Who Discovered the Constellation Sagittarius?


Sagittarius is Latin meaning “archer.” It is so named because early star-gazers thought they saw a figure raising a bow and arrow. The constellation is often visualized as a centaur. Recent investigations by space scientists reveal that Sagittarius has the most planets in it. There are 14 stars in the constellation with planets orbiting them.

History of Sagittarius

Who discovered the constellation Sagittarius? It was discovered – or rather imagined – by the Babylonians and Sumerians. Or at least was known by their time. The Babylonians said it was the god Pabilsag, “the archer.” He was portrayed with wings and a lion’s head.

Later civilizations adopted the same constellation names and groupings used by these two peoples. But some of the imagery changed. In a temple of Isis dating from the time of Cleopatra, one finds the Desdera Ceiling with a zodiac medallion. The medallion depicts all known constellations of the time. It shows Sagittarius as a centaur armed with bow and arrow.

The Greeks seemed to have placed the same attributes to Sagittarius. They said it was a centaur, a mythical being that was half-man and half-horse. Some say it was the centaur Chiron. Chiron was a healer and mentor of many Greek heroes such as Achilles and Hercules. He suffered a wound that couldn’t heal. Chiron then gave his immortality to another being and died. Then the gods honored him with a place among the stars. But this was the constellation Centaurus, not Sagittarius.

Moreover a Greek astronomer, Erathostenes of Cyrene, challenged the idea that Sagittarius was a centaur at all. He saw it as a two-legged creature, so it couldn’t be part horse. He claimed it was another mythological being, Crotus. Crotus was the son of satyr god, Pan. He invented archery and was quite fond of horseback riding. Crotus was a good friend of the Muses. To honor him the gods gave him a place in the heavens as Sagittarius.

Symbolism of Sagittarius

Sagittarius is one of the “double-bodied” zodiac signs. The archer is thought of as a centaur, half human, half horse. The symbol of Sagittarius is an arrow pointed toward the sky. It represents the desire of man to rise above his animal instincts.

Sagittarius in Astrology

Sagittarius is the ninth zodiac sign. In tropical zodiac astrology, Sagittarius rules people born on or between November 23 and December 21. Sagittarians are thought to be philosophical, jovial and freedom-loving. A Sagittarian can be a lover of either sensual delights like wine and food. Or he may prefer wisdom and learning.

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