Pleiades (Greek mythology)
The Pleiades ( // or //; Greek: Πλειάδες [pleːádes], Modern [pliˈaðes]), companions of Artemis, were the seven daughters of the titan Atlas and the sea-nymph Pleione born on Mount Cyllene. They are the sisters of Calypso, Hyas, the Hyades, and the Hesperides. The Pleiades were nymphs in the train of Artemis, and together with the seven Hyades were called the Atlantides, Dodonides, or Nysiades, nursemaids and teachers to the infant Bacchus.
There is some debate as to the origin of the name Pleiades. Previously, it was accepted the name is derived from the name of their mother, Pleione. However, the name Pleiades may derive from πλεῖν (to sail) because of their importance in delimiting the sailing season in the Mediterranean Sea.
The Seven Sisters
- Maia, eldest of the seven Pleiades, was mother of Hermes by Zeus.
- Electra was mother of Dardanus and Iasion, by Zeus.
- Taygete was mother of Lacedaemon, also by Zeus.
- Alcyone was mother of Hyrieus by Poseidon.
- Celaeno was mother of Lycus and Eurypylus by Poseidon.
- Sterope (also Asterope) was mother of Oenomaus by Ares.
- Merope, youngest of the seven Pleiades, was wooed by Orion. In other mythic contexts she married Sisyphus and, becoming mortal, faded away. She bore to Sisyphus several sons.
After Atlas was forced to carry the heavens on his shoulders, Orion began to pursue all of the Pleiades, and Zeus transformed them first into doves, and then into stars to comfort their father. The constellation of Orion is said to still pursue them across the night sky.
One of the most memorable myths involving the Pleiades is the story of how these sisters literally became stars, their catasterism. According to some versions of the tale, all seven sisters committed suicide because they were so saddened by either the fate of their father, Atlas, or the loss of their siblings, the Hyades. In turn Zeus, the ruler of the Greek gods, immortalized the sisters by placing them in the sky. There these seven stars formed the constellation known thereafter as the Pleiades.
The Greek poet Hesiod mentions the Pleiades several times in his Works and Days. As the Pleiades are primarily winter stars, they feature prominently in the ancient agricultural calendar. Here is a bit of advice from Hesiod:
- "And if longing seizes you for sailing the stormy seas,
- when the Pleiades flee mighty Orion
- and plunge into the misty deep
- and all the gusty winds are raging,
- then do not keep your ship on the wine-dark sea
- but, as I bid you, remember to work the land."
(Works and Days 618-23)
The Pleiades would "flee mighty Orion and plunge into the misty deep" as they set in the West, which they would begin to do just before dawn during October–November, a good time of the year to lay up your ship after the fine summer weather and "remember to work the land"; in Mediterranean agriculture autumn is the time to plough and sow.
- "Many a night I saw the Pleiads, rising through the mellow shade,
- Glitter like a swarm of fire-flies tangled in a silver braid."
- Kohn, Rachael (October 10, 2004). "The Seven Stars of the Pleiades". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. http://www.abc.net.au/rn/relig/spirit/stories/s1213298.htm. Retrieved 2007-05-01.
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Greek mythology — noun the mythology of the ancient Greeks • Members of this Topic: ↑Dionysian, ↑Trojan War, ↑Augean stables, ↑Pandora s box, ↑Temple of Apollo, ↑Oracle of Apollo, ↑Delphic oracle, ↑oracle of Delphi, ↑ … Useful english dictionary
Aethra (Greek mythology) — In Greek mythology, Aethra or Aithra (Ancient Greek: Αἴθρα, the bright sky [Robert Graves, The Greek Myths , (1955; 1960) index, s.v. Aethra .] ) was a name applied to three individuals:Mother of TheseusAethra was a daughter of King Pittheus of… … Wikipedia
Pleiades (disambiguation) — Pleiades can refer to: *Pleiades (star cluster) open cluster of stars in the constellation Taurus *Pleiades (mythology) seven sisters of Greek mythology *Pleiades (company) a software and educational services company *Pleiads a video game for the … Wikipedia
Greek astronomy — is the astronomy of those who wrote in the Greek language in classical antiquity. It is understood to include the ancient Greek, Hellenistic, Greco Roman, and Late Antiquity eras. It is not limited geographically to Greece or to ethnic Greeks, as … Wikipedia
Pleiades (mythology) — This article is about Greek mythology. The Pleiades star cluster also appears in many other mythologies mdash; see Pleiades (star cluster). For alternate meanings see Pleiades (disambiguation). The Pleiades (IPA|/ˈplaɪədiːz/, also… … Wikipedia
Pleiades — This article is about the star cluster. For other uses, see Pleiades (disambiguation). Pleiades A color composite image of the Pleiades from the Digitized Sky Survey. Credit: NASA/ESA/AURA/Caltech … Wikipedia
Pleiades — /plee euh deez , pluy /, n.pl. 1. Class. Myth. seven daughters of Atlas and half sisters of the Hyades, placed among the stars to save them from the pursuit of Orion. One of them (the Lost Pleiad) hides, either from grief or shame. 2. Astron. a… … Universalium
Pleiades — Plei|a|des the Pleiades a) a group of stars in the ↑constellation called ↑Taurus b) in ancient Greek ↑mythology, the seven daughters of Atlas, who were changed into stars by Zeus … Dictionary of contemporary English
Pleiades — noun plural Etymology: Latin, from Greek Date: 14th century 1. the seven daughters of Atlas turned into a group of stars in Greek mythology 2. a conspicuous cluster of stars in the constellation Taurus that includes six stars in the form of a… … New Collegiate Dictionary
PLEIADES — in the Greek mythology seven sisters, daughters of Atlas, transformed into stars, six of them visible and one invisible, and forming the group on the shoulders of Taurus in the zodiac; in the last week of May they rise and set with the sun… … The Nuttall Encyclopaedia