Monday 20 February 2012

Star Gayzing - Pisces

Regular readers of these Star Gayzing posts will not be surprised to hear that the constellation Pisces dates back to ancient Babylon. Probably originally representing the two great rivers – Tigris and Euphrates – and their meeting point at the sea, fish were added to the ends to symbolise water. It is in this image that the constellation Pisces is pictured today.

In classical Greek times these fish joined together by a cord came to represent Aphrodite and Eros, the mother and son gods of love and lust (which I’ll come to later). The most common version of the legend relates to the same story I told you about Pan in my Capricorn post. Zeus, king of the gods, had defeated the Titans and locked them up – just like you see at the start of Disney’s animated film “Hercules”. But the mother of the Titans, Gaia (or Mother Earth) sent another of her children to depose Zeus.

This child was a hideous monster called Typhon. As soon as he was let loose he was spotted by Pan who raised the alarm. Several of the gods jumped into a river to escape the monster, including Pan who turned into a half-goat, half-fish creature. Aphrodite and Eros also jumped into a river. As soon as they hit the water they too were transformed, this time completely into fish (or were rescued by fish in another legend). Later legends were created to make the constellation fit the image of two fish tied together with a cord. One say that Eros was still a child at the time of Typhon’s attack, and to make sure he didn’t get swept away in the river Aphrodite tied him to herself with a cord.

Way back when I began my blog I did a series of posts on ancient Greece and the role Eros played in gay sex. He was worshipped at all the gymnasia, where naked youth and men trained for war and sport. There was usually an altar to Eros in every gym, and before battle or sport contest each soldier-athlete would pray to Eros and give him offerings.

On the Greek pottery and vases from the 6th century BC which depict sex, less than 1% depict male-female sex, and on the 99+% of the rest, the male-male sex, Eros appears as a symbol of erotic love. As I said in August, if a straight man described someone as erotic he should really be referring to another man. The Ancient Greek of that time found nothing erotic in women at all! How times and attitudes have changed!

And on the subject of sex, it seems appropriate to return to the subject next time when we’ll learn about how the stars that connect gay sex with Alice in Wonderland and fluffy little Easter bunnies!

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