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Paper: Urania, the Muse of Astronomy: She Who Draws Our Eyes
Volume: 501, Inspiration of Astronomical Phenomena VIII
Page: 221
Authors: Rossi, S.
Abstract: In exploring the inspiration of astronomical phenomena upon human culture we are invited, perhaps beckoned, to reflect on Urania, the Greek Muse of Astronomy. Heavenly One or Heavenly Bright, Urania teaches mortals the shape and wonder of the cosmos, “men who have been instructed by her she raises aloft to heaven for it is a fact that imagination and power of thought lift men's souls to heavenly heights” (Siculus 1935). Yet in cities, the heavenly lights are dimmed, flooded by another source of light which is that of culture, and that is the domain of Aphrodite. So it is to her we must turn to understand what draws our eyes up to the heavens above the dazzling city lights. And, as Aphrodite Urania, her cultural and aesthetic domain is connected to the order of the cosmos itself, “the triple Moirai are ruled by thy decree, and all productions yield alike to thee: whatever the heavens, encircling all, contain, earth fruit-producing, and the stormy main, thy sway confesses, and obeys thy word...” (Athanassakis 1988). My presentation is a mythopoetic cultural excavation of the gods and ideas in our passion for astronomy; how, in our fascination with the cosmos, we see Urania and Aphrodite, these goddesses who inspire us city dwellers, planetarium devotees, and silent-field stargazers to look upwards.
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