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V. The Lunar Phases

"The Unicorn, a Mythological Investigation", by Robert Brown, [1881],

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Section V.

The Lunar Phases.

succession of apparent alterations in the form of the moon presents a phenomenon so remarkable as necessarily to have attracted the attention and careful observation of man from the earliest period. With the Greeks the phases were named;--

The New Moon. "Noumnia", which because in the same line or path with the Sun, is called Synodos.

The Young Moon." Nea Seln". Time in the month, "Prot Phasis", 'the First Appearance;' a slender crescent seen a short time after sunset.

The Increasing Crescent. "Hexagnos", 'Six-angled,' as having run 1/6th of its course.

The Half Moon. "Hemitomos", 'Cut-in-twain.' 1 Also called "Tetragnos", as having four equal angles in its circuit, th of which it has now passed.

The Increasing Moon. "Amphikurtos", 'Curved- on-each-side.' Also called "Trignos", 'Triangular,' for were an equilateral triangle drawn from its starting-point, the present position would be the apex, rd of its course being now passed.

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The Full Moon. "Panselnos". Also called "Dichomnia", the 'Month-divider.'

The Decreasing Moon. "Amphikurtos", "Trigonos".

The Second Half-Moon. "Hemitomos", etc.

The Decreasing Crescent. "Menoeids", 'Crescent-shaped,' Lat. "Lunatus".

The Old Moon. "En Seln". Time in the month,--"Eschat Phasis", 'the Last Appearance.' A slender crescent.

The corresponding Latin names are;--

The New Moon. "Novilunium", which being invisible is called "Luna Silens", and the time styled "Congressus cum Sole".

The Young Moon. "Nova Luna". Period,--"Prima Phasis".

The Increasing Crescent. "Primus sextilis aspectus".

The Half Moon. "Luna dividua, semiplena, bisecta". "Prima quadratura".

The Increasing Moon. "Luna gibba", 'the Humpbacked Moon.' "Luna in triquetro".

The Full Moon. "Plenilunium". Also "Oppositio", the Moon being now opposite the Sun; "Luna totilunis, Medius mensis".

The Decreasing Moon. "Luna gibba".

The Second Half Moon. "Luna dividua", etc. "Secunda quadratura".

The Decreasing Crescent. "Corniculata, falcata, curvata in cornua".

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The Old Moon. "Ultima phasis".

The epithets "menoeides", "corniculata", and the like, apply to any crescent phase of the moon. During the first half of its course the moon is "Seln auxanomin", "Luna crescens", the Waxing moon; during the last half, "Seln phthinousa, Luna decrescens, senescens", the Waning moon. As the Crescent-moon is nearest the Sun, 1 so it is the crescent-moon that is represented with the young sun in its arms; 2 and the crescent-moon is also the mother of the old moon and of the full moon. This is shown in the east window of Herringfleet Church, Suffolk, 3 where the crescent surrounds the full invisible moon, in the circle of which is the face of an angel. The Unicorn-goat during the first half of its career bounds forward from the sun, at which and the earth it looks back, and hence is regardant; during the second half of its career it bounds back towards the sun, looking round to the point whence it has begun to return. 4

The lunar phases received the greatest attention from Babylonian and Akkadian observers; but we are not yet in a position to formulate results, as in the case of the Classical languages. Every position and alteration was more or less portentous, the system of portents being founded on the triple basis of (1)

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actual natural incident, (2) anthropomorphic analogy, or (3) synchronous occurrence. 'The left horn' and 'the right horn' of the moon are both mentioned, but it is also described as having, like the Unicorn, a single horn. Thus we read--"Ina ri-ib Karnu" 1
" la ikh-khi-rav". 'Owing to rain, "the Horn" was not visible.' 2 Another passage states, 'Venus is in the ascendant; and (is) on "the Horn of"--' 3 Prof. Sayce supplies 'the Sun.' Rather, I think, 'the Moon.' Again,--'A dark cloud covered "the Horn".' 4 Again, 'the moon "in its horn" like the stars is white.' 5 The Crescent-moon is called "Karunu", 'Horned.'


Some tribes consider this to be the act of the angry Sun, an illustration of the hostility of Lion and Unicorn.

Cf. "W.A.I.", III. lviii. 5: 'The Moon the Sun overtook, and with it had lingered. (It is) horned' (ap. Prof. Sayce in "T.S.B.A." iii. 212).

Vide Lenormant in "Chaldean Magic", Device on back; Inman, "Ancient Faiths", ii. 261, 325; Moor, "Hindu Pantheon", pl. ii. Sectarial Marks; "inf". sec Viii.

Vide "Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries", vi. 459; vide also sec. III. No. Xiv.

Vide sec. III. No. Iii.

The ideograph shows the horned cap of the early Babylonians. "Karnu", Heb. "keren", which reappears in the Gk. KRoNos, for KaRNos ('There is no such being as in Sanskrit.'--professor M. Mller, "Selected Essays", 1881, vol. i. 460), Apolln-Karneios, etc., singularly resembles the Lat. "cornu", Eng. "horn", as the Gk. "keras" does the Heb. "keren"; but Semitic and Aryan words must not be allied without the most stringent proofs.

\"W.A.I." III. li. 9, ap. Prof. Sayce.

\"T.S.B.A." iii. 199.

40:4 \"Ibid". 226.

\"Ibid". 297.

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