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Greg Marcus

Jupiter (Zeus) vs. Sol.

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I think it was in a post/reply discussing the Decans that I brought up that to the Greeks/Romans it was Jupiter that was Ruler/King of the Sky/Heavens. I don't know if anyone noticed in the miniatures that I had posted before, but that's what it is showing.. There's a few images of Jupiter in the image sequence:








The manuscript is dated 1450/1460, which is a little late to have Jupiter as king.. But as mentioned in the original blog post, these are illustrations of (the roman) Virgil's Aeneid, from ~29B.C. So it's dealing with the older cosmology. Here are a couple of images from 'Spherae coelestis et planetarum descriptio', from about 1490ish, which shows Sol in his more familiar role as King, and Jupiter's role reduced:




I'm not all that familiar with the Aeneid (I could have taken another day and read up on it a bit), but I've recognized a few of the scenes represented.. Remus and Romulus being set adrift and rescued (like Moses).. the 'Trojan Horse' and the fall of Troy, Aeneas' escape, etc.. But that is about it.. I've tried some searching on Jupiter in the text, but there's far too many references, and I'm lazy.

Venus is represented several times (as is Juno and Pallas). In the story, Anchises and Venus (Aphrodite) are the parents of Aeneas. Venus later on is pictured in the blue robes with the yellow stars:




As is Anchises, although his costume is not consistent. I'm really not sure what's going on here (except the escape from Troy, where Anchises is on the back of Aeneas:




That's really just a minor curiousity to me, however. During another browse through the images, I noticed on a few of them, the things being depicted in the sky.. and in particular this one:




My first thoughts were about Orion in the sky dating the scene to winter (in the northern hemisphere), and then started wondering if this was suggesting "mars in scorpio" as well.. and then remembered Scorpio is no where near Orion in the sky. The depiction of Orion seems to be a little strange (I have many versions of the constellations). Also, there's is something moon-like on the tail of the Scorpion... So I did some research and ended up learning about the story of the battle between Scorpius and Orion. In fact, there's two main versions of the story, each with at least two slightly different tellings of that version.

One version has it that the great hunter Orion was bragging about his ability to kill any animal on earth, and he eventually claimed to Artemis (daughter of Zeus) that he would kill every animal on earth. Because of this Gaia sent Scorpius to kill Orion. There was a great battle, which Orion lost. The battle was exciting enough that Zeus honored Scorpius by raising it to the heavens. Artemis (Orion's admirer) asked the same honor for Orion. So Zeus placed them at opposite sides of the sky, where to this day Scorpio is seen perpertually chasing Orion across the night sky.

A version from Eratosthenes claimed Orion tried to 'ravish' Artemis, and she sent the scorpion to sting him.

I think this is a "Greek" version of the story (Artemis/Zeus), whereas the "Roman" version (Jupiter/Diana) seems to fit better, especially with the mention of Juno is who represented in many of the miniatures as well:

"Orion was a skilled hunter. He was also boastful, asserting that no animal alive could harm him. Juno, wife of Jupiter, disliked mortal men, especially boastful men, so she decided to teach Orion a lesson. She placed a scorpion on the path that Orion took daily to his hunting grounds. As you might expect, Orion trod upon the scorpion, which stung him and killed him.

But the story does not end here, for the gods were continuously quarreling among themselves. Diana, goddess of the moon and the hunt, fancied Orion, the greatest mortal hunter. They had often hunted together at night, neglecting her lunar duties (hence the dark nights near the new moon). She insisted that his likeness be memorialized in the sky, with his hunting dogs (Canis Major and Canis Minor) at his feet, where all could see it and remember his prowess.

This did not please Juno, who insisted upon similar treatment for the Scorpion. Was it not a mightier hunter to slay the great Orion? Jupiter agreed to similarly honor the Scorpion, but in one of his wisest decisions placed the two constellations on opposite sides of the celestial sphere, where they cannot bother each other. Even today, one does not see both Orion and Scorpius together in the night sky.

But just in case the Scorpion decides to roam, Sagittarius the archer has his arrow trained on Antares, the red heart of the Scorpion."
In that case, I would be pretty sure that IS the Moon/Diana on Scorpio's tail, and it looks like Orion is flailing after being injured. I still have NO idea what Mars is doing there.

The Scorpio/Orion picture is part of the scene of Aeneas being awoken during the fall of Troy, and this one is from the scene of Aeneas being visited by Venus before their escape:




It shows Juno, the Moon, Pallas, Jupiter.. And in the lower corner, that has to be Neptune.. He has the same hat, beard and trident as the earlier "Neptune" on his chariot.. but for some reason seems to be labelled 'NETVRNV..', which I don't understand. The style of the Moon leads me to believe it is the Moon on Scorpio's tail in the previous image. (perhaps being 'rescued' by the Scorpion?)

I suspect my answers lie in the text of the Aeneid.

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Updated 03-17-2019 at 01:05 PM by Andro

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  1. Greg Marcus's Avatar
    Greg Marcus -
    I forgot: Scorpio's tail is also facing the wrong direction.
    Updated 03-17-2019 at 01:05 PM by Andro