The Ten Books on Architecture, 9.4.6

Vitruvius  Parallel editions

‹‹‹ Vitr. 9.4.5 | Table of Contents | Vitr. 9.5.1 ›››

Gwilt translation

6and that which is called the pole-star, is that near the tail of the Little Bear. Between these tails, as we have before stated, extends the Serpent, who turns round the head of that nearest to him, whence he takes a folding direction round the head of the smaller bear, and then spreading under his feet, and rising up, returns and folds from the head of the Less to the Greater Bear, with his snout opposite and shewing the right temple of his head. The feet of Cepheus are also on the tail of the Small Bear; towards which part more above our heads, are the stars which form the equilateral triangle above Aries. There are many stars common to the Lesser Bear and Cepheus. I have enumerated the constellations which are in the heavens to the right of the east between the zodiac and the north. I shall now describe those which are distributed on the southern side to the left of the east.

Morgan translation

6The Serpent is said to lie stretched out between their tails, and in it there is a star, called Polus, shining near the head of the Greater Bear. At the nearest point, the Serpent winds its head round, but is also flung in a fold round the head of the Lesser Bear, and stretches out close to her feet. Here it twists back, making another fold, and, lifting itself up, bends its snout and right temple from the head of the Lesser Bear round towards the Greater. Above the tail of the Lesser Bear are the feet of Cepheus, and at this point, at the very top, are stars forming an equilateral triangle. There are a good many stars common to the Lesser Bear and to Cepheus.

I have now mentioned the constellations which are arranged in the heaven to the right of the east, between the belt of the signs and the north. I shall next describe those that Nature has distributed to the left of the east and in the southern regions.