Bootes the Herdsman
and Canes Venatici
the Hunting Dogs
The mythology of the constellation is interesting. According to some of the Greeks it represented Icarus the father of Origone, others claim it represented Erichthonius, the inventor of the chariot. It was also said to be Arcas, the son of Zeus and the nymph Callisto (aka Ursa Major the Greater Bear). The name Bootes, according to some authorities, is derived from the Greek (Ox + to drive) Others claim that it was derived from the Greek word for clamorous, descriptive of the shouts of the driver, or call of encouragement to the hounds.
This star group (Canes Venatici) is a modern one, having been formed by Hevelius in 1690, These stars are supposed to represent two hunting dogs or hounds, which, held in leash by the Bear Driver, pursue the Great Bear as it circles the Pole. The northern dog is named "Asteron", the Southern Chara. In the neck of the latter is situated the lucida of the asterism, a third magnitude star which bears the name of "Cor Caroli" or "Charles Heart"
|Asteron and Chara|
|Winding around the pole|
Bootes also appears as a spear or lance bearer, the shepherd's staff which he was represented as bearing having been changed into a more formidable weapon.
|Pursuing the Bear|
Bootes has also been called "Atlas" from its nearness to the Pole, and because it appeared to hold up the heavens."
from Star Lore by William Tyler Olcott
|Holding up the world|
Follow this link to see images of Bootes and Canes Venatic in progress
Click on the icon of Bootes and Canes Venatici in the side menu