NABOKV-L post 0015815, Sat, 15 Dec 2007 00:18:55 -0200

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NABOKOV [QUERY] AUROCHS
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In LATH we find: " a path winding through a great forest where a last auroch had been speared by a first Charnetski under John III ...". The aurochs were first mentioned in the closing lines of "Lolita" ( "I am thinking of aurochs and angels, the secret of durable pigments, prophetic sonnets, the refuge of art. And this is the only immortality you and I may share, my Lolita.").

Aurochs are the extinct "Urus" from which the present "Bos taurus" descend. Nevertheless in my eyes such a clear link was not enough to explain VN's inclusion of them close to "angels and durable pigments" ( but it made some sense in relation to "being speared") and I built my mental image using the bulls of Paleolithic cave art ( and this has very probably been already mentioned at the List).

Today ( using Google) I found an article that connected this art to the stars.
Most recent developments about this link bt. aurochs and constellations were made in the late nineties and in our present millenium, but there were speculations about it in the early 20th Century.

I wonder, would VN have mentioned aurochs inspired in their a zoological classification ( as "extinct"), by the Lascaux cave paintings or might he have had any intimation of their astronomical correlations ?

The material below was partially extracted from what I copied from copyrighted information .[Copyright © 2001-2007 by Gary D. Thompson]
"Some of the most splendid Paleolithic cave art locations are Lascaux (discovered in 1940), Altamira (discovered in 1879), Chauvet ...The Lascaux cave contains some 600 paintings and 1500 engravings dating from the Palaeolithic Period. The very few symbols are limited to isolated or grouped dots (mostly black) and to variously coloured dashes. The "Hall of Bulls" mural is dated circa 15,000 BCE...Several researchers have offered an astronomical interpretation of Great Bull #18. (The bulls are actually aurochs, a large species of wild cattle.) There are 2 sets of painted dots closely associated with this bull. One set of dots is placed above the shoulder of the bull and the other set of V-shaped dots are located on the bull's face. Also, there is a row of 4 painted dots to the left of this bull.Some people believe that the #18 Lascaux auroch with the two associated sets of dots represents the constellation Taurus. Interestingly, during the first decades of the 20th-century the French prehistorians Marcel Baudouin and Henri Breuil speculated about the possibility of constellations being represented in prehistoric art. To date none of the arguments attempting to show the existence of some sort of Palaeolithic astronomy can be considered convincing."

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