Planet Earth
International Astronomical Union WGSN

IAU: Virgo

Profile / Characteristics

English translationLatin declination and pronunciationsSize/ °²# stars
the MaidenVirgo – VER-go
Virginis – VER-jin-iss

Ancient Globes

Farnese Globe

Kugel Globe

Mainz Globe

Ancient Lore & Meaning


English translation by Douglas Kidd (1997).
Aratus: Phaenomena, Cambridge Classical Texts and Commentaries, Series Number 34

Online available: translation by Mair (1921) 


Hesiod: it is Dike, Aratus says she formerly lived among the people but withdrew from them because of their wars and ignorance of justice. Some others say, it’s Demeter because she carries an ear. others say, it’s Isis, others that it’s Atargatis, and others that she is Tyche who is depicted without a head.

French translation by:
Jordi Pàmias i Massana and Arnaud Zucker (2013). Ératosthènes de Cyrène – Catastérismes, Les Belles Lettres, Paris

English version in:
Robin Hard (2015): Eratosthenes and Hyginus Constellation Myths with Aratus’s Phaenomena, Oxford World’s Classics

Early Modern Interpretation


As one of their first tasks in the 1920s, the newly founded International Astronomical Union (IAU) established constellation standards. The Belgian astronomer Eugène Delporte was assigned to the task to define borders of constellations parallel to lines of declination and right ascension. They were accepted by the General Assembly in 1928. The standardized names and abbreviations had already been accepted in 1922 and 1925.  

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