Capella

Capella traditionally marks the left shoulder of the constellation’s eponymous charioteer, or, according to the 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy’s Almagest, the goat that the charioteer is carrying. In Bayer’s 1603 work Uranometria, Capella marks the charioteer’s back.[78] The three Haedi had been identified as a separate constellation by Pliny the Elder and Manilius, and were called CapraCaper, or Hircus, all of which relate to its status as the “goat star”.[36] Ptolemy merged the Charioteer and the Goats in the 2nd century Almagest.[79]

In Greek mythology, the star represented the goat Amalthea that suckled Zeus. It was this goat whose horn, after accidentally being broken off by Zeus, was transformed into the Cornucopia, or “horn of plenty”, which would be filled with whatever its owner desired.[33] Though most often associated with Amalthea, Capella has sometimes been associated with Amalthea’s owner, a nymph. The myth of the nymph says that the goat’s hideous appearance, resembling a Gorgon, was partially responsible for the Titans‘ defeat, after Zeus skinned the goat and wore it as his aegis.[80]

In medieval accounts, it bore the uncommon name Alhajoth (also spelled AlhaiorAlthaiotAlhaisetAlhatodAlhojetAlanacAlanatAlioc), which (especially the last) may be a corruption of its Arabic name, العيوقal-cayyūq.[81] cAyyūq has no clear significance in Arabic,[82] but may be an Arabized form of the Greek αίξ aiks “goat”; cf. the modern Greek Αίγα Aiga, the feminine of goat.[81] To the Bedouin of the Negev and Sinai, Capella al-‘Ayyūq ath-Thurayyā “Capella of the Pleiades“, from its role as pointing out the position of that asterism.[83] Another name in Arabic was Al-Rākib “the driver”, a translation of the Greek.[81]

To the ancient Balts, Capella was known as Perkūno Ožka “Thunder’s Goat”, or Tikutis.[84] Conversely in Slavic Macedonian folklore, Capella was Jastreb “the hawk”, flying high above and ready to pounce on Mother Hen (the Pleiades) and the Rooster (Nath).[85]

Astrologically, Capella portends civic and military honors and wealth.[35] In the Middle Ages, it was considered a Behenian fixed star, with the stone sapphire and the plants horehound, mint, mugwort, and mandrake as attributes. Cornelius Agrippa listed its kabbalistic sign Agrippa1531 Hircus.png with the name Hircus (Latin for goat).[86][87]

In Hindu mythology, Capella was seen as the heart of BrahmaBrahma Hṛdaya.[35] In traditional Chinese astronomy, Capella was part of the asterism 五車 (Wŭ chē; English: Five Chariots), which consisted of Capella together with Beta AurigaeTheta Aurigae, and Iota Aurigae, as well as Beta Tauri.[88][89] Since it was the second star in this asterism, it has the Chinese name 五車二 (Wŭ chē èr; English: Second of the Five Chariots).[90]

In Quechua it was known as Colça;[35] the Incas held the star in high regard.[91] The Hawaiians saw Capella as part of an asterism Ke ka o Makali’i (“The canoe bailer of Makali’i”) that helped them navigate at sea. Called Hoku-lei “star wreath”, it formed this asterism with ProcyonSiriusCastor and Pollux.[23] In Tahitian folklore, Capella was Tahi-ari’i, the wife of Fa’a-nui (Auriga) and mother of prince Ta’urua (Venus) who sails his canoe across the sky.[92] In Inuit astronomy, Capella, along with Menkalinan (Beta Aurigae), Pollux (Beta Geminorum) and Castor (Alpha Geminorum), formed a constellation Quturjuuk, “collar-bones”, the two pairs of stars denoting a bone each. Used for navigation and time-keeping at night, the constellation was recognised from Alaska to western Greenland.[93] The Gwich’in saw Capella and Menkalinan has forming shreets’ą įį vidzee, the right ear of the large circumpolar constellation Yahdii, which covered much of the night sky, and whose orientation facilitated navigation and timekeeping.[94]

In Australian Aboriginal mythology for the Boorong people of Victoria, Capella was Purra, the kangaroo, pursued and killed by the nearby Gemini twins, Yurree (Castor) and Wanjel (Pollux).[95] The Wardaman people of northern Australia knew the star as Yagalal, a ceremonial fish scale, related to Guwamba the barramundi (Aldebaran).[96]

‘IDA and ADRASTEIA were nymphs of Mount Ida in Krete (Crete) who were entrusted with the care of the infant god Zeus. They hid him away in the secluded Diktaion (Dictaean) cave, nursing him on honey and the milk of the she-goat Amaltheia. The Kouretes (Curetes), meanwhile, masked his cries with their shield-clashing war dance. As a reward for their service, Zeus placed the pair amongst the stars as the constellations Ursa Major and Minor (the Bears). The ancient Greeks also named these constellations Helike (the Circling One) and Kynosoura (the Dog’s Tail), the latter because it appears to form the tail of Canis Major.

Amaltheia was sometimes described as a third nymph in this group, but in most accounts she was the milk-goat. The Idaian nymphs were perhaps the same as the Meliai (Honey-Nymphs) which according to Hesiod were born from the blood of the castrated Ouranos (Uranus).’ [https://www.theoi.com/Nymphe/NymphaiIdaiai.html]

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