She is the beautiful daughter of Queen Cassiopeia and King Cepheus of Ethiopia (aka Philistia).
The Queen, being very vain, boasted about her own beauty, saying she was even more beautiful than
the Nereids (sea nymphs). This angered Poseidon. To cool his anger, Cassiopeia chained her daughter to a rock on the beach as a
sacrifice to the sea monster Cetus, also known as The Kraken. Andromeda was saved at the last minute by her hero and love interest,
Perseus, who killed Cetus by showing him the severed head of Medussa and thus turning him to stone.
Andromeda eventually married Perseus and went on to become the mother of Perseus who founded the kingdom of Persia,
and she is also became the great grandmother of Hercules.
This is a bird who has the power to bring rain and is the keeper of Zeus' lightning bolts.
It was predicted that Cronus would die at the hand of his own child so he swallowed five of them
as they were born. His wife, Rhea, and his mother-in-law, Gaia, protected the sixth child, Zeus,
by giving Cronus a stone wrapped in a blanket instead of the baby.
When Zeus grew up he poisoned his father which caused him to vomit up the other children.
Then Zeus and his brothers fought a war with Cronus and the other Titans. During the war Zeus freed
some Titans that Cronus had imprisoned. These allies included the Cyclopes who were expert metal workers.
During a battle, the Cyclopes built an altar and burned a sacrifice so that the smoke would hide Zeus
and his brothers as they attacked Cronus and the Titans. In gratitude, Zeus placed the altar in
the sky at the horizon, under the Milky Way which now appears to be the rising smoke.
The Ship (Carina, Puppis, Vela)
The Argo is the ship whose captain is Jason, and the crew is the Argonauts.
The ship was a gift from Athena. Its maidenhead had the power of speech and advised Jason on
occasions during his adventures.
The story of the ram begins with Zeus and Hera.
Hera was courted by Ixion. Zeus tricked him into impregnating a cloud named Nephele that had been
formed to look like Hera. Then, as punishment, Ixion was strapped to a flaming wheel and rolled around the sky
for eternity (the ecliptic). The cloud Nephele had a child which was the first centaur.
Nephele later had two children with Athamas, king of BŲeotia. Athamas eventually tried to
have the children killed. Hera sent a golden ram so the children could escape by riding its back.
One of the children, Helle, fell off and died in the sea at a place called Hellespont.
The other child, Phrixus, eventually sacrifice the ram to Zeus. The skin of the ram developed
special powers and is the same relic that is later sought by Jason and the Argonauts.
Hephaestus impregnated Mother Earth with a child, Erichthonius, who was born with the lower body
of a snake. Athena pitied the boy and raised him as her own son in the city of Athens where he
eventually became king. He became famous for developing the four horse chariot. Often defending
Athena's honor, Erichthonius the charioteer was eventually placed in the sky as a reward.
The Bear Chaser
Icarius was the first person to cultivate grapes and then
make them into wine. After his death he was placed in the sky as the constellation BoŲtes by
Dionysus in honor of his discovery. His dog, Maera, became the bright star Procyon in Canis Minor.
The crab is one that pinched Hercules on the foot while he was fighting the Hydra. This pleased Hera
who later placed him in the sky.
The Greater Dog
He is one of two hunting dogs belonging to Orion the hunter. The dogs were placed in
the sky along with Orion when he was killed by the scorpion.
She is the very beautiful and very vain Queen of Ethiopia (Philistia). Gazing at herself in a
mirror, she proclaimed to be more beautiful than the Nereids, which were sea nymphs.
As punishment Poseidon demanded that the princess Andromeda be sacrificed to the sea monster,
Cetus. After her daughter was saved by Perseus, Cassiopeia plotted with her daughter's ex-fiancťe Agenor
to kill Perseus. Perseus used the Medusa's head to turn
Cassiopeia, Agenor, and his men to stone. The constellations of Queen Cassiopeia and King Cepheus
are facing each other's feet so they cannot speak to each other. Because the Queen insulted the sea
nymphs, she never sets below the surface of the sea (as seen from northern latitudes.
