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or, The Constellations
by Frances Rolleston

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"And the Lord shall be known to Egypt."—Isaiah 19:21

Table of Contents:

The Ancient Egyptian Zodiac and Planisphere of Dendera

The Ancient Coptic Names of the Twelve Signs of the Zodiac, According to Ulugh Beigh

Notes on Libra













On the Names of the Twelve Signs

Note on the Scarabaeus

Note on Manetho

Zodiac of Esne

* Balbi's Geography says: "Denderah—C'est au plafond d'une des salles superieures qu'etait place le fameux planisphere, que M. Saulnier a fait transporter en France en 1821, et qui, achete par le roi, devrait former maintenant un des plus interessans morceaux du magnifique Musee du Louvre. C'est ce meme planisphere qui a fait naitre tant d'hypotheses pour expliquer la prodigieuse antiquite qu'on attribuait a ce monument, mais qui a disparu devant les faits positifs, du aux savantes recherches faites par MM. Champollion Jeune, Richardson, et autres archeologues."

Approximate translation:
"It's on the ceiling of one of the main rooms where the famous planisphere was located that M. Saulnier had transported to France in 1821, and being bought by the king, should form one of the more interesting pieces in the magnificent Louvre Museum. This is the same planisphere that started so many hypotheses and is used to explain the vast antiquity that is attributed to this monument, but was proved wrong through research done by MM Champollion Jeune (Jr?), Richardson, and other archaeologists."

A painting from the original in the Museum of the Louvre at Paris, was exhibited in London in the year 1823, of which lithographed copies were sold at the exhibition room, Spring Gardens. From one of these given by the exhibitor to the late Wm. Hone the annexed lithograph has been made.

In the explanatory paper circulated with the lithograph in 1823 it is said, "The figures carved and painted on the four sides of this chamber could not be seen without the aid of torches, the smoke of which had covered the zodiac, and hid it for ages. The appearance of this valuable monument, as exposed at Paris on the floor of the Museum of the Louvre, is that of a very large antique bronze medallion. This zodiac is the only astronomical monument of the ancient Egyptians yet discovered which has a circular form." "Its centre is occupied by a fox or chacal." "It is thought that two emblems exactly opposite to each other, in a line passing by the signs Scorpio and Taurus, may mark the places of the equinox at the period when this ancient monument was constructed." "This zodiac or planisphere was discovered in the interior of the great temple at Dendera, when the French army was in Egypt." "It was carved on the ceiling of an obscure chamber, about twelve feet square." "The diameter of the circle of the planisphere is four feet nine inches; this is inscribed in a second circle or band of hieroglyphics, comprised in a square, the side of which measures seven feet nine inches, French measure."* "It was transported to Europe in 1821." "The price paid for it by the King of France was 150,000 francs, or 6250 l. sterling."

* This second circle has not been included in the accompanying plate, being supposed not to relate to the figures of the constellations in the planisphere which it encloses. Above this second circle are the two emblems supposed to indicate the position of the equinox at the time of the construction of this planisphere, as being nearly 2000 BC. That under Taurus appears to be a lighted lamp or candelabrum, of which the flame ascends, as the Sun from the spring equinox in Taurus to the summer solstice, then just quitting Leo and entering the sign now called Cancer, but by the Egyptians figured as the Scarabaeus.
The painting from it, executed in Paris, three feet four inches square, exhibiting in London in 1823, was shown to every person who purchased the lithograph taken from it by a tracing, from which the accompanying lithograph was taken. It has been compared with the plate in Hamilton's Aegyptiaca, and with one in the great French work on Egypt in the British Museum, and found to agree with them in all particulars, except that the fish representing the constellation of the Dolphin is omitted, as is the serpent under the foot of Orion: both of these are here supplied from these authorities.

Various opinions have been brought forward as to the time of the erection of the temple in which the carving was found. It is now generally considered to have been founded about the time when Egypt passed from Greek to Roman dominion, and to have been repaired under other emperors whose names have been deciphered on it. The date of the building has no connexion with that of the invention of the figures of the planisphere; these ancient and traditionally sacred emblems, no longer understood, were still venerated by the builders, and placed in it as mysterious memorials of the primeval religion of Egypt.


