(Hyginus 2.29 on Eubulus. In memorial of the event Athena placed Perseus, Andromeda, Cepheus and Cassiopea (the girl's parents) and Cetus (the Sea Monster) amongst the stars. Helios in his chariot, relief sculpture excavated at Troy in 1872; in the National Museums in Berlin. ), MELANIPPE A daughter of the centaur Chiron. When he was returning on his quest for the Gorgon's head, he spied the Ethiopian princess Andromeda chained to the rocks as sacrifice to a sea-monster. Sumerian : SUHUR.MÁSH (the Goat-Fish), AEGIPAN 1 A goatish sea god who came to the assistance of Zeus in the War of the Titans, and filled the enemy with panic. (Hyginus 2.4 & 2.35. He was depicted kneeling in lamentation with a hand reached out to his daughter Megisto, the constellation Ursa Major, who had been transformed into a bear. (Hyginus 2.23. Greek : Krios (the Ram) Akkadian : Enzu (the She-Goat) After her death it was set amongst the stars as the constellation Corona. Greek : Drakôn (the Dragon), HESPERIAN DRAGON The huge serpent which guarded the golden apples of the Hesperides. (Aratus 137. The adventures of Heracles can be paired with the following constellations : (Hyginus 2.33. When he was about to commit suicide in his grief, Hera transformed Meropes into an eagle and placed him amongst the stars in the form of Aquila. (Hyginus 2.18 on Aratus, Aratus 205. Akkadian & Sumerian : The old Eastern name for the constellation, predating the Greek. ), TYCHE The goddess of good fortune was set amongst the stars as Virgo, along with the scales of fate, Libra. In memory of this he was placed in the heavens as the water-pourer Aquarius. A number of his labours, although missing from the late Greek constellar arrangements, are perhaps recognisable in their older Eastern forms. Greek creation myths (cosmogonies) and views of the universe (cosmologies) were more systematic and specific than those of other ancient peoples. Sumerian : KA.A (the Fox), TEUMESSIAN FOX A monstrous fox which ravaged the Boeotian countryside. Later after Zeus had been disabled by the giant, Aegipan recovered his stolen sinews and so restored him. The constellations revolve round a central point in the northern sky known as the pole star, or heavenly axis (Greek polos). As a memorial of this successful ruse he placed an eagle and swan in the sky as the constellations Cygnus and Aquila. Similar to such stories are the moral tales about the fate of Icarus, who flew too high on homemade wings, or the myth about Phaethon, the son of Helios, who failed to perform a task too great for him (controlling the horses of the chariot of the Sun). To commemorate the event, the monster was placed amongst the stars as the constellation Cetus, along with Perseus and Andromeda. As time went on, an accretion of minor myths continued to supplement the older and more authentic ones. (Hyginus 2.15. Perseus slew the beast and saved the girl. (Hyginus 2.17 on Aglaosthenes. The gods then transformed her into a horse, and after her child was born set her amongst the stars as a constellation. ), DOLPHINS OF DIONYSUS When Dionysus was travelling between the islands of the Aegean, he was captured by Tyrrhenian pirates. Of these, the twelve signs whose paths intersect with the dawn rising of the sun were known as zodiakos (the zodiac) or zodiakos kyrklos (circle of small animals). The hero Cephalus set the magical dog Laelaps to hunt it down. ), DELTA OF EGYPT The triangle formed by the delta of the River Nile was placed amongst the stars as the constellation of the same name. ), DEUCALION An early Greek king who managed to survive the great Deluge that was sent by Zeus to destroy mankind. Zeus coupled with her and she bore the god Aegipan. Not often identifiable in Greek art, she appeared as a modestly veiled woman. Yet their very artistry serves as an impediment to interpretation, since the Greeks embellished the myths with folktale and fiction told for its own sake. (Hyginus 2.14. In Greek mythology, Narcissus (/ n ɑːr ˈ s ɪ s ə s /; Ancient Greek: Νάρκισσος Nárkissos) was a hunter from Thespiae in Boeotia who was known for his beauty. * The