Ophiuchus and Serpens, the SERPENT BEARER AND THE SERPENT. These two constellations are usually given as one, and it is difficult to distinguish them as Ophiuchus holds the serpent in his arms. It is a very large constellation
, with no very bright stars
, situated just south of Hercules
and Corona Borealis
. The irregular line of stars south of Alphacca in the Crown are the serpent' s head. The head of Ophiuchus is northward and is near that of Hercules. One fairly bright star, Ras Alhague, marks the head and is but 5 from Ras Algethi,
Myth. Ophiuchus is said to be Esculapius, the son of Apollo and the most celebrated physician of antiquity. He is known as the inventor and god of medicine. So great was his skill, that he often raised the dead, and Pluto complained to Jupiter
that the lower regions were becoming depopulated. He accompanied the Argonauts on the famous expedition for the golden fleece. Many ancient symbols of this god represent him as an aged man with a long flowing beard and bearing a serpent. So we find him in the constellation.