or, The Constellations
by Frances Rolleston

Philologos Religious Online Books

Previous | Contents | Next





"And the Lord shall be known to Egypt."—Isaiah 19:21

Table of Contents:

The Ancient Egyptian Zodiac and Planisphere of Dendera

The Ancient Coptic Names of the Twelve Signs of the Zodiac, According to Ulugh Beigh

Notes on Libra













On the Names of the Twelve Signs

Note on the Scarabaeus

Note on Manetho

Zodiac of Esne

* Balbi's Geography says: "Denderah—C'est au plafond d'une des salles superieures qu'etait place le fameux planisphere, que M. Saulnier a fait transporter en France en 1821, et qui, achete par le roi, devrait former maintenant un des plus interessans morceaux du magnifique Musee du Louvre. C'est ce meme planisphere qui a fait naitre tant d'hypotheses pour expliquer la prodigieuse antiquite qu'on attribuait a ce monument, mais qui a disparu devant les faits positifs, du aux savantes recherches faites par MM. Champollion Jeune, Richardson, et autres archeologues."

Approximate translation:
"It's on the ceiling of one of the main rooms where the famous planisphere was located that M. Saulnier had transported to France in 1821, and being bought by the king, should form one of the more interesting pieces in the magnificent Louvre Museum. This is the same planisphere that started so many hypotheses and is used to explain the vast antiquity that is attributed to this monument, but was proved wrong through research done by MM Champollion Jeune (Jr?), Richardson, and other archaeologists."

A painting from the original in the Museum of the Louvre at Paris, was exhibited in London in the year 1823, of which lithographed copies were sold at the exhibition room, Spring Gardens. From one of these given by the exhibitor to the late Wm. Hone the annexed lithograph has been made.

In the explanatory paper circulated with the lithograph in 1823 it is said, "The figures carved and painted on the four sides of this chamber could not be seen without the aid of torches, the smoke of which had covered the zodiac, and hid it for ages. The appearance of this valuable monument, as exposed at Paris on the floor of the Museum of the Louvre, is that of a very large antique bronze medallion. This zodiac is the only astronomical monument of the ancient Egyptians yet discovered which has a circular form." "Its centre is occupied by a fox or chacal." "It is thought that two emblems exactly opposite to each other, in a line passing by the signs Scorpio and Taurus, may mark the places of the equinox at the period when this ancient monument was constructed." "This zodiac or planisphere was discovered in the interior of the great temple at Dendera, when the French army was in Egypt." "It was carved on the ceiling of an obscure chamber, about twelve feet square." "The diameter of the circle of the planisphere is four feet nine inches; this is inscribed in a second circle or band of hieroglyphics, comprised in a square, the side of which measures seven feet nine inches, French measure."* "It was transported to Europe in 1821." "The price paid for it by the King of France was 150,000 francs, or 6250 l. sterling."

* This second circle has not been included in the accompanying plate, being supposed not to relate to the figures of the constellations in the planisphere which it encloses. Above this second circle are the two emblems supposed to indicate the position of the equinox at the time of the construction of this planisphere, as being nearly 2000 BC. That under Taurus appears to be a lighted lamp or candelabrum, of which the flame ascends, as the Sun from the spring equinox in Taurus to the summer solstice, then just quitting Leo and entering the sign now called Cancer, but by the Egyptians figured as the Scarabaeus.
The painting from it, executed in Paris, three feet four inches square, exhibiting in London in 1823, was shown to every person who purchased the lithograph taken from it by a tracing, from which the accompanying lithograph was taken. It has been compared with the plate in Hamilton's Aegyptiaca, and with one in the great French work on Egypt in the British Museum, and found to agree with them in all particulars, except that the fish representing the constellation of the Dolphin is omitted, as is the serpent under the foot of Orion: both of these are here supplied from these authorities.

Various opinions have been brought forward as to the time of the erection of the temple in which the carving was found. It is now generally considered to have been founded about the time when Egypt passed from Greek to Roman dominion, and to have been repaired under other emperors whose names have been deciphered on it. The date of the building has no connexion with that of the invention of the figures of the planisphere; these ancient and traditionally sacred emblems, no longer understood, were still venerated by the builders, and placed in it as mysterious memorials of the primeval religion of Egypt.


Latin Names Coptic Names Explanations Hebrew Roots  
ARIES Tametouris Ammon, Regnum Ammonis Reign, dominion, government hr#m Isa 9:6,7 EV
Ammon, established Nm) Isa 7:9
Jer 42:5
TAURUS Isis or Apis, Horias, Statio Hori Isis, who saves or delivers (#y Zech 9:9
Apis, the head. Apes, Egyptian; as Aleph, Heb.; captain, chief Pl) Jer 13:21
Horias, who cometh, traveller, xr) 2 Sam 12:4
Horias, to save (#y  
GEMINI Clusus, Claustrum Hori The place of Him who cometh, wayfaring man xr) Isa 33:8
CANCER Klaria, Statio Typhonis Klaria, cattle-folds hlk Psa 50:9
Statio Typhonis, who smites, is smitten Ppx Nahum 2:7
LEO Pi Mentekeon, Cubitus Nili Mentekeon, the pouring out Ktn Exo 9:33
VIRGO Aspolia, Statio Amoris Aspolia, lb#h, ears of corn, the seed lb# Gen 41:5
LIBRA Lambadia, Statio propitiationis Lam, Arab. gracious Mhl  
Badia, branch db Eze 17:6
SCORPIO Isias, Statio Isidis Isias, salvation (#y Psa 35:3
SAGITTARIUS Pi Maere, Statio Amenitatis Amenity, graciousness, beauty of the appearing or coming forth h)rm Gen 24:16
CAPRICORNUS Hupenius, Brachium sacrificii Hupe, place or chamber Px Psa 19:5
Nius, of Him having salvation (#wn Zech 9:9
AQUARIUS Hupei Tirion Hupei, place or chamber    
Tirion, of Him coming down as rain hry Hosea 6:3
PISCES Pi-cot Orion, Piscis Hori Cot, fish, the congregation, or company of twyx Psa 104:25; 68:30
Orion, Him who cometh (Arab. form, or formative of the noun), wayfaring men xr) Jer 9:2
Hori, of Horus, Him who cometh, as above.    

These names, thus given by Montucla, Hist. des Mathematiques, are considered to represent the ancient Egyptian. Their great antiquity may be seen from the Cubitus Nili, referring to the inundation of the Nile as under Leo, where the summer solstice, at which it takes place, only remained till about BC 2000: also from there being no allusion to the Scarabaeus, where it afterwards was introduced to mark the recession of the solstice to Cancer, which occurred about the time of the Christian era, Cancer being here called Statio Typhonis, station of Typhon, the enemy who smites and is smitten, to whom was consecrated the ass, mentioned in Genesis 49:14, and borne afterwards on the standard of the tribe of Issachar. Typhon was anciently figured by the Egyptians as having serpents for legs and girded with a serpent, thus identifying him with the serpent-enemy of Genesis. The name Isis, given to Taurus, is not here referred to the so-called goddess of after times, but to the verb (#y, to save, with the Egyptian pronoun masculine S affixed, "this saves." Pi-mahi, the united, is elsewhere given as the name in Gemini. The fish is a well-known emblem of the early Christian Church, or congregation of the Lord, multitudinous in offspring, drawn out of the water, a frequent type in the New Testament, and by them often engraven on their tombs.

The Copts of the present time are believed to be the descendants of the ancient Egyptians. Their language is considered by Scaliger and others to be that of ancient Egypt, with a slight intermixture of Greek. Their letters bear some resemblance to the enchorial or demotic character. Their language has no inflexions, but has letters and particles prefixed. This language exists in a translation of the Scriptures. (Encyclopaedia Britannica)

According to Scaliger and others, the name Copt is derived from AiguptoV Egypt, and Egypt from hpx to cover, veil. It will be remembered that figures of the Nile were frequently as veiled, and also that of Isis. The Biblical name is always Mizraim (narrow, straitened), and in the dual number, perhaps as Upper and Lower Egypt. (Rees' Cyclopaedia)

When Josephus says Yses or Isis meant in Egyptian "preserved," he evidently refers it to the root (#y, to save.

Montucla says that among the Egyptians almost every thing belonged to Isis, Orus, or Osiris.

Josephus: "In the Egyptian mythology Osiris is said to have been slain by Typhon when the sun was in Scorpio."

"The eight divinities are said to have existed before the twelve," as the planets were known before the naming of the signs.

When Manethon says that Hyc is "king" in the sacred tongue, he identifies the sacred with the ancient Hebrew language.

For the first 2000 years of the Hebrew chronology the summer solstice took place in Leo. After perhaps about 1700 years of that time, Egypt was settled and civilized, preserving prophetic and astronomical traditions from the Antediluvians, through Noah and Ham, their more immediate ancestors, to which these names testify. In the first thousand years of that time the inundation of the Nile occurred, while the sun was still in Leo, at the summer solstice; to this time then the origin of these names must be referred, where Pi Mentekeon, the pouring out, is translated Cubitus Nili.

