The unit or as of weight was the Libra (pound: =about I15 oz.
Prentice, the historian of the Anti-Corn-Law League, who was then editor of the Manchester Times, describes how, in the year 1835, he received for publication in his paper a series of admirably written letters, under the signature of "Libra," discussing commercial and economical questions with rare ability.
The Balance, obviously indicating the equality of day and night, is first mentioned as the sign of the Libra autumnal equinox by Geminus and Varro, and °b and tained, through Sosigenes of Alexandria, official re Scorpio.
Libra was not of Greek invention.
Both Libra and the sign it eventually superseded thus owned a Chaldaean birthplace.
The Egyptians adopted from the Greeks, with considerable modifications of its attendant symbolism, the twelve-fold division of the zodiac. Aries became the Fleece; two Sprouting Plants, typifying equality or resemblance, stood for Gemini; Cancer was re-named Scarabaeus; Leo was converted, from the axe-like configuration of its chief stars, into the Knife: Libra into the Mountain of the Sun, a reminiscence, apparently, of the Euphratean association of the seventh month with a " holy mound," designating the biblical tower of Babel.
Reminiscences of the Greek signs of Gemini, Leo, Libra, Sagittarius, Capricornus and Pisces are obvious severally in the Hindu Two Faces, Lion's Tail, Beam of a Balance, Arrow, Gazelle's Head (figured as a marine nondescript) and Fish.
Thus Mercury, as the planet nearest the sun, obtained Virgo, the sign adjacent to Leo, with the corresponding lunar house in Gemini; Venus had Libra (solar) and Taurus (lunar); and so for the rest.
10 Individuals, too, adopted zodiacal emblems. Capricornus was impressed upon the coins of Augustus, Libra on those ' of Pythodoris, queen of Pontus; a sultan of Iconium displayed Leo as his " horoscope " and mark of sovereignty; Stephen of England chose the protection of Sagittarius.
The Greek signs of the zodiac, including Libra, are obvious upon both these monuments, which have thrown useful light upon the calendar system and method of stellar grouping of the ancient Egyptians.16 Planispheres.
In the zodiac of Merton College, Oxford, Libra is represented by a judge in his robes and Pisces by the dolphin of Fitzjames, warden of the college, 1482-1507.6 The great rose-windows of the Early Gothic period were frequently painted with zodiacal emblems; and some frescoes in the cathedral of Cologne contain the signs, each with an attendant angel, just as they were depicted on the vault of the church at Mount Athos.
Taking a wider range of place and time, the Roman libra has an average variation of 1/50 in the examples of better period (43), and in those of Byzantine age 1/35 (44).
In., or decidedly less than the actual measures; the other theory of its containing 80 librae of water would make it 1575 by the commercial or 1605 by the monetary libra-again too low for the measures.
This gives the same approximate ratio 96: 100 to the libra as the usual drachma reckoning.
It also passed into Italy, but in a smaller multiple of 35 drachmae, or 1/4th of the Greek mina; 12 Italian weights (44) bearing value marks (which cannot therefore be differently attributed) show a libra of 2400 or 1/4th of 9600, which was divided in unciae and sextulae, and the full-sized mina is known as the 24 uncia mina, or talent of 120 librae of Vitruvius and Isidore (18) = 9900.
4950; With the trade mina of 9650 in Greece, and recognized in Italy, we can hardly doubt that the Roman libra is the half of this mina.
At Athens it was 2 x 4900, and on the average of all the Greek weights it is 2 x 4825, so that 4950 -- the libra -- is as close as we need expect.
In the Libra, as in most other standards, the value which happened to be first at hand for the coinage was not the mean of the whole of the weights in the country; the Phoenician coin weight is below the trade average, the Assyrian is above, the Aeginetan is below, but the Roman coinage is above the average of trade weights, or the mean standard.
A beautiful set of multiples of the scripulum was found near Lyons (38), from 1 to 10 x 17.28 grains, showing a libra of 4976.
This unit passed also into Italy, the libra of Picenum and the double of the Etrurian and Sicilian libra (17); it was there divided in unciae and scripulae (44), the mean of 6 from Italy and Sicily being 6600; one weight (bought in Smyrna) has the name "Leitra" on it.
In the Prologue to the "Parson's Tale" (so) there is, on the other hand, a mistake of Chaucer's own, which no judicious critic would think of removing, the constellation Libra being said to be "the moon's exaltation" when it should be Saturn's.
But Supposing The Instant Of The Sun'S Entering Into The Sign Libra To Be Very Near Midnight, The Small Errors Of The Solar Tables Might Render It Doubtful To Which Day The Equinox Really Belonged; And It Would Be In Vain To Have Recourse To Observation To Obviate The Difficulty.
Libra, a balance), a slow oscillation, as of a balance; in astronomy especially the seeming oscillation of the moon around her axis, by which portions of her surface near the edge of the disk are alternately brought into sight and swung out of sight.
In the interior and in all domestic transactions the old Spanish weights and measures are still used - including the Spanish libra of 1.102 lb avoirdupois, the arroba of 25 libras (122 kilogrammes), the quintal of Too libras (50 kilog.), the carga of 250 libras (125 kilogs.), the vara of 80 centimetres, and the fanega.
At the end of that time he appeared in public with his Saggiatore, a polemical treatise written in reply to the Libra astronomica of Padre Grassi (under the pseudonym of Lotario Sarsi), the Jesuit astronomer of the Collegio Romano.
"Yes," he says, "I can read his face; by his hair and his forehead it is easy to guess that the sun at his birth was in the sign of Libra and near Venus.
19 northern: - Ursa major, Ursa minor, Bootes, Draco, Cepheus, Cassiopeia, Andromeda, Perseus, Triangulum, Pegasus, Delphinus, Auriga, Hercules, Lyra, Cygnus, Aquila, Sagitta, Corona and Serpentarius; 13 central or zodiacal: - Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricornus, Aquarius, Pisces and the Pleiades; and 12 southern: - Orion, Canis, Lepus, Argo, Cetus, Eridanus, Piscis australis, Ara, Centaurus, Hydra, Crater and The Phoenicians - a race dominated by the spirit of commercial enterprise - appear to have studied the stars more especially with respect to their service to navigators; according to Homer " the stars were sent by Zeus as portents for mariners."
The names in which Ptolemy differs from modern usage are: - Hercules (iv -yovaotv), Cygnus ("Opvts), Eridanus (IIora tos), Lupus (Onpiov), Pegasus (17r7ros), Equuleus ("Iirirov irporogi i), Canis minor (IIpoidwv), and Libra (XnXai, although "vyos is used for the same constellation in other parts of the Almagest).
The monetary unit is the Peruvian pound (libra) which is uniform in weight and fineness with the British pound sterling.
At the moment of crossing the equator towards the north the sun is said to be at the first point of Aries; some thirty days later it enters Taurus, and so on through Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricornus, Aquarius and Pisces.