form and arrangment of the heavenly constellations was adopted by the Greeks from the sea-trading Phoenicians of the East, who in turn had received them from the Assyrians, and they from their forefathers the ancient Sumerians. Greek : Gala (Milky Way), MILK OF HERA Zeus once conspired to place the infant Heracles at the breast of Hera. When she became pregnant by the hero Aeolus, she hid herself away in a forest in shame, and prayed that her father might not find her. The god Pan transformed himself into a goat-fish and hid dived into a river. Some say, the adjacent constellation Lyra was his. (Hyginus 2.9. Greek Mythology >> Star Myths (Constellations) STAR MYTHS. (This subjection of myth to history is not universal in Greece, but it is found in writers such as Hesiod, Xenophanes, Pindar, Aeschylus, and Plato.) (Hyginus 2.21. (Hyginus 2.38. ), HARE OF HERMES A hare was placed amongst the stars by the god Hermes in honour of the species' bountiful fertility. ), DOG OF ORION The dog of the giant hunter Orion who stands above it in the heavens. The milk which flowed forth formed the Milky Way. Welcome to Mythology Island, which debuted on Poptropica in 2010! The rising of its stars heralded the storms of late autumn. Greek : Hippos (the Horse) or Pegasos Greek : The Greek name of the constellation. (Hyginus 2.13 on Parmeniscus, Aratus 161. Heracles later released him from his torment, felling the eagle with an arrow. ), Latin : (Milky Way) He then placed Aex among the stars as Capra. Greek : Arktos Megale (the Great Bear) or Amaza (the Wagon) or Helikê The Greek word for constellations was katasterismoi. She was nevertheless recognised by the goddess who set a maddening gladfly to torment her that drive her wandering to Egypt. It was set to flow amongst the northern stars. ), THE VINTAGER A star on the right wing of the constellation Virgo. There is also a myth of progress, associated with Prometheus, god of craftsmen, but the progress is limited, for the 19th-century concept of eternal advancement is absent from Greek thought. There she was said to continue to hide from her father, setting just as her father's own constellation was on the rise. ), SCALES OF FATE The scales of Tyche, goddess of fortune, were set amongst the stars as the constellation Libra. Elsewhere in Greek and Roman literature, the belief in successive periods or races is found with the belief that by some means, when the worst is reached, the system gradually (Plato, Politikos) or quickly (Virgil, Fourth Eclogue) returns to the Golden Age. Sumerian : LU.LIM (the Stag) The creative process began with the forcible separation of Gaea from her doting consort Heaven (Uranus) in order to allow her progeny to be born. Greek : Ornis (the Bird) or Kygnos (the Swan), SWAN OF LEDA When Zeus wanted to seduce the goddess Nemesis he transformed himself into a swan, and bade Aphrodite in the guise of an eagle pursue him into her lap. Zeus, for example, assumed the form of a bull when he carried off Europa, a Phoenician princess, and he appeared in the guise of a swan in order to attract Leda, wife of a king of Sparta. An important Greek example is the Cretan Zeus, mentioned above. In memory of the event he placed a dolphin amongst the stars. (Hyginus 2.16 on Aglaosthenes. The god drove them to terror with his illusions and, when they leapt from the ship, he transformed them into dolphins. Greek : Engonasin (the Kneeler) Akkadian : Zappu (the Bristle) ), Latin : Saggita (the Arrow) Sumerian : LÚ.HUN.GÁ (the Hired Man), CHRYSOMALLUS A flying, golden-fleeced ram. ), ASSES OF DIONYSUS 1 The Asses were two stars set on the back of the constellation Cancer. (Hyginus 2.33. The punishment of mortals’ presumption in claiming to be the gods’ superiors, whether in musical skill or even the number of their children, is described in several myths. ), Latin : Taurus (the Bull) al. (Hyginus 2.19. ), Latin : Eridanus From a very early period, Greek myths seem to have been open to criticism and alteration on grounds of morality or of misrepresentation of known facts. ), HERACLES THE DRAGON-SLAYER The great hero. It was