These are some greek constellations mentioned in myths.
It is said that in the ten-year war between the followers of Zeus and the Giants, a magnificent eagle know as Aquila, was on the side of Zeus waiting to carry his thunderbolts to kill the Giants. For his loyalty he was placed in the night sky. But he is also said to have done other things in myths too. Once th gods needed a new waiter or a cup bearer in other words. So Zeus asked Aquila to find the most beautiful youth and take him to the hall of the gods. After searching over mountains, hills, plains, and water, finally Aquila found one named Ganymede. Zeus was so happy that he reserved a place in the stars for this wonderous bird. It is still unsure but in some places it is said that when Ganymede died, he was placed in the stars as Aquaruis.
Aries is a zodiacal constellation representing the ram of the golden fleece that Jason and the Argonauts looked for.The ram had
originally been presented to Nephele by Mercury when her husband took a new wife, Ino, who persecuted Nephele's children.
To keep them safe, Nephele sent Phrixus and Helle away on the back of the magical ram, who flew away to the east. Helle fell
off into the Hellespont (now the Dardanelles) between the Aegean Sea and the Sea of Marmara, but Phrixus safely made it to
Colchis on the eastern shore of the Black Sea. Phrixus sacrificed the ram and presented the Golden Fleece to the king, Aeetes
According to greek myth, Hera had a child who was born lame. Disgusted, she threw him down to earth where he became the famous lame smith, Hephaestus, who made ornaments and armor for the gods. He was the smith who came to Orions' rescue after Orion had been blinded. Since he was lame, he made a chariot to help him get around which also names him the charioteer.
Cancer is a zodaical constellation. Like many other constellations, its part in mythology is uncertain; however, the most
common story is that Cancer was the crab sent to harass Hercules
while he was on his second labor. As he battled the
Lernaean Hydra, Juno sent Cancer to nip at the hero's heels. The crab was eventually crushed beneath
Hercules's feet, but Juno placed it in the heavens as a reward for what it did.
One time, the gods and goddesses were in a war with the giants. One of them, the monster Typhon, had a sight that was so terrible, that when the gods and goddesses saw it, they turned into animals. When Zeus turned back to his origional form to battle Typhon, he lost. Typhon cut the tendons out of Zeus's hands and feet and hid them in a cave in the land of Cilicia. Typhon had the dragon woman Delphyne guard the tendons. She wasn't a very good guard and allowed Hermes and and Aegipan. To escape, Aegipan jumped in the river when he saw Typhon coming but he was half under when he decided what he would be. He turned into a goat from his waist up and a fish from his waist down. Hermes and Aegipan returned the tendos to Zeus and he was as good as new. With all of his strength, he killed Typhon. For his honor, Aegipan was awarded a place in the skies.
Cassiopeia was the beautiful wife of Cepheus, king of Ethiopia, and the mother of Andromeda. She is most famous in
connection with the myth of her daughter, Andromeda. The queen made the mistake of bragging she was more lovely than the
Nereids. The goddesses were rather insulted, and went to Poseidon
to complain. Poseidon promptly sent thr sea monster Cetus to ravage the coast. The king and queen were ordered to
sacrifice their daughter to appease Poseidon's wrath, and would have done so if Perseus hadn't arrived to kill the monster in the
nick of time. As a reward, the hero was wedded to the lovely Andromeda.
By most accounts, Cassiopeia was quite happy with the match. In some versions of the myth, however, the queen objects to
the marriage and is turned to stone when Perseus shows her the head of the Gorgon Medusa.
Although she was placed in the heavens by Poseidon, the sea-god saw fit to humiliate her one final time (and for all eternity). He
placed her so that she is seated on her throne, with her head pointing towards the North Star Polaris. In this position, she
spends half of every night upside-down.
Cepheus, king of Ethiopia, was married to Cassiopeia
, and together they had a daughter, Andromeda. Although
his name is most well-known in connection with his daughter, Cepheus was placed in the sky of his own right: He voyaged as
an Argonaut with Jason on the quest for the Golden Fleece.
The most widely accepted version of this myth tells the story of the nobleman Mastusius and his daughter. A plague had been placed upon the land of king Demophon. The king was told by an oracle that the only way to prevent the plague from killing all of the people was to give an offering of a daughter of a nobleman once a year to the gods. With that, each year the king had a drawing to choose the unlucky victim. But the king did not include any of his three daughters. Upon learning this, Mastusius went to the king and said he did not see why his daughter should be included either. Angry, the king instantly ordered that the daughter of Mastusius be the victim. Mastusius was very angry but he did not show it. Later, he invited the king and his three daughters to a celebration on a day he knew the king would be late. So the king sent his daughters on ahead of him. When they arrived, Mastusius killed them and mixed their blood in with wine. When the king arrived, Mastusius gave him a bowl of the wine that he greedily drank. When he learned he had been tricked, Demophon ordered that Mastusius and the bowl be thrown in the harbor. It is unknown what happened to Mastusius but the bowl was placed in the sky as a warning to all of those who were thinking of committing evil deeds.
As with so many of the constellations, there are a number of possible explanations for the presence of the swan in the heavens.
