The Bull-Leap and Giraffe Star-Map in the Ethiopian Story
In the sky, the constellations that are immediately above and to the right of Perseus are Kamelopardis - the Giraffe constellation, Andromeda - the princess who is Perseus' lover, and the constellation of Andromeda's father Cepheus, king of Ethiopia, and stars representing the throne of Andromeda's mother, Casseiopeia, the Queen of Ethiopia. Beneath Perseus is Taurus - the Bull, and to the right of Taurus and Andromeda is Pegasus, the white, flying horse of Perseus.
The Ethiopean Story, an ancient novel by Heliodorus, also centres around an Ethiopian princess and her lover, and the final climax of the story also centres around her mother and father, with her lover riding on a white horse and leaping over the horns of a bull. Indeed, this princess is explicitly associated with Andromeda in the story. So when her lover, Theagenes, (and by this logic therefore the Perseus figure) performs a bull-leap during this final climax of the story, we obtain as sure a proof as we could possibly need that the theory that the bull-leaper in the Knossos fresco - though predating Heliodorus by one and a half millenia - is indeed the Perseus contellation. The further conclusion is that the Knossos fresco is a depiction of the myth from which Heliodorus' novel was derived.
Chariclea = Andromeda Figure
Chariclea to the king and queen of Ethiopia: "I am your country woman, a native of this land...I am also of royal birth..." Again Hydapses spurned her words as stuff and nonsense. "Enough now father," she said, "of vilifying your daughter."
...She drew forth the swathe that was exposed with her...unfolded it and handed it to Persinna [the Queen]. At her first glance the Queen stood dumbfounded and stunned, and for a long time she kept gazing on the script in the swathe and on the girl....Hydapses took it in his hands and invited the Gymnosophists to stand by and read it with him. As he made out the words he was himself filled with wonder.
"...Persinna here achkowledges that she contracted certain shapes or impressions of likeness from looking on the figure of Andromeda during her union with you. If you still required some further assurance, the original is there before us. Look carefully, and see if Andromeda is not unmistakably manifest [in Chariclea] as in the girl in the picture."
The servants were ordered to take down the picture, and they brought it and set it up beside Chariclea. The result was a great burst of applause and clamour from the onlookers, as they...were struck with an amazemement mixed with high delight at the exactness of the resemblance; so true it was that Hydapses himself could no longer be in any doubt, but stood for a long time lost in both joy and wonder...Persinna could no longer contain herself. She leapt up off her throne, ran up to the girl and embraced her.
Appearence of Kamelopardalis Causing a Sacred Bull to Break Free
[Animals were being given as gifts to the king, Chariclea's father, and these included a very strange creature.] Its stature was like that of a camel...while its hide was coloured like that of a leopard....its shoulder parts, front legs and breast rose up to a height out of all proportion to its other parts. Its neck was slender and protruded a great way from the main bulk of its body....Its head, shaped like that of a camel, was nearly twice the size of that of a Libyan ostrich....The appearence of this animal astounded the whole multitude, and its form then suggested its name...'Kamelopardalis' (Camel-Leopard, Ancient Greek word for 'giraffe'.)...
At the Altar of the Moon stood a pair of bulls, and at that of the Sun stood a team of four white horses....One of the bulls - which alone, its seems, had caught sight of the wild beast - and two of the horses sped away in headlong flight.
Theagenes, Lover of Chariclea, Peforms Bull-Leap showing that Perseus Constellation = Bull-Leaper
Theagenes (lover of Chariclea), either impelled by the manly spirit that was born in him, or acting on the instigation of some god,...seized hold of one of the horses that had not bolted, vaulted onto its back, grasped the hair on its neck and used its mane as a bridle. Stirring on his mount with his heel...he speedily caught up with the bull . Chariclea at this sight was seized with trembling and palpitation....He let his horse run on free while he leapt off it and onto the bull's neck. He then laid his face down between its horns and, encircling them with his arms as with a coronal, locked his fingrs together over the bull's forehead. The rest of his body was slung over the beasts shoulder, and thus suspended from it he was born along, only slightly tossed by the bounding of the bull. But when he felt it beginning to gasp beneath its burden and its muscles to relax their extreme tension, at the moment when it came round to the point where Hydaspes [the king of Ethiopia] sat in state, he swung himself over to the front, thrust his feet against its legs, and so by knocking repeatedly against its hoofs he artfully hampered its progress. Finding itself impeded in its onward course, and overborne by the young man's strength, it gave way at the knees and suddenly lurched headlong; then tumbling over onto its shoulders it rolled over on its back.GIRAFFE FACTS:
They can apparently go longer without water than a camel. They get a lot of moisture from the leaves, and can drink as much as 12 gallons at a time.
They have a way of moving where they move both legs on one side at a time, and this is correctly described by Heliodorus in the same novel, Ethiopean Story. I have decided that I rather like giraffes.
In my earlier post I speculated as to whether the two giraffes in the proto-dynastic rock art with a bull and a Sun-boat might be Gemini, since the Twins are immediately to the left of Taurus. But so is Kamelopardalis, the Giraffe, which is diretly above Gemini, and so I now make this adjustment to the speculation, and if this is correct then it suggets that the constellation is a very old one.
The Universal and the Novel
I continue to be impressed by the beauty of of ancient forms - such as the constellation figures and their relative positions and movements across the sky - as the unchanging blueprint of myths. Then these myths in turn were exapanded and given more detailed particulars in the early novels. So the novels (certainly three of the four Greek novels: Ethiopian Story, Daphnis and Chloe, The Ass) have a blueprint in the Unchanging Realm, they have a Platonic Form.
How peculiar...novels with a Platonic aspect? Aren't novels supposed to be about change, about particulars, about the temporary and thus, by extension, the incarnate and bodily? Well, that is what they have become, certainly in the case of the British 'realism' of the 19th century and the like. That aspect of change - such as the sexes being equal and slavery, sacficice, tyranny etc being unjust being implicit in the stories - that aspect was there right from the start in the early Greek novels, but those novels also had this aspect of the Universal, the Eternal, a Platonic Form, which for me makes them far more beautiful. Times change, different things become relevant, and so novels written now are best to acknowledge what is now relevent, and this expresses itself best in the new costumes that are draped over the Platonic Forms, but the greatest beauty is to be found in the conservation of those Platonic Forms. There need be no duality, but certainly the emphasis now must be on recovering the Platonic aspect, because this is what has not been considered in literature for the last few centuries. It is clear that novel writing was no different from the other arts in Ancient Greece, in that is considered the Platonic Aspect, some blueprint centered in the unchanging realm....not forgetting of course that the flesh is also good. We certainly wouldn't want a return to the dimensional hierachies of Christianity that grew out of Neoplatonism.