The solstice passing into Cancer 2000 years BC, the Scarabaeus, an emblem of the sun of Egyptian origin, was introduced there; in the long zodiac evidently so. In these names no allusion is made to it, but the original emblem of cattle is there Klaria, and Statio Typhonis, or the ass. Genesis 49.

The Scarabaeus was an emblem of the sun and of the human soul before it was placed in the zodiac to denote the solstice.

In the long zodiac a large figure of the Scarabaeus is below the place of the sign Cancer, and a figure of another smaller kind of beetle seems ascending to the line of the signs near to the figure of a beeve, agreeing with the more ancient emblem of cattle, in Ceno-kir, the possession held, and Sartan, held fast, bound; this emblem, cattle, being still in memory, while in the planisphere it is not in the zodiac, but appears below in Argo. The beetle, or Scarabaeus, has its head detached from the body (or thorax); that of the crab is not so divided. The name Klaria, the cattle-folds, points to the time before the beetle had been introduced into the zodiac, as it is acknowledged the Scarabaeus was by the later Egyptians. The solstice had not receded into the sign Cancer till about BC 2000, considered to be about 150 years before the abiding of Abraham in Egypt, whether learning or teaching astronomy.


"The balance of Amente, or truth, in the Egyptian pictures of the judgment of the human soul, has the figure of a deity, or an ostrich feather (a divine attribute) in one scale, a heart in the other. Horus with a hawk's head, and Anubis with that of a dog, (both names of the sun in the Egyptian triads, both in their primitive roots meaning 'He who cometh,') attend the scales, and sometimes seem to give additional weight to that of the heart." rk), a wing-feather, strong, mighty, whence used as a divine attribute.

The primary meaning of the Noetic root Zadik is the equal poise of a pair of scales. The scales and the balance are mentioned as divinely employed in Isaiah 40:12, in Daniel 5:27, and used as a prophetic emblem, Revelation 6:5.



Names now in use, and Hieroglyphic Names
Egyptian Hieroglyphic Names and Figures* Noetic Roots traced by the Hebrew   Used in the Hebrew Bible
the throned woman.


Set, set up. Set, set up, appointed t# Gen 4:25
A female figure, under which are the hieroglyphic signs denoting a female, an oval or egg,** hcyb, and a half-circle or hill, lt, for Beth, a daughter. According to Albumazer this decan was anciently called "the daughter of splendour."      
the sea-monster or serpent-enemy.


Knem,*** subdued Triumph h)g Exo 15:1,21 &c.
Kanu-nu, victory. (B.) Established Nwk Gen 41:32
Here figured as a monstrous head, trodden under foot by the swine, the natural enemy of the serpent, united to which is the wolf,^ whose name b)z signifies He cometh. The hawk, also a natural enemy of the serpent, crowned with the mortar, the emblem of bruising, is over this figure. It corresponds to the head of Medusa, carried by Perseus. Swine ryzx Lev 11:7
Who turns   Eze 1:9,12,17
Mortar, to bruise #tk Prov 27:22
Medusa, trodden on #wd Job 39:15
He who breaks or bruises


Kar Knem     1 Sam 28:16
Kar, who fights. (B.) Who fights r( Psa 139:20
The figure of a man with the tail of a quadruped appended as to a girdle, signifying This cometh, by the word tail, bnz, this cometh, or shall be sent forth. Who destroys, subdues, Arabic   Dan 4:16
this hz Gen 5:9
Cometh )wb Gen 2:22
He has a royal diadem or fillet round his head. Or is sent forth )bn  
* The Hieroglyphic names here used are given on the authority of Mr. Birch, of the British Museum, by whom they were furnished to C. H. Cottrell, translator of Bunsen's Egypt, and by him they were given to the present writer.

** Egg, Job 39:14; hill or heap, Deut 13:16; hill, Arab.

*** Bunsen says that the sound of the letter G is mostly rendered by K in hieroglyphics. Probably the guttural sound of ( would also be so expressed. The addition of the servile letters M or N is common in the ancient dialects, whether Shemitic (Hebrew, Arabic, Syriac), or Hamitic (as the Egyptian), as in the name of the country Mizraim, from rc, narrow, straitened, (Num 22:26,) as the valley of the Nile.

^ The wolf is now considered the genus, of which the dog is a species, blk, which cleaves to man.


Names now in use, and Hieroglyphic Names
Egyptian Hieroglyphic Names and Figures* Noetic Roots traced by the Hebrew   Used in the Hebrew Bible


Ha-ga-t, who triumphs Ha, the chief. (B.) )g, ga, trimphs )g Exo 15:1,21
In the lower circle are hieroglyphic characters that read Oar, Orion having been anciently spelt Oarion.  
T is the article affix, the or this. (Bunsen.)
the river.


Peh-ta-t, mouth of the river, originating from the urn of Aquarius, figured by water in Pisces. Mouth, hp; river, y) (t); water, Aa. (B.) Mym Gen 8:9
the shepherd


Tum, sceptre, power. (B.) Subdued, put to silence, tame. (Heb.) hmd Psa 94:17
Who subdues, tames. He carries the head of an animal (Ba,* He cometh) on a cross or sceptre.
The cross was said to be emblematic of life, divine life, among the Egyptians, whose belief in the immortality of the soul is well known.  
* Ba, in Egyptian any quadruped, also He cometh, )b, whence the heads of such are placed on a human figure to denote "He cometh."

The union of the divine and human nature, in Him who was to come, is expressed by a youth leading by the hand a young woman. The man has the frequent appendage of the tail of a quadruped, signifying "this cometh."

Names now in use, and Hieroglyphic Names
Egyptian Hieroglyphic Names and Figures* Noetic Roots traced by the Hebrew   Used in the Hebrew Bible
(Arnebeth, the enemy of Him that cometh)


The enemy of Him who cometh, trodden under foot, here figured as the hoopoe, an unclean bird, standing over the serpent under the foot of Orion.  
Bashti-beki, confounded, failing. (B.) Bashti, confounded #b Job 6:20
Beki, failing qb Isa 19:3
the prince


The prince, figured by the hawk,* enemy of the serpent, the Egyptian substitute for the eagle Nesir; called in the Greek sphere the first or great dog, but anciently the wolf, whose name b)z, this cometh, denoted the coming to reign. On his head is the pestle and mortar, denoting who shall bruise the head of the enemy. Swiftly coming down Cn Lev 11:16
Victory, or a vulture. (B.) r#n Deut 32:11
Eagle, coming down,
Apes, the head. (B.) Apes, the face or head, commanding hp Gen 45:21
Exo 17:1
Eccle 8:2
the deliverer from evil


The lesser dog or wolf, representing the first coming to redeem, by a human figure with the hawk's head, and the appendage of the tail  
Sebak, conquering, victorious. (B.) Shebah, making captive, Heb. hb# Exo 22:10
* The hawk, Cn, Naz, caused to come forth, sent forth. Nazir, who preserves, guards, keeps. Isaiah 26:3, &c.

Names now in use, and Hieroglyphic Names
Egyptian Hieroglyphic Names and Figures* Noetic Roots traced by the Hebrew   Used in the Hebrew Bible


The chacal, or wolf, standing on the ploughshare, )t), which comes, tearing or bruising the ground. Ploughshare t) Isa 2:4
Coming )t) Deut 33:2
Api, head; Fent, of the serpent. (B.) Head, hp; Fent, serpent, adder h(p) Job 20:16
Siphon, Arab.  


A female swine, enemy of the serpent, holding a ploughshare,* implement of bruising, emblem of coming. Swine ryzx Lev 11:7
Who turns   Eze 1:9
Fent-har, enemy of the serpent Enemy, r(, Chaldee r( Psa 139:20
Har, who terrifies. (B.)     Dan 4:16
Kark, to smite, with a scimitar, to strike. (B.) Enraged against rrx Gen 18:30
This figure holding a ploughshare will account for that title having been given to Ursa Major. Ploughshare  
Coming ht) Job 3:25
Bruising, crushing #rh Job 1:14
or Canopus, the possession of Him who cometh


A beeve with the crux ansata, cross with handle, or emblem of life, round its throat. Ba, who cometh )wb  
Rejoicing #y# Job 3:22
Shes-en-fent, rejoicing over the serpent. (B., worm.) Fent, serpent, adder** h(p) Job 20:16
* The ploughshare here figured accounts for the name of the plough having been given to this constellation.

** Fent, worm, serpent. Shakespeare says of the aspic of Cleopatra, "worm of the Nile." Worm, from Mr(, subtil, Genesis 3:1.


Names now in use, and Hieroglyphic Names
Egyptian Hieroglyphic Names and Figures* Noetic Roots traced by the Hebrew   Used in the Hebrew Bible
The serpent under the lion's foot. The name is not given in Mr. Birch's list; but hieroglyphics that read Knem (He who triumphs, who conquers, or is conquered) are underneath these figures.** Knem, from Khan, whence King and Khan, established, fixed. Nwk Psa 93:2
A plumed female figure, holding a vase or cup in each hand, while responding to the constellation Crater, may be a memorial that at the arrangement of the emblems, the invention of astronomy, the summer solstice was there, and consequently the pouring forth of the inundation of the Nile. There are characters below, which may be "sent forth," as water from the vase. Her seat is figured as the thighs of a beast. hry Exo 15:4
Thigh Kry Psa 45:3
To send forth hry Hosea 6:3


The bird perched on the serpent at the heel of the lion.  
Her-na, great enemy. (B.) Her, as in Cancer r(  
Na, fail, break, enemy failing )n Num 32:7
* hyr), the lion, Ar, Egyptian, to come. (B.)

