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. When the island was plagued by serpents, Phorbas destroyed them all, and as a reward for this service was placed amongst the stars by the god Apollon. Similarly, the presence of the cuckoo on Hera’s sceptre at Hermione or the invention of the panpipe were explained by fables. The Greeks imagined the heavens as a great, solid dome, which, some say, was forged of bronze, and upon which the heavenly constellations were fixed. Such etiological myths proliferated during the Hellenistic era, though in the earlier periods genuine examples are harder to detect. (Hyginus 2.15. Part of the heavenly dome always lay beneath the horizon. ), AEX OF HELIUS A goatish daughter of Helius the sun, who was hidden away in a cave by the Titan gods because of her fearsome face. 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. After her death it was set amongst the stars as the constellation Corona. Their match was memorialised amongst the stars as the constellation Gemini. Greek : Argô (the Silver (Ship), ARGO The ship of the hero Argonauts which was constructed by Argus and Athena, with a talking beam placed on its prow. Greek : Kyôn (the Dog) As time went on, an accretion of minor myths continued to supplement the older and more authentic ones. (Hyginus 2.16. (Hyginus 2.1 & 2.6 on Araethus of Tegea. She was transformed into a bear and placed amongst the stars as the constellation Ursa Major. Akkadian : Purattu (the Euphrates) Baucis, an old Phrygian woman, and Philemon, her husband, for example, were saved from a flood by offering hospitality to Zeus and Hermes, both of whom were in human form. The Dioscuri came to the rescue of sailors in distress. Sumerian : LÚ.HUN.GÁ (the Hired Man), CHRYSOMALLUS A flying, golden-fleeced ram. (Hyginus 2.40. (Hyginus 2.24. 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. The beast once entered into a contest with Priapus over the size of their erect members. No worship is offered to the deity concerned. 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. The constellations, as described in Greek mythology, were mostly god-favoured heroes and beasts who received a place amongst the stars as a memorial of their deeds. ), Latin : Ophiuchus Greek : Lyrê (the Lyre) or Khelys (the Tortoise) In this way he accomplished his seduction and in memorial placed an eagle and swan amongst the stars. ), Latin : Triangulum (the Triangle) Others say he became Saggitarius. She was also called Kore, which means "maiden" and grew up to be a lovely girl attracting the attention of many gods. (Hyginus 2.27 on Sositheus. ), Latin : Sagittarius (the Archer) In memorial the god placed it amongst the stars as the constellation Ara. (Hyginus 2.40 on Istrus. 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. The pair were placed amongst the stars as the constellations Scorpio and Orion. (Hyginus 2.25. (the Scales) ), TYCHE The goddess of good fortune was set amongst the stars as Virgo, along with the scales of fate, Libra. Match these infamous gods with their country of origin. ), HELICE A nymph who nursed the infant god Zeus on Mount Ida in Crete. It was tamed by the hero Bellerophon who rode it into battle against the three-headed monster Chimera. (Hyginus 2.23. Charon, the grisly ferryman of the dead, was also a popular figure of folktale. ), THAMYRIS A bard who was blinded by the Muses as punishment for daring to challenge them to a musical contest. (Hyginus 2.13 on Euhemerus. ), OTHER DOGS The dogs of Icarius and Orion were sometimes identified with Canis Minor instead of the usual Canis Major. All the best-known Greek hero myths, such as the labours of Heracles and the adventures of Perseus, Cadmus, Pelops, or Oedipus, depend more for their interest on folktales than on legend. Latin : Sirios Sumerian : BURANUN (the Euphrates), ERIDANUS A river believed to flow through the mythical northern land of Hyperborea. (Hyginus 2.16 on Aglaosthenes. Why the Golden Age came to an end Hesiod failed to explain, but it was succeeded by the Silver Age. Tyche herself was one of the goddesses identified as Virgo. As a reward for his zeal he was placed amongst the stars as the constellation Saggitarius. Greek : Hydra (the Water Serpent) Greek : Parthenos (the Virgin), Latin : Vindemiator (the Vintager) Akkadian : Alluttu (the Crab) (Hyginus 2.38. Sumerian : MAR.GÍD.DA (the Wagon), CALLISTO An Arcadian princess who was loved by the god Zeus and transformed into a bear by the wrathful goddess Artemis or Hera. ), Latin : Libra (the Scales) Summerian : SHU.GI (the Old Man), PERSEUS An Argive hero, the son of Zeus and Danae. The goddess in wrath inflicted him with unquenchable hunger and sent a serpent to further plague him. For this service he was awarded with a place amongst the stars as the constellation Capricorn. 