Explore the etymology and symbolism of the constellations

Hercules

the Kneeling Man


Urania's Mirror 1825

"Next to the chill Bears and the frozen north comes a figure on bended knee [Engonasin], the reason for whose posture is known to none but him." [Manilius, Astronomica, 1st century, AD, p.29.]

This constellation is said to represent the Roman Hercules, Greek Herakles, who was the greatest of the Greek heroes and famous for his twelve labors. As an infant Hercules strangled two serpents sent by Juno to kill him as he lay asleep in his cradle. It is suggested that the two serpents represent the the Lunar Nodes. He died on a funeral pyre, became a god, and ascended to Mount Olympus to join the other gods. Engonasin is a Greek title for Hercules, with Roman writers translating it Geniculator or Geniculatus; these terms meaning 'the Kneeling Man'. Engonasi, from en gonasi, 'on his knees" [Valpy, p.136].

See this webpage on Roman Hercules, and this webpage on Greek Heracles, for the mythology associated with Hercules.

The name Hercules is from a Latin translation of Greek Herakles. Herakles' name is translated 'the glory of Hera' or 'the fame of Hera', the prefix of his name relates to Hera, wife of Zeus, the suffix is from Greek -kles, related to Latin cluere, variously translated; 'to listen', 'to hear oneself called', 'to be spoken of', 'called upon'. The second element in Hercules' name comes from the Indo-European root *kleu- 'To hear'. Derivatives: leer (from Old English hlor, cheek < 'side of the face' < 'ear'; perhaps with the meaning of turning the side of the face to listen to sound), list4 (listen, from Old English hlystan, to listen), listen (from Old English hlysnan, to listen), loud (from Old English hlud, loud), ablaut (ab, off + laut, sound; vowel change, gradation), umlaut (vowel mutation), Clio (the Muse of history, from Greek kleiein, to praise, tell), cliometrics (the systematic use of economic theory and econometric techniques to study economic history), Hercules (from Greek Herakles), sarod (a many-stringed lute of northern India that is played with a plectrum), Clovis (relating to a prehistoric human culture in North America from about 12,000 to 9,000 B.C., distinguished by sharp fluted projectile points made of chalcedony or obsidian). [Pokorny 1. kleu- 605. Watkins]

It is thought that our English word 'glory' also derives from this root; *kleu- 'To hear'. [see Wordnik]

Hercules served as a slave to Omphale for a period of time. It is believed the word slave also derives from *kleu- 'To hear'. [see Wordnik]

Heracles was the son of the god Zeus and a mortal woman, Alcmene, whom Zeus visited in the form of her husband, Amphitryon. Early in life Herakles was called Alcaeus, or Alcides, after his mother Alcmene, the name Heracles came later. Heracles comes from Hera + kles, and is translated 'the glory of Hera.' The Hera- in his name refers to Hera (Roman Juno), wife of Zeus (Roman Jupiter). His name is somewhat ironic as the events in the myth of Herakles are motivated by the unrelenting hostility of Hera toward him for being Zeus' illicit son. The etymology of his name as 'the glory of Hera' is unmistakable as the Greeks understood it; "as the hero's name makes clear, he owes his heroic identity to his kleos and, ultimately, to Hera" [1], even though she persecuted, and tried to eliminate him throughout his life. Hercules becomes reconciled with Hera through death and marries her daughter Hebe on Mount Olympos.

"For readers of Vergil, one of the most important allegorical etymologies may be the connection of Hera ('Hra) and aera, which interprets the queen of the gods as a representation of 'the lower air, the sphere for storms of wind and cloud'" [Medieval Mythography: Jane Chance 1994. P.80.]

Hera's name is believed to be related to the word 'air' and Hercules or Herakles could also be interpreted as the 'glory of the air', or 'clashing against the air', as Porphyry understood it to mean:

"But inasmuch as the sun wards off the evils of the earth, they called him Heracles (from his clashing against the air) in passing from east to west. And they invented fables of his performing twelve labours, as the symbol of the division of the signs of the zodiac in heaven; and they arrayed him with a club and a lion's skin, the one as an indication of his uneven motion, and the other representative of his strength in "Leo" the sign of the zodiac." [Porphyry, On Images, (c. 232 AD - c. 304), Fragment 8.]

