The Dog Star and The Tempest

July 24, 2018

Canis Major or Sirius was designated the "Dog Star" by ancient astronomers.
Romans believed that Sirius rose at sunrise and were convinced this star was the
cause of hot, sultry weather. To appease the rage of Sirius and believing that the star
created the weather pattern, they sacrificed a brown dog, and the beginning of the
reference to Dog Days, later modified to the "Dog Days of Summer." Ancient Rome
catalogued the Dog Days from around July 24 through August 24. Years ago, The Old
Farmer's Almanac got into the mix and designated 40 days from July 3rd to August 11th.
Since June 20th, the Sun has reached its highest point and slowly begins its track toward
the equator. Concluding the column and a fleet of nine ships that carried 500 colonists
from England to Virginia ran into a hurricane near Bermuda on July 24, 1609.  One vessel
sank and seven of the ships made it to Jamestown but the flagship, Sea Venture, didn’t
reach port.  After several weeks it was believed to be lost, including the new governor of
Virginia, Sir Thomas Gates.  The Jamestown inhabitants accepted the tragedy and set about
the work of building their new home.  Surprisingly, on May 23, 1610 most of the passengers
of the Sea-Venture arrived in Jamestown on two small pinnaces. Their ship ran aground on
a reef near Bermuda, an island paradise that other sailors referred to as the “Ile of Divels.”
They stayed there for nine months while building the two small ships. Back in England a
playwright read an account of the miraculous shipwreck and in 1611 he, William Shakespeare,
finished The Tempest, his last complete play.

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