Greek : Hydra (the Water Serpent) His oxen and plough were set alongside him as the Wain, i.e., the constellations Ursa Major and Minor. Greek creation myths (cosmogonies) and views of the universe (cosmologies) were more systematic and specific than those of other ancient peoples. As thanks for his help the god set him amongst the stars as the goat-fish constellation Capricorn. (Hyginus 2.35. Greek : The Greek name of the constellation. Greek : Thytêrios (the Altar), ALTAR OF ZEUS When Zeus had gathered allies for the Titan War, they made sacrifices on an atlar constructed by the Cyclopes to pledge their alliegance. Summerian : MUSH (the Snake), LERNAEAN HYDRA A monstrous nine-headed serpent which haunted the springs of Lerna. Myths about the gods described their births, victories over monsters or rivals, love affairs, special powers, or connections with a cultic site or ritual. Sumerian : AL.LUL (the Crab), Latin : Aselli (the Asses) (Hyginus 2.13. Because so much rain fell during his reign he was represented amongst the stars as the Water-Pourer. Because of the unbearable pain of the wound, he surrendered his immortality and was placed amongst the stars as the constellation Centaurus. ), HERACLES THE DRAGON-SLAYER The great hero was placed amongst the stars in the form of a kneeling man with his club poised to strike the Hesperian dragon, the constellation Draco. HEADING The common English name for the constellation. ), MEGISTO An Arcadian princess, daughter of King Ceteus. Hero myths included elements from tradition, folktale, and fiction. Satyrs (youthful folk deities with bestial features) and sileni (old and drunken folk deities) were the nymphs’ male counterparts. Greek : Ikhthyes (the Fishes) Their rising heralded the onset of the rainy season in Greece. ), IXION An Lapith king who attempted to rape the goddess Hera. Her father and was placed beside her in the form of the Kneeler ("Hercules") apparently lamenting her fate. CHIRON The wise centaur Chiron was placed amongst the stars as the constellation Saggitarius or Centaurus, when he surrendered his immortality after being poisoned by an arrow of Heracles. The Titan Atlas, who stood either beneath the axis of heaven in the far north (in the land of the Hyperboreans), or at heaven's western rim in by the Atlas mountains in North Africa, was said to spin the dome around upon his shoulders, causing the stars to rise and set. 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). 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. When she was chained to the rocks, the hero Perseus spied her, slew the beast, and carried her off as his wife. After an inordinately prolonged childhood, the men of the Silver Age began to act presumptuously and neglected the gods. She was later placed amongst the stars as the constellation Ursa Major, along with her son Arcas, who became Bootes. Those of the Golden Age never grew old, were free from toil, and passed their time in jollity and feasting. Match these infamous gods with their country of origin. Astraea herself was Virgo. Some say Orpheus was himself represented nearby in the form of the constellation "Hercules," the Kneeling Man. ), AEX OF PAN The goatish wife of the god Pan. (Hyginus 2.13. The final age, the antithesis of the Golden Age, was the Iron Age, during which the poet himself had the misfortune to live. 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. Jealousy was the motive for the slaying of Niobe’s many children, because Niobe flaunted her fecundity to the goddess Leto, who had only two offspring. 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. ), 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. (Hyginus 2.28 on Eratosthenes. ), THESEUS The Athenian hero was set amongst the stars in the pose of a kneeling man, the constellation Ennosagin. Akkadian : Suhurmashû (the Goat-Fish) (Hyginus 2.33. Greek : Zyygos (the Scales) or Khêlai (the Claws) The warm months of spring and summer must yield to the cold and violence of winter, so perhaps the use of the word rape is unfortunate. Sumerian : SHAH (the Pig or Boar), DOLPHIN OF POSEIDON When Poseidon was wooing the goddess Amphitrite, she fled from his advances and hid herself away. (Hyginus 2.14. Certain myths, in which goddesses or heroes were temporarily incarcerated in the underworld, were allegories of seasonal renewal. The goddess woke from her sleep, because of the roughness of the child, and pushed him away in disgust. ), ISLAND OF SICILY The triangle shaped island of Sicily was represented amongst the stars as the constellation Triangulum. (Hyginus 2.43. 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. Not often identifiable in Greek art, she appeared as a modestly veiled woman. ), CROWN OF THESEUS The crown of the Athenian hero Theseus which he received from the goddess Amphitrite as a mark of his divine paternity. A silver denarius showing a caduceus and bust of the Roman god Mercury wearing a winged petasos. On the other hand, events described in the Iliad probably owe far more to Homer’s creative ability than to genuine tradition. The last of these set it to hunt down the Teumessian fox, which was destined never to be caught. (Hyginus 2.19. (Hyginus 2.26. Of folk deities, the nymphs (nature goddesses) personified nature or the life in water or trees and were said to punish unfaithful lovers. He was seized and carried off to heaven by an eagle sent down by Zeus, to become the cup-bearer of the gods. But when he opened the wine, the smell drew the other centaurs who attacked. (Hyginus 2.34 on Hesiod & Aristomarchus & Istrus, Aratus 634. Others say the triangle represented the whole of Egypt from the Nile border with Egypt down to the sea. (Hyginus 2.38. Sumerian : PA.BIL.SAG. Sumerian : EN.TE.NA.BAR.HUM, CHIRON The wisest of the Centaurs, a son of the Titan Cronus. 