Great Beasts of Legend: Beasts in the Night Sky: The Constellation Myths of Greece and Rome
|Dr. Patrick Glauthier, Department of Classical Studies, University of Pennsylvania
Aries the Ram, Taurus the Bull, Cetus the Sea-monster - there's no shortage of mythical animals among the constellations of ancient Greece and Rome. But why do such creatures populate the heavens in the first place? And what did they mean to the societies that first identified and named them? Although it can be hard for us to clearly identify two Bears circling up above, the ancient imagination saw animalistic drama and intrigue all over the night sky, and the particulars of these narratives were often felt to impact life on earth. This talk will explore the history of some of these constellations, their representations in ancient art and literature, and their role in ancient Greco-Roman society more broadly.