PISCES

, the 12th sign or constellation in the zodiac; in the form of two fishes tied together by the tails.

The Greeks, who have some fable to account for the origin of every constellation, tell us, that when Venus and Cupid were one time on the banks of the Euphrates, there appeared before them that terrible giant Typhon, who was so long a terror to all the Gods. These deities immediately, they say, threw themselves| into the water, and were there changed into these two si<*>hes, the Pisces, by which they escaped the danger. But the Egyptians used the signs of the zodiac as part of their hieroglyphic language, and by the 12 they conveyed an idea of the proper employment during the 12 months of the year. The Ram and the Boll had, at that time, taken to the increase of their flock, the young of those animals being then growing up; the maid Virgo, a reaper in the sield, spoke the approach of harvest; Sagittary declared autumn the time for hunting; and the Pisces, or fishes tied together, in token of their being taken, reminded men that the approach of spring was the time for sishing.

The Ancients, as they gave one of the 12 months of the year to the patronage of each of the 12 superior deities, so they also dedicated to, or put under the tutelage of each, one of the 12 signs of the zodiac. In this division, the fishes naturally fell to the share of Neptune; and hence arises that rule of the astrologers, which throws every thing that regards the fate of fleets and merchandize, under the more immediate patronage and protection of this constellation.

The stars in the sign Pisces are, in Ptolomy's catalogue 38, in Tycho's 36, in Hevelius's 39, and in the Britannic catalogue 113.

PISCIS Australis, the Southern Fish, is a constellation of the southern hemisphere, being one of the old 48 constellations mentioned by the Ancients.

The Greeks have here again the fable of Venus and her son throwing themselves into the sea, to escape from the terrible Typhon. This fable is probably borrowed from the hieroglyphics of the Egyptians. With them, a fish represented the sea, its element; and Typhon was probably a land flood, perhaps represented by the sign Aquarius, or water pourer, whose stream or river is represented as swallowed up by this fish, as the land floods and rivers are by the sea. And Venus was some queen, perhaps Semiramis, otherwise called Hamamah, who took to the river or the sea with her son, in a vessel, to avoid the flood, &c.

The remarkable star Fomahaut, of the 1st magnitude, is just in the mouth of this fish. The stars of this constellation are, in Ptolomy's catalogue 18, and in Flamsteed's 24.

Piscis Volans, the Flying Fish, is a small constellation of the southern hemisphere, unknown to the Ancients, but added by the Moderns. It is not visible in our latitude, and contains only 8 stars.

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Entry taken from A Mathematical and Philosophical Dictionary, by Charles Hutton, 1796.

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PILASTER
PILES
PILLAR
PINION
PINT
* PISCES
PISTOLE
PISTON
PLACE
PLAFOND
PLAN