The name "Cassiopeia" is a Phoenician phrase that means the "Rose-Colored Face."
Chiron the centaur studied health and medicne until
being accidentally shot by Hercules with an arrow that was poisoned by being dipped in the
blood of Hydra. Chiron was in great pain. Meanwhile, Prometheus was being punished
for giving mankind the knowlege of how to fire. Prometheus was bound to a rock in Tartarus where a
vulture continuously pecked his liver. Prometheus could only be release if someone
voluntarily took his place. Hercules asked that Prometheus be released and Chiron take his place
so that only one of them would have to suffer. After Chiron took the place of Prometheus, Hercules shot
the vulture with an arror, ending the torture. Chiron was later placed in the sky as a constellation by Zeus.
He is the king of Ethiopia (Philistia) and his wife the Queen is Cassiopeia.
He was also one of the Argonauts that adventured with Jason.
The Sea Monster
The monster Cetus is the mother of Phorcids who gave birth to many other monsters;
the serpent-guard in the Garden of the Hesperides, the
Gorgons, Cerberus the three-headed dog guardian of Hades, the Hydra, the Chimera and several others.
The Northern Crown
Theseus went to Crete to kill the Minotaur with the help of his fiance princess Ariadne.
She gave him a big ball of string.
As he walked through the Labyrinth, Theseus unrolled the string. After he slew the Minotaur, he
followed the string out of the maze.
The crown was made for Princess Ariadne as a wedding present by the master smith Hephaestus. The seven stars in
the constellation represent the seven maidens and seven youths that had been sacrificed to the Minotaur.
It was placed in the sky after her death.
Apollo sent the crow to get some pure water for a sacrifice he was preparing for Zeus.
The crow stopped to eat some figs but they weren't very ripe so he waited for them to ripen.
The crow returned with a water snake and claimed the snake was the reason for the delay.
Apollo knew the crow was lying and was angry. He turned the crow from white to black.
Then he cursed the crow so it would always get a sore throat when the figs are ripe.
Apollo placed the crow in the sky as a constellation to warn to others
who might dare to to lie to him.
The people of the city of Eleusis were struck
by a plague. To appease the gods and avoid the plague, a sacrifice was of a noble maiden was
made each year. The king, Demonphon, didn't include his own daughters in the lottery.
He got away with this for awhile but then a nobleman, Mastusius, objected.
Demonphon sacrificed one of Mastusius' daughters without drawing lots.
Mastusius sent an invitation to dinner to the king. When the king arrived, Mastusius served him a cup
of wine that he had mixed with the blood of the king's daughters, whom he had murdered.
When the murders were discovered, Mastusius was killed
and thrown into the sea. The cup was placed in the sky to remind
men that their evil deeds will not go unpunished.
PhaŽthon died when he fell out of the chariot of the Sun and into the River Eridanus.
His brother Cygnus repeatedly dove in search of PhaŽthon. In mercy, The gods transformed
him into a swan.
Poseidon tried to convince one of the Nereids, Amphirite, to marry him. She hid
in the Atlas mountains (Morocco) so Poseidon sent a dolphin to plead his case
and she finally agreed to be a bride. The dolphin was rewarded with a place in the sky.
The dragon protected the golden apples of the Hesperides, and the Golden Fleece in the Garden of Ares.
PhaŽthon, son of Helios the Sun, tried to convince his father that he was able to
drive the chariot of the Sun across the sky. His father knew that the idea
was foolish and refused. PhaŽthon took the reins anyway and tried to drive the chariot and its
four firey horses.
