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Ancient Signs

Ancient Signs

The Alphabet & the Origins of Writing


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AVEBURY 7 HYDRA STONE
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F. Graham Millar LexiLine? Logo David as Orpheus - A Myth of the Stars
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DAVID as ORPHEUS
A MYTH OF THE STARS


by F. Graham Millar
Halifax, Centre, RASC (Royal Astronomical Society of Canada)
Website use with permission of the late copyright-holding author and based on the author's significant pioneer article which appeared in the Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 89, No. 4, Aug. 1995, pp.141-154.

"David playing the harp" was vividly portrayed on the cover of Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR) 20:2 1994; this showed a restoration of part of the mosaic floor, dated 508/9 C.E., of the Gaza synagogue. Green's article inside (1) gave background information, and noted the implied Orphic character of David. David as a harpist, I suggest, was a myth of the stars.

The ancient religion of the fixed stars gradually absorbed sun worship which became virtually dominant. In the Old Testament there already was a hint of solar identity in David: he was youthful, ruddy and of fair countenance (I Sam. 16:12, 17:42). As depicted on the synagogue floor, his face could be that of the sun god, while his hair was red and the locks stood out as rays.

If a flesh and blood David existed, his history has been overlaid by euphemerized myth. I have shown (2) that the story of David and Goliath was an international myth of the stars. (The reader may best understand the relationships of the constellations about to be named by consulting the star chart of Fig. 1.)

Figure 1 - Star Chart .

Meteor Star Chart

Saul was the constellation Hercules, David was Bootes, Goliath Orion, and the sling was Corona Borealis. The stone that David "slang" was a Herculid meteor. The names Saul, David and Goliath had roots in the Sanskrit dictionary, implying that the story was of Indo-European origin. As may be relevant, the Orphic myth was Greek and thus Indo-European.
In mythology the role of meteors, or shooting stars, has been overlooked. Once the role has been perceived, the explanation of many a folkloric motif leaps out: the flung thunderbolt, lance, or other projectile, the flashing sword, the sword drawn from its scabbard and replaced, the deadly glance of the Gorgon, and so on, including the javelin that Saul cast at David (I Sam 20:33)-- and the notes of David's harp.

The constellation of Lyra, the Harp, is close to Bootes; from it radiate the Lyrid meteors, a major shower active for about two days, in our time around April 22nd.

As may be seen on the star chart, Hercules is a more credible harpist than Bootes. In my paper (2) I showed that, under the influence of the precession (movement of the celestial pole), Bootes succeeded Hercules as the residence of the Horned One, a major deity. Possibly Hercules was the original harpist.

A lovely little sculpture of a harpist (3), from an island of the Cyclades, may be the Orphic David in his Indo-European matrix. The swan's head design at the top of the harp, I suggest, is derived from the constellation Cygnus, the Swan, adjacent to Lyra in the sky; from it radiate the Cygnid meteors, a minor shower lasting a few days around August 18th. Thus the notes of music-- meteors-- emanate from the swan-head as well as from the harp strings.

Accordingly, as we may theorize, the mythical David was originally the sky-dwelling divine musician, the patron who taught mankind all the arts. Among the nations he was known by many names, among them Orpheus.

REFERENCES
1. Connie Kestenbaum Green, "King David's Head from Gaza Synagogue Restored," BAR, 20:2 (1994), pp. 58-63,90.
2. F. Graham Millar, "The Celestial David and Goliath," Jour. Roy. Astron. Soc. of Canada, 89 (1995), pp. 141-154:summary on this www site.
3. "Worldwide," BAR 20:5 (1994), p. 88.
NOTES
a. The foregoing work is the copyright of the author. However, it may be referenced, quoted, or the ideas used, provided credit is given to F. Graham Millar.
b. In Bootes the second o has the dierisis, a double dot over the o, that cannot be shown in ASCII. [LexiLine addendum: Technology has moved forward and it can now be shown as Boötes online, but we have left it as originally in the article.]





 

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