Knowledge, Cooperation, and the Common Good

Manilius, Astronomica 67-84

“Humanity waited, thunderstruck by the new light in the sky,
First grieving as it disappeared, then overjoyed at its return.
The human race was incapable of understanding the reasons
Why the sun rose so frequently once it sent the stars
In flight, why the length of days and nights was uncertain
And why the shadows changed too as the sun moved farther away.

Stubborn obsession had not yet taught humankind knowledge and skill
And the land was resting open at the hands of untrained farmers.
At that time gold was resting in untouched mountains
And the untroubled sea hid strange worlds—
For the human race did not dare to risk life
In the waves or wind—people believed that they did not know enough.

But the passage of long days sharpened mortal thought
And hard work produced invention for the miserable
Just as each person’s luck compelled him to turn to himself to make life better.
Then, they competed with each other once their interests were divided
And whatever wisdom practice found through testing,
They happily shared for the common good.”

et stupefacta novo pendebat lumine mundi,
tum velut amisso maerens, tum laeta renato,
surgentem neque enim totiens Titana fugatis
sideribus, variosque dies incertaque noctis
tempora nec similis umbras, iam sole regresso
iam propiore, suis poterat discernere causis.
necdum etiam doctas sollertia fecerat artes,
terraque sub rudibus cessabat vasta colonis;
tumque in desertis habitabat montibus aurum,
immotusque novos pontus subduxerat orbes,
nec vitam pelago nec ventis credere vota
audebant; se quisque satis novisse putabant.
sed cum longa dies acuit mortalia corda
et labor ingenium miseris dedit et sua quemque
advigilare sibi iussit fortuna premendo,
seducta in varias certarunt pectora curas
et, quodcumque sagax temptando repperit usus,
in commune bonum commentum laeta dederunt.

17th-century chart of the universe, with zodiac signs and the earth at the center
From Wikipedia. 17th-century depiction in Andreas Cellarius‘s Harmonia Macrocosmica.

Knowledge, Cooperation, and the Common Good

Manilius, Astronomica 67-84

“Humanity waited, thunderstruck by the new light in the sky,
First grieving as it disappeared, then overjoyed at its return.
The human race was incapable of understanding the reasons
Why the sun rose so frequently once it sent the stars
In flight, why the length of days and nights was uncertain
And why the shadows changed too as the sun moved farther away.

Stubborn obsession had not yet taught humankind knowledge and skill
And the land was resting open at the hands of untrained farmers.
At that time gold was resting in untouched mountains
And the untroubled sea hid strange worlds—
For the human race did not dare to risk life
In the waves or wind—people believed that they did not know enough.

But the passage of long days sharpened mortal thought
And hard work produced invention for the miserable
Just as each person’s luck compelled him to turn to himself to make life better.
Then, they competed with each other once their interests were divided
And whatever wisdom practice found through testing,
They happily shared for the common good.”

et stupefacta novo pendebat lumine mundi,
tum velut amisso maerens, tum laeta renato,
surgentem neque enim totiens Titana fugatis
sideribus, variosque dies incertaque noctis
tempora nec similis umbras, iam sole regresso
iam propiore, suis poterat discernere causis.
necdum etiam doctas sollertia fecerat artes,
terraque sub rudibus cessabat vasta colonis;
tumque in desertis habitabat montibus aurum,
immotusque novos pontus subduxerat orbes,
nec vitam pelago nec ventis credere vota
audebant; se quisque satis novisse putabant.
sed cum longa dies acuit mortalia corda
et labor ingenium miseris dedit et sua quemque
advigilare sibi iussit fortuna premendo,
seducta in varias certarunt pectora curas
et, quodcumque sagax temptando repperit usus,
in commune bonum commentum laeta dederunt.

17th-century chart of the universe, with zodiac signs and the earth at the center
From Wikipedia. 17th-century depiction in Andreas Cellarius‘s Harmonia Macrocosmica.

The Dog-Star: Dionysus, Ikarios and a Daughter’s Dog ( D Scholia, Il. 22.29)

Of Orion: [Homer] calls this, then, the dog-star. Some say that this dog transformed into a star is not Orion’s but instead is Erigonê’s, and that it was made into a star for the following reason. There was a man named Ikarios, an Athenian, who had a daughter named Erigonê. She raised a dog from a puppy. When Ikarios once entertained Dionysus, he received from him wine and a shoot of grapes. According to the commandments of the god, he wandered the earth proclaiming the grace of Dionysus and he took the dog with him. When he appeared outside a city, he offered wine to cow-herds. After they sampled it excessively, they fell into a deep sleep. Later, when they woke up, because they believed they had been drugged, they killed Ikarios. The dog returned to Erigonê and told her what had happened by barking. When she learned the truth, she hanged herself. For this reason a plague befell Athens—And the Athenians in obedience to an oracle offered annual rites to both Ikarios and Erigonê. Once they were sanctified as stars, Ikarios was named Boôtês and Erigonê was called the Maiden. But the dog kept his own name. This is the story Eratosthenes tells us.”

᾿Ωρίωνος. Τὸν ἀστρῶον κύνα οὕτως ἔφη.
ἔνιοι δέ φασι τόνδε τὸν κατηστερισμένον
κύνα, οὐκ ᾿Ωρίωνος, ἀλλὰ ᾿Ηριγόνης ὑπάρ-
χειν, ὃν κατηστερισθῆναι διὰ τοιαύτην
αἰτίαν. ῾Ικάριος γένος μὲν ἦν ᾿Αθηναῖος
ἔσχε δὲ θυγατέρα ᾿Ηριγόνην, ἥτις κύνα
νήπιον ἔτρεφε. ξενίσας δέ ποτε ὁ ῾Ικάριος
Διόνυσον, ἔλαβε παρ’ αὐτοῦ οἶνόν τε καὶ
ἀμπέλου κλῆμα. κατὰ δὲ τὰς τοῦ θεοῦ
ὑποθήκας, περιῄει τὴν γῆν προφαίνων τὴν
τοῦ Διονύσου χάριν, ἔχων σὺν ἑαυτῷ καὶ
τὸν κύνα. γενόμενος δὲ ἐκτὸς τῆς πόλεως,
βουκόλοις οἶνον παρέσχε. οἱ δὲ ἀθρόως ἐμ-
φορησάμενοι, οἱ μὲν εἰς βαθὺν ὕπνον
ἐτράπησαν. ὀψέ τε ἐγερθέντες, καὶ νομί-
σαντες πεφαρμάχθαι, τὸν ῾Ικάριον ἀπέ-
κτειναν. ὁ δὲ κύων ὑποστρέψας πρὸς τὴν
᾿Ηριγόνην, δι’ ὠρυγμοῦ ἐμήνυσεν αὐτῇ τὰ
γενόμενα. ἡ δὲ μαθοῦσα τὸ ἀληθὲς, ἑαυ-
τὴν ἀνήρτησε. νόσου δὲ ἐν ᾿Αθήναις γενο-
μένης, κατὰ χρησμὸν ᾿Αθηναῖοι τόν τε
῾Ικάριον καὶ τὴν ᾿Ηριγόνην ἐνιαυσιαίαις
ἐγέραιρον τιμαῖς. οἳ καὶ κατηστερισθέν-
τες, ῾Ικάριος μὲν Βοώτης ἐκλήθη, ᾿Ηρι-
γόνη δὲ παρθένος. ὁ δὲ κύων τὴν αὐτὴν
ὀνομασίαν ἔσχεν. ῾Ιστορεῖ ᾿Ερατοσθένης.

Eratosthenes of Cyrene was an Astronomer to whom a collection of Constellation Myths is attributed.