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How did Sagittarius get its name?

Sagittarius - "the Archer" in Latin, called Toxotes in Greek. Of all the 12 zodiac signs, Sagittarius has what likely could be considered as the most controversial and/or disputed origin. And Sagittarius archers... please don't shoot the messenger!

Most modern sources (and apparently some ancient sources) like to identify Sagittarius, the archer, with a kindly mentor centaur (horse with a man's body from the waist up), Chiron (or Cheiron). Most centaurs were wild, warring, lustful beasts. However - kindly, wise Chiron was the exception to this rule, and he was a teacher/mentor to many of the Greek heroes (such as Achilles, Jason, and Asclepius).

Not so fast... says Theony Condos in the book, Star Myths. Two of the most ancient, surviving sources - Eratosthenes (1st/2nd century CE) and Hyginus (1st century BCE) - say this is not necessarily correct. These two ancient and authoritative authors identified the constellation of Sagittarius, the archer, with a mythological satyr by the name of Crotus.

In Greek mythology, satyrs were creatures depicted as having the body of a man, tail of a horse, and the legs (or horns) of a goat. Like centaurs, satyrs were normally wild, warring, lustful beasts. Like Chiron, the satyr Crotus was an exception to the rule - and Crotus was said to be a satyr having a peaceful nature.

Crotus lived on Mount Helicon. Crotus delighted in the company of the Muses (sounds like fun), and he was known as being an avid hunter. In Greek mythology, Crotus is credited with the invention of the bow. (Eratosthenes points out that centaurs, such as Chiron, did not traditionally use bows.) Crotus was also considered to be the swiftest of the forest and accomplished in his musical skills.

Crotus was the son of the god Pan and Eupheme, nurse to the Muses and one of the Charites. Speaking of the Muses, with whom Crotus was raised and hung out with, they were the ones that convinced the god Zeus to honor Crotus with a constellation equal to his extraordinary talents.

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