** Conquer is probably from the root Nwk.


Names now in use, and Hieroglyphic Names
Egyptian Hieroglyphic Names and Figures* Noetic Roots traced by the Hebrew   Used in the Hebrew Bible
the desired


Figured as the infant held by a woman seated beneath  
Shes-nu: Shes, son or offspring (B.); Nu, desired, Heb. Offspring h# Exo 12:5
Desired hw) Isa 26:9
the appointed offering himself as a sacrifice


A human figure with the tail, "this cometh," and with the head of a calf or lamb of sacrifice.  
Knemu: Mu, to die. (B.) Mnk, appointed, established Nk 1 Kings 7:21
The appointed dieth, is bruised To die twm Gen 2:17
who cometh


A human figure, as coming, holding the ploughshare, to break or bruise the enemy. Ploughshare t) Joel 3:10
Smat, who rules, subdues. (B.) M#, makes  
Comes, ht) Ordain, place M# Exo 13:16
Comes ht) Deut 33:2


Names now in use, and Hieroglyphic Names
Egyptian Hieroglyphic Names and Figures* Noetic Roots traced by the Hebrew   Used in the Hebrew Bible


The figure of a lion, hyr), who cometh to tear, to gain the victory. His tongue is out of his mouth, as in thirst.* A female figure offers a cup. He holds the usual hieroglyphic for running waters. Who comes )b ())  
To draw water, to drink, Arab. sense b)# Gen 24:11
Sera, victory. (B.) Who rules, Heb. r#  
Sets free hr# Job 37:3
held by the Centaur


The emblem called Harpocrates, a child or youth with the finger on the lip. Lip, hp# hp# Song 4:3, &c.
Break or bruise Pw# Job 9:17
Sura, a sheep or lamb. (B.) Lamb h# Gen 3:15


The enthroned figure above Who cometh r)  
Api-aatl: Api, head or chief (B.); Aatl, noble (B.), strong, Heb. The Ruler Nd)
Gen 42:30
Num 24:21
* Ab, thirst (B.), Heb. who comes. In the swine representing Ursa Major the tongue out of the mouth is thus accounted for.

** Corona Borealis, the Northern Crown, is the only constellation whose form corresponds with its name, being a perfect circle. It is vertical over Jerusalem once in every revolution of the earth, and (Isa 62:3) its name comes through the Greeks, as of Ariadne, who comes to reign.


Names now in use, and Hieroglyphic Names
Egyptian Hieroglyphic Names and Figures* Noetic Roots traced by the Hebrew   Used in the Hebrew Bible
enemy of Him who cometh, held by Ophiuchus


Figured as the serpent under the foot of the throned figure.  
Khu, ruled (B.); Or, enemy; Bakh, bows down, ruled. (B.) Enemy r( Psa 139:20
Caused to fail qb Jer 19:7
the serpent conqueror


A throned human figure with the hawk's head, as enemy of the serpent.   hp  
Api-bau, the chief or head who cometh. (B.) Api, head, face )wb Psa 96:13
Bau, who cometh  
who bruiseth the head, and is bruised in the heel


He who bruises, a human figure with the club, as Hercules.  
Bau, who cometh. (B.) Who cometh )wb  
* "In ancient zodiacs," apparently Egyptian, "this sign is sometimes represented as a snake, a crocodile, or typhon, with serpents' tails for legs." (Aspin.)

Names now in use, and Hieroglyphic Names
Egyptian Hieroglyphic Names and Figures* Noetic Roots traced by the Hebrew   Used in the Hebrew Bible
or the harp, held by the eagle, the triumph


Figured as a hawk or eagle, the enemy of the serpent in triumph.     Job 20:16
Fent-kar, the serpent, worm (B.), ruled. Fent, worm or serpent, viper h(p) Isa 30:6, 59:5
the altar of the sacrifice


A throned human figure holding the flail, the implement of bruising. In the modern sphere this decan is very obscure. There seems here to have been a victim in the Persian sphere. To the throned figure the Egyptian name seems to refer. Bau, he cometh )b Isa 63:1
Bau, He cometh, as in Scorpio  
the serpent enemy


The serpent, or dragon, under the forefoot of Sagittarius.  
Her-fent, the serpent, or the serpent accursed. Her, cursed )r) Gen 3:14
Fent, as above.  
* "The Southern Crown is of recent invention, formed from stars formerly belonging to Sagittarius." (Aspin.)

Names now in use, and Hieroglyphic Names
Egyptian Hieroglyphic Names and Figures* Noetic Roots traced by the Hebrew   Used in the Hebrew Bible
of slaying


A tailed figure with the hawk's head, standing over the junction of the head of the kid with the body of the fish. Fent, serpent; suphon, Arab. zpyp# Gen 49:17
Fent-kar, serpent  
Kar, enemy. Heb. enemy. Kar, enemy r( Psa 139:20
the falling eagle


A bird, goose of the Nile, apparently.  
Su-at,** He cometh***
Su, He (B.); At, cometh, Heb.
Cometh ht) Job 3:25
the dolphin


A fish  
Khau, multitude, fish; goat? (B.), or hoped for, Heb. Khau, longed for hwq Job 7:2
* In an Oriental zodiac given by Sir Wm. Jones, this sign is represented as a fish, out of whose mouth is coming forth an antelope surrounded by aquatic birds. In an Egyptian zodiac the sea-goat is held in a band by a figure called Anubis, who shall be sent forth, )bnh; in an Indian one it is said to be "a goat passant, traversed by a fish."

** S. the pronoun he, she, or it. (B.)

***Bau, according to Bunsen, is the verb "to come," and the noun derived from it, in the hieroglyphic, as in the Hebrew and Greek, and their derivative languages. Ba*, according to Bunsen's vocabulary, is also a beast, cattle, as bos, Latin, bouV, Greek, a beeve. In Hebrew, it is "to come," )b, in Latin and in modern languages often taking its sound of v. Hence a beast or beast's head is a hieroglyphic sign for "who comes."

* Baion is a branch, in Greek, of the palm-tree, also in Egyptian. (Parkh)

Names now in use, and Hieroglyphic Names
Egyptian Hieroglyphic Names and Figures* Noetic Roots traced by the Hebrew   Used in the Hebrew Bible


The figure seems to include both the fish and the stream of water on it. Aar, a stream. Iar, a stream r)y Gen 41:1
the winged horse
The ascending node, of which the headless horse is an emblem.** sws, a horse sws Job 39:18
the swan


The swan  
Tes-ark, this from afar, Kr), Heb. Tes, this (B.), afar Kr) Gen 6:15
* Aur, a river. (B.)

** There is another headless figure below Pisces, where the ascending node, or winter solstice, had been BC 4000.

*** No hieroglyphic name was here given in the list from which the others are supplied, but there are two characters immediately below what is here considered as representing Pegasus, a human figure, with a fillet or diadem round the head, whose hand takes hold of the head of a horse. Of these characters, the first is always read as Pe, the second appears to stand for Ka, and Peka, or Pega, is in Hebrew, the chief;* and Sus, the horse, so named as swiftly coming, returning, as the year after the winter solstice, anciently in this sign.

* As "Pacha."

Names now in use, and Hieroglyphic Names
Egyptian Hieroglyphic Names and Figures* Noetic Roots traced by the Hebrew   Used in the Hebrew Bible


A tailed human figure walking  
U-or* (B.), who cometh, r), Heb. To flow forth r)  
Flood rw) Amos 8:8
the crowned king, the branch


The wolf lying on the fore-leg of a beast Wolf, b)z, who cometh; foreleg, (rz, also the seed (rz Gen 3:15
Pe-ku-hor, this (B.), to rule (B.), cometh (B. and Heb.)
the Church set free


A female figure, either that in the circle holding a victim, or that holding the band of Pisces, under which are the characters, S-r, as of Sirra, one name of Andromeda, which therefore seems most likely. Lady or Princess hr# Gen 17:15
Set, set up Appointed tw# Job 14:13
Sutn being "a king" (B.), this may be "queen," as the spouse of Perseus the deliverer Set up as king  
* U, to come (B.), Or, to come (B.).
Those creatures who are mentioned by naturalists as the natural enemies of the serpent were peculiarly honoured by the Egyptians, the hawk, the ibis, the ichneumon, the cat, the swine. That they fed on the serpent may be one reason why the Jews were ordered to hold them unclean (Lev 11). The poisonous serpent, known by the breadth of the head, was the representation of the enemy. The innocuous serpent or snake, whose head is slender and pointed, was the hieroglyphic figure of the progression of time, which its swift and noiseless motion well typifies.


