The Balteus, the standard belt worn by the Roman legionary, used to tuck clothing into or to hold weapons, is one of the typical ornaments of kings, dignitaries and winners. Why has this accessory become a symbol of greatness?

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One more time, I’ll try to give an astronomical-astrological explanation of this symbol. The Sun, King of Gods in ancient Tradition, goes from East to West, during the day, and, like the planets, moves around the Zodiac. In fact, the Sun does not wander all over the sky but is confined to a narrow strip, dividing it in half. Stars along that strip (the ecliptic) are traditionally divided into the 12 constellations. The ecliptic plane is tilted 23.5° with respect to the plane of the celestial equator since the Earth’s spin axis is tilted 23.5° with respect to its orbit around the Sun. The name, related to “zoo,” comes because most of these constellations are named for animals–Leo the lion, Aries the ram, Scorpio the scorpion, Cancer the crab, Pisces the fish, Capricorn the goat and Taurus the bull.

Il percorso del Sole e dei segni zodiacali lungo l'eclittica solare inclinata

The path of the Sun and Zodiacal Signs along the tilted ecliptic

The Zodiacal Belt was often depicted on handicrafts and on clothes in order to symbolize the relationship between the man wearing it and the Sun, and to link him with it. Nowadays it is still possible to see an example at Vatican Museum, in Rome: the Helios Chiaramonti.

Helios Chiaramonti - Musei Vaticani - Roma

Helios Chiaramonti – Vatican Museum – Rome

Helios, the Sun God, is wearing a Zodiacal Balteus, with the Zodiacal Signs, from the right shoulder to the left hip and represents the Sun and its bound path along the ecliptic.