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Venus and Mercury in the Grand Procession of Ptolemy II

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Callixenus describes a procession of Ptolemy II that was held at midwinter, when both morning and evening stars were visible. Most scholars reject both chronological indications, but they are valid, and securely date the procession to midwinter 279/8 B. C. E. Astronomical observations and discourse were prevalent in early Ptolemaic Alexandria, and the two stars in Callixenus are distinct, Venus and Mercury. Each is sometimes a morning star, sometimes an evening star, as was already known to Plato, and they periodically appear on opposite sides of the sun. The procession opens Ptolemy's reign by claiming the heritage of Alexander, and of Dionysos.
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Keywords: ARSINOË II; ASTRONOMY; CALLIXENUS; MERCURY; PTOLEMY II; VENUS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2016

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  • Historia, first published in 1952 by Karl Friedrich Stroheker and Gerold Walser is an international, peer-reviewed journal on Greek and Roman antiquity. Articles are in English, German, French and Italian. It features original articles on Greek history, the Roman Republic and Empire as well as late antiquity. It covers all aspects of political, economic, religious and social life and deals with legal, archaeological, numismatic and epigraphical questions.
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