The Intriguing Libra Constellation Myth

The southern skies are home to one of the twelve zodiac constellations called the Libra Constellation. The name is Latin which refers to ‘the weighing scales’ which usually feature in images of the Greek goddess of justice called Dike or Astraea depicted in the Virgo constellation which neighbors Libra. The Libra constellation myth is an intriguing and significant tale that has remained relevant to this day.


A Little Bit Of History

It is the only member of the zodiac constellation that represents an object as opposed to an animal or a mythology character. It features 4 brightest stars namely Alpha, Beta Librae, Gamma, and Sigma Librae. These form a quadrangle with the first and second creating the balancing beam of the scales while the third and fourth represent the weighing pans. The constellation is Methuselah’s home. Methuselah is presently the oldest star known to mankind. The constellation also doesn’t feature any first magnitude stars and was initially catalogued by Ptolemy, the Greek astronomer in the 2nd century.

The portion of the sky playing host to the Libra constellation was known as Claws or Chelae by the Ancient Greeks. The area was regarded as being part of the Scorpio constellation and Chelae stood for the scorpion’s claws. Associating this area with the scales of Libra is something that originated with the Romans sometime during the 1st Century BC. According to the story, when Rome was founded the moon was in Libra. This is why they regarded the Libra Constellation as being favoured among all the members of the zodiac constellations. It was associated with equilibrium of days between the duration of day and night as well as balanced seasons. This relationship was also drawn by the Babylonians who referred to the relationship as ZIB.BA.AN.NA or ‘the balance of heaven’. This was way before the Romans drew similar conclusions, sometime a hundred years before Christ.

The Transformation

The emergence of this association with balance slowly dealt a death blow to the association with the scorpion’s claws. It might be interesting to know that Libra was itself once regarded as being part of the Scorpio constellation. The traces of this one-time association can still be identified in the name Beta Librae which is also known as Zubeneschamali in Arabic, meaning ‘the northern claw’, and Alpha Librae known as Zubenelgenubi meaning ‘the southern claw’. You can find all the myths and facts regarding the zodiac constellations online.


The Wonderful Story of the Libra Constellation Myth

The Libra constellation myth is synonymous with balance which is the reason why it is depicted by the scales held by the goddess of justice, Astraea. The stars of Libra were one time intermingled with those of Scorpius in ancient times by the Greeks. The Romans have however always considered them to belong to separate groups. The balance that the constellation is associated with pertains to nature and justice.

The sun entering Libra, some 3000 years ago heralded the beginning of autumn. This I the time when days and nights are equal in length which is where the balance is derived from. The last god to reside on planet earth was Astraea and he ascended to the heavens when mankind turned to wicked ways and there she became Virgo Constellation and the scales that she had carried became the constellation Libra. These scales were originally thought to represent the Scorpion’s claws.


The name Libra is derived from the Latin word Libra or Greek ‘lithra’ which is a weighing scale, equilibrium, litre a metric unit of volume, and a host of other derivatives. The scales have been used to represent the principle attribute of justice from time immemorial. The fact that it is impossible to even a little quantity of right with any amount of wrong. The scales represent perfect balance when they are even or level.

The stars of Libra grew from being taken for the claws of Scorpius by the Greeks to the Golden Chariot of Pluto. This chariot has its roots in the ancient story detailing the abduction of Pluto. This Greek myth has strong ties to the astronomical world which is why it has claimed such fame. Pluto is also known as Hades and the Lord of this place made use of the chariot whenever he made visits to the upper world from the underworld. He brought permanent change to the upper world when he took Persephone to the deepest part of Hades known as Tartarus.

This ruler, also known as Hades, was a brother to Zeus and Poseidon and made infrequent sojourns to the upper world. He remained largely ignorant of the going on in the upper world. He possessed a helmet which made him invisible as well as all the earth’s mineral wealth. Pluto means rich one and the name was used instead of Hades because it was regarded imprudent to mention the names of the gods.