Star Names. Their Lore and Meaning

In 1899, Richard H. Allen published his book Star Names. Their Lore and Meaning, in which he collected information on the nomenclature and historical evolution of the constellations and their stars, but also on ancient myth and religion, folklore, astrology, and the occasional bit of botany or zoology. If you like Pliny the Elder‘s Natural History, you will also appreciate Allen’s book, as it is a similar collection of facts, based on extensive reading, presented in a slightly chaotic fashion.

Sometimes, his information is outdated – especially where he discusses ancient Mesopotamian astronomy. Still, the subject matter is interesting and when he presents Greek and Roman mythology, the book has not been superseded by more recent studies.

Bill Thayer prepared the online edition; he also put online three discourses by Dio of Prusa: 23 (in which he argues that a wise man is fortunate and happy), 26 (On Deliberation), and 51 (In Reply to Diodorus). To the online edition of Platner’s Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome, Bill added Balnea and Ludi – the two things that ruin life and make it worthwhile. Finally, a piece on the cottabos game.


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