first bestowed on Europa by Zeus, who passed it to her son Minos, and from him to Procris and Cephalus. Heracles slew it as one of his twelve labours, along with its ally the crab. But she proved unfaithful and Artemis slew her with her arrows. He received it as a gift from Aphrodite and after his return from the underworld with his mother Semele he set it amongst the stars in memorial of the event. (Hyginus 2.17 on Eratosthenes. ), IO THE HEIFER The Argive princess Io was loved by Zeus, who transformed her into a cow to hide her from the jealous gaze of his wife Hera. He’s one of those fellows you’d love to have a pint and ploughman’s lunch with on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Greek : Deltôton (the Triangle or letter D), DIVISION OF THE COSMOS A triangle was placed amongst the stars to commemorate the division of the universe amongst the three sons of Cronus : Zeus received the heavens, Poseidon the sea, and Hades the underworld. The beast once entered into a contest with Priapus over the size of their erect members. Atlas bringing Heracles the apples of the Hesperides in the presence of Athena, marble metope from the east end of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia, c. 460. Hera was still furious and forbade Callisto's stars ever set into the river Oceanus. The eagle and arrow were placed side by side in the heavens as the constellations Aquila and Sagitta. He was instructed by the god in the art of winemaking, but was murdered by peasants who mistook the draught for poison. The fast-breeding animals quickly got out of control and devoured everything on the island, forcing the inhabitants to abandon their homes. Take a step back in time to ancient Greece and experience the fury of the Greek gods and goddesses! (Hyginus 2.10 on Euripides & Sophocles. ), Latin : Lepus (the Hare) Various myths describe the birth and death of the semi-immortal constellations: such as the Gemini twins, or Dioskouroi, who were said to divide their time equally between Heaven and Haides. He was placed amongst the stars as a man bent down on one knee in supplication along with his lyre. Similarly, the presence of the cuckoo on Hera’s sceptre at Hermione or the invention of the panpipe were explained by fables. Greek : Ikhthyes (the Fishes) Sumerian : KAK.SI.KI (the Arrow), ARROW OF APOLLO The arrow which Apollo used to slay the Cyclopes, to avenge the death of his son Asclepius who had been destroyed by a thunderbolt created on their forge. As memorial the kindly animal was placed amongst the stars. Sumerian : (the Stag? As a memorial the god set the creature amongst the stars as the constellation Aries, first of the twelve signs of the zodiac. ), Latin : Gemini (the Twins) The saga of the Argonauts, for example, is highly complex and includes elements from folktale and fiction. He thereby destroys the symmetry of the myth, in the interests of history: what is now known as the Minoan-Mycenaean period was generally believed in antiquity to have been a good time to live. The animals serve other purposes in the narratives. Greek : Karkinos (the Crab) ), Latin : Leo (the Lion) Dionysus afterwards placed the pair amongst the stars as the constellations Virgo and Bootes. (Hyginus 2.15. Perhaps the best-known myth of this type is the one that tells how Hades (Latin Pluto), the god of the underworld, carried Persephone off to be his consort, causing her mother, Demeter, the goddess of grain, to allow the earth to grow barren out of her grief. ), Latin : Equus (the Horse) No doubt the “fundamentalists” would have disagreed, just as benighted Christians do today. Greek : Koronis (the Crow) or Korakos (the Raven) The Odyssey is the prime example of the wholesale importation of folktales into epic. When they died, they became guardian spirits on Earth. ), AEGIPAN 2 When the monster Typhon attacked Olympus, the gods fled in a body to Egypt and hid themselves away in the form of animals. (Hyginus 2.37. (Hyginus 2.2. The formula was evidently adopted from eastern sources, in particular the star myths of the so-called "Phoenician Heracles," the hero-god of