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. Not all of the constellations are visible in the night sky throughout the year. When he died she set him amongst the stars to continue for eternity the struggle with the serpent. Orion was also described by Homer both striding across the heavens and hunting wild beasts in the underworld. She was nevertheless recognised by the goddess who set a maddening gladfly to torment her that drive her wandering to Egypt. Hesiod may have known this version; he wishes to have been born either earlier or later. Sumerian : GÍR.TAB (the Scorpion), SCORPION OF ORION A scorpion sent forth by the earth-goddess Gaea to kill Orion when the giant boasted that he would slay all the animals of the earth. There are very few surviving depictions of the constellations in classical art: at most, a few Roman mosaics, and a partial depiction on the famous Farnese statue of the Titan Atlas. ), Latin : Cygnus (the Swan) Sumerian : GU.LA (the Great), GANYMEDES A handsome Trojan prince. The Story of Echo and Narcissus is one of the most enduring tales from Greek mythology, ... place the body of the handsome youth upon it, they could not find it, as all that was left was a flower, the Narcissus flower. ), ICARIUS An Athenian devotee of Dionysus. 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. Because of her mother’s grief, Zeus permitted Persephone to spend four months of the year in the house of Hades and eight in the light of day. ), EAGLE OF ZEUS 1 The eagle which Zeus sent to snatch the handsome Trojan youth Ganymedes up to heaven. 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. Greek : Tauros (the Bull) Akkadian : Nunu (the Fish) & Shinunutu (the Swallow) (Hyginus 2.21. (Hyginus 2.20 on Hesiod & Pherecydes & Eratosthenes. Thus, whereas Heracles, a man of Tiryns, may originally have been a historical character, the myth of his demise on Oeta and subsequent elevation to full divinity is closely linked with a cult. Heracles, "glory of the air," had his labours represented amongst the stars of heaven. They were said to rule the heavens for the period in which their position on the eastern horizon prior to dawn was replaced by the rising sun. ), Latin : Cancer (the Crab) (Hyginus 2.11, Aratus 197. ), AEX OF PAN The goatish wife of the god Pan. It was also placed as a memorial of his invention of the alphabet, the letter D being chosen to signify the name of Zeus (spelt Dios, Dii, in other forms). A number of his labours, although missing from the late Greek constellar arrangements, are perhaps recognisable in their older Eastern forms. Water nymphs (Naiads) were reputed to drown those with whom they fell in love, such as Hylas, a companion of Heracles. Greek : Delphin (the Dolphin) 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. Greek : Aix Olenios (the Goat on the Left), ERICHTHONIUS An early King of Athens who invented the four-horse chariot. Because of the unbearable pain of the wound, he surrendered his immortality and was placed amongst the stars as the constellation Centaurus. 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. These myths do not suggest theriolatry. ), Latin : Cetus (the Sea Monster or Whale) (Hyginus 2.22. ), Latin : Gemini (the Twins) Greek : Krios (the Ram) To honour his gift to mankind, a ram was set amongst the stars. Greek : Stephanos (the Crown) (Hyginus 2.29 on Eubulus. The Greek word for constellations was katasterismoi.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). ), PHOENICE A Phoenician girl or bear who was set amongst the stars as the constellation Ursa Minor. * 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. ), SCALES OF FATE The scales of Tyche, goddess of fortune, were set amongst the stars as the constellation Libra. ), CROWN OF DIONYSUS The crown of the god of wine. (Hyginus 2.14. 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. 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