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. al. ), MAERA The dog of Icarius, a devotee of the god Dionysus. The Greek word for constellations was katasterismoi. 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. Because Zeus was fond of both he placed the pair amongst the stars as the constellations Capra and Capricorn. (Hyginus 2.16 on Aglaosthenes. Tyche herself was one of the goddesses identified as Virgo. ), Latin : Cancer (the Crab) (Hyginus 2.18 on Euripides. (Hyginus 2.6. Greek : Boôtes (the Wagon-Driver) or Arktophylax (the Bear-Watcher) ), Latin : Virgo (the Virgin) It was set to flow amongst the northern stars. ), Latin : Crater (the Drinking Cup) Greek : Hyades (the Rainy Ones), Latin : Vergiliae Greek : Andromedê The Castration of Uranus. Some say he chased Lepus, the hare, across the heavens with his dog, the constellation Canis, others that he was in pursuit of Taurus the bull, or even chasing after the seven beautiful Pleiad nymphs. (Hyginus 2.14 on Polyzelus the Rhodian. Greek mythology books (retellings, translations, and commentary) continue to be some of my favorite reads. Greek : Aix Olenios (the Goat on the Left), ERICHTHONIUS An early King of Athens who invented the four-horse chariot. The lyre was represented by the adjacent constellation Lyra. (Hyginus 2.39. Poseidon took the shape of a stallion to beget the wonder horses Arion and Pegasus. ), HERACLES THE DRAGON-SLAYER The great hero. To resolve the contrary fates of the two animals, Zeus placed them amongst the stars as the constellations Canis Major and Minor to play out the chase unresolved for eternity. Triptolemus was a hero who first instructed mankind in the art of agriculture, while Iasion was her lover on the island of Samothrace, lying with her in a thrice-plowed field. Akkadian : Shidallu (the True Shepherd of Anu) All three were then placed amongst the stars as Procyon (Canis Minor), Bootes and Virgo. ), 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. (Hyginus 2.30 on Diognetus Erythraeus. 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. (Hyginus 2.33. Akkadian : Enzu (the She-Goat) ), THAMYRIS A bard who was blinded by the Muses as punishment for daring to challenge them to a musical contest. ), CLAWS OF THE SCORPION The claws of the constellation Scorpio were sometimes said to be represented amongst the stars as Libra. Greek : Stephanos (the Crown) She was given a place amongst the stars as the winged constellation Virgo, with her scales set nearby in the form of Libra. Greek : Parthenos (the Virgin), Latin : Vindemiator (the Vintager) But the hero Perseus slew the beast and rescued her. 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, pitying his son, sent an eagle which snatched away her sandal and delivered it the god, which he used to barter for her favours. After he was slain by the Bacchantes, Apollo and the Muses placed his lyre amongst the stars. (Hyginus 2.31. In the story of his death, Orion was either killed by Artemis or by a scorpion sent by Gaea to punish him for boasting that he would slay all the creatures of the earth. (Hyginus 2.4 & 2.25. ), OTHER DOGS The dogs of Icarius and Orion were sometimes identified with Canis Minor instead of the usual Canis Major. ), DRAGON OF ATHENA A gigantic serpent which was cast at the goddess Athena during the giant war. Poseidon (god of the sea) was unusually atavistic in that his union with Earth, and his equine adventures appear to hark back to his pre-marine status as a horse or earthquake god. Aphrodite and her son Eros reached the river Eridanus where they threw themselves in the water and hid in the guise of fish. ), ERIGONE An Athenian maiden, the daughter of Icarius, the man who Dionysus first instructed in the making of wine. 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. 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. She caught it in her hands and set it about the northern pole as the constellation Draco. Akkadian : Sisû (the Horse) (Hyginus 2.1 & 2.4 from Hesiod & Amphis & others. ), MILK OF RHEA When the Titaness Rhea presented a stone wrapped in swaddling cloth to Cronus as substitute for the infant Zeus, the Titan pressed it against her breast and milk flowed forth which flowed formed the Milky Way. Greek : Delphin (the Dolphin) Orion was also set in heaven, but doomed to continue a futile chase for all eternity. (Hyginus 2.6 on Euripides. Greek mythology linked the red anemone, sometimes called the windflower, to the death of Adonis. ), PHOLUS A centaur of Mount Pholoe in Arcadia who entertained Heracles in his cave. (Hyginus 2.1 & 2.6 on Araethus of Tegea. As time went on, an accretion of minor myths continued to supplement the older and more authentic ones. To commemorate the event he placed the eagle and altar amongst the stars as the constellations Aquila and Ara. The rising of its stars heralded the storms of late autumn. 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