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VMs: Re: Meaning of Pisces?

In a message dated 9/11/02 8:29:31 AM Eastern Daylight Time, 
r_zandbergen@xxxxxxxxx writes:

> The Vernal equinox (an imaginary point where two
>  imaginary great cirles in the sky crosseach other)
>  is moving through the zodiac, and this feature was
>  known since antiquity. Still, without any exception
>  known to me, all lists of zodiac constellations
>  start with Aries. The writer of the Voynich MS
>  _must_ have known this, so he must have deliberately
>  started with Pisces. 
>  Why?

Starting the Zodiac with Aries is a convention from Classical times, when the 
vernal equinox occurred when the Sun was in Aries (that is, the intersection 
of the Ecliptic and the Celestial Equator happened to fall in the 
constellation Aries).  However, due to Precession of the Equinoxes (which 
causes the Zodiac to rotate once every 26,000 years), said intersection now 
occurs in Pisces and has done so for centuries.
The fact that the writer of the VMs (or at least the composer of the 
astronomical charts) started with Pisces shows that he was working at a time 
when the vernal equinox fell in Pisces, which is to say he was writing much 
closer to our own day than to the days of Classical Greece and Rome.  
Whatever else we can say about the VMs, we know that the star charts were NOT 
copied from some 2,000 year old document.

>  I agree with GC that this is a very significant
>  question.


     - James A. Landau
       systems engineer
       FAA Technical Center (ACB-510/BCI)
       Atlantic City International Airport NJ 08405 USA