The horses felt the novice hand at the reins and raced across the sky, sometimes too high, sometimes
too low, alternately freezing and burning the land below. Zeus hurled one of his thunderbolts
knocking PhaŽthon out of the chariot. PhaŽthon fell to earth and
landed in the river Eridanus and drowned. The gods placed the river in the sky in memory of the
The fraternal twins Castor and Pollux are the sons of Leda (the wife of a mortal named Tyndareus).
Zeus had disguised himself as a swan and seduced Leda, who laid an egg from which Helen and
Pollux were born. At the same time she
also gave birth to Castor and Clytaemnestra, children of her husband Tyndareus. Since Pollux was the son
of a Zeus, he was immortal, but Castor was mortal. The brothers grew close. At the Olympic games
Castor was killed. Pollux asked Zeus to permit him to die so they could remain together.
Zeus placed both of the boys in the sky.
Hercules is the son of Zeus and a mortal woman named Alcmene, the granddaughter of Perseus and
Andromeda. Hera, Zeus' wife, was jealous of Alcmene and attempted to kill
Hercules many times but always failed. Hercules performed many great feats which made him famous. He
liberating Thebes from the Minyans, for which he was given the hand of Megara, Princess of Thebes. They
had three sons. Then Hera had her revenge. She made Hercules temporarily insane
and he killed his wife and the children. In punishment for the crime Hercules was given
twelve impossible tasks. Only if he completed these tasks would he
be a free man.
One example of the tasks is that Hercules had to slay the Nemean lion who terrorized the
valley of Nemea. But the task was to slay it bare handed.
It took 30 days to strangle the animal. He skinned the beast and nailed the body to the sky (Leo).
He wore the skin as a trophy.
Another example is that he had to battle the Hydra,
a multi-headed sea snake who lived in the marsh of Lerna.
When he cut off one head, two more heads would grow in its place.
Instead of cutting them, Hercules burned the heads off.
Another task of Hercules was the theft of the golden apples of the Hesperides. They were guarded by
Ladon, the dragon. Unable to safely approach the dragon, Hercules asked Atlas for help.
Atlas was an immortal and the father of the Hesperides, so he could manage the dragon.
It was Atlas who was holding up the heavens on his shoulders so Hercules offered to hold the heavens
for awhile in exchange for the help. Atlas got the apples, but then refuse to take back the burden.
Hercules asked Atlas if he could just take it back briefly, so some padding could be found to make
it more comfortable. Atlas took the heavens back, but Hercules picked up the apples and
The Multi-Headed Monster
As one head was severed by Hercules, two more took its
place. Hercules burned each head to keep them from regenerating, until he
reached the final head which he discovered is immortal. This one he buried under a rock.
Hera ordered the creation of the lion. It lived in a cave in the
Nemean Mountains and killed people and cattle down in the valley. Hercules strangled the lion
as one of his tasks. He wore the skin as a trophy.
After importing a single pregnant hare to the island of Leros, the animals began
breeding beyond control and soon led to a major infestation. The people of Leros eventually exterminated them
from the island. The gods placed the hare in the sky as a reminder.
The she-wolf is sometimes the lover of the god Apollo, and at other times the lover of the
Apollo invent the lyre using a turtle shell strung with strips of cow gut.
He gave it to the god to Orpheus whose beautiful music could tame wild animals.
Orpheus' wife Eurydice was chased by Aristaeus, a beekeeper, who was trying to kidnap her.
Eurydice was bitten on the ankle by a snake and died. Orpheus descended to the realm of the dead
to retrieve her soul. His song and music charmed the three-headed dog Cerberus, the ferry boatman
Charon, and other creatures of the underworld. Persephone agreed to release the soul of his wife if
Orpheus agreed to walk in front of her and take it on faith that she was following him. Just as
he reached the light of the world Orpheus turned to see if Eurydice was behind him and she
disappeared in a puff of smoke. After Orpheus died Zeus placed
his lyre in the sky as a tribute.
Cronus swallowed most of his children in an attempt to prevent the prophecy of his demise.