The Twelve Signs and their accompanying thirty-six Decans occupy the central group of the planisphere. In the circle of figures below, and enclosing that group, the five planets may be recognized, each in one of the "houses," or positions, traditionally, and from all antiquity, assigned to them. To the figures thus to be explained, no "tail" is appended; it cannot apply to them, as "this cometh," for they are circling continually, and as it were always present with us.

Marks of reference have been inserted in the lithograph for the proposed explanations. These are, in the twelve signs, Roman numerals, in the thirty-six decans, Arabic cyphers; for the planets, the five English vowels in capitals, and the four and twenty letters of the English alphabet for other figures. The hieroglyphic names of the decans are said to be found on this planisphere: one at least of the names of the planets is there, Athor, that of the Egyptian Venus, by whose figure it may be read.

(See The Ancient Coptic Names of the Twelve Signs of the Zodiac, According to Ulugh Beigh)

TAMETOURIS AMMON, the reign of Ammon, dominion, government. The ram's head, crowned as it were with a circle, is below in the planisphere, marked i, having two horns, as the beeve, and one of the ram.

ISIS, who saves. Apis and Aleph, chief, as the bull of the herd. A figure with the divine attribute of ostrich feathers on the head, and the tail of the beeve appended, is above, as Auriga, the third Decan of Taurus. Horias, who cometh; the zodiacal bull being always in the act of coming.

CLUSUS, CLAUSTRUM HORI, place of him who cometh. The figures in Gemini are walking, coming. In the planisphere the second appears to be feminine, and has not the tail; the companion of Him that cometh, the congregation or church of His people.

KLARIA, the cattle-folds or station of Typhon, or the ass, so agreeing with the standard of Issachar, and with the beeve below. These names therefore appear to be of earlier origin than the planisphere, where the Scarabaeus, the beetle, marks the position the solstice had attained. In the figure and name of the ass there is no allusion to the solstice.

PI MENTEKEON, the pouring out, the inundation of the Nile, shows the solstice, which was in Leo at the date assigned to the creation of Adam. The inundation is here figured by a woman pouring out of two vases, the solstice remaining in Leo 1000 years; this name and emblem referring to that time—not from observation, but from calculating backwards.

ASPOLIA, the seed, the promised seed of the woman, showing the love of Him who "so loved the world," &c.

LAMBADIA, the branch of graciousness, mercy. Has not the branch been an emblem of peace always and every where? "The olive-branch of peace." Ab, he cometh, may be read here between Libra and Virgo,—the bird, A; the beeve, B. Over the balance the youth touching his lip, he bruises and is bruised; and above, the wolf Zeeb, this shall come; again above him the throned figure with the flail, he shall bruise.

ISIAS, he shall save; the ibis-headed and enthroned figure who treads under foot the serpent.

PI MAERE, the station of graciousness, where the conqueror who shall come, as the arrow from the bow, treads the serpent under foot. The characters under the hind foot read he conquers (Knem).

HUPENIUS, place of the sacrifice, the kid, whose head is united to the body of the fish; the ibis-headed and tailed figure stands over the junction. HE, the head, is joined to His body the Church.

HUPEI TIRION, place of him coming down, poured out. The pourer has not the tail.

PI-COT ORION, PISCIS HORI, the fishes of Him that cometh. Here is the ascending node or winter solstice, where Aquarius and Pisces join, answering to the summer solstice in Leo.

Those who invented the emblems derived them from the prophecies that had been given them in Genesis 3:15; the seed of the woman shall come, shall be bruised in the heel, and shall bruise the serpent's head. Every name and every figure of this record of ancient astronomy relates to this prophecy, this promise, and to this alone.

The five figures here considered as representing the planets, marked with the five vowels, are.

* These stars, being seven, refer to a time previous to the siege of Troy, when the seventh Pleiad is said to have disappeared, at least 1000 years BC.
Egyptian Names of Planets.
(Montucla, Hist. des Math.)
Rephan, Deus temporis, or Pan Saturn
Pi-Cheus, Deus vitae Jupiter
Moloch,* Typhon Mars
Pi-Othiris, or Osiris The Sun
Thaut, or Pi-Ermes Mercury
Surath, or Athor, or Souroi Venus
Isis, or Domina Maris et Humidorum The Moon
Pi-Cochos Achtephon, the circle completed  
* Moloch, Heb. Melech, King, a frequent epithet of Mars.
The Egyptian week began with Saturday. (Montucla, Hist. des Math.)

In Egypt a branch of the palm, with twelve shoots, was used at the winter solstice, as a symbol of the year completed.


In this planisphere the stars and emblems are appropriately connected; as in Sirius one star of the first magnitude; in Gemini two stars, one most brilliant in the lion's foot on the serpent, one clear and bright in the head of the bull; in Scorpio one, red as if for wrath and blood, where the enemy bruises the heel, while his own head is bruised by the victor.

It will be seen that the signs of the zodiac are the same in this ancient Egyptian planisphere as those now in use, but that in the figures representing the other constellations there is small resemblance, except perhaps in that of Orion, walking, coming.

The antiquity indicated by the place of the solstice in this planisphere would at once overthrow the already almost exploded idea of the signs having any reference to the seasons.

In the design sometimes called the title-page to the cave at Ipsamboul, a hero-figure with divine attributes, especially the common Egyptian emblem, the vulture over the head, whose Oriental name Ayit, conveys "he that cometh," has been called Sesostris; but the inscription above, like the figure, seems to refer to one greater than Sesostris, to the conqueror who should come: both may have thus been originally intended, and in adulation applied to a human sovereign. It is thus read, "The living good God, the glorious guardian smiting the south country, treading down the north country, the victorious King cometh, smiting with the sword the boundaries of all the nations of the world." The prophecy of Balaam is here recalled to remembrance, of the sceptre that should smite the corners of Moab and destroy (properly subjugate) all the children of Seth.

The figure of the conqueror of colossal stature attended by the lion, and having the reins of his fiery coursers attached to his waist, appears also more divine than human; surely no mere mortal could so guide them: the lion may typify the triumphs of the Lion of the tribe of Judah, predicted in the last blessing of his father, Jacob.

If the inventors, the first framers of the hieroglyphs, understood and intended to express the first prophecies, those who followed would probably add to or change them in some degree. Much, however, has been preserved: the twelve signs marvellously so, in so many, so far distant nations, distant in time and place.

It will be seen that the pervading import of the names and emblems is "He that cometh will come, and will not tarry." Four thousand years before His first coming it was thus announced. He came in the fulness of time, beyond which He would not tarry. The types of His incarnation and sufferings were then fulfilled: they now remain monuments of accomplished prophecy. Those of His second coming in glory point onward, in faith and hope, to that futurity of which the past is a pledge and a foretaste. Of that second coming it has been even more urgently proclaimed, "Behold, He cometh quickly." Near two thousand years have gone by in "the earnest expectation of the creatures,"—an interval, long in comparison with man's transitory existence, but short if compared with the ages of earth's duration from that "beginning" to which refer the first words of earth's history. If compared with the infinitudes of eternity to come, it will be short indeed!—a narrow interval of immeasurable results, commencing with the purchase of that glorious realm from which it will be surveyed, and terminating with the return of that King whose expecting subjects have still sighed forth, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus; come quickly."

This explanation is founded on the principle that the prophetic promise recorded in Genesis 3:15, was known to all the children of Adam, and from Noah* to all his descendants, among whom is mentioned Mizraim, son of Ham,** considered the founder of Egyptian colonization after the flood. Manetho speaks of records preserved in the "sacred language" from before the flood, and translated after that event.

* It is observed in the Chronology of Sir Isaac Newton, that the Egyptians attributed their astronomy to a person, one of whose names was Oannes, who came from the Red Sea, a tradition which points to Noah, especially when it is remembered that the name of Noah's vessel was Thebah, and that on the walls of the Egyptian Thebes were represented figures of a ship.

Modern Egyptologers remark that there is no trace of imperfect civilization in Egypt. That country appears to have been colonized by those possessing all the knowledge in science and in art of the land they came from; and the Egyptians did not improve on either, but they perpetuated both.

** The Egyptians called their land Chem, from their forefather, Ham; in Genesis called Mizraim, from his son, derived from the root rwz, pressed together, bound up, Isaiah 1:6, Syriac, &c. Being in the dual, it is supposed to be Upper and Lower Egypt, or the two sides of the Nile.


Of all the mythology of the children of Adam, the leading, the governing idea is the prophetic declaration, "He shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel." The word P# peculiarly denotes bruising by biting, or bruising, as the reptile the heel of the man. A human figure (frequently with divine attributes) repeatedly occurs in the hieroglyphics of Egypt, as in those of India, with the foot on the serpent's head. In those of Egypt the victory is generally so represented, the victory of Him who cometh, over the serpent foe, by the action of bruising. The implement of bruising, the flail, is frequently held by this figure (Isa 28:28), who has also on his head what has been called a pestle and mortar: these also are implements of bruising (Prov 27:22). "He shall bruise" is the import of these figures. Such also is that of a ploughshare, which breaks or bruises the ground, t), from )t), he cometh.