Latin Names Coptic Names Explanations Hebrew Roots  
ARIES Tametouris Ammon, Regnum Ammonis Reign, dominion, government hr#m Isa 9:6,7 EV
Ammon, established Nm) Isa 7:9
Jer 42:5
TAURUS Isis or Apis, Horias, Statio Hori Isis, who saves or delivers (#y Zech 9:9
Apis, the head. Apes, Egyptian; as Aleph, Heb.; captain, chief Pl) Jer 13:21
Horias, who cometh, traveller, xr) 2 Sam 12:4
Horias, to save (#y  
GEMINI Clusus, Claustrum Hori The place of Him who cometh, wayfaring man xr) Isa 33:8
CANCER Klaria, Statio Typhonis Klaria, cattle-folds hlk Psa 50:9
Statio Typhonis, who smites, is smitten Ppx Nahum 2:7
LEO Pi Mentekeon, Cubitus Nili Mentekeon, the pouring out Ktn Exo 9:33
VIRGO Aspolia, Statio Amoris Aspolia, lb#h, ears of corn, the seed lb# Gen 41:5
LIBRA Lambadia, Statio propitiationis Lam, Arab. gracious Mhl  
Badia, branch db Eze 17:6
SCORPIO Isias, Statio Isidis Isias, salvation (#y Psa 35:3
SAGITTARIUS Pi Maere, Statio Amenitatis Amenity, graciousness, beauty of the appearing or coming forth h)rm Gen 24:16
CAPRICORNUS Hupenius, Brachium sacrificii Hupe, place or chamber Px Psa 19:5
Nius, of Him having salvation (#wn Zech 9:9
AQUARIUS Hupei Tirion Hupei, place or chamber    
Tirion, of Him coming down as rain hry Hosea 6:3
PISCES Pi-cot Orion, Piscis Hori Cot, fish, the congregation, or company of twyx Psa 104:25; 68:30
Orion, Him who cometh (Arab. form, or formative of the noun), wayfaring men xr) Jer 9:2
Hori, of Horus, Him who cometh, as above.    

These names, thus given by Montucla, Hist. des Mathematiques, are considered to represent the ancient Egyptian. Their great antiquity may be seen from the Cubitus Nili, referring to the inundation of the Nile as under Leo, where the summer solstice, at which it takes place, only remained till about BC 2000: also from there being no allusion to the Scarabaeus, where it afterwards was introduced to mark the recession of the solstice to Cancer, which occurred about the time of the Christian era, Cancer being here called Statio Typhonis, station of Typhon, the enemy who smites and is smitten, to whom was consecrated the ass, mentioned in Genesis 49:14, and borne afterwards on the standard of the tribe of Issachar. Typhon was anciently figured by the Egyptians as having serpents for legs and girded with a serpent, thus identifying him with the serpent-enemy of Genesis. The name Isis, given to Taurus, is not here referred to the so-called goddess of after times, but to the verb (#y, to save, with the Egyptian pronoun masculine S affixed, "this saves." Pi-mahi, the united, is elsewhere given as the name in Gemini. The fish is a well-known emblem of the early Christian Church, or congregation of the Lord, multitudinous in offspring, drawn out of the water, a frequent type in the New Testament, and by them often engraven on their tombs.

The Copts of the present time are believed to be the descendants of the ancient Egyptians. Their language is considered by Scaliger and others to be that of ancient Egypt, with a slight intermixture of Greek. Their letters bear some resemblance to the enchorial or demotic character. Their language has no inflexions, but has letters and particles prefixed. This language exists in a translation of the Scriptures. (Encyclopaedia Britannica)

According to Scaliger and others, the name Copt is derived from AiguptoV Egypt, and Egypt from hpx to cover, veil. It will be remembered that figures of the Nile were frequently as veiled, and also that of Isis. The Biblical name is always Mizraim (narrow, straitened), and in the dual number, perhaps as Upper and Lower Egypt. (Rees' Cyclopaedia)

When Josephus says Yses or Isis meant in Egyptian "preserved," he evidently refers it to the root (#y, to save.

Montucla says that among the Egyptians almost every thing belonged to Isis, Orus, or Osiris.

Josephus: "In the Egyptian mythology Osiris is said to have been slain by Typhon when the sun was in Scorpio."

