An Ethiopian Journal

"Until lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunters"

Constellation Cassiopeia

with 4 comments

                          

Cassiopeia is a northern constellation which Greek mythology considered to represent the vain queen Cassiopeia who boasted about her unrivaled beauty. It is one of the 88 modern constellations, and was also one of the 48 listed by Ptolemy.

Cassiopeia contains two stars visible to the naked eye that rank among the most luminous in the galaxy

Myth

Cassiopeia, the mother of Andromeda and wife of King Cepheus of Ethiopia, thought she and her daughter were the two fairest that ever lived. In fact, she foolishly claimed that Andromeda was so beautiful that even the sea nymphs (Nereids) could not surpass her beauty. Hera, Zeus’ jealous wife, and the Nereids themselves, overheard this. Furious at Cassiopeia’s boasting, they visited Poseidon (the sea god) and demanded an immediate punishment.

Poseidon sent the sea monster Tiamat (represented by Cetus) to attack King Cepheus’ realm. With his kingdom in the gravest danger, Cepheus consulted an oracle for advice. He learned the only way to save Ethiopia involved the sacrifice of Andromeda to the raging sea monster. Heavy hearted and bitter over his wife’s vanity, the king was forced by his people to comply. Poor Andromeda was dragged to a ragged part of the coast and was told of her fate.

She was stripped naked and chained to a large rock to await her grisly fate. The monster soon arrived. Tiamat was about to eat her, when the monster felt a sharp pain in his back. He turned and found Perseus flying with winged sandals and attacking him. The monster grew stronger as they fought. Then Perseus remembered that he was carrying Medusa’s head. All who looked at it would turn to stone. He dropped his sword and took out the creepy object. The sea monster stared at it and turned immediately into stone. Andromeda watched the whole incident (except Medusa’s head), and smiled with a sigh of relief.

Perseus fell in love with the beautiful Andromeda and carried her home to marry her. The gods made constellations for each of them, but felt Cassiopeia had gotten off too easy. They punished her by condemning her to circle Polaris forever in her throne. So even now, she alternately sits right side up and hangs upside down in the heavens.

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Written by Tseday

September 8, 2008 at 3:27 pm

4 Responses

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  1. With “Cassiopeia” you brought us another suggestive terminology for the ethymological origin of the name “Ethiopia”. Anyways, Ethiopia = Love.

    Tariku

    September 8, 2008 at 6:25 pm

  2. it’s quite interesting to actually see it referenced in Astrology and Greek Mythology. Ethiopia is full of mysteries and it becomes an exciting research for the curious ones :)

    Tseday

    September 9, 2008 at 7:13 pm

  3. I’m in seventh grade language and we are making a “facebook” type page for a Greek god/goddess. I was wondering if anyone could give me any more info on Cassiopeia or Andromeda. I would really appreciate it! Please post by next Monday, March 23, 2010. Please hurry!

    Madeline

    March 17, 2010 at 6:58 pm

  4. I always thought Ethiopia is a country without access to the sea….
    But really cute story, yes indeed.

    Anthon

    November 23, 2010 at 5:34 pm


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