Depictied as an eagle, Aquila is named for the bird that belonged to Zeus. Aquila's most famous task was carrying the mortal Ganymede to the heavens to serve as Zeus' cup bearer.
Two major novae have been observed in Aquila. The first one was in 389 AD and was recorded to be as bright as Venus. The other shone brighter than Altair, the brightest star in Aquila. A nova is what the ancients called a "new star." In reality, it is not a new star at all, but a very old one that suddenly becomes bright again, regaining some of the former glory of its youth. Note that there is a very strong difference between a nova (an old star brightening temporarily) and a supernova (a massive star exploding).