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Virgo is one of the 12 zodiac constellations, first catalogued by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy in the 2nd century. It contains Spica, one of the brightest stars in the night sky. It also contains the autumn equinox point, which lies close to the star Beta Virginis. This is one of the two points in the sky (the other being in the constellation Pisces) where the celestial equator intersects with the ecliptic. Virgo is the second largest constellation in the sky. The only constellation larger in size is Hydra.

Facts[]

  • Virgo is one of the 48 constellations first cataloged by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy in the second century. Its name means “virgin” in Latin. It is an ancient constellation. The Babylonians knew it as “The Furrow”, representing the goddess Shala's ear of grain.

Myths[]

  • Virgo is one of the signs of the Zodiac which is often forgotten about, and this is perhaps apt, for Virgo is the representation of an often overlooked figure from Greek mythology. It is sometimes said that Virgo, the Maiden, is the representation of the Olympian goddess, Artermis, but whilst Artemis was certainly protective of her virtue, Virgo actually represents the goddess Astraea. Astraea was the virgin goddess of Justice in Greek mythology, and was named the daughter of Astraeus and Eos. During the Golden Age, Astraea, and many other deities lived amongst mankind, but as the generations passed, and man became more unruly, most of the gods and goddesses withdrew to the divine palaces. Astraea stayed longer than any other deity but even she eventually felt she could no longer live amongst mankind, at which point Zeus placed her amongst the stars as Virgo.
  • The constellation Virgo is usually associated with the Greek goddess of justice, Dike. Dike was the daughter of Zeus and Greek Titaness Themis. Virgo is usually depicted with angel-like wings, with an ear of wheat in her left hand, marked by the bright star Spica. She is located next to Libra, the constellation representing the scales of justice. Dike was also sometimes known as Astraeia, daughter of Astraeus, considered father of the stars, and Eos, goddess of the dawn.
  • In Greek mythology, Dike lived in the Golden Age of mankind. She was born a mortal and placed on Earth to rule over human justice. The Golden Age was marked by prosperity and peace, everlasting spring, and humans never knowing old age. When Zeus fulfilled the old prophecy and overthrew his father, this marked the beginning of the Silver Age, which was not as prosperous. Zeus introduced the four seasons and humans no longer honored the gods as they had used to. Dike gave a speech to the entire race, warning them about the dangers of leaving behind the ideals of their predecessors and saying worse was yet to come. Then she flew to the mountains, turning her back on humans. When the Bronze and Iron Ages came and humans started warring among themselves, Dike left the Earth altogether, and flew to the heavens.
  • In other stories, the constellation Virgo is identified with Demeter, the corn goddess Atargatis, the Syrian goddess of fertility, and Erigone, the daughter of Icarius, who hanged herself after her father’s death. In this version of the myth, Icarius is associated with the constellation Boötes and the star Procyon in Canis Minor represents Icarius’ loyal dog Maera.
  • Virgo is also associated with Tyche, the goddess of fortune, even though Tyche is usually depicted as holding the horn of plenty and not an ear of grain. The name of the star Spica, which marks the ear of grain held by the goddess, means exactly that, “the ear of grain” in Latin.

Gallery[]

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Zodiac Constellations
Constellations : AriesTaurusGeminiCancerLeoVirgoLibraScorpioSagittariusCapricornAquariusPisces
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