Por incrível que pareça, existem pessoas escolarizadas que pensam que os Deuses Júpiter, Saturno, Marte, Vénus e Mercúrio, entre outros, receberam os seus nomes por causa dos planetas do Sistema Solar, mesmo daqueles que foram descobertos apenas em séculos recentes.
Por outro lado, a maioria das pessoas não hesita em afirmar que aconteceu exactamente o contrário. Ou seja, que não só os planetas modernos, como os cinco planetas clássicos, receberam os nomes dos Deuses.
É raro encontrar alguém que entenda que os Deuses, os planetas, e os seus nomes sempre tiveram os mesmos numina, sendo o reconhecimento, que continua muito para além da Antiguidade, um processo simultâneo. A confusão, geradora do entendimento essencial desta questão, pode ser estimulada através da leitura do Capítulo VI, do Livro II, da História Natural, de Plínio o Velho.
Na impossibilidade de aceder, online, a uma tradução fidedigna, em Português, deixo um excerto de uma tradução em inglês:
“Let us now leave the frame of the world itself and treat the remaining bodies situated between the sky and the earth. The following points are certain: (1) The star called Saturn’s is the highest and consequently looks the smallest and revolves in the largest orbit, returning in thirty years at the shortest to its initial station. (2) The motions of all the planets, and among them the sun and moon, follow a course contrary to that of the world, namely to the left, the world always running to the right. (3) Although they are borne on by it and carried westward with an unceasing revolution of immeasurable velocity, nevertheless they travel with an opposite motion along their respective tracks. (4) Thus it comes about that the air is not massed in a dull lethargic ball by revolving in the same direction because of the eternal rotation of the world, but is scattered into separate portions by the opposite impact of the stars. (5) Saturn is of a cold and frozen nature. The orbit of Jupiter is much below it and therefore revolves much faster, completing one rotation every twelve years. The third star is Mars, called by some Hercules; owing to the proximity of the sun it has a fiery glow; it revolves once in about two years, and consequently, owing to its excessive heat and Saturn’s frost, Jupiter being situated between them combines the influence of each and is rendered healthy. (6) Next, the sun’s course is divided into 360 parts, but in order that an observation taken of the shadows that it casts may come round to the starting-point, five and a quarter days per annum are added; consequently to every fourth a year an intercalary day is added to make our chronology tally with the course of the sun.
Below the sun revolves a very large star named Venus, which varies its course alternately, and whose alternative names in themselves indicate its rivalry with the sun and moon—when in advance and rising before dawn it receives the name of Lucifer, as being another sun and bringing the dawn, whereas when it shines after sunset it is named Vesper, as prolonging the daylight, or as being a deputy for the moon. This property of Venus was first discovered by Pythagoras of Samos about the 42nd Olympiad, [612-609 BC] 142 years after the foundation of Rome. Further it surpasses all the other stars in magnitude, and is so brilliant that alone among stars it casts a shadow by its rays. Consequently there is a great competition to give it a name, some having called it Juno, others Isis, others the Mother of the Gods. Its influence is the cause of the birth of all things upon earth; at both of its risings it scatters a genital dew with which it not only fills the conceptive organs of the earth but also stimulates those of all animals. It completes the circuit of the zodiac every 348 days, and according to Timaeus is never more than 46 degrees distant from the sun. The star next to Venus is Mercury, by some called Apollo; it has a similar orbit, but is by no means similar in magnitude or power. It travels in a lower circle, with a revolution nine days quicker, shining sometimes before sunrise and sometimes after sunset, but according to Cidenas and Sosigenes never more than 22 degrees away from the sun. Consequently the course of these stars also is peculiar, and not shared by those above-mentioned: those are often observed to be a quarter or a third of the heaven away from the sun and travelling against the sun, and they all have other larger circuits of full revolution, the specification of which belongs to the theory of the Great Years.”