Asteroid 5283, Pyrrhus, a Jupiter Trojan, was discovered on January 31, 1989 by Carolyn S. Shoemaker and Eugene M. Shoemaker at Palomar Observatory near Pauma Valley, California. Pyrrhus has a period of 11 years, 317 days.

It was named for one of the Greek war chiefs at Troy, Pyrrhus, also known as Neoptolemus, the king of Epirus (now a province in northwestern Greece) and a son of Achilles. Pyrrhus got his name from his blond hair. After Achilles was killed, a delegation of Greeks led by Odysseus went to Epirus and brought Pyrrhus to the Trojan War, where, because of his rage at the death of his father, he became the Greeks' most ruthless warrior. At the sack of Troy, he used a battle-ax to break down the door to King Priam's house, where he pillaged and burned and slaughtered, killing women and children as well as men. He killed Priam's son Polites and then sacrilegiously killed Priam himself on the altar of Athene's temple; then he took Hektor's wife Andromache back to Greece with him as a slave.


Another king of Epirus named Pyrrhus waged bloody ruinous war against the invading Romans; after one battle in which he emerged victorious, it was said by him that another victory like that "and we are lost." From this comes the expression "Pyrrhic victory."

Astrologically, asteroid Pyrrhus seems to indicate pyrrhic victory, violence, bloodthirstiness, ruthlessness, sadism, vindictiveness, triumphalism, fires, burns.

Florida serial killer Aileen Wuornos, whose hard-luck life led, in her case, to a murderous rampage against men, a psychological meltdown, and execution, had Pyrrhus semisextile the North Node (making connections), square Pallas (politics), trine Asbolus (terrible experiences) and quincunx the South Node (past experiences, the path of least resistance).

Springfield, Oregon school shooter Kipland "Kip" Kinkel has Pyrrhus conjunct Neptune (out-of-control emotions) and Juno (giving away power), sextile Pluto (criminality, self-destruction) and Pallas (conceptualization), square Don Quixote (taking on the system), and trine Asbolus.

Columbine shooter Eric Harris had Pyrrhus in the first house of personal interests, semisextile Lilith (marginalization, repressed rage erupting), square the Midheaven and opposite Varuna (grown huge, fundamentalism, "judgment day").

His partner in crime Dylan Klebold had Pyrrhus in the second house of values, semisextile Elatus (effective deception), semisquare Vesta (dedication), and trine Mars (firearms, violence), Pholus (insinuating oneself in) and Hylonome (grief).

Josef Mengele had Pyrrhus in the sixth house of service to others, on the Descendant, sextile the South Node and trine Elatus (self-deception) and the North Node. He tried to pass his atrocities off as research and for a while after World War II ended actually thought he could resume his career as a medical researcher.

Former US House Speaker Newt Gingrich has Pyrrhus semisquare the North Node, sextile Elatus, trine Mercury (speaking, writing, ideas), sesquiquadrate Vesta and the South Node, quincunx Lilith (to marginalize, to deal with reluctantly), and opposite Cruithne (a stigma). He raised the level of partisanship in Washington, polarized it, and became so unpopular that Democrats won elections for years using his name.

Notoriously partisan Texas congressman Tom DeLay has Pyrrhus sextile Mercury and Chariklo (glamorization, need to keep perspective).

Texas governor Rick Perry (born March 4, 1950), whose popularity was hurt greatly through the 2003 battle over congressional redistricting he waged at DeLay's behest, has Pyrrhus conjunct North Node, semisquare Jupiter (the law), sextile Venus (getting along), sesquiquadrate Pallas (politics), opposite South Node, parallel Pandora (stirring things up, having an impact) and Chaos, and contraparallel Ixion (reaping karma).

George W. Bush has Pyrrhus in the fifth house of self-expression, conjunct the South Node, sextile Jupiter (the law, religion, prosperity), and opposite Uranus (deviance, nonconformity) and the North Node.

Free-lance firefighter Paul "Red" Adair (born June 18, 1915, in Houston), who specialized in putting out burning oil wells and had a movie, Hellfighters, made about his exploits in which John Wayne played him, had Pyrrhus conjunct Cruithne (a brand name), semisquare Mercury (ideas, speaking) and sextile Chiron (the door-opener, the key, ingenuity).

Harvard chemistry professor Louis Fieser (born April 7, 1899, in Columbus, Ohio), the inventor of napalm, had Pyrrhus semisextile Uranus (invention, innovation), sextile Venus, Jupiter (higher education) and Ceres (to nurture), square Heracles (to strive against, a conspicuous show of power), and tredecile Mercury (ideas, speaking, writing).

Champion runner Glenn Cunningham (born August 4, 1909, in Atlanta, Kansas), who was severely burned as a child and went on to break middle-distance running records in the 1930s, had Pyrrhus decile Pallas, sextile Jupiter and Ceres, square Don Quixote (to win against great odds, to travel) and Chaos, quincunx the North Node, parallel Hidalgo (to assert, to promote), and contraparallel Juno (to project an image, to relate, the disadvantaged). After retiring in 1940, Cunningham, a lay minister, lent his name and image to temperance organizations and opened a home for troubled children.

The glyph for Pyrrhus is mine.

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