“They say that heroes (heros) take their name from Juno, for Juno is called Hera in Greek. Thus a son of hers, I don't know which, was called eros, ('the hero'), according to the legend of the Greeks. The legend evidently signifies in a mystical sense that the air (aer), where they claim that heroes live, is assigned to Juno. They name the souls of deceased people of some importance with this term, as if it were aeroas, that is, men of the air (aerius) and worthy of heaven on account of their wisdom and strength” [The Etymologies of Isidore of Seville, 7th century AD, p.189.]

Manilius, in giving the astrological influences for this constellation, associates Hercules with tightrope walking (funambulism):

"Hercules, the figure on bended knee and called by the Greek name of Engonasin, about whose origin no certainty prevails. Of this constellation is begotten the desertion, craftiness, and deceit characteristic of its children, and from it comes the thug who terrorizes the heart of the city. If perchance his mind is moved to consider a profession, Engonasin [a Greek title for constellation Hercules] will inspire him with enthusiasm for risky callings, with danger the price, for which he will sell his talents: daring narrow steps on a path without thickness, he will plant firm feet on a horizontal tightrope; then, as he attempts an upward route to heaven, (on a sloping tightrope) he will all but lose his footing and, suspended in mid-air, he will keep a multitude in suspense upon himself" [Manilius, Astronomica, 1st century, AD, p.353.] 

Another title for Hercules was Trapezius, a trapeze artist. Tightrope walkers perform a balancing act, they need to know how to keep their centre of gravity constant so they don’t overbalance and topple off the tightrope. Balance is an inner ear function. The second element in the name Herakles -kles, -kleos, is related to the word listen, and to Latin cluere, ‘to listen’. His name might be analyzed as 'listening in the air', suggesting an early amphibious creature that emerged from the ocean and developed an ear function that gave the ability to listen in the then hostile air [hostile Hera] when the air was 'thin' due to low oxygen levels. The myth describes how Hercules, in a state of madness induced by Hera, heard voices in his ears telling him to kill his family. Listening is a function of the inner ear, the inner ear is also referred to as the Labyrinth.

The ancient name for epilepsy was Hercules morbus 'the disease of Hercules', it was also called the falling sickness, the sufferer loses balance and suddenly falls to the ground.

Hercules is the hero who performed twelve labors. The word labor resembles the first element in labyrinth (labyr-inth); Virgil makes this connection:

"Vergil's alludes to but does not use (i.e., he suppresses; see intro. 2.7) the word labyrinthus. Norden suggests that Vergil's unusual expression labor ille domus alludes to an etymology of labyrinthus from labor, and perhaps even to the spelling laborinthus, common in the medieval period. Norden refers to this etymology as 'much-discussed in antiquity,' but I know only of references to it in medieval sources, some of them not fully published, which are described by Doob. Doob also explores the connection between labyrinthine imagery and labor throughout the poem" [True Names, James J.O'Hara, p.166]

An adjacent constellation Corona Borealis, relates to the crown of Ariadne. Ariadne gave Theseus a ball of thread (clew or clue) to escape the Minotaur's labyrinth.

Inflammation of the labyrinth, Labyrinthitis, can cause balance disorders. Hercules was Trapezius, a trapeze artist, a tightrope walker performing a balancing act. [The words 'ear' and 'cochlea' might belong to Piscis Austrinus]

The second element in the name Herakles -kles, -kleos, meaning fame or glory, is related to the word listen, cognate with Latin cluere ‘to listen’, Greek kluein, 'hear', Greek kluo, I listen, or 'I am talked about, I am heard', as a famous hero is talked about, from the Indo-European root *kleu-. These cognates are similar to the English word clue (though not recognized cognates), as in 'listening for clues', "clue is merely a variation of the older form clew which comes from the Anglo-Saxon cleowen and originally meant a ball of thread such as that used by Theseus to escape from the Minotaur's labyrinth." [Wordly Wise] ["Theseus was a title for this constellation, supposedly from the similar adventures of Hercules": [Star Names]. Theseus deserted Ariadne whose crown is adjacent Corona Borealis].