Some myths, for instance, state the swan was once the pet of the Queen Cassiopeia. Other versions state that the swan was
Cionus, son of Poseidon, who was wrestled to the ground and smothered by Achilles. To save his son, Poseidon immortalized
Cionus as a swan.
Another story says the swan is Orpheus, who was murdered by the Thracian women while under the influence of Bacchus.
Upon his death, the celebrated musician was placed in the heavens to spend eternity by his harp, Lyra
. Yet another variant says
that the swan represents the form taken by Zeus when he deceived Leda and fathered Pollux.
According to Ovid, the swan was once Cygnus, son of Sthenele and a close friend of Phaethon. Phaethon died in the river
Eridanus after attempting to drive the chariot of the sun, and Cygnus was overcome with grief that Zeus could have struck
down his friend.
As with most others, there are many stories that present the creation of the constellation Delphinus. According to one, there was a musician named Arion who was said to be the greatest at that time. He was the court musician for the king of Corinth, Periander. He was so good that he made a tour through Sicily. During that trip, he was given many prizes and gold and money. The crew of the ship taking Arion back to Corinth knew how many riches he had. So they thought of a plan to steal his riches and throw him overboard. In a dream, Arion was told of this by Apollo. So when it finally happened, Arion had one final request- that he could sing a farewell song. The ccrew saw nothinng wrong with this so they let him. So he stood at the bow of the ship and began to sing. Eventually, since the singing was so beautiful, many sea creatures came and gathered around the ship to listen to Arion. Some of the animals were dolphins. He saw that they were very pleased and right before the end of the song, he
jumped overboard into the school of dolphins. One of them caught him and they raced off towards Corinth. It was very hard for Arion to hold on but he did it. Arion finally arrived and went to the king. The king listened to his story and found it hard to belive, but Arion said, "lets see what story the crew has to say."When the ship docked, Periander met it while Arion hid. The crew said that Arion decided to stay in Sicily because of his riches. At that moment, Arion stepped out and the crew confessed. The king crusified every one of them Apollo was so pleased for rescuing Arion that he gave the dolphin its own place in the sky.
It's not clear to which dragon in mythology Draco represents. There are, however, three main contenders. But the most likely one is that Draco represents the dragon who guarded the golden apples in the garden of the Hesperides. One of the
labors of Hercules
was to steal these apples. Hercules suggested his plan to get the apples to Atlas, who pointed out two problems. First, he could not simply drop his burden; second, there
was the awful guardian dragon. Hercules responded by throwing his spear into the garden of the Hesperides and killing the
hundred-headed beast, and then taking the burden on his own shoulders. Atlas retrieved the apples and, reluctantly taking the
burden onto his shoulders once again, gave them to Hercules. Juno placed the dragon in the heavens as a reward for his faithful
The Gemini, or Twins were the sons of Zeus and Leda. Their names were Pollux and Castor. Pollux had an imortal soul but Castor had a mortal soul. Castor was a famous horse rider and Pollux was famous in boxing and fighting. They eventually decided to get married so they chose two beautiful daughters of the king of Sparta. But the two women were married to Lynceus and Idas, cousins of the twins. But the twins still married the two women. However, the cousins did not care at the theft of their wives. Years later, the cousins in company with the twins, made a joint raid on some cattle. But trouble started between the two pairs of thieves when they tried to divid the cattle among themselves. But Idas had an idea. He split a cow into four equal pieces and said whichever two individuals finished there shares first would divide the cattle. This took the twins off guard and they watched their cousins scarf down their shares. The cousins took the entire herd. Tricked, the twins vowed revenge on their evil
reletives. A few days later, the twins set out to get their share of the cattle. In the battle that resulted, Idas killed Castor with a spear. Angry, Pollux chased the cousins and killed Lynceus with a single blow. Just when Idas was about to throw a tombstone at Pollus, Zeus came to help Pollux and hit Idas with a thunderbolt. Realizing that his brothers soul would go to the underworld. Pollux prayed that he too would be killed and be sent to the underworld so that he would not be parted from his twin. But even Zeus could not grant this wish. So in result, half of the year, the twins would be together in Hades and the other half, they would be on Olympus with the gods. As well, they would be given a place in the sky as the constellation Gemini. To this day, we see the twins there watching over the sailors threatened by storms at sea. It is said today that even today, the twins appear as great balls of fire. If only one ball is seen, It is bad luck. However, if two are seen, then it is a sign that the twins are looking over the ship.
Hercules is the constellation that represents the brave Hero, Hercules. Hercules, also known as Heracles, was the son of Zeus. He was a very strong man. He was half god and half human. When he
was born, Hera sent two serpents to kill Hercules and his twin brother. Hercules strangled the two serpents with both hands.
This showed that Hercules was not a normal child. When Hercules was about 18 years old, two woman named Vice and
Virtue came to him and gave him two paths of life. Vice, also known as pleasure, said to him that if he followed her, he would
have no hardships in life. Virtue however, said to him that something good could not be gained without labor. Hercules choice
was to follow Virtue. Soon misfortune came. Hera sent madness on Hercules. This madness caused him to kill his own children.
