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Paper: Arcturus and the Bears
Volume: 409, Cosmology Across Cultures
Page: 157
Authors: Antonello, E.
Abstract: Arcturus is the brightest star in Bootes. The ancient Greek name Arktouros means Bear Guard. The star, however, is not close to Ursa Maior (Big She-Bear) and Ursa Minor (Little She-Bear), as the name would suggest. This curious discrepancy could be explained by the star proper motion, assuming the name Bear Guard is a remote cultural heritage. The proper motion analysis could allow us to get an insight also into an ancient myth regarding Ursa Maior. Though we cannot explain scientifically such a myth, some interesting suggestions can be obtained about its possible origin, in the context of the present knowledge of the importance of the cult of the bear both during the Palaeolithic times and for several primitive populations of modern times, as shown by the ethnological studies.
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