Monday, 16 May 2016

Pleiades dates ancient Greek poem

Fresco of Sappho from Pompeii, c. 50 CE

Greek poet Sappho left cosmological clues in her famous Midnight Poem. Now 2,500 years after her death, modern software is deciphering them. Belinda Smith reports. Modern software recreated the night sky more than 2,500 years ago to confirm the timing of a famous Greek poem. A trio of astronomers, led by the University of Texas at Arlington’s Manfred Cuntz, took a section from Greek lyric poet Sappho’s Midnight Poem and recreated constellations of the time. Based on the rise of a star cluster, the Pleiades, they calculated the poem was set 2,586 years ago between 25 January and 31 March 570 BCE. May 16, 2016

In antiquity, Sappho was commonly regarded as one of the greatest lyric poets. Sappho's poetry centers on passion and love for various people and both sexes. The word lesbian derives from the name of the island of her birth, Lesbos, while her name is also the origin of the word sapphic; neither word was applied to female homosexuality until the 19th century. The narrators of many of her poems speak of infatuations and love (sometimes requited, sometimes not) for various women, but descriptions of physical acts between women are few and subject to debate [1].

The Gibbous Moon occurs on May 17 in sidereal Virgo conjoining Vindemiatrix, Porrima and Auva of Virgo .  According to Manilius, the Virgin confers a commanding skill with words. Also Vindemiatrix has been called “The Star of Widowhood” but more generally it refers to a separation or alienation from the opposite sex due to fate, choice or circumstances. In the case of Sappho this may have been a choice. It is well in this regard, to recall that the role of a virgin (i.e. unwed woman) was in ancient times a rare gift of freedom to function and develop independently, free of the burdens and responsibilities of marriage. This may be one of the reasons for Virgo’s link to female bonding.

Finally, we notice that on the MC of the chart  drawn for Arlington is the Pleaides cluster in hard aspect to the Virgo Moon! Eta (η) Taurus, Alcyone, "The Central One", is the central or main star and also the largest star of the Pleiades. Here it is conjunct the TNP Admetus on the MC.  Historically this star has been linked to same sex attractions! [2]

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