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Andromeda (Peril by the Sea)

Andromeda was the beautiful daughter of King Cepheus and the incredibly vain Queen Cassiopeia. On one occasion Queen Cassiopeia boasted that her daughter Andromeda was even more beautiful than the Nereids, the alluring sea-nymph daughters of Poseidon, the God of the Sea.

Perseus and Andromeda  by Pierre Mignard (1679)
The Nereids became outraged by this proclamation and demanded revenge. Poseidon, to appease his vengeful daughters, sent flood waters along with the sea monster Cetus, to destroy King Cepheus' kingdom. Cetus wreaked havoc along the coastline; death and destruction followed in his wake. Desperate to protect his land and people, Cepheus sought the help of Ammon, the Oracle of Zeus.

Ammon told Cepheus that the only way to stop the brutal devastation of his kingdom was to sacrifice his virgin daughter Andromeda to the sea monster Cetus. Andromeda was then chained to a rock on the coast of Jaffa (modern day Tel Aviv) to atone for the boastful sins of her mother Cassiopeia.

Andromeda, shackled, alone and terrified, saw Cetus approaching through roiling sea waters and began to scream. The sea monster had its maws opened to consume the sacrificial virgin when Perseus arrived riding the winged horse Pegasus, after beheading the Gorgon Medusa. Perseus swooped down from the sky holding the head of Medusa with her face toward Cetus. The sea monster was turned to stone upon seeing the head and perished, sinking forever to the depths of the sea.

Andromeda had been previously promised to Phineus but due to the heroic rescue by Perseus, Cepheus and Cassiopeia readily agreed to a marriage between Perseus and Andromeda. Their marriage produced seven sons and one daughter.

Andromeda was placed in the constellations of the Northern sky by Athena. She is surrounded by her father Cepheus, her mother Cassiopeia, her husband Perseus and the winged horse that made the marriage possible - Pegasus. The sea monster Cetus is always close by but Pisces, the constellation of fishes, protects and keeps Andromeda out of harms way.

The constellation Andromeda boasts, as befitting her mother, the Andromeda Galaxy, a spectacular galaxy close enough to be seen by the naked eye. Close is a relative term here, being that the galaxy is 2.5 million light years away, giving it the distinction of being the most distant object visible without the need for a telescope. The Andromeda galaxy is larger than the Milky Way, while the Milky Way contains more dark matter and is most likely more massive.

Andromeda Galaxy by clownfish33

Author Resource: Written by Starr Hendon


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