In order to save one of them (Zeus),
Rhea wrapped a stone in swaddling clothes and gave it to her husband to swallow instead.
Cronus asked her to nurse the baby one more time before he swallowed it.
Pressing the rock against her, the spurting milk became the Milky Way.
Asclepius (Ophiuchus) was raised by the centaur Chiron and was taught the art of medicine and healing.
Asclepius became a great physician. He learned to make medicines from the poisons of snakes and plants.
One of his remedies even caused the recently deceased to come back to life. This infuriating the god of the dead.
Hades asked Zeus to stop Asclepius and he was struck with a thunderbolt. Then, in pity Zeus
restored him to life and made him immortal. He was placed in the sky with a serpent.
Orion was given as an infant to a poor shepherd, Irieus, who had showed hospitality
to Zeus and Poseidon without knowing they were gods. Orion grew into a great hunter.
He eventually fell in love with Artemis, the moon goddess. Her brother Apollo
became upset with her as she spent more and more time with Orion. It was her job to guide
the moon across the sky and she began to neglect her duty. Apollo convinced Gaia that
Orion and Artemis were killing too many anmials so Gaia sent the Scorpius the scorpion. Orion and
Scorpius had a great battle and in the end both had been killed. Zeus placed Orion in the winter sky
and Scorpius in the summer sky so they cannot see each other an thus not fight.
The Winged Horse
Pegasus the famed winged mount of Perseus, was originally tamed by Bellerophone.
One day Bellerophone tried to reach Mount Olympus, home of the gods, on
the back of the winged horse. To stop him, Zeus sent a horsefly to sting Pegasus. The horse
bucked and threw Bellerophone from his back.
There were two brothers, Acrisius and Proetus, who always quarreled with each other.
Proetus became infatuated with his niece, Acrisius' daughter, DanaŽ. Acrisius
locked his daughter in a tower after hearing a prophecy that she would bear a son who would someday cause his
death. Zeus fell in love with DanaŽ and she bore him a son, Perseus. Thinking that the
child's father to be his brother, Acrisius locked both mother and child in a wooden ark and put them out to
sea. The boat drifted to the island kingdom of Seriphos, which was ruled by Polydectes,
The king's brother Dictys, a fisherman, rescued them, and fell in love with DanaŽ.
When Perseus grew up he had to defend his mother from king Polydectes who wanted DanaŽ for his wife.
Polydectes pretended he was going to be married to another maiden, and asked Perseus
to give him the head of the Medusa as a wedding gift. He assumed that attempting to kill the Medussa
would be the end of Perseus.
Perseus set about the task with the help of Athena and other gods. Athena gave him a
shield that was shiny like a mirror. By walking backwards and looking at Medussa's reflection
instead of gazing upon her directly, he avoided being turned to stone.
When Perseus severed her head, two winged horses flew from her neck, Pegasus, and Chrysaor.
Flying on Pegasus, he saw below the beautiful princess Andromeda chained to a rock,
about to be sacrificed to Cetus, a sea monster also known as The Kraken. Andromeda's mother, Cassiopeia,
had angered Poseidon by claiming her beauty was greater than that of the Nereids.
Appeasing the monster with the princess was the only way for Cepheus the king and Cassiopeia the queen
to spare Ethiopia (Philistia). Perseus offered to kill Cetus in exchange for Andromeda's hand in marriage.
After dispatching the monster, Perseus married Andromeda and flew her back to Seriphos.
King Polydectes assumed that Perseus would be killed and decided to kidnap
DanaŽ and force her into marriage. She hid in the temple of Athena. The king had
the temple surrounded. Perseus used the head of Medussa to turn Polydectes and his generals to stone.
The king's brother, Dictys the fisherman, became king. Perseus took his wife and mother back to his
birth home of Argolis where he became king as his grandfather Acrisius fled. Many years later,
during the funeral games of a neighboring king, Perseus threw
a discus that landed in a crowd of spectators, killing Acrisius, thus fulfilling the prophesy
that Acrisius would die at the hand of DanaŽ's son.
