Fixed star:  ASCELLA
Constellation:  Zeta (ζ) Sagittarius
Longitude 1900:  12CAP15 Longitude 2000:  13CAP38
Declination 1900:  -30.01′ Declination 2000:  -29.53′
Right ascension:  19h 02m Latitude:  -07.10′
Spectral class:  A4 Magnitude:  2.7

The history of the star: Ascella

from p.358 of Star Names, Richard Hinckley Allen, 1889.
[A scanned copy can be viewed on this webpage

Zeta (ζ) Sagittarius, Ascella, is a star under the left armpit of the Archer.

AscellaThe Latin Almagest of 1515 gives this as Ascella, i.e. Axilla, the Armpit of the figure, still its location on the maps.

This star zeta (ζ Ascella) with sigma (σ Nunki), tau (τ), and phi (φ) formed a portion of the 18th manzil (Arabic Moon Mansion), Al Na’am, or Al Na’aim al Sadirah, and the whole of that (18th) nakshatra (Hindu Moon Mansion); but the corresponding sieu (Chinese Moon Mansion) included lambda (λ) and mu (μ), with phi (φ) as the determinant.

In ancient Arabia the two small groups of stars now marking the head and the vane of the Archer’s arrow were of much note as relics of still earlier asterisms, as well as a lunar station. The westernmost of these, — gamma (Alnasl), delta (Kaus Medius), epsilon (Kaus Australis), and eta — were Al Na’am al Warid, “the Going Ostriches” and the easternmost, — sigma (Nunki), zeta (Ascella), phi, chi, and tau, — Al Na’am al Sadirah, “the Returning Ostriches”, passing to and from the celestial river, the Milky Way, with the star lambda (Kaus Borealis) for their Keeper. Ideler thought it inexplicable that these non-drinking creatures should be found here in connection with water, and Al Jauhari compared the figures to an Overturned Chair, which these stars may represent. But Al Biruni said that Al Zajjaj had a word that signifies the Beam over the mouth of a well to which the pulleys are attached; while another authority said that pasturing Camels, or Cattle, were intended. There evidently is much uncertainty as to the true reading and signification of this title. All of the stars listed above were included in the Arabic 18th manzil, Al Na’am

Star Names, Their Lore and Meaning, Richard Hinckley Allen, 1889].

The Lunar Mansions

This star zeta (ζ Ascella) with sigma (σ Nunki), tau (τ), and phi (φ) formed a portion of the 18th manzil (Arabic Moon Mansion), Al Na’am, or Al Na’aim al Sadirah. Robson calls it Al Na’am, The Ostriches.

Influences of the 18th Arabic Moon Mansion Al Na’am: Helps the taming of wild beasts, strengthening of prisons, destroys the wealth of societies and compels a man to come to a certain place.

With Moon transiting here: build, ask favors but do not marry. [Robson, p.73.]

This star zeta (ζ Ascella) with sigma (σ Nunki), tau (τ), and phi (φ) formed the 18th nakshatra (Hindu Moon Mansion) Purva Ashadha; The Former Unconquered. Symbol, an Elephant’s Tusk, or, together with the next asterism (Uttara Ashadha), a Bed. Regents, Apas, Waters, and Visve Devas, the Combined Gods. Ruled by Venus.

Influences of the 18th Hindu Moon Mansion Purva Ashadha: A severe asterism belonging to the Brahmin caste and favorable for acts of disgrace, destruction, deceit, imprisonment, beating, burning and poison when containing the Moon. Those born on the lunar day will be truthful, cleanly, wealthy, fond of fruit and flowers and sea voyages. With Moon here at birth native will be conceited, proud, constant in friendship and will have an agreeable life. Rules thatched houses and the back. [Robson, p.83.]

The astrological influences of the constellation Sagittarius

The following are Ptolemy’s remarks: “The stars at the point of the arrow in Sagittarius have influence similar to that of Mars and the Moon: those on the bow, and at the grasp of the hand, act like Jupiter and Mars . . . those in the waist and in the back resemble Jupiter, and also Mercury moderately: those in the feet, Jupiter and Saturn.” … By the Kabalists Sagittarius is associated with the Hebrew letter Vau and the 6th Tarot Trump “The Lovers.” [Robson, p.60.]

The astrological influences of the constellation Sagittarius given by Manilius:

“As for the Archer, when the foremost portion of his cloak rises, he will give birth to hearts renowned in war and will conduct the conqueror, celebrating great triumphs in the sight of all, to his country’s citadels. Such a one will build high walls (moenia from Latin murus) one moment and pull them down the next. But if Fortune favours them too generously with success, the mark of her envy is to be seen on their faces, for she works cruel havoc upon their features. So was it that a dread warrior paid for his victories at the Trebia, Cannae, and the Lake, even before the hour of his retreat, with such disfigurement.” [Translator’s note: *Hanibal who lost an eye (Livy 22.2.11: Sagittarius is one-eyed; see p.103] [Manilius, Astronomica, 1st century AD, book 4, p.267]

“But they whose lot it is to be born under the Centaur of double form delight in yoking a team, in bringing a fiery horse to obey the pliant reins, in following herds which graze all over the grasslands, and in imposing a master on every kind of quadruped and taming them: they soften tigers, rid the lion of his fierceness, speak to the elephant and through speech adapt its huge bulk to human skills in a variety of displays. Indeed, in the stars of this constellation the human form is blended with a beast’s and placed above it; wherefore it has lordship over beasts. And because it carries a shaft poised on drawn bow, it imparts strength to limb and keenness to the intellect, swiftness of movement, and an indefatigable spirit.” [Manilius, Astronomica, 1st century AD, book 4, p.241.]

The astrological influences of the star Ascella

Of the nature of Jupiter and Mercury. It gives good fortune and happiness. [Robson, p.141.]

With Sun: Good fortune and lasting happiness. [Robson, p.141.]

With Moon: New and influential friends, valuable gifts, love of respectable women. [Robson, p.141.]


Fixed Stars and Constellations in Astrology, Vivian E. Robson, 1923].