House Colour: Aquamarine
Named after the Constellation of Aquila
The Story of Aquila
In the ancient Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cultures, the constellation Aquila is seen as the shape of a flying bird. The pattern contains three prominent stars that can be seen to outline the wings of a bird, but are also the focus of quite different myths in eastern and far eastern cultures.
In Indian mythology the three stars are said to be the footprints of Vishnu, the god who preserves the universe.
In the mythologies of China, Japan and Korea, Altair, Aquila's brightest star, is part of a myth related to another bright star, Vega, in the configuration known as the Summer Triangle. Altair represents a royal herdsman and Vega represents the Sun king. The herdsman falls in love with the king's daughter and marries her, but they are ban- ished to opposite sides of a "river" (the Milky Way) for being so in love that they neglect their duties. They are said to be able to reunite when birds span the river.
The birds associated with the myth are magpies, but may have been inspired by the two bird-shaped constellations, Aquila and Cygnus, that appear in this area of the Milky Way. This love story is still celebrated by a Japanese festival.