Since ancient times, voyages across thousands of miles of unmarked water have been made possible by the classic methods of celestial navigation. The Odyssey of Homer refers to the constellations and describes how the stars could serve as guiding beacons. Thus, through an understanding of theoretical astronomy, the Greeks were able to chart important commercial trade routes and dominate the markets of their day.
Among the more important navigational constellations in the northern celestial hemisphere is Big Dipper, which marks the sky near the North Pole. It comprises part of the constellation known to the ancient Greeks as Arktos, the Bear, and later to the Romans as Ursa Major, the Great Bear.
Of the seven stars constituting the Big Dipper, six are of the second magnitude and one is of the third magnitude. Two of the second-magnitude stars, Alpha and Beta Ursa Major, point directly to the North Star, Polaris, and hence are called the Pointers.
To the ancient Greeks, the seemingly-remote theories of astronomy held important application to navigating the routes of commercial trade. Today, information technologies are essential to institutional investors, advisors, appraisers, managers and other real estate professionals who desire to remain effective and competitive. The Arctos Group can help you and your organization use fundamental technologies to find important opportunities on the ever-expanding sea of information.
"Long ago in Arcadia there lived a king named Lykaon who had a beautiful daughter called Callisto. The princess was a huntress and a follower of the virgin goddess Artemis and had sworn that she would never love any man. But one hot summer afternoon while Callisto was sleeping under a tree in the forest, Zeus, the king of the gods, saw her and fell in love with her. At first, remembering her promise, Callisto resisted him; but presently she returned his love.
"When Artemis' other maidens learned what Callisto had done, they would hunt and play with her no longer. Sad and lonely, she wandered off into the woods of Arcadia, where there were no people, only wolves and bears and other wild beasts. There she gave birth to a baby boy whom she named Arcas.
"Now when the queen of the gods, Hera, heard what had happened she became jealous. She descended to earth and appeared before Callisto, full of rage. Calling out words of power, she flung her to the ground. At once the princess's robes dropped from her, her arms and legs thickened and became shaggy with fur, and her face lengthened into a muzzle. She tried to beg for mercy, but her voice had changed into a roar; she had become a great white bear.
"Her little boy, Arcas, did not know her any more; he screamed and ran away into the open fields. There he was found and adopted by a kind farmer. Callisto could not follow him, but had to hide deep in the woods to escape the hunters, her former companions.
"As Arcas grew up he inherited his mother's skill at hunting with bow and arrow. He ranged further and further into the great forest, and at last one day he came upon Callisto. When she recognized her son she forgot her bear's shape and ran to hug him, growling with joy. Arcas thought he was being attacked, and drew his bow. He would have shot Callisto to the heart if Zeus, who sees all things, had not come to her rescue. Zeus seized the bear by her tail and swung her up among the stars. Then, so that Callisto might never again be separated from her son, he changed Arcas also into a bear, and tossed him too into the heavens, where they became the Great Bear and the Little Bear."
from The Heavenly Zoo
by Alison Lurie