LLR Books

SKY MYTHS.



[Sidenote: Uranus.]

Taking them in the order in which they are presented in this work, we
find among the myths of the sky, Uranus, whose name, like that of the
old Hindoo god Varuna, is derived from the Sanskrit root _var_ ("to
veil, conceal, or cover"). This god was therefore a personification of
the heavens, which are spread out like a veil, and cover all the
earth; and we are further told that he hurled the thunder and
lightning, his Cyclop children, down from his abode into the abyss
called Tartarus.

[Sidenote: Jupiter.]

Zeus (or Jupiter), whose name is the same as the Hindoo Dyaus Pitar,
the god and personification of the bright sky or the heavens, has
likewise been traced to the Sanskrit root _div_ or _dyu_, meaning "to
shine;" and there is also a noun _dyu_ in that language which means
either "sky" or "day." In early times the name was applied to the one
God, and was therefore "retained by the Greeks and all other kindred
people to express all they felt toward God;" but as the word also
meant the visible sky, with its ever-changing aspect, some of the
phrases used to describe it came, in the course of time, to denote
vile and fickle actions, and apparently inconsistent behavior.

[Sidenote: Juno.]

The name of Hera (or Juno), the heavenly light, and therefore the
complement and consort of the sky, is supposed to be derived from the
Sanskrit _soar_ ("the bright sky") and _surya_ ("the sun"); and all
the manifold changes which at first merely denoted the varying
atmosphere, by being personified, gradually gave the impression of the
jealous, capricious, vengeful person whom poets and writers have taken
pleasure in depicting ever since.

[Sidenote: Argus.]

Another personification of the sky, this time under the nocturnal and
starry aspect, is Argus, whose many bright eyes never closed all at
once, but kept constant watch over the moon (Io)--confided to his care
by the heavenly light (Juno)--until at last their beams were quenched
by the wind and rain (Mercury).