Typhon was a monster who was in love with the beautiful goddess Aphrodite.
He pursued her one day while she and her son Eros were walking along the bank of the Euphrates River.
Some river nymphs protected them by transforming them into fishes.
To show eternal appreciation, fishes were placed in the sky.
The Southern Fishes
Aphrodite cast her spells on the goddess Derceto which made her fall in love with a mortal man.
She had a daughter, Semiramis. Later, when the spell wore off, Derceto killed her husband, abandoned Semiramis
and threw herself into a lake to drown. She was transformed into a fish and placed in the southern sky.
Atlas and a sea nymph named Pleione had seven daughters. Six of them were married to gods.
One of them, Merope, was married to a mortal named Sisyphus. On their journey to Boeotia the sisters
were pursued by Orion the hunter. Zeus turned them into doves and they flew into the sky.
Orion continued to chase them for years up until his death. Zeus placed them in the sky just to the
west of Orion where he can see them, but never catch up to them.
The centaur Chiron was accidentally shot by his friend Hercules with an arrow dipped
in the poisonous blood of the Hydra. Chiron was immortal and could not die but suffered endless pain
from the poison. Hercules negotiated a plan for Chiron to trade places with Prometheus who
was bound to a rock in Tartarus with a vulture eternally pecking at his liver.
Prometheus could only be released if another immortal took his place. Hercules
shot the vulture with an arrow thus ending the torture, and Chiron took his place.
The arrow that killed the vulture was placed in the sky.
Crotus is a centaur and the son of Pan. He Lived on Mount Helicon and was a friend of the Muses.
He invented the concept of applause as a sign of appreciation for a performance.
The Muses asked Zeus to honor him with a constellation.
The scorpion was sent by Gaia to battle Orion because she felt the hunter was killing too many
animals. When Orion and Scorpius killed each other, Zeus maintained peace in the sky by placing
the hunter in the winter and the beast in the summer, so they can never see each other.
Zeus turned himself into a large white bull and kidnapped Europa. He hid her on the island of
Crete where she bore him several children, including King Minos. The constellation commemorates
the adventure of Europa's abduction.
Hades gave the island of Sicily to Ceres as compensation after he had abducted her daughter Proserpine
as she was gathering flowers.
The constellation is shaped liked the island and reminds Ceres the Hades loves Proserpine.
The Greater Bear
In the land of Arcadia, Zeus fell in love with the beautiful nymph Callisto.
Hera, upon hearing that Callisto had given Zeus a son named Arcas, turned Callisto into a bear.
One day Callisto saw her son in the woods and attempted to approach but could
only growl. Seeing the bear, Arcas drew his spear and prepared to attack. To protect Callisto,
Zeus changed Arcas into a bear also and then placed them both in the northern sky swinging
them up by their tails. This is why the tails are so long.
The Lesser Bear
Arcas was about to kill his own mother, Callisto, who was transformed into a bear by Hera.
Tragedy was avoided when he was also transformed into a bear, by Zeus, who then placed mother and son in the sky.
The Young Maiden
The maiden is Demeter (aka Ceres), goddess of crops,
vegetation, fertility, and harvest. Her daughter, Persephone, was
kidnapped by Hades as she gathered flowers. Demeter retaliated by stopping the growth of all green plants.
Zeus appointed the goddess Hecate to arbitrate a solution.
Hecate ruled that if Core had not eaten any food while in the realm of the dead, she
must be returned to her mother. Unfortunately Persephone had eaten some pomegranate seeds.
Demeter persisted with the suspension of plant growth until Zeus interfered again.
He ordered that Persphone stay with Hades for only three months per year and the rest of the year
she could spend with her mother. During the three months with Hades, the
growth of plants is suspended which is winter. The appearance of the constellation in the spring
signals the return of Persephone to Demeter and the new growth of crops.