Canes Venatici ("The Hounds," or "the greyhounds"), in astronomy, a constellation of the northern hemisphere named by Hevelius in 1690, who compiled it from the stars between the older asterisms Ursa Major, Bodtes and Coma Berenices.
The motive of some of the substitutions was to avoid the confusion which must have ensued from the duplication of previously existing native asterisms; thus, the Egyptian and Greek Lions were composed of totally different stars.: Abstractions in other cases replaced concrete objects, with the general result of effacing the distinctive character of the Greek zodiac as a " circle of living things."
In the Brahmana period they were distinguished as " deva " and " yama," the fourteen lucky asterisms being probably associated with the waxing, the fourteen unlucky with the waning moon.'
The nomenclature of the Hindu signs of the zodiac, save as regards a few standard asterisms, such as Agvini and Krittikä, was far from uniform.
With the development of observational astronomy the sidereal universe was arbitrarily divided into areas characterized by special assemblages of stars; these assemblages were named asterisms by Ptolemy, who termed the brightest stars "of the fi rst magnitude," and the progressively fainter Stars.