The first land animals, included the labyrinthodont amphibians. Another title for Hercules was Saltator, the Leaper; related to salientia (from Latin saltare, to jump), Salientians are the order of frogs and toads (of the class Amphibia). Amphitryon (amphi- in amphibian) was the father of Hercules, or Amphitryon was the form Zeus took when he fathered Hercules.

Hercules is said to have been the creator of the Milky Way. One account of the origin of the Milky Way is that Zeus, who wanted to make Hercules immortal, had tricked Hera into nursing the infant Heracles; discovering who he was when she woke up, she pulled him from her breast, and a spurt of her milk formed the smear across the sky to become the Milky Way. This constellation, Hercules, is said to have been an object of worship in Phoenicia as the sky representative of the great sea-god Melkarth, with variations Malica, Melica, Melicartus, and Melicerta, from Phoenician Milk-Qart, 'the King of the City' [Allen, Star Names], from Aramaic malka, king, from the Semitic root *mlk-. Some see a relationship to the word milk (Milky Way) in Melkarth's name. Moloch, sometimes Ba'al Moloch, known as the Sacred Bull [2], was an old Canaanite idol, called by the Phoenicians and Carthaginians Melkarth, Baal-melech, Malcom, and other such names [3]. Children were sacrificed to him. [Seven boys and seven girls were sacrificed every nine years to the Minotaur in the labyrinth?]

Hercules becomes reconciled with Hera through death, becoming her 'son':

"Herakles now finds himself in the company of the gods, and at this point the goddess Hera, who had been the ultimate cause of the labors suffered by the hero throughout his life, becomes his surrogate mother: she even goes through the motions of giving him birth (Diodorus Siculus 3.39.3:

ten de teknosin genesthai phasi toiauten: ten Heran anabasan epi klinen kai ton Heraklea proslabomenen pros to soma dia ton endumaton apheinai pros ten gen, mimoumenen ten alethinen genesin

‘And the birth happened this way: Hera mounted her bed and took Herakles next to her body and ejected him through her clothes to the ground, re-enacting the true birth’)" [4].

In the myths about Hercules much was made of the manner of his birth and how long it lasted and many details surrounding it. Hercules might also represent a baby in labor; a baby's transition from living underwater to living in air; hostile Hera. He was bound as a slave to Omphale for a period of time, her name relates to the omphalos, 'Navel-stone'; the the umbilical cord [see Serpens]. After he was born he killed two snakes; there are two umbilicus arteries. [Ophiuchus might represent the fetus, and Delphinus is the womb.]

On Mount Olympus after his death Hercules marries Hera's daughter Hebe who has the power to renew life [5]. At the Heraion in Argos, Pausanias (2.17.6) saw a relief depicting this marriage, which takes place under the protection of Hera [6].

Hercules carried a club called clava in Latin. Epithets for Hercules were Greek Korunetes, and Korunephoros, the equivalents of Latin Clavator and Claviger, Club-bearer. Latin claviger, 'club bearer' is compounded of clava, 'club', and the stem of gerere, 'to carry'. Latin clava comes from the Indo-European root *klau- 'Possibly hook, peg'. Derivatives: clause, cloisonne, cloister, claustrophobia, close, closet, closure, cloze, conclude, disclose, enclose, eclosion, exclude, include, occlude, preclude, recluse, seclude, seclusion, (these words from Latin claudere, to close), clave3, clavicle (the clavicle or collar bone is a bone that makes up part of the shoulder girdle - pectoral girdle, the ancient anatomists also believed that the 'clavicle' is the first bone to be formed in the fetus, and the last to die in the cadaver. Thus, the clavicle is the little key that opens and closes life itself. It receives its name from the Latin clavicula, 'little key', because the bone rotates along its axis like a key when the shoulder is abducted [8]), clavier, clef (musical symbol indicating the pitch, how loud the note), kevel, clavichord (an early keyboard instrument with a soft sound produced by small brass wedges striking horizontal strings), conclave (a private gathering of a select group of people, where discussions are kept secret, - a club), enclave (from Latin clavis, key), ophicleide, sternocleidomastoid (from Greek kleis, stem kleid-, key), clove1 (the spice), cloy, cloying (sweet, rich, or sentimental that it is disgusting or distasteful), clafouti (from Latin clavus, nail), clavate, claviform, (from Latin clava, club), clathrate (from Greek kleiein, to close), cleistogamous, cleistothecium (from Greek verbal adjective kleistos, closed), sluice. [Pokorny kleu- 604. Watkins].

