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SHERATAN, SIRIUS AND THE NORTH POLE OF THE ECLIPTIC IN THE BEGINNING OF THE SECOND MILLENARY
We can see that the angular distance between the star Sheratan (beta ARI) and the north pole of the ecliptic equals the distance between Sheratan and Sirius (alpha CMA).
As a consequence, we can draw a Sheratan-centered circumference passing in the proximity of :
This star -also know as Sothis- was linked with the goddess Isis. It made its heliacal rising near the summer solstice during the second part of the third millenary and at the start of the second. This is the drift of this phenomenon in the civil calendar that, for 4000 years, imposed the determination of the Sothic cycles (three cycles between 4236 BC and 139 AD)). Moreover, we' ve just have seen that, about 2000 BC, the rising of Sirius was observed, in Thebes, at the same time as the culmination of Sheratan.
- The north pole of the ecliptic
This pole is situated in the constellation of the Dragon (Draco) which is associated with the Egyptian Hippopotamus. This pole is implicitly represented on Denderah's "zodiac". In fact, this famous representation of the celestial sphere shows a zodiacal girdle centered on the Hippopotamus's breast. In "In Search of Ancient Astronomies", E.C. Krupp draws our attention to the fact that the pole of the ecliptic may be represented in an explicit way by a mark on the Hippopotamus's breast. Something needs noticing about this: though the planisphere was engraved in the beginning of Roman times, the non-zodiacal asterisms are represented by symbols belonging to the Egyptian ancient celestial sphere and therefore deserving to be taken into account in this study.
Finally, it should be noticed that, for a Theban observer, the north pole of the ecliptic described a diurnal particular movement : its inferior culmination took place on the horizon. This was the unavoidable consequence of a geographical latitude of 25.7° and of an obliquity of the ecliptic which, in the old Antiquity, was near 24° (altitude of the inferior culmination = 25.7° - 24°).
Moreover, the triangle Sheratan-Sirius-pole possesses remarkable properties :
If you divide 128.7 by 80.6 , you practically get 1.6 (1.59677)
- Distance Sheratan-pôle = 81.6 degrees
- Distance Sheratan-Sirius = 80.6 degrees
- Distance pole-Sirius = 128.7 degrees
This value is near the golden ratio (1.618).
We'l see later that the golden ratio and the angle of 128.7 degrees play a part in the orientation of the architectural whole in connection with the geographical meridian. This could seem to indicate that the remarkable proportions (quite fortuitous, of course) of this figure centering on Sheratan have pushed the builders of Thebes not only to project the constellation of Aries on their territory, but also to orientate it in an accurate way.
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