (Zodiac of Esne). It was received by the Writer of Mazzaroth a few days before the close of life, and accepted as a correct and beautiful application of the figures to which it relates. A friend, who was in daily intercourse with the lamented Writer of this work at the time, testifies of the pleasure with which the idea contained in the letter was dwelt upon by the spirit so soon about to pass from amid symbols to realities.]
"The figures of the five planets in the Dendera Planisphere are all of them distinctly characteristic. One of them is unclothed, Venus, and in a kneeling attitude, with four dolphins erect on her head. Does this figure symbolize the Church of Christ (Nogah), His 'beloved,' here in her state by nature, to be clothed only in His righteousness, and made 'to sit with Him in heavenly places?' If so, such raising up may be indicated by the four dolphins erect on the head of this kneeling figure—a dolphin being the ancient symbol of raising or lifting up. The Church's future elevation in glory seems indicated likewise by a youth sitting on a lotus on the right of the four dolphins, the meaning of which is, 'hidden but to come.' 'When Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall we also appear with Him in glory.'
"If my rendering of the Planet Venus in the Dendera Planisphere is correct, it might account for the Greek fable of Venus rising from the sea."
In the time of Seth and Enoch the Pole was among the stars of Draco, the emblem of the enemy; the constellation of the lesser sheepfold had no relation to it, but by degrees the Pole drew nearer to the brightest star in that constellation; the sheep, represented by three of its other stars as quitting their earthly fold (the believing Church), seemed going forth to the cynosure faintly typifying Him who was and is the object of their faith. In the brilliant intensification of this emblem of the fold and sheep going forth, the greater fold (called the Great Bear), it is strikingly represented that their course is to the great Shepherd and guardian of the flocks, typified in Arcturus, He who cometh and returneth. The three stars, daughters of the flock, seem following, seeking Him; but two, representing the boundaries of the fold, point above to the star typifying Him in the earlier dispensation, the lesser and as it were further removed fold. There He, the great Shepherd of the sheep, is figured above, gone before; and below in Arcturus, as about to return in greater glory. The foot of the other figure, the suffering mighty One, is on the head of the Dragon below. There is no distinguishing mark of the position of the Pole at any time in the Egyptian planisphere. Those who first named the stars seemed to have been aware that this position was not permanent. In the time of Seth and Enoch it was near the bright star Alpha Draconis, belonging both to the head of the Dragon and to the foot of Hercules, placed as bruising it.
Sir J. Herschel—"The Pole is nothing more than the vanishing point of the earth's axis."
"The bright star of the Lesser Bear, which we call the Pole-star, has not always been, nor will it always continue to be, our cynosure. At the time of the construction of the earliest catalogues of the stars it was 12o from the Pole, it is now only 1o 24', and will approach still nearer, to within half a degree, after which it will again recede." "After about 12,000 years, the star Alpha Lyrae, the brightest in the northern hemisphere, will occupy the remarkable situation of a Pole-star, approaching within about 5o of the Pole." "At the date of the erection of the great pyramid of Gizeh, which preceded by 3970 years (some say 4000) the present epoch...the place of the pole of the heavens was near A Draconis, the Pole-star at that time." "It is a remarkable fact that of the nine pyramids, six, including all the largest, have the narrow passages by which alone they can be entered, inclined downwards." "At the bottom of every one of the passages, therefore, the then Pole-star must have been visible," "doubtless connected," "with the astronomical observation of that star." Thus therefore we find a mark of the date of the erection of those pyramids, "that is, while A Draconis was the Pole-star" 4000 years ago.
Those who called the remarkable constellation, now miscalled the Great Bear, the fold and flock proceeding from it, and following their great Shepherd, emblematized in Arcturus, Him who should come, and come again, seem also to have seen a fainter emblem of their own Church, fold and sheep, in what is called the Lesser Bear, an irregular square, from which seem to proceed, as in the larger emblem, three faint stars towards the larger and brighter one now called the Pole-star, but with which then the Pole of the earth's axis had no connexion. They saw, as we see, that the Church on earth go forth towards Him their precursor, gone before, and but faintly seen by the most gifted sight of faith. Not such they found in the greater fold, whose sheep, or daughters, go forth and follow their Shepherd and their King, Arcturus of Bootes.
These emblems made part of the ancient astronomy, but the guiding star was not the Pole-star then, nor will it always be. Still while to us it seems to be so, it is well to connect it with Him to whom the hearts of His people turn "as the needle to the Pole."
These leading or guiding stars, Arcturus in Bootes, and Kochab or Cynosura in the lesser sheepfold, have both symbolized the Great Shepherd of the sheep,—Him whom they follow in life, and trust in, to attain to His side in departing to be with Him, "which is far better."
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