The English word key is shown to be related to Latin clavis 'key' in this youtube video by Glossika.

Ergot is a fungus (Claviceps purpurea, from the Indo-European root *klau-) that infects various cereal plants. The disease appears as a blackish-purple club shaped (Claviceps) growth on the tops of grain seeds [10]. Ergot is best known as the source from which Lysergic Acid Diethyamide (=LSD) was first derived. Ergot poisoning symptoms include hallucinations, delusions, paranoia. Whole communities in the Middle Ages in Europe were affected, the symptoms were often ascribed to witchcraft. Hercules was inflicted with a sudden fit of madness (Greek lyssa as in Lysergic) causing him to murder his wife and children. When he returned to his senses, he suffered from great sorrow and remorse. In order to expiate his crime he went to Delphi to consult the oracle and was told to serve his cousin, Eurystheus, who devised twelve labours as punishment for his crime [9]. It seems to me unlikely that epilepsy ("Hercules disease") would cause him to kill his family. Ergot poisoning may be a more likely explanation for the condition described in Euripides' play Hercules furens.

There is a similarity between the two Indo-European roots *kleu- [Her-cules] and *klau- [club].

“A club (clava) is of the kind that belonged to Hercules, so called because it is bound with rows of iron nails (clavus). It is made one and a half cubits long” [The Etymologies of Isidore of Seville, 7th century AD, p.363.]

"According to Greek tradition, probably based on Libanius, "Oration" XII, 99, or on the Epitome of the Library of Apollodorus, Heracles was conceived in the womb when Cronos, god of time, extended the night during his parents' nuptial. That miraculous event may have been a solar eclipse near daybreak, which took place on September 7, 1251 BCE. It lasted from 6:51 to 9:41 in the morning at Sparta, with 75.9% magnitude. The Legend has it that Heracles was born in Thebes, Greece, where Alcmene and Amphitryon lived. The eclipse could well be visible there also". [http://www.thelemapedia.org/index.php/Heracles ]

A Latin term for an eclipse of the Sun was "labores solis", translated "the Sun's labor", when the Sun is occluded by the Moon. Hercules as an infant strangled two snakes or serpents. The two serpents might relate to the nodes of the Moon which were termed dragons or serpents in the ancient Vedic tradition; North Node is called Rahu, South Node is Ketu, eclipses occur when there is a conjunction between one of the Nodes and the Sun or Moon. Hercules in lion-skin would be the Sun.

A Celt, in a discussion with Lucian, explained how the Celtic Ogmios, personifying the power of speech was represented by Heracles rather than Hermes. This Celt made various references to Greek myths in the course of the conversation. - John Rhys, Lectures on the Origin and Growth of Religion as Illustrated by Celtic Heathendom, London 1898.

"Stranger, I will tell you the secret of the painting, for you seem very much troubled about it. We Celts do not consider the power of speech to be Hermes, as you Greeks do, but we represent it by means of Heracles, because he is much stronger than Hermes. So if this old man Heracles, the power of speech, draws men after him, tied to his tongue by their ears you have no reason to wonder, as you must be aware of the close connection between the ears and the tongue. ...In a word, we Celts are of opinion that Heracles himself performed everything by the power of words, as he was a wise fellow, and that most of his compulsion was effected by persuasion. His weapons ... are his utterances which are sharp and well aimed, swift to pierce the mind: and you too say that words have wings" [9].

"...Heracles, the power of speech, draws men after him, tied to his tongue by their ears..." suggests Hercules has the power to make men listen to him.

An oath invoking Hercules (Hercle! or Mehercle!) was a common interjection in Classical Latin [10]. 

© Anne Wright 2008.

