top of page


see also:

Ursa Major (constellation)

Aristotle METE


Lucretius DRN

Seneca NQ

References for Greek and Latin

constellation Ursa Major, depicted with Stellarium software (2023) release 1.3 and for 123 BCE Athens.
Modern Description

written by Susanne M Hoffmann

The constellation of the Great Bear was invented for navigational purpose: it was not directly at the northern celestial pole in antiquity but it was close enough to serve for determining the direction.

Later, it was connected to the Attic initiation ritual for young women (cf. myth of Callisto changed into a she-bear) because this group of stars is high up in the sky during spring time (when the initiation rituals take place).

Further Remarks

bottom of page