To start earning your Pictures in the Sky and Space and the Past badges, gather your thoughts about the different ursa major constellation stories and post them, along with a link to the alternate story or stories you found, in the comments below!
Return to the "Wondering About the Past" activities page here.
It helps me understand the cultures back then and how they believed thingd.
I decided to research the Aquarius constellation (as my zodiac sign is Aquarius).
The most common mythological story is the Greek tale of Zeus and Ganymede. Ganymede was the son of Tros, the King of Troy. Zeus saw the boy one day and thought that he would make a great cup bearer, and so Zeus disguised himself as an eagle and captured the boy. Ganymede was brought to the heavens and served the gods as their cup bearer, providing drinks and liquids to all. This is how he became Aquarius.
However, this is not the original story that associates this cluster of stars with water-bearing. The Babylonians saw the constellation as an overflowing urn, and the Egyptians associated Aquarius with the Nile, their source of water and life. It's clear that all three civilizations saw this area as symbolizing bounty and fertile life.
On the other hand, ancient Chinese civilizations attributed many of the star patterns that make up Aquarius today with death and emptiness. They didn't have exactly the same patterns of stars as the other cultures, but the stars that were apart of Aquarius were known as a place of darkness and mourning. Two of the stars in the constellation were even attributed to the Chinese deity, Siming, who governed punishment, light, and death.
It's fascinating to see the huge differences between how these various people viewed the stars. But for my sake, I'm going to stick with the symbols of overflowing water.