Fixed stars in Hercules
Star 1900 2000 R A Decl 1950 Lat Mag Sp
chi 06SCO51 08SCO14 237 44 11 +42 35 26 +60 17 37 4.61 F7
theta 10SCO15 11SCO38 241 47 53 +45 03 54 +63 46 58 4.26 A0
tau 13SCO00 14SCO23 244 33 32 +46 25 53 +65 50 03 3.91 B7
sigma 21SCO51 23SCO14 248 07 21 +42 32 21 +63 10 01 4.25 A0
Marsik kappa 24SCO19 25SCO43 241 27 15 +17 10 43 +37 13 15 5.34 G4
eta 27SCO24 28SCO46 250 17 42 +39 00 58 +60 17 47 3.61 G5
gamma 27SCO50 29SCO13 244 55 42 +19 16 09 +40 00 47 3.79 A6
Kornephoros beta 29SCO42 01SAG05 247 01 02 +21 35 50 +42 42 31 2.81 G8
zeta 00SAG05 01SAG28 249 51 00 +31 41 32 +53 06 43 3.00 G0
Kajam omega 00SAG10 01SAG35 245 46 36 +14 08 49 +35 10 30 4.53 A2
epsilon 06SAG57 08SAG20 254 35 38 +30 59 55 +53 15 15 3.92 A0
pi 10SAG35 11SAG58 258 19 33 +37 11 27 +59 52 46 3.36 K3
Sarin delta 13SAG22 14SAG46 258 14 39 +24 53 48 +47 41 38 3.16 A3
rho 13SAG59 15SAG22 260 29 21 +37 11 27 +60 07 53 4.52 B9
Ras Algethi alpha 14SAG45 16SAG09 258 05 34 +14 26 43 +59 03 04 3.50 F8
iota 18SAG29 19SAG53 264 30 46 +46 01 55 +69 16 19 3.79 B3
Maasym lambda 18SAG30 19SAG54 262 10 45 +26 08 49 +49 17 60 4.48 K4
mu 23SAG51 25SAG14 266 07 30 +27 44 55 +51 07 15 3.48 G5
theta 27SAG06 28SAG29 268 38 03 +37 15 21 +60 41 28 5.48 F2
omicron 01SAG19 02SAG42 271 23 51 +28 45 16 +52 11 26 3.83 B9

Hevelius, Firmamentum, 1690

from Star Names, 1889, Richard H. Allen

Hercules stretching from just west of the head of Ophiuchus to Draco, its eastern border on the Milky Way, is one of the oldest sky figures, although not {Page 239} known to the first Greek astronomers under that name, — for Eudoxos had Engounasi; Hipparchos, Engonasi, i.e. o en gonasi kathemenos, Bending on his Knees; and Ptolemy, en gonasin, Aratos added to these designations Oklazon, the Kneeling One, and Eidolon, the Phantom, while his description in the Phainomena well showed the ideas of that early time as to its character:

. . . like a toiling man, revolves

A form. Of it can no one clearly speak,

Nor to what toil he is attached; but, simply,

Kneeler they call him. Laboring on his knees,

Like one who sinks he seems; . . .

. . . And his right foot

Is planted on the twisting Serpent's head (Draco's head).

But all tradition even as to

Whoe'er this stranger of the heavenly forms may be,

seems to have been lost to the Greeks, for none of them, save Eratosthenes, attempted to explain its origin, which in early classical days remained involved in mystery. He wrote of it, outos, phasin, Erakles estin, standing upon the Ophis, our Draco (upside down); and some modern students of Euphratean mythology, associating the stars of Hercules and Draco with the sun-god Izhdubar [Izdubar, Gisdubar] and the dragon Tiamat, slain by him, think this Chaldaean myth the foundation of that of the classical Hercules and the Lernaean Hydra. Izhdubar is shown on a cylinder seal of 3000 to 3500 B.C., and described in that country's records as resting upon one knee, with his foot upon the Dragon's head, just as Aratos says of his Engonasi, and as we have it now. His well-known adventures are supposed to refer to the sun's passage through the twelve zodiacal signs, appearing thus on tablets of the 7th century before Christ. This myth of several thousand years' antiquity may have been adopted by Greece, and the solar hero changed into Hercules with his twelve familiar labors.

