During the dry season in Ancient Egypt, the lions of the desert came close to the NileValley when the river flooded, which was known to occur when the Sun was in Leo. Thus, some sources state.
One theory is that the Sun was among its stars in Midsummer, during which time the lions of the Egyptian desert left their accustomed haunts for the banks of the Nile, where they could find relief from the heat in the waters of the inundation. This is believed to be origin of the constellation's name.
The Egyptian stellar Lion, however, comprised only a part of the modern constellation, and in the earliest records some of its stars were shown as a knife, whereas they now are as a sickle.
Other Notable Constellation Leo History
The constellation is referred to in an inscription on the walls of the Ramesseum at Thebes, which, like the Nile temples generally, was adorned with the animal's bristles. On the planisphere of Dendera, its figure is shown standing on an outstretched serpent.
The Persians called Leo Ser or Shir; the Turks, Artan; the Syrians, Aryo; the Jewish, Arye; the Indians, Simha ; all meaning a lion. In Babylonian astronomy these stars were called UR.GU.LA - the 'Great Lion'; the bright star, Regulus, that stands at the Lion's breast also had distinctly regal associations as it was known as the King Star.
In Greek mythology, it was identified as the Nemean Lion which was killed by Hercules during one of his twelve labours, and subsequently put into the sky.
Early Hindu astronomers knew constellation Leo as Asleha and as Sinha, the Tamil Simham.
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