Lebanon, Melqart. Greek : Kentauros (the Centaur) They were nurses of the god Dionysus who were awarded for their service with a place amongst the stars of heaven. The most important of the heliacal risings were those of the twelve constellations of the zodiac. The ancient Phoenicians navigated by her stars. As a memorial of her trials, Io was set amongst the stars as the constellation "Taurus." Akkadian : Sisû (the Horse) Thus, the Homeric Hymns to Demeter, a goddess of agriculture, and to the Delian and Pythian Apollo describe how these deities came to be associated with sites at Eleusis, Delos, and Delphi, respectively. Mercury is commonly identified with the Greek god Hermes. Certain heroes—Heracles, the Dioscuri (the twins Castor and Pollux), Amphiaraus (one of the Argonauts), and Hyacinthus (a youth whom Apollo loved and accidentally killed)—may be regarded as partly legend and partly religious myth. (Hyginus 2.21 on Pherecydes. (Hyginus 2.7 on Eratosthenes. Bulls were the most powerful animals known to the Greeks and may have been worshipped in the remote past. ), MEROPES A King of Cos whose wife was killed by Artemis for spurning her worship. In memory of the event a pair of fish were set amongst the stars as the constellation Pisces. He in turn gave it to Ariadne as reward for the assistance she provided him in navigating the passages of the Labyrinth. As a memorial the hero was placed amongst the stars along with the serpent which coiled around his staff. In Greek and Roman mythology, Hades is the ruler of dead, grim and mournful in his character, and severely just and unyielding in the performance of his duties. ), LYRE OF THESEUS The lyre of the hero Theseus who was set in the stars as the constellation "Heracles" next to that of the lyre. Greek : Aiêtos (the Eagle) (Hyginus 2.13. Most of the Greek deities were adopted by the Romans, although in many cases there was a change of name. Sumerian : AL.LUL (the Crab), Latin : Aselli (the Asses) Why the Golden Age came to an end Hesiod failed to explain, but it was succeeded by the Silver Age. ), A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | R | S | T | U | X | Z, Theoi Project © Copyright 2000 - 2017 Aaron J. Atsma, Netherlands & New Zealand. ), Latin : Draco (the Dragon) ), IXION An Lapith king who attempted to rape the goddess Hera. When he died she set him amongst the stars to continue for eternity the struggle with the serpent. After he was slain by the Bacchantes, Apollo and the Muses placed his lyre amongst the stars. ), Latin : Ursa Minor (the Little Bear) (Hyginus 2.19. Latin : Andromeda By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. ), Latin : Cygnus (the Swan) The gods placed him amongst the stars as the constellation Centaurus, along with his drinking cup Crater. After their death they passed six months alternately beneath the Earth and in the world above, which suggests that their worship, like that of Persephone (the daughter of Zeus and Demeter), was connected with fertility or seasonal change. Tyche herself was one of the goddesses identified as Virgo. Thus, though the aim of Hesiod’s Theogony is to describe the ascendancy of Zeus (and, incidentally, the rise of the other gods), the inclusion of such familiar themes as the hostility between the generations, the enigma of woman (Pandora), the exploits of the friendly trickster (Prometheus), and the struggles against powerful beings or monsters like the Titans (and, in later tradition, the Giants) enhances the interest of an epic account. As a reward for her service, she was placed amongst the stars as the constellation Ursa Major, along with her sister Cynosura as Ursa Minor. (Hyginus 2.6 on Hergesianax. To honour his gift to mankind, a ram was set amongst the stars. (Hyginus 2.6. Greek : Hyades (the Rainy Ones), Latin : Vergiliae ), HERACLES & APOLLO When Apollo commanded that Heracles be sold into slavery to atone for murder, the hero was enraged as wrestled the god for the Delphic tripod. To beget the wonder horses Arion and Pegasus his stolen sinews and restored! 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