This constellation is said to have been an object of worship in Phoenicia's most ancient days as the sky representative of the great sea-god Melkarth. Indeed, it has everywhere been considered of importance, judging from its abundant nomenclature and illustration, for no other sky group seems to have borne so many titles.

The usual Greek name was transliterated Engonasi, Engonasis, and Engonasin down to the days of Bullialdus, with whom it appeared in the queer {Page 240} combination of Greek and Roman O en Gonacin; but the poets translated it as Genuflexus, Genunixus, and Geniculatus; Ingeniculatus with Vitruvius; Ingeniclus and Ingeniculus with Firmicus; while Ingenicla Imago and Ignota Facies appear in Manilius, — his familiar line,

Nixa venit species genibus, sibi conscia causae,

being liberally translated by Creech,

Conscious of his shame

A constellation kneels without a name.

We see with other authors the synonymous Incurvatus in genu, Procidens, Prociduus, Procumbens in genua, and Incumbens in genibus; Defectum Sidus and Effigies defecta labore; and the Tetrabiblos of 1551 had Qui in genibus est.

It also was Saltator,the Leaper; Kharops, the Keen-eyed One; Korunetes, and Korunephoros, the equivalents of Clavator and Claviger, the Club-bearer of the Latins: all applied to the constellation in early days, from classical designations of the hero Hercules, whose own name has now become universal for it. Although we first find this in the Catasterisms, Avienus asserted that it was used by Panyasis, the epic poet of 500 B.C., and uncle of Herodotus, perhaps to introduce into the heavens another Argonaut. The Nessus of Vitruvius came from the story of Deianira, the innocent cause of Hercules' death, when, as in the Death of Wallenstein,

Soared he upward to celestial brightness;

Nisus, from the city of Nisa; Malica, Melica, Melicartus, and Melicerta, from the name of its king, known later as Palaemon, — although some refer these to the title of the great god of Phoenicia, Melkarth, the King of the City; and Aper, from the Wild Boar slain at Elis. It was Cernuator, the Wrestler, from the hero's skill; Caeteus, Ceteus, and Cetheus, as son of Lycaon, and so uncle or brother of Kallisto, who, as Ursa Major, adjoined this constellation; indeed, it was even known as Lycaon himself, weeping over Kallisto's transformation. Ovid's Alcides was a common poetical title, either from Alke, Strength, or from Alcaeus, Hercules' grandfather; while Almannus and Celticus came from the fact that a similar hero was worshiped by the Germans and Celts, themselves noted for strength and daring deeds, and said to have been descended from Hercules. The unexplained Pataecus and Epipataecus are from Egypt; Maceris, from Libya; while Desanaus, Desanes, and Dosanes, or Dorsanes, are said to be of Hindu origin. {Page 241} Other titles are Ixion, laboring at his wheel, perhaps because Hercules also labored; or from the radiated object shown on Euphratean gems, a supposed representation of the solar prototype of Hercules, which in later times may easily have been regarded as a wheel; Prometheus, bending in chains on Caucasus; Thamyris, sad at the loss of his lyre; Amphitryoniades, from the supposed sire of Hercules; Heros Tirynthius, from the place where he was reared; and Oetaeus, from the mountain range of Thessaly whence he ascended the funeral pyre. The Sanctus that has appeared as a title is properly Sancus, the Semo Sancus, of Sabine-Umbrian-Roman mythology, identified with Hercules. Theseus was a name for this constellation, from the similar adventures of the originals; Mellus and Ovillus trace back to the Malum and Ovis in the myth of the Apples, or Sheep, of the Hesperides, with which the story of Hercules is connected, — different ideas, but both from melon, with this double signification; although La Lande thought that reference was made to the skin of the lion thrown over the hero's shoulder. We also occasionally see Diodas, Manilius, Orpheus, and Trapezius, the exact connection of which with our sky figure is not certain.

The 4th edition of the Alfonsine Tables singularly adds Rasaben, from the neighboring Draco's Al Ras al Thu'ban (Thuban in Draco).