Those figures here explained to signify he cometh, have the hitherto inexplicable appendage of a tail, the tail of an animal of the beeve kind, whose Egyptian name, Ba, signifies, as in the cognate dialects, Hebrew, &c., Greek, also the verb to come; while the tail, bnz would signify "this cometh, or is caused to come." hz, this, b)n, caused to come, sent forth; the tail is bound on with a girdle, rz), round the waist of the walking, or coming human figure: rz), a girdle or girded, signifying power, strong.

That the Seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head, and the serpent should bruise His heel, was the prediction. The Seed of the woman, a divine person with no human father, born to die, was also to conquer the enemy of man, the evil one, emblematized by the serpent. This prophetic promise is the foundation of all mythology, from Egypt to Polynesia; while in the astronomy of every ancient nation the signs of the zodiac are preserved nearly the same as they are here delineated in that of Egypt. The woman bearing the seed, the ear of corn, or branch, is most remarkable in all, as the sign Virgo. A human figure, whose foot is on a serpent, is figured in the Chaldean sphere,* in the sign Scorpio; in the Egyptian and Indian there is only the Scorpion. Still in the decans or accompanying constellations, the conqueror, as in the hieroglyphic names, is seen. In the Egyptian sphere, here delineated, He always appears as the conqueror, the triumphant, sometimes enthroned, but mostly as walking, coming. In the first sign, Aries, called in Egyptian, Tametouris Ammon, the reign of Ammon, or the Lamb, He is seated, dwelling, and as one meaning of the name may be, established; in all the others He is coming. The Scarabaeus, which has taken the place of the sign between Gemini and Leo, has in the long zodiac** the wings extended as flying. That in the original sign was the "strong ass" of Issachar, the animal held by the Egyptians to be dedicated to Typhon, their personification of evil, is to be inferred from the Coptic name of the sign, Statio Typhonis: Typhon being who smites or is smitten.

* The sphere now in use among ourselves is here referred to as the Chaldean.

** For this zodiac, see Hamilton's Aegyptiaca.

In the planisphere of Dendera, as in other delineations of the starry heavens, the twelve signs of the zodiac are evidently the chief objects, to which the other figures are in subordination. Their forms are so little different from those on modern globes as to be easily recognized. The ancient Coptic names, supposed to be the ancient Egyptian, are given from Ulugh Beigh.

The same emblems in the same order are given in the catalogue of Hipparchus, drawn up about 130 years BC. Ptolemy, who transmits that catalogue, added the figure of the half-horse above Pegasus. Perhaps he did this to keep up the number of forty-eight, after the disappearance below the horizon of the north temperate zone, of the Southern Cross, no longer seen there in his time. This precedent seems to have suggested the additions that embarrass our modern globes with air-pumps, easels, and other incongruities. Some of the names of the fixed stars were transmitted through the early Greeks, but many more by the Arabs. These were first communicated to the western nations by the Arab astronomers invited by Alphonsus, king of Castile, to assist in drawing up the Alphonsine tables. The Tartar prince and astronomer Ulugh Beigh about the year 1420 drew up his celebrated tables, which give Arabian astronomy as it had come down to his time, also transmitting the ancient Coptic or Egyptian names as here given. A much earlier authority, however, is found in Albumazer, the great Arab astronomer of the caliphs of Granada, early in the ninth century, and in Aben Ezra, his commentator, in the thirteenth.*

* This Commentary is in the British Museum, and has been much made use of in "Mazzaroth."
In the long zodiac the decans appear between the twelve signs that they accompany; the three decans attributed to each sign come to the meridian with it, though a slight allowance must be made for the changed position of the pole, which, at the first arrangement of these emblems, would be in Alpha Draconis, the bright star in the head of the dragon, surrounding the pole. The absence of closer similarity between the forms of these Egyptian figures representing the thirty-six ancient constellations, and those by which the Arabian and Greek sphere denoted them, is, however, supplied by the coincidence in the names. For instance, the hieroglyphic name of Bootes is Bau: Bau, in the ancient Egyptian, having the meaning of "He cometh," and also of cattle, beasts, so coinciding with the purport of the emblem "He cometh," and the office attributed to Him of a herdsman, a keeper of cattle.* The common origin of mankind, their descent from the one ancestor, Noah, will fully account for similarity, and the confusion of the lip at Babel for differences. Those who hold that remains of human beings are found in positions indicating a far superior antiquity, should be reminded that the book of Genesis only records the history of the children of Adam, and neither asserts nor denies that a race of beings of similar bodily proportions might have previously existed. If such did exist, all we know of them is that they died. "He who was to come," the great theme of ancient prophecy and ancient astronomy, did not come through them; He was to come, and did come of the race of Adam; the seed of the woman, bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh.
* Zechariah 13. The Egyptian figure having the head of a beeve.
This ancient zodiac, or map of the stars of heaven, has, however, been considered to refer to dates perfectly consistent with that usually assigned to the creation of Adam. 1730 BC has repeatedly been given as deducible from its figures.

In a recent periodical it is supposed an essential of the Christian faith to believe that "the serpent was Satan." Is it not rather that the enemy took possession of the natural body of the serpent, through which to communicate with the woman?*

* Sharon Turner, Sac. Hist., vol. ii. p. 265—"It is a curious fact, that the Mexicans had a tradition of the history of Eve, and a representation of it, in their symbolical paintings. Humboldt thus mentions the circumstance. In describing the hieroglyphical paintings of the Mexicans in the Borghian Museum at Veletri, he says, 'that No. 1, Cod. Borg. fol. ii. represents the mother of mankind, the serpent-woman, the Eve of the Mexicans.'—Humb. Researches, vol. ii. p. 834. Of the Codex Vaticanus he mentions, 'the group No. 2 represents the celebrated serpent-woman, Cihux-cohuatl, called also Quilatzi, or Tonacacihua, woman of our flesh. She is the companion of Tonacateuctli. The Mexicans considered her as the mother of the human race. After the god of the celestial paradise, Ometeuctli, she held the first rank among the divinities of Aushuac. We see her always represented with a great serpent.'—Humb. ib. vol. i. p. 195. 'Their Adam is called Tonacateuctli, or Lord of our flesh; he is represented in the Cod. Borg. fol. 9.'—Humb. ib. 226."
Kircher says, "A serpent* with the tail in the mouth was the hieroglyphic for the year" (and probably for other cycles).
* These figures of serpents or snakes connected with time, have a narrow-pointed head, as the innoxious species always have; the enemy has the broad obtuse head of the venomous ones, as the cobra, &c.
"A serpent was the hieroglyphic by which the course of the stars was explained." (Sir W. Drummond)

In some Egyptian monument it is said that the figures* in Gemini had one, the moon, the other, the sun, on their heads: thus perhaps accounting for one of them being feminine in the planisphere. This might imply that one was of earth, the other of heaven, as Castor and Pollux.

* It is possible the long-robed figure may have been intended as priestly, the Egyptian priests being robed in a long linen garment called Calasiris, Heb. the clothing of the Prince.
"The leg and hoof of a goat was a Punic emblem" as well as an Egyptian. (rc, a hawk, an emblem of God, according to Clemens Alex.

"A plough which bruises, occurs frequently on the breasts of mummies." (Dr. Clarke)

Ammonius says, "The Egyptians had a custom of naming the Moon in the feminine."

Manetho, as cited by Dio. Laert., says that the Egyptians taught that the moon was eclipsed by falling into the earth's shadow.

The Arabian geographer Abdraschid, AD 1403, calls Saturn, Rephan, Mars, Melockh, and Jupiter, Pi-Cheus. To him were doubtless well known the learning of the astronomers Al Makrisi and Al Fargani, patronized in the ninth century by the Caliph of Bagdad, Al Mamon, the son of Al Raschid, who caused to be made from Greek into Arabic, those translations of Hebrew, Greek, and Latin writers, by which they are in some instances preserved for Europe. (French Institute)

It has been supposed that the Dendera zodiac contained a horoscope, but inserted upon an ancient planisphere, as is the case with modern horoscopes. There is a human figure near Cancer, without divine or mystic attributes, who might be what is called "the native," the person for whom the horoscope is drawn.

The date of this or any other zodiac may be calculated from the place of the solstices. The sun's place at the solstice recedes from west to east about one sign in two thousand years. According to the usually received chronology, when Noah left the ark it was about the middle of Aquarius, where it is recorded to have been observed in China. In antediluvian times it had just quitted Pisces. The headless horse, type of the ascending node or winter solstice, in the Dendera planisphere appears to be over the figure of Aquarius, perhaps at its middle or fifteenth degree. This indicates the origin of this zodiac to have been in times when its position was in Aquarius: but the position of the summer solstice had been since altered to suit the precession of the equinoxes, by inserting a scarabaeus, beetle, or crab, in the position where the summer solstice began to take place about 2000 BC. 4000 BC it had been where the signs of Leo* and Virgo join, being according to tradition, at the time of the creation of Adam, the first observer of the heavens. Such, common sense tells that he must have been, even if tradition had not so called him. The insertion of the crab or scarabaeus, to mark the recession of the solstice, indicates a date less than 2000 BC., consequently later than that indicated by the position of the headless figure over Aquarius. In the smaller zodiac the summer solstice is in many ways marked as in Cancer, in that part nearest to Gemini. Therefore it is of a later date than the circular. The Scarabaeus, passing its early existence as a worm in the earth, and issuing thence a winged denizen of heaven, was held sacred by the Egyptians as an emblem of the resurrection of the body, in which they firmly believed, and from which they derived their custom of preserving it as a mummy.**

* The Egyptian astronomers taught that at the Creation the sun rose in Leo, the moon in Cancer; these signs have always been called their houses. The very ancient science of astrology also gave each of the planets their houses or signs, Aries being called the house of Mars, Virgo of Mercury, Sagittarius of Jupiter, Libra of Venus, Capricorn of Saturn. If at, or soon after, Adam's creation, these planets were in these signs, such might be the origin of this appropriation.

