Phoenician wisdom: Ampelius on Mochos of Sidon (early-third century CE)

Authors: Ampelius, Liber Memorialis 2.7 (link to Latin text; link to English translation of the work)

Comments: Ampelius’ “book of notes,”  which is expressly (but not modestly) aimed at allowing his reader to understand the universe and humanity, contains an explanation of the twelve constellations, one of which is explained in terms of a Mochos having invented the scales. This is likely a reference to Mochos of Sidon, a wise man of Phoenicia who was said to live before the Trojan war and who was attributed other inventions as well.

Source of the translation: Wikisource with modifications and corrections by Harland based on Paul T. Keyser, “Mōchos the Phoenician Sage in Ampelius,” CJ 111 (2016): 495–501.

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The Scales (Libra), which the Greeks call “Zygon,” got the male name through the greatest mercy and justice. Mochos was given the name, because he is said to have first revealed the scales and the pound to humanity, which are considered especially useful by mortals. Thus he was counted among the number of the stars and was called “the Scales” (Libra).

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