Leo is the fifth sign of the zodiac.
Leo is latin for lion.
Its symbol is ♌.
The traditional Western zodiac associates Leo with the period between July 23 and August 22, and the sign spans the 120th to 150th degree of celestial longitude.
People born under the sign of Leo are natural born leaders. They are dramatic, creative, self-confident, dominant and extremely difficult to resist, able to achieve anything they want to in any area of life they commit to. There is a specific strength to a Leo and their “king of the jungle” status. Leo often has many friends for they are generous and loyal. Self-confident and attractive, this is a Sun sign capable of uniting different groups of people and leading them as one towards a shared cause, and their healthy sense of humor makes collaboration with other people even easier.
Leo is associated with fire, accompanied by Aries and Sagittarius, and its modality is fixed.
Its representation as a lion is usually linked with the Nemean lion slain by Heracles (Hercules).
The Nemean lion was a vicious monster in Greek mythology that lived at Nemea. It was eventually killed by Heracles. It could not be killed with mortals’ weapons because its golden fur was impervious to attack. Its claws were sharper than mortals’ swords and could cut through any armor. In Bibliotheca, Photius wrote that the dragon Ladon, who guarded the golden apples, was his brother.
Leo constellation lying between Cancer the crab to the west and Virgo the maiden to the east. It is located in the Northern celestial hemisphere.
Egyptians worshipped the constellation, which they referred to as “Knem”, because it was present during the flooding of the Nile River. This event signified plentiful harvests for the upcoming year, and the people
interpreted it as a gift from the earth. Ruler of Egypt, Tutankhamun’s gold throne features lion heads where the seat and front legs meet, as well as clawed feet at the end of each leg, symbolizing power and royalty.
One of the 48 constellations described by the 2nd-century astronomer Ptolemy, Leo remains one of the 88 modern constellations today, and one of the most easily recognizable due to its many bright stars and a distinctive shape that is reminiscent of the crouching lion it depicts. The lion’s mane and shoulders also form an asterism known as “The Sickle,” which to modern observers may resemble a backwards “question mark.”
Leo contains many bright galaxies – Messier 65, Messier 66, Messier 95, Messier 96, Messier 105, and NGC 3628 are the most famous, the first two being part of the Leo Triplet.
Leo also contains many bright stars, many of which were individually identified by the ancients.
Leo was one of the earliest recognized constellations, with archaeological evidence that the Mesopotamians had a similar constellation as early as 4000 BC. The Persians called Leo Ser or Shir – the Turks, Artan – the Syrians, Aryo – the Jews, Arye – the Indians, Simha, all meaning “lion”.
Some mythologists believe that in Sumeria, Leo represented the monster Humbaba, who was killed by Gilgamesh.
In Babylonian astronomy, the constellation was called UR.GU.LA, the “Great Lion”; the bright star Regulus was known as “the star that stands at the Lion’s breast.” Regulus also had distinctly regal associations, as it was known as the King Star.
In Greek mythology, Leo was identified as the Nemean Lion which was killed by Heracles (Hercules to the Romans) during the first of his twelve labours. The Nemean Lion would take women as hostages to its lair in a cave, luring warriors from nearby towns to save the damsel in distress, to their misfortune. The Lion was impervious to any weaponry – thus, the warriors’ clubs, swords, and spears were rendered useless against it. Realizing that he must defeat the Lion with his bare hands, Hercules slipped into the Lion’s cave and engaged it at close quarters. When the Lion pounced, Hercules caught it in midair, one hand grasping the Lion’s forelegs and the other its hind legs, and bent it backwards, breaking its back and freeing the trapped maidens. Zeus commemorated this labor by placing the Lion in the sky.
The Roman poet Ovid called it Herculeus Leo and Violentus Leo. Bacchi Sidus (star of Bacchus) was another of its titles, the god Bacchus always being identified with this animal. However, Manilius called it Jovis et Junonis Sidus (Star of Jupiter and Juno).
The Leonids occur in November, peaking on November 14–15, and have a radiant close to Gamma Leonis. Its parent body is Comet Tempel-Tuttle, which causes significant outbursts every 35 years. The normal peak rate is approximately 10 meteors per hour.