This zodiacal constellation, like Pisces, depicts the result of the sudden appearance of the earthborn giant Typhoeus. Bacchus was feasting on the banks of the Nile at the time, and jumped into the river. The part of him that was below water was transformed into a fish, while his upper body became that of a goat. From this point of view, he saw that Typhoeus was attempting to tear Jupiter into pieces; he blew a shrill note on his pipes, and Typhoeus fled. Jupiter then placed the new shape of Bacchus in the heavens out of thanks for the rescue.
Capricornus has therefore from antiquity been represented by a figure with the head and body of a goat and the tail of a fish. It may be seen between Aquarius and Sagittarius low on the southern horizon.
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These pages are the work of Cathy Bell
cmbell (at) comfychair (dot) org
originally for the Princeton University course CLA 212.