The constellation symbols on the Petosiris zodiacs are completely standard and easy to recognize. However, the orders of the zodiacal constellations on these two zodiacs are essentially different (see Figure 8.21 and 8.22). Let us try to understand what it is about.
On the zodiac (P1), the order of the constellations is the same as observed on the real sky. However, on the zodiac (P2), the zodiacal constellations are arranged in a very unusual way. The ecliptic on the zodiac (P2) is cut in half through the equinox points and, then, the order in one of the halves is reversed (or simply it is reflected) before they are again put together (see Figure 8.28). In this way Virgo becomes a neighbor of another equinox constellation — Pisces, while at the top of the zodiac, Libra follows Aries. Notice that there is a large supplementary scene on a boat inserted between Libra and Aries. It is clear that the correct order of the zodiacal constellations was twice violated.
The idea behind this unusual transformation is rather obvious — to put the two equinox constellations together in the main spot on the zodiac. In this way Virgo (the autumn equinox) and Pisces (the spring equinox) appear on the zodiac (P2) one next to the other
Regarding the "main" place on the zodiac (P2), let us point out that there is a clear vertical direction. In other words, the composition of the zodiac gives us an impression that there is a top and a bottom of the zodiac. For example, all the planetary busts on the both zodiacs appear like "standing," with the same orientations of their bodies (see Figures 8.21 and 8.22). On the other hand, the symbols of constellations are placed around a circle with their feet pointing out from its center. Since the orientations of these figure are not the same, they do not look like "standing" together — there is no common for them vertical direction. There is only one place on each of the Petosiris zodiacs, where the zodiacal constellations are lined-up with the same orientation as indicated by the vertical axis of the zodiac. This place is the bottom of the picture, where we can say that the constellations are "standing" up. At any other place, the constellation figures are either slanted or in upside-down positions with respect to the bottom and the top of the zodiac.
On the outer zodiac (P1), this "main" location corresponds to the constellation of Virgo. The autumn equinox is located at that place as well. Unfortunately, the figure of Virgo is missing because of some damages in this area of the zodiac. However, the fragment with the next to Virgo figure of Scorpio was preserved, from which it is clear that Virgo indeed was there (see Figure 8.21).
On the inner zodiac (P2), at this "main" location we find the usual symbols of equinoxes — a figure with four heads and a chain of snakes, all looking in the same direction (see section 5.8). On each of their sides, there are placed Pisces and Virgo — the two equinoctial constellations.
We can conclude that on the zodiac (P2), there is a particular emphasis made on the both equinox points. In the same time on the zodiac (P1), at a "main" location there is only one equinox point
— the autumn equinox. For the creator of the Petosiris tomb this was the most important equinox
— it was the beginning of the Egyptian new year (see section 5.11).
On the zodiac (P2), the both halves of the zodiacal circle are disconnected. In particular they are considerably split apart at the top. The important elements that are located in the Equinoctial Break are:
1. the symbols of equinoxes (at the bottom of the zodiac);
2. the central circle containing the Sun and two other planets;
3. some other symbols in the upper part of the zodiac, including the boat and located in it figures (see Figure 8.22).
All the above symbols are encircled by the two halves of the zodiacal constellation circle.
The most crucial, for the astronomical dating, is the fact that the central circle with the Sun and two other planets is entirely contained inside the Equinoctial Break on the zodiac (P2). There are also included inside the Break the usual equinox symbols. The most probable interpretation of this design would be that the Sun, together with two other planets of the main horoscope (shown as human busts) were located near the equinox point. In particular, it is not hard to imagine which one of the equinox points it should be. Notice that Mercury on this zodiac is doubtlessly shown in Aries or Taurus (see Figure 8.22). On the other hand the Sun could not be too far from Mercury (at most 2 zodiacal constellations), therefore we have to exclude the autumn equinox point as its location. Notice that the distance from Mercury to the autumn equinox point, to Aries or to Taurus, is not less than 5 zodiacal constellations. Therefore, the Sun and two other planets of the main horoscope were located near the point of the spring equinox.
Let us conclude this section with a remark that a similar breaking of the zodiacal circle into two symmetric halves we have already seen in the case of Brugsch's zodiac. The only difference is that the zodiacal circle was split into two parts at the solstice points near Sagittarius and Gemini, instead of the equinox points (see Figures 2.18 and 3.15). That means, that on Brugsch's zodiac the emphasis was made on the solstice points, while on the inner Petosiris zodiac the equinox points were given a special status. Otherwise, in both cases the idea was the same.
We begin with a description of our astronomical computations for the inner Petosiris zodiac, which was better preserved.
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