The First Point of Aries, also known as the Cusp of Aries, is the location of the vernal equinox, used as a reference point in celestial coordinate systems. Named for the constellation of Aries, it is one of the two points on the celestial sphere at which the celestial equator crosses the ecliptic, the other being the First Point of Libra, located exactly 180° from it. Due to precession of the equinoxes, currently, the position of the Sun on the March equinox is in Pisces, while that on the September equinox is in Virgo.
The March equinox was chosen as the point to consider the position of the sun in the heavens rather than the northern hemisphere’s autumnal equinox six months later as this was the day before a major festival, Hilaria, and marked the sowing or first growth/blossoming of trees and summer crops.
The name of March comes from Martius, the first month of the earliest Roman calendar. It was named after Mars, the Roman god of war and agriculture, a combination characteristic of early Rome. Most of his festivals were held in March and in October, which began the season for military campaigning and ended the season for farming.
Mars represented military power as a way to secure peace, and was a father (pater) of the Roman people. In the mythic genealogy and founding myths of Rome, Mars was the father of Romulus and Remus with Rhea Silvia. His love affair with Venus symbolically reconciled the two different traditions of Rome’s founding; Venus was the divine mother of the hero Aeneas, celebrated as the Trojan refugee who “founded” Rome several generations before Romulus laid out the city walls.
The English name for Tuesday is derived from Old English Tiwesdæg and Middle English Tewesday, meaning “Tīw’s Day”, the day of Tiw or Týr, the god of single combat, and law and justice in Norse mythology. Tiw was equated with Mars in the interpretatio germanica, and the name of the day is a translation of Latin dies Martis.
Mannus, according to the Roman writer Tacitus, was a figure in the creation myths of the Germanic tribes. Tacitus wrote that Mannus was the son of Tuisto and the progenitor of the three Germanic tribes Ingaevones, Herminones and Istvaeones. The names Mannus and Tuisto/Tuisco seem to have some relation to Proto-Germanic Mannaz, “man” and Tiwaz, “Tyr, the god”. It is assumed that Tîwaz was overtaken in popularity and in authority by both Odin and Thor at some point during the Migration Age, as Odin shares his role as God of war.
Aries (meaning “ram”) is the first astrological sign in the zodiac, spanning the first 30 degrees of celestial longitude (0°≤ λ <30°). Under the tropical zodiac, the Sun transits this sign from approximately March 20 to April 21 each year. The symbol of the ram is based on the Chrysomallus, the flying ram that provided the Golden Fleece. The fleece is a symbol of authority and kingship.
Libra is a constellation of the zodiac. It is the seventh astrological sign in the Zodiac. It spans 180°–210° celestial longitude. Under the tropical zodiac, Sun transits this area on average between (northern autumnal equinox) September 23 and October 23, and under the sidereal zodiac, the sun currently transits the constellation of Libra from approximately October 16 to November 17.
Its name is Latin for weighing scales. Libra was known in Babylonian astronomy as MUL Zibanu (the “scales” or “balance”), or alternatively as the Claws of the Scorpion. The scales were held sacred to the sun god Shamash, who was also the patron of truth and justice. The ruling planet of Libra is Venus, however some may consider Eris as its ruler as well. The symbol of the scales is based on the Scales of Justice held by Themis, the Greek personification of divine law and custom. She became the inspiration for modern depictions of Lady Justice.
Libra’s status as the location of the equinox earned the equinox the name “First Point of Libra”, though this location ceased to coincide with the constellation in 730 because of the precession of the equinoxes. According to the Romans in the First Century, Libra was a constellation they idolized. The moon was said to be in Libra when Rome was founded. Everything was balanced under this righteous sign. The Roman writer Manilius once said that Libra was the sign “in which the seasons are balanced”.
Astraea (“star-maiden” or “starry night”), in ancient Greek religion, was the virgin goddess of innocence and purity and is always associated with the Greek goddess of justice, Dike (daughter of Zeus and Themis and the personification of just judgement). She was the last of the immortals to live with humans during the Golden Age, one of the old Greek religion’s five deteriorating Ages of Man.
According to Ovid, Astraea abandoned the earth during the Iron Age. Fleeing from the new wickedness of humanity, she ascended to heaven to become the constellation Virgo. The nearby constellation Libra reflected her symbolic association with Dike, who in Latin culture as Justitia is said to preside over the constellation. According to legend, Astraea will one day come back to Earth, bringing with her the return of the utopian Golden Age of which she was the ambassador.