Constellations in Ibn Ezra’s “The Beginning of Wisdom”

12th CENTURY – COMPARED WITH PTOLEMY’S (PT) ALMAGEST, 2nd Century

Ibn Ezra’s names for the sky figures sometimes differ considerably from Ptolemy’s names, but he used Ptolemy’s list; by comparing the number of stars in each, I have been able to discover which figures he meant.

ZODIAC SIGNS (IBN EZRA):

1.) ARIES, 13 STARS INCL HORNS & STOMACH (PT HAS 13 STARS, NO MENTION OF STOMACH);
2.) TAURUS, 22 STARS, + PLEIADES “ON THEIR BACK” (PT: 33 STARS, PLEIADES INCLUDED);
3.) GEMINI, 18 STARS (PT: 18 STARS);
4.) CANCER, 9 STARS (PT: 9 STARS);
5.) LEO, 27 STARS (PT: 27 STARS);
6.) VIRGO WAS NOT MENTIONED IN GROUP GIVING NUMBER OF STARS] (PT: 26 STARS);
7.) LIBRA, 8 STARS (PT: CALLS IT “BALANCE” BUT DESCRIBES STARS AS IN “CLAWS” (OF SCORPION): 8 STARS);
8.) SCORPIO, 22 STARS (PT: 21 STARS);
9.) SAGITTARIUS, 31 STARS (PT: 31 STARS);
10.) CAPRICORNUS, 28 STARS (PT: “GOAT”, 28 STARS);
11.) AQUARIUS, 42 STARS (PT: “WATER BEARER”, 42 STARS);
12.) PISCES, 34 STARS (PT: 34 STARS);

SOUTHERN, EXTRA-ZODIACAL FIGURES:

1.) THE LION OF THE SEA, WHICH SOME CALL BEAR: 22 STARS (PT: SEA-MONSTER (CETUS), 22 STARS
2.) THE STRONG DOG, 38 STARS (STRONG MAN?) (PT: ORION, 38 STARS) SURELY AN ERROR!
3.) THE RIVER, 34 STARS (PT: THE RIVER (ERIDANUS), 34 STARS);
4.) THE HARE, 13 STARS (PT: THE HARE (LEPUS), 12 STARS);
5.) THE GREAT DOG, 18 STARS (PT: THE DOG (CANIS MAJOR), 18 STARS);
6.) THE LITTLE DOG, 2 STARS (PT: PROCYON (CANIS MINOR), 2 STARS);
7.) THE SHIP, 45 STARS (PT: ARGUS (ARGO NAVIS), 45 STARS);
8.) THE WILD BEAST, 25 STARS (PT: THE WATER-SNAKE (HYDRA), 25 STARS);
9.) THE GOBLET, 7 STARS (PT: THE BOWL (CRATER), 7 STARS);
10.) THE RAVEN, 7 STARS (PT: THE RAVEN (CORVUS), 7 STARS);
11.) THE ONE WHICH CARRIES THE LION; ½ MAN & ½ HORSE, 36 STARS (PT: THE CENTAUR (CENTAURUS, 37 STARS);
12.) THE LEOPARD, 5 STARS ?? (HERE PT HAS THE WILD BEAST (LUPUS) BUT HAS 19 STARS-??)
((THIS SHOULD BE THE “LION” CARRIED BY #11-WHY IS IT CALLED “LEOPARD? IS THIS A DIFFERENT FIGURE?))
13.) THE CENSER, 7 STARS (PT: THE CENSER (ARA, THE ALTAR), 7 STARS);
14.) THE CROWN, 13 STARS (PT: THE SOUTHERN CROWN (CORONA AUSTRALIS), 13 STARS);
15.) THE SOUTHERN FISH, 11 STARS (PT: THE SOUTHERN FISH (PISCIS AUSTRINUS), 12 STARS);

NORTHERN, EXTRA-ZODIACAL FIGURES:

1.) THE LITTLE BEAR, 7 STARS (PT: LITTLE BEAR (URSA MINOR), 7 STARS);
2.) THE GREAT BEAR, 17 STARS (PT: THE BIG BEAR (URSA MAJOR), 27 STARS);
3.) THE DRAGON, 31 STARS (PT: THE DRAGON (DRACO), 31 STARS);
4.) THE LADY OF THE FLAME, 11 STARS (THIS HAS TO BE PTOLEMY’S CEPHEUS (THE KING): 11 STARS);
5.) THE BARKING DOG, 22 STARS (HERE PT HAS THE PLOUGHMAN (BOOTES), 22 STARS);
6.) THE NORTHERN CROWN, 8 STARS (PT: NORTHERN CROWN (CORONA BOREALIS) 8 STARS);
7.) THE ONE WHICH GOES ON ITS KNEES, 28 STARS (PT: MAN KNEELING (HERCULES), 28 STARS);
8.) THE FALLING EAGLE, 10 STARS (PT: LYRE, 10 STARS);
9.) THE CHICKEN, 17 STARS (PT: THE BIRD (CYGNUS): 17 STARS);
10.) THE ONE WHICH SITS ON THE SEAT, 13 STARS (PT: CASSIOPEIA: 13 STARS);
11.) THE ONE WHICH CARRIES THE HEAD OF THE DEVIL, 26 STARS (PT: PERSEUS, 26 STARS);
12.) THE SHEPHERD WHO HAS BRIDLE IN HIS HAND, 14 STARS (PT:CHARIOTEER (AURIGA, 14 STARS);
13.) THE ONE WHICH HOLDS BACK THE WILD BEAST, 24 STARS (PT:SERPENTARIUS (OPHIUCHUS), 24 STARS);
14.) THE WILD BEAST, 18 STARS (PT: THE SERPENT OF SERPENTARIUS (SERPENS), 18 STARS);
15.) THE DEVIL, 5 STARS (PT: THE ARROW (SAGITTA), 5 STARS);
16.) THE FLYING EAGLE, 9 STARS (PT: THE EAGLE (AQUILA), 6 STARS);
17.) THE SEA-FISH, 10 STARS (PT: THE DOLPHIN (DELPHINUS), 10 STARS);
18.) THE HEAD OF THE HORSE, 4 STARS (PT: FOREPART OF HORSE (EQUULEUS), 4 STARS);
19.) THE WINGED HORSE, 20 STARS (PT: THE HORSE (PEGASUS) 20 STARS);
20.) THE WOMAN WHO HAD NO HUSBAND, 23 STARS (PT: ANDROMEDA. 23 STARS);
21.) THE TRIANGLE, 4 STARS (PT: THE TRIANGLE (TRIANGULUM), 4 STARS);

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