Bayer erroneously quoted Gnux eripon, on Bended Knee, as if from Homer; and gave Eidolon apeuthos, the Unknown Image, and Imago laboranti similis. He also cited the Persians' Ternuelles, which Beigel suggested might be from their mistaken orthography of the word Hercules; and Hyde added another term, from that people, in Ber zanu nisheste, Resting on his Knees, a repetition of the earliest idea as to the figure.

Flammarion states that he found our modern title first mentioned in an edition of Hyginus of 1485, — but he had not read Eratosthenes; and some say that even this Hercules of Hyginus was really designed for the adjacent Ophiuchus.

The modern Italians' Ercole is like their Roman predecessors' abbreviated name for the deity, who was one of their most frequent objects of adjuration.

Our stellar figure generally has been drawn with club and lion-skin, the left foot on Draco and the right near Bootes, the reversal of these by Aratos being criticized by Hipparchos; but the Farnese globe shows a young man, nude and kneeling; while the Leyden Manuscript very inappropriately drew it as a young boy, erect, with a short star-tipped shepherd's crook, bearing a lion's skin and head. Bayer shows the strong man kneeling, clothed in the lion's skin, with his "all brazen" club and the Apple Branch.

{Page 242} This last he called Ramus pomifer (apple branch), the German Zweig (twig), placing it in the right hand of Hercules, on the edge of the Milky Way; but this even then was an old idea, for the Venetian illustrator of Hyginus in 1488 showed, in the constellation figure, an Apple Tree with a serpent twisted around its trunk. Argelander followed Bayer's drawing, but Heis transfers the Branch to the left hand, with two vipers as a reminder of the now almost forgotten stellar Cerberus with serpents' tongues, which Bayer did not know. The French and Italians, who give more prominence to these adjuncts of Hercules than do we, have combined them in a sub-constellation Rameau et Cerbere and Ramo e Cerbero. In all this, as well as in some of the titles of the Hercules constellation and of Draco, reappears the story of the Golden Fruits of the Hesperides with their guardian dragon.

It may have been the serpent and apples in our picturing of the constellation that aided Miss Rolleston to her substitution of the biblical Adam for the mythological Hercules. Others, however, changed the latter to Samson with the jawbone of an ass; and Julius Schiller multiplied him into the Three Magi.

The Arabians turned the classical Saltator, or Leaper, into Al Rakis, the Dancer; [The foregoing Dancer, Beigel said, was in the East merely a posture-maker, which the configuration of these stars plainly shows, and hence this title is appropriate. It seems to have wandered to the near-by Draco for the faint mu (Arrakis), although with a different signification, — the Trotting Camel. ] as also Engonasi, into Al Jathiyy ala Rukbataihi, the One who Kneels on both Knees; this subsequently degenerating into Elgeziale rulxbachei, Alcheti hale rechabatih, Elzegeziale, and Elhathi. It also has often appeared as Alchete and Alcheti; as Algethi, and, in the 1515 Almagest and Alfonsine Tables of 1521, as Algiethi incurvati super genu ipsius.

Argelander catalogues 155 naked-eye stars in Hercules, and Heis 227.

Between zeta and eta, two thirds of the way from zeta, is N. G. C. 6205, 13 M., the finest cluster in the northern heavens. Halley discovered this in 1714 and thought it a nebula, whence its early title, the Halley Nebula; but it is remarkable that it was not sooner seen, for it is visible by the unaided eye, although only 8' in diameter. Herschel's estimate that it contains 14,000 stars.

{Page 243} In the early days of Arab astronomy a space in the heavens, coinciding with parts of Hercules, Ophiuchus, and Serpens, was the Raudah, or Pasture, the Northern Boundary of which, the Nasak Shamiyy, was marked by the stars 8 and gamma Herculis, the Syrians' Row of Pearls, with beta and gamma Serpentis in continuation of the Pasture line; while delta, alpha, and epsilon Serpentis, with delta, epsilon, zeta, and eta Ophiuchi, formed the Southern Boundary, the Nasak Yamaniyyah. The group of stars now known as the Club of Hercules was the Sheep within the Pasture.

[Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning, Richard H. Allen, 1889.]