1821 (circa) Aquarius Celestial Map
By: R. Phillips & Co.
Date: 1821 (circa)
Dimensions: 6.75 x 8 inches (17.15 cm x 20.32 cm)
This lovely antique engraving features the constellation Aquarius, the water bearer, or ‘The Pitcher’ as called by the Babylonians, who associated the figure with one of their important gods.
The name is from the Greek, meaning ‘cup bearer’ or ‘water bearer’. Located in the southern hemisphere, Aquarius was one of the first constellations to be described in full. There are no bright stars in the constellation, making it difficult to find with the naked eye, but it covers 980 square degrees and is the tenth largest constellation in the sky.
The Greeks linked the constellation with Ganymede, cup bearer to the gods. Legend has it that Ganymede was an attractive young man who caught the eye of Zeus and was brought to Mount Olympus, where he served as cup bearer to the gods and was granted eternal youth. Babylonian astronomers identified Aquarius as their god Ea, the ‘Great One’, who was usually depicted with an overflowing pitcher, while the Egyptians considered the water bearer’s jar or pitcher to be responsible for the overflow of the Nile each year.
Condition: This hand colored engraving is in B+ condition. Folded as issued. Toning and mild soiling at the outer edges.
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