Ἄρκτον. The Bear (Ursa Maior) (the ‘lesser bear’ is a later conception) stands at bay, and watches (“δοκεύει” Il.8. 340) Orion ; a picturesque way of representing the revolutions of the two constellations in concentric circles; the Bear moving in the lesser one. Cp. Manil. Astron. 1. 502 ‘Arctos et Orion adversis frontibus ibant.’ From the fact of ‘turning round on the same spot’ (“αὐτοῦ στρέφεται”), the bear was also called Helice. This must be regarded as only a poetical description, for the circles described by the Bear and Orion are not so near together as to justify such language. Perhaps the general result may be thus summed up. Odysseus may be supposed to be steering generally in an eastward direction. This keeps the Bear on his left hand. We may suppose the time of the year to be about the Autumnal Equinox. Near midnight Boötes would be just setting in the NW. horizon, and the Pleiads just rising in the SE. An hour or two later Orion would come up in the SE., and become a conspicuous constellation. The Bear, whose head is turned towards the rising Orion , seems to the poet to be looking suspiciously at the Hunter, who has thus appeared in the sky.ἐπίκλησιν καλέουσιν, ‘they sur-name;’ “ἐπίκλησιν” being an adverbial accusative with “καλέουσι”. The word generally denotes a later or nick-name (“κλῆσις ἐπὶ τῇ πρώτῃ πρόσθετος”), given to commemorate some peculiarity. Cp. Il.7. 138; 16.177; 22.29, Il., 506.Similar is the use of “ἐπώνυμος”, as in Od.7. 54; 19.409; Il.9. 562.
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