Star Lore


The Drill

Tarabellum is a now obsolete constellation created around the year 1225 by Michael Scot.
Scottish mathematician and scholar Michael Scot (1175 c. 1232) is considered by many the greatest intellectual of his day. Having been a wandering scholar for most of his life, he became science adviser and court astrologer to the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II around the year 1225.

During the Middle Ages, there was no distinction between astronomy and astrology and Scot worked in both fields. As part of his horoscopes, he added two new constellations, Tarabellum and Vexillum to Ptolemy's 48.

Scot describes Tarabellum's location as between Sagittarius and Virgo with two stars in the handle and one in the actual drill.

From the 13th to the 16th century, Tarabellum was displayed in European astrological and astronomical manuals as an equal among the constellations of the Zodiac. It was also known under the names Auger, Neper and Borer.

With the dawn of the Age of Enlightenment and the separation of Astrology and Astronomy, the constellation slowly disappeared.


Prognosticatio, 1478
Source: University of Pennsylvania
Il Dittamondo, 1355; Himmels Lauf, 1583;
Roughly one half of today's constellation has its roots in Mesopotamian and Greek Mythology and was defined by Ptolemy in the first century.

The other half was the result of the Age of Discovery in the 15th and 16th century.

In the 1,400 years between these two eras, Scots' creations were the only new constellations in the European sky.

Back to Star Lore
Start Page

Back to
Obsolete Constellations

Back to Space Page

Back to English
Main Page

Back to Start Page