"The eight divinities are said to have existed before the twelve," as the planets were known before the naming of the signs.

When Manethon says that Hyc is "king" in the sacred tongue, he identifies the sacred with the ancient Hebrew language.

For the first 2000 years of the Hebrew chronology the summer solstice took place in Leo. After perhaps about 1700 years of that time, Egypt was settled and civilized, preserving prophetic and astronomical traditions from the Antediluvians, through Noah and Ham, their more immediate ancestors, to which these names testify. In the first thousand years of that time the inundation of the Nile occurred, while the sun was still in Leo, at the summer solstice; to this time then the origin of these names must be referred, where Pi Mentekeon, the pouring out, is translated Cubitus Nili.

The solstice passing into Cancer 2000 years BC, the Scarabaeus, an emblem of the sun of Egyptian origin, was introduced there; in the long zodiac evidently so. In these names no allusion is made to it, but the original emblem of cattle is there Klaria, and Statio Typhonis, or the ass. Genesis 49.

The Scarabaeus was an emblem of the sun and of the human soul before it was placed in the zodiac to denote the solstice.

In the long zodiac a large figure of the Scarabaeus is below the place of the sign Cancer, and a figure of another smaller kind of beetle seems ascending to the line of the signs near to the figure of a beeve, agreeing with the more ancient emblem of cattle, in Ceno-kir, the possession held, and Sartan, held fast, bound; this emblem, cattle, being still in memory, while in the planisphere it is not in the zodiac, but appears below in Argo. The beetle, or Scarabaeus, has its head detached from the body (or thorax); that of the crab is not so divided. The name Klaria, the cattle-folds, points to the time before the beetle had been introduced into the zodiac, as it is acknowledged the Scarabaeus was by the later Egyptians. The solstice had not receded into the sign Cancer till about BC 2000, considered to be about 150 years before the abiding of Abraham in Egypt, whether learning or teaching astronomy.


"The balance of Amente, or truth, in the Egyptian pictures of the judgment of the human soul, has the figure of a deity, or an ostrich feather (a divine attribute) in one scale, a heart in the other. Horus with a hawk's head, and Anubis with that of a dog, (both names of the sun in the Egyptian triads, both in their primitive roots meaning 'He who cometh,') attend the scales, and sometimes seem to give additional weight to that of the heart." rk), a wing-feather, strong, mighty, whence used as a divine attribute.

The primary meaning of the Noetic root Zadik is the equal poise of a pair of scales. The scales and the balance are mentioned as divinely employed in Isaiah 40:12, in Daniel 5:27, and used as a prophetic emblem, Revelation 6:5.



Names now in use, and Hieroglyphic Names
Egyptian Hieroglyphic Names and Figures* Noetic Roots traced by the Hebrew   Used in the Hebrew Bible
the throned woman.


Set, set up. Set, set up, appointed t# Gen 4:25
A female figure, under which are the hieroglyphic signs denoting a female, an oval or egg,** hcyb, and a half-circle or hill, lt, for Beth, a daughter. According to Albumazer this decan was anciently called "the daughter of splendour."      
the sea-monster or serpent-enemy.


Knem,*** subdued Triumph h)g Exo 15:1,21 &c.
Kanu-nu, victory. (B.) Established Nwk Gen 41:32
Here figured as a monstrous head, trodden under foot by the swine, the natural enemy of the serpent, united to which is the wolf,^ whose name b)z signifies He cometh. The hawk, also a natural enemy of the serpent, crowned with the mortar, the emblem of bruising, is over this figure. It corresponds to the head of Medusa, carried by Perseus. Swine ryzx Lev 11:7
Who turns   Eze 1:9,12,17
Mortar, to bruise #tk Prov 27:22
Medusa, trodden on #wd Job 39:15
He who breaks or bruises


Kar Knem     1 Sam 28:16
Kar, who fights. (B.) Who fights r( Psa 139:20
The figure of a man with the tail of a quadruped appended as to a girdle, signifying This cometh, by the word tail, bnz, this cometh, or shall be sent forth. Who destroys, subdues, Arabic   Dan 4:16
this hz Gen 5:9
Cometh )wb Gen 2:22
He has a royal diadem or fillet round his head. Or is sent forth )bn  
* The Hieroglyphic names here used are given on the authority of Mr. Birch, of the British Museum, by whom they were furnished to C. H. Cottrell, translator of Bunsen's Egypt, and by him they were given to the present writer.