** The male Scarabaei are smaller than the female; the male typifying the sun setting to rise again, also, the resurrection of man; the female, the renewed year.

The figures of this planisphere tend to show, that the primeval religion of Egypt was that revealed to Adam, and transmitted by Noah. That the Seed or offspring of the woman should bruise the head of the serpent, the enemy, and that it should bruise His heel, is the earliest manifestation of that religion on record, and the most universal—still to be traced in the traditions of all nations, but most evidently in the wide-spread monuments of astronomy, the emblems of the twelve signs of the zodiac marking out the way of Him who should come, depart, and come again, as the sun, His recognized type in the heavens.

On this planisphere the twelve signs are represented nearly as described by the Greek astronomer Hipparchus (BC 125), long before the supposed erection of the temple on which the planisphere is carved. The Greeks allowed that their astronomy came to them from Egypt; the Egyptians attributed theirs to Chaldea. Abraham, to whom his descendants referred the origin of their astronomy, being a Chaldean and a temporary resident in Egypt, through him they might derive the astronomy transmitted from the antediluvian patriarchs, to whom tradition refers the invention of the science. This would make part of the wisdom of Egypt of which Moses was in possession. The ram or lamb, the bull, the goat or kid, were from the beginning sacrificial animals, typifying the one great sacrifice. Cattle, flocks, and herds, the earliest possession of mankind, represented His people, His purchased possession; while the human figure showed the nature in which He should come for their redemption, the lion showing His coming to victory over His enemies—He who was bruised in the heel coming to bruise the head. Even in lands where the lion was unknown, that figure was pre-eminent as in this zodiac; for the lion was a Chaldean, not an Egyptian animal. The figure of the sheep was in the far East supplied by the goat or antelope. The serpent was every where as universal as the wiles of him whom it represents, or as the stars to which these emblems were annexed.

If, as has been urged, God has spoken, the records of what He has said ought to be searched out. The message of the Book and of the symbols may be shown clearly to agree. The traditions* of the nations, like sunbeams on a rapid stream, however broken and confused, yet reflect the primeval light.

* Maimonides says, that according to Jewish tradition the first man who introduced the worship of the stars asserted that it was derived from prophecy.
Ancient writers have said that the religion of Egypt was derived from the constellations, but not that the constellations were derived from that religion.

Those who invented the emblems of the constellations of course gave names to them, and probably also to their principal stars. Arabian tradition asserted that these names were transmitted unchanged in Arab astronomy. Names are not, as is sometimes supposed, mere arbitrary combinations of letters. All names have meanings explicable by the roots which they contain. The Holy Scriptures occasionally explain the names there recorded from their roots in the Hebrew language, also to be found in the other cognate dialects. All the ancient names of the stars that have reached us have meanings in those dialects suitable to the import of the emblems connected with which they are found. These correspondences furnish strong evidence that the design of the inventors was to transmit to their descendants immortal and life-giving truths.

Evidence of the antiquity of these emblems may be found by those internal traces in the records of the science of astronomy, by which some modern astronomers are led to refer its origin to about 4000 years ago, but those here pointed out refer rather to 6000, the age of Seth and Enoch, whom ancient traditions name as the first astronomers.

The testimony of the ancient Egyptians to this antiquity is preserved by the Greek writers, in the ancient books of the Persians, and by Josephus, the historian of the Jews.

The coincidence of Arab astronomy with the Chaldean and Egyptian traditions and monuments is well known.

The suitability of the names preserved by the Arabs and other ancients, when explained by the Noetic roots found in all languages, to the emblems of the Egyptian zodiacs, indicates a common origin. The name of Seth or Thoth, given by all tradition as that of the inventor of astronomy and the Sothaic period, the wonderful perfection of which is acknowledged by modern astronomers, and attributed to the earliest race of mankind, testifies to this assertion.

Of "the great year" of Josephus, the Sothaic period of six hundred years, Cassini says, "This period, of which we find no intimation in any monument of any other nation, is the finest that ever was invented; for it brings out the solar year more exactly than that of Hipparchus and Ptolemy, and the lunar months within about one minute of what is determined by modern astronomers."

The figures of the constellations only including the stars visible in the latitudes between the sources of the Euphrates and the Nile, indicate their origin or early adoption in those districts.

It is said that "the Egyptians learnt from Hermes* the canicular cycle of 1461 years, at the end of which their solar year of 365 years (the deficiency of which they were not allowed to make up by intercalation) had receded through every season, and returned to the same sidereal point of commencement, namely, the rising of the dogstar on the 1st of Thoth. This cycle they called the great year. But there was another great year in more general use, which was the Neros, or cycle of 600 years, to which Josephus refers, Ant. i. 3, and which was that most employed at Babylon; this being one of the cycles on the great stone in the India House. The Saros was another cycle, of, according to Suidas, eighteen years and six months, nearly corresponding with the Metonic lunar cycle of nineteen years. This also being inscribed on the stone at the India House, will come under consideration at a future opportunity." (Cullimore on the Origin of the Primitive Sphere of the Greeks, in the Morning Watch, vol. vi. p. 389.)

* Much has been said of the first and second Hermes, and more of Hermes Trismegistus; Hermes being taken as a proper name, not considering it, as it is, an epithet, Mrh, the great, with the common Egyptian affix of s. It may refer to Seth or Enoch as the great astronomers.
The sphere described by Eudoxus, Aratus, and Hipparchus, is said by Cullimore to be proved to have been from Egypt; and that Sir Isaac Newton and all others who refer its emblems to the Argonautic voyage, are obliged to reject either historical or astronomical evidence, but agrees with Sir Isaac Newton's placing of the colures.

"Psammeticus, with whom the catalogue of the great Paite family, preserved by Herodotus, commences, began to reign BC 672, the first year of the Graeco-Egyptian intercourse, and was, according to the Egyptian annals of Manetho, preceded by Stephinathes, Nicepsos, and Nechao I, the father of Psammeticus, according to Herodotus, who reigned respectively seven, six, and eight years. To King Nicepsos, and his contemporary, the philosopher Petosiris, are ascribed the latest innovations or improvements in the Hermaic astronomy of Egypt. They were celebrated astronomers and astrologers, and constructed a sphere into which the decani or decennary divisions of the zodiac were first introduced. Julius Firmicus calls them 'divini viri atque omni admiratione digni.' Nicepsos reigned from BC 686 to BC 672." The Greek sphere then originated with Thales, whose disciple, Anaximander, first constructed it.

"The zodiacal signs are undeniably of the highest antiquity before the times to which heathen history ascends. Some of them are alluded to in the book of Job, which, if by Moses, was the earliest of his writings, and even in the East these signs remain unchanged, unencumbered by their elephants and monsters." "On the testimony of Berosus, corroborated by internal evidence in the zodiac itself, we believe these signs to have been invented by the first Hermes, about 2400 BC, and when at the vernal equinox the sun was in, or near the Pleaides. The second Hermes perfected what the first had only designed, having ascertained the true length of the year, and fixed the seasons by the solstices and equinoxes. This took place about 1500 BC, when the sun at the vernal equinox stood in the cloud whence Taurus emerges; and it was near the time of the Exodus, Hermes being contemporary with Moses. The signs so fixed by the second Hermes have passed into all countries where astronomy is known, with no other variation than that occasioned by remoteness of latitude, where the Chaldean animal of some of the signs was supplied by an animal better known in the remote regions of the earth, or by some grotesque form, unlike any thing in nature. Aries passes into the goat or deer in India, and Gemini and Virgo take the Oriental costume; Leo also, though retaining its name and place in the Indian zodiac, has assumed a form as rude as in the heraldic paintings of the middle ages. These facts demonstrate that the zodiac was not invented in India, but in a country where the lion and other animals were commonly known, such as Egypt or Assyria, and the transport of astronomy to India is further evidenced by Virgo being seated in a ship or chariot in the Cingalese and some other Oriental zodiacs. The forms in the Greek and Roman zodiacs were become wholly arbitrary, and bore no reference to the positions of the stars. But we generally find Aries and Taurus turned from each other, indicating the division to be between Aries and Taurus, as stated above. The fixed zodiac, commencing with Aries, seems not to have been generally adopted till the time of Hipparchus, when the vernal equinox stood near the head of Aries, and the autumnal near Spica Virginis. Ptolemy himself declares that he altered the form of some of the constellations to give the figures a better proportion, and stars which the older astronomers had placed in the shoulders were thus brought down to the sides of Virgo. He says:—'Multis ergo in locis accommodatiora ipsis figuris attribuentes vocabula, priscorum usum immutavimus, sicut, verbi gratia, figuras quas Hipparchus in humeris Virginis locat, nos in costis ejus sitas esse dicimus, quoniam distantia earum and stellas quae in capite sunt major apparet, quam ad eas quae in extremitatibus manuum collocantur, hoc autem sicut et costis accommodatur.' Bayer turned the backs of the figures to the spectator instead of the faces, and Albert Durer, or some German, put them all into Gothic costume, in which they remained till the time of Flamstead. He revised, or rather re-constructed the forms of the constellations, and first laying down the stars themselves correctly, drew the figures according to that part of the body in which the several stars were said to be placed by Hipparchus and Ptolemy."

