The Maiden or The Virgin

Virgo Constellation

The Brighter Stars of Virgo

The Story

Who is the Lady?

The celestial Virgin is a winged figure like an angel with a sheaf of wheat in her hand. Who is this lady?

The Goddess of Justice

Virgo has been identified with many different goddesses. She is often seen as Dike, the Goddess of Justice, known as Justa or Justitia to the Romans. From this the neighboring constellation of Libra is often seen as the Scales of Justice.

The Goddess of the Harvest

The presence of the wheat sheaf leads some to identify Virgo with Demeter, the Goddess of the Harvest, known to the Romans as Ceres. Or she may be seen as Persephone (in Latin Proserpina), Demeter's daughter who was abducted by the God of the Underworld, Hades (Pluto to the Romans).

The Virgin

The Winemaker's Daughter

She is also identified with Erigone, the daughter of Icarius, who was famed for having received the secret of wine making from the Wine God, Dionysius. Icarius in myth was killed by peasants who thought they had been poisoned by his wine. Icarius' loyal dog Maera ran home howling in grief and led Icarius' daughter back to his body. Poor Erigone hanged herself in grief over the death of her father. The gods had mercy on Icarius and his family and transported Icarius into the sky as the constellation of Boötes. Erigone became Virgo, and the dog Maera, the constellation of Canis Minor.

Other Goddesses

Virgo has also been seen as Tyche, the Goddess of Fortune, or as Atargatis, the Syrian fertility goddess. She has been seen as Minerva the Roman Goddess of Wisdom known as Athena to the Greeks. She has been seen as Diana, the Roman Goddess of the Hunt, the Greek Artemis. She has also been identified as Cybele, the Roman goddess presiding over nature and fertility and with Urania, the Muse of Astronomy. (See Allen).  

Copyright © 1998 - 2010 by Arnold V. Lesikar,
Professor Emeritus
Dept. of Physics, Astronomy, and Engineering Science,
St. Cloud State University,St. Cloud, MN 56301-4498

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