** Egg, Job 39:14; hill or heap, Deut 13:16; hill, Arab.

*** Bunsen says that the sound of the letter G is mostly rendered by K in hieroglyphics. Probably the guttural sound of ( would also be so expressed. The addition of the servile letters M or N is common in the ancient dialects, whether Shemitic (Hebrew, Arabic, Syriac), or Hamitic (as the Egyptian), as in the name of the country Mizraim, from rc, narrow, straitened, (Num 22:26,) as the valley of the Nile.

^ The wolf is now considered the genus, of which the dog is a species, blk, which cleaves to man.


Names now in use, and Hieroglyphic Names
Egyptian Hieroglyphic Names and Figures* Noetic Roots traced by the Hebrew   Used in the Hebrew Bible


Ha-ga-t, who triumphs Ha, the chief. (B.) )g, ga, trimphs )g Exo 15:1,21
In the lower circle are hieroglyphic characters that read Oar, Orion having been anciently spelt Oarion.  
T is the article affix, the or this. (Bunsen.)
the river.


Peh-ta-t, mouth of the river, originating from the urn of Aquarius, figured by water in Pisces. Mouth, hp; river, y) (t); water, Aa. (B.) Mym Gen 8:9
the shepherd


Tum, sceptre, power. (B.) Subdued, put to silence, tame. (Heb.) hmd Psa 94:17
Who subdues, tames. He carries the head of an animal (Ba,* He cometh) on a cross or sceptre.
The cross was said to be emblematic of life, divine life, among the Egyptians, whose belief in the immortality of the soul is well known.  
* Ba, in Egyptian any quadruped, also He cometh, )b, whence the heads of such are placed on a human figure to denote "He cometh."

The union of the divine and human nature, in Him who was to come, is expressed by a youth leading by the hand a young woman. The man has the frequent appendage of the tail of a quadruped, signifying "this cometh."

Names now in use, and Hieroglyphic Names
Egyptian Hieroglyphic Names and Figures* Noetic Roots traced by the Hebrew   Used in the Hebrew Bible
(Arnebeth, the enemy of Him that cometh)


The enemy of Him who cometh, trodden under foot, here figured as the hoopoe, an unclean bird, standing over the serpent under the foot of Orion.  
Bashti-beki, confounded, failing. (B.) Bashti, confounded #b Job 6:20
Beki, failing qb Isa 19:3
the prince


The prince, figured by the hawk,* enemy of the serpent, the Egyptian substitute for the eagle Nesir; called in the Greek sphere the first or great dog, but anciently the wolf, whose name b)z, this cometh, denoted the coming to reign. On his head is the pestle and mortar, denoting who shall bruise the head of the enemy. Swiftly coming down Cn Lev 11:16
Victory, or a vulture. (B.) r#n Deut 32:11
Eagle, coming down,
Apes, the head. (B.) Apes, the face or head, commanding hp Gen 45:21
Exo 17:1
Eccle 8:2
the deliverer from evil


The lesser dog or wolf, representing the first coming to redeem, by a human figure with the hawk's head, and the appendage of the tail  
Sebak, conquering, victorious. (B.) Shebah, making captive, Heb. hb# Exo 22:10
* The hawk, Cn, Naz, caused to come forth, sent forth. Nazir, who preserves, guards, keeps. Isaiah 26:3, &c.

Names now in use, and Hieroglyphic Names
Egyptian Hieroglyphic Names and Figures* Noetic Roots traced by the Hebrew   Used in the Hebrew Bible


The chacal, or wolf, standing on the ploughshare, )t), which comes, tearing or bruising the ground. Ploughshare t) Isa 2:4
Coming )t) Deut 33:2
Api, head; Fent, of the serpent. (B.) Head, hp; Fent, serpent, adder h(p) Job 20:16
Siphon, Arab.  