While in Ancient Egypt the signs of the zodiac were thus engraven on their temples, in India and Arabia from time immemorial the signs and the Lunar Mansions have been interwoven with science and poetry, with public worship and private economy, the figures being embodied in the forms of idols, and the appellations transmitted in the names of children. In Scandinavia they have been claimed by Olaus Rudbeck, as having there originated. In Mexico they are still to be traced. The Burmese have preserved them well: the Polynesians have not totally forgotten them. Wherever the posterity of Noah, the children of Seth, are found, there are recognized some vestiges of this their ancestral science. When the study of astronomy was merged in that of astrology, during the dark ages of Europe, it flourished in the East, cultivated by Al Fergani at the court of the Caliph of Bagdad, Haroun Alraschid, in the ninth century, and at that of the Moors in Spain by Albumazer about the same time, whose works were commented on by Aben Ezra in the twelfth. He has transmitted to us accounts of the ancient Persian, Indian, and Egyptian spheres. Ulugh Beigh, the Tartar prince and astronomer, grandson of Tamerlane, has preserved the ancient Coptic names of the signs, supposed to have been those of the ancient Egyptians, and also many names of the fixed stars, which appear to have come through the Arabs (Montucla, &c.). The Lunar Mansions, and the divisions into Decans of the thirty-six constellations beyond the zodiac, which appear on the planisphere and long zodiac of Dendera, were by them enumerated and described.

These are some of the leading ancient astronomers who have preserved and transmitted to us such important evidence of the antiquity of these emblems, and of the unity of design in the ancient division and nomenclature of the starry heavens. The interpretations here given are assimilated as closely as possible to their concurring testimony separated by ages of time, by distance of habitation, by language, and by religion: where they agree, surely it must be in the truth.

As the Jews have guarded for us in their precious integrity the Hebrew Scriptures, so Mahometan, or rather patriarchal Arabs have transmitted to us the names which so remarkably correspond with the language of those Scriptures, when setting forth the glory of Him not then revealed to either of those nations—children of Abraham according to the flesh, who will one day hail their long unrecognized kinsman-Redeemer, when the flocks of Kedar and the rams of Nebaioth shall be gathered unto the Lord, and His glory shall have arisen upon them.

Another chain of evidence has descended to us through the Greeks. Hesiod, about 1000 years BC, treats of the rising and setting of the constellations, whose names and emblems he transmits as from immemorial antiquity. So speaks Homer of those which he mentions. Aratus, a Greek at the court of Antigonus, king of Macedonia, about 277 BC, in his poem on astronomy, describes much more particularly the constellations, in number, name, and figure nearly as now represented. Hipparchus, the celebrated Greek astronomer, who died 125 years BC, enumerated and is said to have given names to the stars; but Hesiod, Homer, and Aratus having previously recorded them by name, this can therefore only mean that he made of them a regular enrolment. Hyginus, a freedman of Augustus, gives the names and figures as his predecessors, and relates of them the various fables in his time vaguely attached to the constellations, of the uncertainty of which he frequently speaks,— thus making more remarkable the invariable certainty of the appellations and symbols. Ptolemy of Alexandria, in the time of Antoninus, made the celebrated catalogue of the fixed stars, describing the constellations as we now have them, particularly the remarkable union of some with others, by reckoning the same star in each; as the foot of Aries with the band of Pisces and head of Cetus; the foot of Auriga with the horn of Taurus; the cup and raven with the serpent Hydra. From him we have derived them without variation, till the English astronomer, and adversary of Newton, Flamstead, in the time of Queen Anne, unfortunately took it into his head, in attempting to give names to the stars not reckoned in the ancient constellations, to mingle with these mystic and significant emblems such senseless figures as the fox and goose, or such unimportant ones as the shield of Sobieski and bull of Poniatowski, which now disfigure the modern sphere. He did not even suspect they had any meaning: therefore it is evident that this great astronomer had not in the course of his studies met with any account of their possible signification which appeared to him worthy of notice. It is in Jewish antiquity alone that we find any vestige of a received meaning being attached to them.

Ancient as these zodiacs are, and particularly the circular one, we have a record of much more ancient astronomy in the blessing of Jacob, in which he describes the signs as borne on the banners of Israel, about 1700 BC.


Great modern authorities in geological science seem now to have agreed, that in every new creation traced in the fossilized chronicles of by-gone ages, the first were the grandest of the formation. The physical constitution of the antediluvian, the first race of man, framed to last near a thousand years, must have been in every respect superior to that now existing, or any of which we can form an idea. If the intellectual, the purely spiritual, were not so too, yet the instruments by which that intellect worked being so far superior, would give an incalculable advantage to its exercise.

The perfection to which these fathers, these kings* of men, carried their astronomy, as testified by the famous period of 600 years, affords sufficient proof of the superiority of their organs of sight. Those eyes were to them what the last and greatest telescope has been to their less naturally gifted descendants. The most ancient names of the nebulae prove that to them was known, what is at last recently acknowledged, that these clouds of light are indeed starry assemblages,** multitudes.

* The ten kings before the flood: have been spoken of in very ancient writers. Josephus gives as a reason for the long life of the antediluvians, that they might complete their discoveries in astronomy.

** See the Tables in Part II, for the Pleiades, Cancer, Orion, and Andromeda. Sephina in Argo is also probably the nebula in that place, visible to antediluvian eyes, if not to ours.

The Egyptian zodiac as represented in the annexed planisphere of Dendera, though in the main agreeing with that apparently known to Jacob and his family, differs from it in two of the signs. On Issachar's standard was borne the strong ass, still to be recognized in the stars of Cancer, where two stars are called the northern and southern ass, and in the name Statio Typhonis, the ass having been an emblem of Typhon. Also the Egyptian zodiac has in Libra the scales, surmounted by a figure whose finger is on his lips, over whom are two others, a fox or wolf, and a man holding a flail; and it is well known that Libra, the scales or balance, was not borne on any standard of Israel, the place of Levi, to whom it would have fallen, being with Simeon in the blessing of Jacob, and with the tabernacle in the encampment of Israel and the blessing of Moses; the emblem of the scales not being used by Jacob, but the place where it might be looked for, after the serpent or basilisk of Dan, being devoted by the dying prophet to the memorial of that salvation for which he had waited, and which was typified in the balance of redemption, the cross, the victim, and the crown. These were no human attributes, and to none did he appoint them. The figure enclosed in a circle has been called Harpocrates, a name which may be referred to the primitive roots r), He who cometh, p the Egyptian article masculine before hrk or trk, cut in pieces as a sacrifice (Jer 34:18, &c.): He who cometh to be a sacrifice. He has a finger on the lip (hp# being the lip, and P# to bruise), referring to one first great and universal prophecy as to Him who should come, that He should bruise the head of the enemy and be Himself bruised in the heel; the fox or wolf, Shual or Zeeb, expressing "He who cometh"; the figure with the flail expressing "He shall bruise," also "He shall return," as the flail on the corn. The decans of this sign are the cross, being represented by the lion, who rends a figure with the face and horns of a lamb, the victim; and the enthroned figure with the flail and the crown.

That the Seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head, and it should bruise His heel, is the foundation on which is constructed the whole of this planisphere, with those of the Indians, Persians, Arabs, or, as in fact these all are, the Chaldean. Abraham was a Chaldean, and traditional history has said a great astronomer, and Chaldean astronomy is continually appealed to as the original of the science. It has been supposed that Melchisedek, the righteous king, was Shem in person; if so, he must have known all that Noah knew on the subject, and Noah must have known what Adam, Seth, and Enoch are traditionally said to have transmitted as to the names and positions of the stars of heaven. But with the Chaldean astronomy, which is in fact ours, the Egyptian does not always agree. The Egyptians had derived their science from Noah before Abraham came among them, and in this planisphere we have the records of it, for the headless figure, where Aquarius joins on Pisces, refers to a time long before Abraham; another headless figure with the horns of Aries, more immediately under Pisces, may have originally been intended to refer to the winter solstice having receded from Aries into Pisces before the earliest era in tradition. This might be the figure which led some French astronomers to attribute an antiquity far beyond Scripture chronology, a time when the winter solstice would be in Aries, if the heavenly bodies then existed. In the Egyptian and Chaldean spheres, and those of Persia and India as described by Albumazer, the twelve signs are exactly alike; and in the other constellations, the thirty-six decans, there is sufficient resemblance to show that all had one origin; the astronomy of which all tradition, and particularly the Egyptian, calls Seth the originator. The traditional names Hermes, and Hermes Trismegistus, seem to refer to Seth, as Hermes, the great one, and Adam, Seth, and Enoch, as the three great ones who originated the science.

