What Are the Names of the Ancient Constellations in Latin?

The Big Bear Constellation
The Big Bear Constellation. NYPL Digital Gallerty

Here are the 48 original constellations introduced by the Greek Astronomer Ptolemy in "The Almagest," c. A.D. 140. The form in bold is the Latin name. The three-letter form in parentheses shows the abbreviation and the form in single quotes provides a translation or explanation. For instance, Andromeda was the name of a chained princess, while aquila is Latin for eagle.

Additional information tells whether the constellation is part of the zodiac, a northern constellation or a southern one.

The Argonaut's ship, the Argo is no longer used as a constellation and the serpent constellation is divided in two, with the Ophiuchus between the head and tail.

  1. Andromeda (And)
    'Andromeda' or 'The Chained Princess'
    Northern Constellation
  2. Aquarius (Aqr)
    'The Water Bearer'
    Zodiacal
  3. Aquila (Aql)
    'The Eagle'
    Northern Constellation
  4. Ara (Ara)
    'The Altar'
    Southern Constellation
  5. Argo Navis
    'The Argo(nauts') Ship'
    Southern Constellation (Not in www.artdeciel.com/constellations.aspx "Constellations"; no longer recognized as a constellation)
  6. Aries (Ari)
    'The Ram'
    Zodiacal
  7. Auriga (Aur)
    'The Charioteer'
    Northern Constellation
  8. Boötes (Boo)
    'The Herdsman'
    Northern Constellation
  9. Cancer (Cnc)
    'The Crab'
    Zodiacal
  10. Canis Major (Cma)
    'The Great Dog'
    Southern Constellation
  11. Canis Minor (Cmi)
    'The Little Dog'
    Southern Constellation
  12. Capricornus (Cap)
    'The Sea Goat'
    Zodiacal
  13. Cassiopeia (Cas)
    'Cassiopeia' or 'The Queen'
    Northern Constellation
  14. Centaurus (Cen)
    'The Centaur'
    Southern Constellation
  1. Cepheus (Cep)
    'The King'
    Northern Constellation
  2. Cetus (Cet)
    'The Whale' or 'The Sea Monster'
    Southern Constellation
  3. Corona Australis (CrA)
    'The Southern Crown'
    Southern Constellation
  4. Corona Borealis (CBr)
    'The Northern Crown'
    Northern Constellation
  5. Corvus (Crv)
    'The Crow'
    Southern Constellation
  6. Crater (Crt)
    'The Cup'
    Southern Constellation
  1. Cygnus (Cyg)
    'The Swan'
    Northern Constellation
  2. Delphinus (Del)
    'The Dolphin'
    Northern Constellation
  3. Draco (Dra)
    'The Dragon'
    Northern Constellation
  4. Equuleus (Equ)
    'The Little Horse'
    Northern Constellation
  5. Eridanus (Eri)
    'The River'
    Southern Constellation
  6. Gemini (Gem)
    'The Twins'
    Zodiacal
  7. Hercules (Her)
    'Hercules'
    Northern Constellation
  8. Hydra (Hya)
    'The Hydra'
    Southern Constellation
  9. Leo Major (Leo)
    'The Lion'
    Zodiacal
  10. Lepus (Lep)
    'The Hare'
    Southern Constellation
  11. Libra (Lib)
    'The Balance' or 'The Scales'
    Zodiacal
  12. Lupus (Lup)
    'The Wolf'
    Southern Constellation
  13. Lyra (Lyr)
    'The Lyre'
    Northern Constellation
  14. Ophiuchus or Serpentarius (Oph)
    'The Serpent Bearer'
    Northern Constellation
  15. Orion (Ori)
    'The Hunter'
    Southern Constellation
  16. Pegasus (Peg)
    'The Winged Horse'
    Northern Constellation
  17. Perseus (Per)
    'Perseus' or 'The Hero'
    Northern Constellation
  18. Pisces (Psc)
    'The Fishes'
    Zodiacal
  19. Piscis Austrinus (PSA)
    'The Southern Fish'
    Southern Constellation
  20. Sagitta (Sge)
    'The Arrow'
    Northern Constellation
  21. Sagittarius (Sgr)
    'The Archer'
    Zodiacal
  22. Scorpius (Sco)
    'The Scorpion'
    Zodiacal
  23. Serpens Caput (SerCT)
    'The Serpens Head' and
    Serpens Cauda (SerCD)
    'The Serpent's Tail' (Not in An Astronomical Vocabulary, but since Ophiuchus separates them, they must be Northern Constellations.)
  1. Taurus (Tau)
    'The Bull'
    Zodiacal
  2. Triangulum (Tri)
    'The Triangle'
    Northern Constellation
  3. Ursa Major (Uma)
    'The Great Bear'
    Northern Constellation
    See The Story of Callisto
  4. Ursa Minor (Umi)
    'The Little Bear'
    Northern Constellation
  5. Virgo (Vir)
    'The Virgin'
    Zodiacal

Sources

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Gill, N.S. "What Are the Names of the Ancient Constellations in Latin?" ThoughtCo, Mar. 14, 2018, thoughtco.com/names-of-ancient-constellations-in-latin-118621. Gill, N.S. (2018, March 14). What Are the Names of the Ancient Constellations in Latin? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/names-of-ancient-constellations-in-latin-118621 Gill, N.S. "What Are the Names of the Ancient Constellations in Latin?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/names-of-ancient-constellations-in-latin-118621 (accessed May 23, 2018).