A female swine, enemy of the serpent, holding a ploughshare,* implement of bruising, emblem of coming. Swine ryzx Lev 11:7
Who turns   Eze 1:9
Fent-har, enemy of the serpent Enemy, r(, Chaldee r( Psa 139:20
Har, who terrifies. (B.)     Dan 4:16
Kark, to smite, with a scimitar, to strike. (B.) Enraged against rrx Gen 18:30
This figure holding a ploughshare will account for that title having been given to Ursa Major. Ploughshare  
Coming ht) Job 3:25
Bruising, crushing #rh Job 1:14
or Canopus, the possession of Him who cometh


A beeve with the crux ansata, cross with handle, or emblem of life, round its throat. Ba, who cometh )wb  
Rejoicing #y# Job 3:22
Shes-en-fent, rejoicing over the serpent. (B., worm.) Fent, serpent, adder** h(p) Job 20:16
* The ploughshare here figured accounts for the name of the plough having been given to this constellation.

** Fent, worm, serpent. Shakespeare says of the aspic of Cleopatra, "worm of the Nile." Worm, from Mr(, subtil, Genesis 3:1.


Names now in use, and Hieroglyphic Names
Egyptian Hieroglyphic Names and Figures* Noetic Roots traced by the Hebrew   Used in the Hebrew Bible
The serpent under the lion's foot. The name is not given in Mr. Birch's list; but hieroglyphics that read Knem (He who triumphs, who conquers, or is conquered) are underneath these figures.** Knem, from Khan, whence King and Khan, established, fixed. Nwk Psa 93:2
A plumed female figure, holding a vase or cup in each hand, while responding to the constellation Crater, may be a memorial that at the arrangement of the emblems, the invention of astronomy, the summer solstice was there, and consequently the pouring forth of the inundation of the Nile. There are characters below, which may be "sent forth," as water from the vase. Her seat is figured as the thighs of a beast. hry Exo 15:4
Thigh Kry Psa 45:3
To send forth hry Hosea 6:3


The bird perched on the serpent at the heel of the lion.  
Her-na, great enemy. (B.) Her, as in Cancer r(  
Na, fail, break, enemy failing )n Num 32:7
* hyr), the lion, Ar, Egyptian, to come. (B.)

** Conquer is probably from the root Nwk.


Names now in use, and Hieroglyphic Names
Egyptian Hieroglyphic Names and Figures* Noetic Roots traced by the Hebrew   Used in the Hebrew Bible
the desired


Figured as the infant held by a woman seated beneath  
Shes-nu: Shes, son or offspring (B.); Nu, desired, Heb. Offspring h# Exo 12:5
Desired hw) Isa 26:9
the appointed offering himself as a sacrifice


A human figure with the tail, "this cometh," and with the head of a calf or lamb of sacrifice.  
Knemu: Mu, to die. (B.) Mnk, appointed, established Nk 1 Kings 7:21
The appointed dieth, is bruised To die twm Gen 2:17
who cometh


A human figure, as coming, holding the ploughshare, to break or bruise the enemy. Ploughshare t) Joel 3:10
Smat, who rules, subdues. (B.) M#, makes  
Comes, ht) Ordain, place M# Exo 13:16
Comes ht) Deut 33:2


Names now in use, and Hieroglyphic Names
Egyptian Hieroglyphic Names and Figures* Noetic Roots traced by the Hebrew   Used in the Hebrew Bible


The figure of a lion, hyr), who cometh to tear, to gain the victory. His tongue is out of his mouth, as in thirst.* A female figure offers a cup. He holds the usual hieroglyphic for running waters. Who comes )b ())  
To draw water, to drink, Arab. sense b)# Gen 24:11
Sera, victory. (B.) Who rules, Heb. r#  
Sets free hr# Job 37:3
held by the Centaur


The emblem called Harpocrates, a child or youth with the finger on the lip. Lip, hp# hp# Song 4:3, &c.
Break or bruise Pw# Job 9:17
Sura, a sheep or lamb. (B.) Lamb h# Gen 3:15


The enthroned figure above Who cometh r)  
Api-aatl: Api, head or chief (B.); Aatl, noble (B.), strong, Heb. The Ruler Nd)
Gen 42:30
Num 24:21
* Ab, thirst (B.), Heb. who comes. In the swine representing Ursa Major the tongue out of the mouth is thus accounted for.