In the different ancient spheres the number and purport of the emblems are the same, and similar meanings are traceable in their names by the aid of the Noetic roots preserved in the Hebrew Scriptures.

In the annexed tables, the names said to have been obtained from the planisphere are so explained, and references given to the parts of the Hebrew Scriptures where the Noetic roots are used in the sense here given to them.

Authorities have been asked for the inference that the twelve signs and other constellations of Egyptian astronomy symbolize the prophecies concerning Him who was to come, the Messiah, frequently personified as Osiris and Hours, the Prince and the Divine Infant. It is answered that the inference is made on the authority of the ancient traditions connected with the emblems, and the meanings conveyed by the ancient but yet extant names,—as Osiris, the Prince; "Sir," in Isaiah 9, born of no human father, born to die, and revive again; Isis, or Isha, wife of Osiris, mother of Orus or Horus, He who cometh, who shall come; Typhon, the evil one, the smitten or wounded, or the smiting or wounding. The great authority here is the meaning of the names and similarity of the traditionary characters. Osiris reigns, but dies and lives again; Horus comes to rule and live; Typhon smites, and is smitten.

In the figures of Egyptian astronomy one foot of the conqueror is on the head of the serpent, the other held up as wounded, bruised. The astronomy of the Egyptians is not corrupted like their mythology.


The metamorphosis of insects has often been considered to typify the resurrection of the human body. "We see therein the resurrection painted before our eyes, and exemplified so as to be examined by our hands," was said by the celebrated naturalist Swammerdam.

The larva, caterpillar, or grub, was thought to represent the state of man in life, the pupa or chrysalis the dead body, the perfect insect the resurrection. The Egyptians held the immortality of the soul, and the future resurrection of the body, to be reunited to the soul, and enjoy with it a more glorious and heavenly existence. This patriarchal truth they afterwards encumbered with the notion that the preservation of the body was necessary to this future reunion; and hence the national practice of forming it into a mummy. There is a likeness between the chrysalis and the mummy which might suggest the shape of the mummy: the Scarabaeus often on its breast; let us hope, a token of patriarchal faith yet surviving the darkness of heathenism.

The Scarabaeus seems to have been introduced into the later zodiacs, not being among the more ancient Coptic names, as emblematizing the sun in his re-ascending state, completed when he reached the summer solstice in Cancer about 1500 years before the Christian era. Such seems to have been the popular interpretation of the emblem; but that there was a higher meaning, even that of resurrection, is evidence by the figure of the Scarabaeus on the breast of mummies, and by the representation of it as ascending on high with figures below in attitudes of wonder and adoration; a remarkable instance of this may be seen on the sarcophagus, called that of Alexander, in the British Museum.

The Scarabaeus does not occur among the thirty-six decans, either in their figures or their hieroglyphic names, but the figure in the planisphere called the Crab is a beetle, having no tail, and attenae not pincers, though somewhat more resembling a crab than the figure in the smaller zodiac, which is evidently a beetle, and on the long zodiac there is a Scarabaeus with its wings extended, with the smaller and less definite figure of a beetle, not however a crab.

One of the hieroglyphic names in Cancer being Fent-har, the serpent's enemy, may have led to the introduction of the Scarabaeus, as typifying a conqueror, and also the sun victorious over darkness.


Manetho, or Manethos, was High Priest of Heliopolis, under Ptolemy Philadelphus, 304 BC. His history, written in Greek, is lost, but his dynasties are preserved by Eusebius, and fragments of his history in Josephus' work against Apion. The subject-mater he asserts to have been extracted from the sacred pillars of the first Hermes Trismegistus, from inscriptions made in the sacred language of Thoth, translated after the Flood, written in the sacred character, and deposited in the sacred recesses of Egypt. His first book was history of heroes and demigods, his second of eight dynasties, and his third of twelve.

It should be borne in mind that Manetho, though beginning his record of the traditional history of Egypt in a remote and shadowy antiquity, lived only three hundred years before Christ, when not only inspired but uninspired records were in existence, and familiarly appealed to by the Jews, who in addition to their own holy books had brought with them from Babylon much of the wisdom of the Chaldeans, among which the Rabbins lament to reckon that "Astrology," which they say obscured the light of the ancient Jewish Astronomy. Still they appealed to the blessing of Jacob and standards of the tribes as of undoubted authority, and with unshaken veneration.

(Josephus against Apion,* Book I)
* Apion accused the Jews of worshipping an ass in the temple. Did they confound Athon, an ass, with Nt), "Him who cometh?"
"What is set down by the Greeks is now but of yesterday. But among the Egyptians, Chaldees, and Phoenicians, the memory of their writings is ancient and infallible."

"Manethon, an Egyptian born, skilful in the Greek tongue (for he writ in Greek), compiling a history of the customs and religion of his forefathers, collected (as himself reporteth) out of the Egyptian holy writings, often reprehendeth Herodotus, who being indeed ignorant, did much help the Egyptians." "This Manethon," he goes on to say, "among other things, speaks of a nation called Hycsos, which signifies kings, shepherds, for Hyc, in the sacred tongue, signifies a king, and Sos, a shepherd or shepherds." But Josephus adds that Hic, or Hac, in the Egyptian tongue, signifies a captive.*

* Kx, bound.
"Manethon reporteth those kings and shepherds to have ruled Egypt 511 years, after which they were expelled." "Further, in another book of Egyptian affairs, Manethon saith that in the holy writings he findeth these shepherds called captives."

Manethon gives the descent of kings after the expulsion of the Shepherds, down to Egyptus and Danaus. "Thus far Manethon."

"Berosus, a Chaldean born, in the Grecian tongue, did write astronomy and the Chaldees' philosophy. He writeth of the Deluge."

"Manethon confesseth himself to have gathered the Egyptian history out of their holy writings."

"Manethon, while he followed the ancient writers, did not much err."

"I have opposed myself against Manetho, Chaeremon, and others." Manetho saith that the Jews departed out of Egypt about the time of Tethmosis, 396 years before Danaus fled out of Greece. The name Manetho is used by some translators, Manethon by others.

"In my opinion profound minds are the most likely to think lightly of the resources of human reason; and it is the pert, superficial thinker who is generally strongest in all kinds of unbelief. The deep philosopher sees chains of causes and effects so wonderfully and strangely linked together, that he is usually the last person to decide upon the impossibility of any two series of events being independent of each other; and in science so many natural miracles, as it were, have been brought to light, that the physical inquirer is seldom disposed to assert confidently on any abstruse subjects belonging to natural things, and still less so on those relating to the more mysterious relations of moral events and intellectual natures." (Sir H. Davy, Salmonia, p. 150.)

Socrates says that he learnt from a book by Anaxagoras, that "it is Intelligence that sets in order all things": to which he himself added, "in such a way as shall be blest." He also says, "The soul is imperishable and immortal."

Jamblicus states that the Egyptians acknowledged a Spirit superior to nature, and an Intelligence superior to that soul by whom the world was created.



[The only explanation of this zodiac furnished by the Writer of "Mazzaroth," consists of the numbers (evidently marking the Twelve Signs) annexed to some of the figures, the word "Sphinx" written over No. 6, and the subjoined note.—C.D.]

In this zodiac the winter solstice appears to have been placed in Pisces BC 4000 years, the summer in Leo, where joining Virgo, giving the same date; the serpent under Virgo appears to be of the venomous species, by the broad head; all the others, having pointed and narrow heads, are snakes not venomous, typifying time in their swift motion. The Scarabaeus, denoting the sun's place at the solstice, shows that this zodiac, though recording an earlier era, had been altered to the time of the building of the temple, after the Christian era.

[Explanations of the remaining figures were probably in the Writer's mind, but not having been committed to paper are irrevocably lost. The following elucidations have, however, been kindly offered by a Clerical Friend of the Writer, residing in Norfolk, who had been much in correspondence on the subject of "Mizraim," and whose sympathy and aid had been very valuable during the closing period of the Writer's literary labours.]

"In Aries is an hieroglyphic emblem, an oval or egg, denoting a female, as in the same sign in the Dendera Planisphere. This emblem denotes the constellation Cassiopeia, the throned woman or church, which is marked by the nine stars in this Planisphere. Aries seems to be looking the reverse way towards this constellation. Does this represent the Lamb seeing of the travail of His soul and satisfied?"


"The mistake seems to me (and it is an important one) in numbering the Sphinx VI instead of Virgo, the female figure standing above the prostrate serpent or dragon, and holding in her two hands the Spicum or ear of corn, the 'Seed,' in whom is finally and completely bruised the serpent's head."

[Possibly the Egyptians, having made the Sphinx represent Virgo, and being yet aware that the ear of corn was an essential part of the sign, added the female figure holding the ear as supplemental to their own invention of the Sphinx.—C.D.]


Previous | Contents | Next

Philologos | Bible Prophecy Research | The BPR Reference Guide | Jewish Calendar | About Us