** Corona Borealis, the Northern Crown, is the only constellation whose form corresponds with its name, being a perfect circle. It is vertical over Jerusalem once in every revolution of the earth, and (Isa 62:3) its name comes through the Greeks, as of Ariadne, who comes to reign.


Names now in use, and Hieroglyphic Names
Egyptian Hieroglyphic Names and Figures* Noetic Roots traced by the Hebrew   Used in the Hebrew Bible
enemy of Him who cometh, held by Ophiuchus


Figured as the serpent under the foot of the throned figure.  
Khu, ruled (B.); Or, enemy; Bakh, bows down, ruled. (B.) Enemy r( Psa 139:20
Caused to fail qb Jer 19:7
the serpent conqueror


A throned human figure with the hawk's head, as enemy of the serpent.   hp  
Api-bau, the chief or head who cometh. (B.) Api, head, face )wb Psa 96:13
Bau, who cometh  
who bruiseth the head, and is bruised in the heel


He who bruises, a human figure with the club, as Hercules.  
Bau, who cometh. (B.) Who cometh )wb  
* "In ancient zodiacs," apparently Egyptian, "this sign is sometimes represented as a snake, a crocodile, or typhon, with serpents' tails for legs." (Aspin.)

Names now in use, and Hieroglyphic Names
Egyptian Hieroglyphic Names and Figures* Noetic Roots traced by the Hebrew   Used in the Hebrew Bible
or the harp, held by the eagle, the triumph


Figured as a hawk or eagle, the enemy of the serpent in triumph.     Job 20:16
Fent-kar, the serpent, worm (B.), ruled. Fent, worm or serpent, viper h(p) Isa 30:6, 59:5
the altar of the sacrifice


A throned human figure holding the flail, the implement of bruising. In the modern sphere this decan is very obscure. There seems here to have been a victim in the Persian sphere. To the throned figure the Egyptian name seems to refer. Bau, he cometh )b Isa 63:1
Bau, He cometh, as in Scorpio  
the serpent enemy


The serpent, or dragon, under the forefoot of Sagittarius.  
Her-fent, the serpent, or the serpent accursed. Her, cursed )r) Gen 3:14
Fent, as above.  
* "The Southern Crown is of recent invention, formed from stars formerly belonging to Sagittarius." (Aspin.)

Names now in use, and Hieroglyphic Names
Egyptian Hieroglyphic Names and Figures* Noetic Roots traced by the Hebrew   Used in the Hebrew Bible
of slaying


A tailed figure with the hawk's head, standing over the junction of the head of the kid with the body of the fish. Fent, serpent; suphon, Arab. zpyp# Gen 49:17
Fent-kar, serpent  
Kar, enemy. Heb. enemy. Kar, enemy r( Psa 139:20
the falling eagle


A bird, goose of the Nile, apparently.  
Su-at,** He cometh***
Su, He (B.); At, cometh, Heb.
Cometh ht) Job 3:25
the dolphin


A fish  
Khau, multitude, fish; goat? (B.), or hoped for, Heb. Khau, longed for hwq Job 7:2
* In an Oriental zodiac given by Sir Wm. Jones, this sign is represented as a fish, out of whose mouth is coming forth an antelope surrounded by aquatic birds. In an Egyptian zodiac the sea-goat is held in a band by a figure called Anubis, who shall be sent forth, )bnh; in an Indian one it is said to be "a goat passant, traversed by a fish."

** S. the pronoun he, she, or it. (B.)

***Bau, according to Bunsen, is the verb "to come," and the noun derived from it, in the hieroglyphic, as in the Hebrew and Greek, and their derivative languages. Ba*, according to Bunsen's vocabulary, is also a beast, cattle, as bos, Latin, bouV, Greek, a beeve. In Hebrew, it is "to come," )b, in Latin and in modern languages often taking its sound of v. Hence a beast or beast's head is a hieroglyphic sign for "who comes."

* Baion is a branch, in Greek, of the palm-tree, also in Egyptian. (Parkh)

Names now in use, and Hieroglyphic Names
Egyptian Hieroglyphic Names and Figures* Noetic Roots traced by the Hebrew   Used in the Hebrew Bible


The figure seems to include both the fish and the stream of water on it. Aar, a stream. Iar, a stream r)y Gen 41:1
the winged horse
The ascending node, of which the headless horse is an emblem.**