After he recovered, he asked the oracle at Delphi how might he atone for his deed. The oracle said that he must live in Tiryns,
an ancient city in South Greece, and for many years he must do tasks for King Eurystheus of Mycenai. Each year, the King
gave a task. Those tasks were called the Twelve Labors of Hercules.
This constellation represents the Lernaean Hydra, slain by Hercules
as his second labor. The Hydra was a multi-headed
monster , it had a hundred heads.
The most common opinion, however, seems to be that it had nine. What made the Hydra so difficult was the fact that,
whenever one of its heads was chopped off, two would grow in its place. Hercules managed to get around this by having his nephew, Iolaus, burn each stump with a hot iron as soon as Hercules could chop off a head. The
hero then buried the monster's immortal head beneath a rock. The task was made somewhat more difficult by Juno, who sent a
crab(believed to be the constellation Cancer
) to nip at the feet of Hercules while he battled the Hydra.
Leo is the constellation that represents the Nemean Lion Hercules
had to kill in his first labor. Hercules was supposed to kill the terrible lion that could not be harmed by iron, bronze, and
stone and also had to skin it. Hercules killed it with a wooden club. Then he had to skin it with its own claws. He was supposed to
give the skin to King Eurystheus but he kept it himself.
Lyra is the lyre played by Orpheus, musician of the Argonauts and son of Apollo and the muse Calliope. Apollo gave his son
the lyre as a gift, and Orpheus played it so well that even the wild beasts, the rocks, and the trees were charmed by his music.
He fell deeply in love with the nymph Eurydice, and the two were married. Their wedded bliss did not last for very long,
however. Eurydice was wandering in the fields with some other nymphs when she was seen by the shepherd Aristaeus.
Aristaeus was struck by her beauty and pursued her; as she fled, she was bitten by a snake in the grass and died of the
Orpheus was devastated. He decided to seek out his wife in the underworld, and gained an audience with Pluto and
Persephone. The king and queen of the underworld, like all others, were charmed by his music and granted him permission to
take Eurydice back to the land of the living with him:
They called Eurydice. She was among the ghosts who had but newly come, and walked slowly because of her
injury. Thracian Orpheus received her, but on condition that he must not look back until he had emerged from the
valleys of Avernus or else the gift he had been given would be taken from him.
According to Ovid, Orpheus was so morose that he rejected the company of the Thracian women in favor of the company of
small boys. The women were infuriated and, when maddened by the rites of Bacchus, hurled rocks at the bard. The rocks,
tamed by the sound of the lyre, fell harmlessly at his feet until the screams of the infuriated women drowned out the music. The
women dismembered Orpheus, throwing his lyre and his head into the river Hebrus. The Muses gathered up his limbs and
buried them, and Orpheus went to the underworld to spend eternity with Eurydice. Zeus himself cast the bard's lyre into the
Ophiuchus is the name of the constellation of Aesculapius, the snake holder. Aesculapius supposedly,was the first doctor of medicine. Once when visiting his friend, he saw a snake and killed it. Then a second snake came with an herb and gave it to the first snake which instantly survived.(One of thes snakes is the constellation connected to this. It is Serpens
). Then Aesculapis took the herb from the snake that taught him the powers of life and death. He travelled all over always learning more about the medical uses of herbs. He was so famous that Hades eventually came to Zeus and complained that fewer souls were going to the underworld. Hades was worried about losing his position. Aesculapis was said to have brought the great hunter Orion
back to life. Zeus finally agreed that enough was enough and he threw a lightning bold at Aesculapius. But Zeus could not help but to admire the skill of Aesculapius so he put him in the stars.
There are two different versions of the Orion myth, depending on the identity of his parents. The first of these identifies the
sea-god Neptune as Orion's father and the the great huntress Queen Euryale of the Amazons as his mother. Orion inherited her
talent, and became the greatest hunter in the world. Unfortunately for him, with his immense strength came an immense ego, and
he boasted that he could best any animal on earth. In response to his vanity, a single small scorpion stung him and killed him.
Another version of the Orion myth states that he had no mother but was a gift to a pious peasant from Zeus, Poseidon, and
Hermes. "Orion supposedly was able to walk on water and had greater strength and stature than any other mortal. A skilled
blacksmith, he fabricated a subterranean palace for Hephaestus. He also walled in the coasts of Sicily against the encroaching sea
and built a temple to the gods there. Orion fell in love with Merope, daughter of Oenopion and princess of Chios.
Her father the king, however, would not consent to give Orion his daughter's hand in marriage--even after the hunter rid their
island of wild beasts. In anger,
Orion attempted to gain possession of the maiden by violence. Her father, incensed at this conduct, having made
Orion drunk, deprived him of his sight and cast him out on the seashore. The blinded hero followed the sound of a
Cyclops' hammer till he reached Lemnos, and came to the forge of Vulcan, who, taking pity on him, gave him
Kedalion, one of his men, to be his guide to the abode of the sun. Placing Kedalion on his shoulders, Orion
proceeded to the east, and there meeting the sun-god, was restored to sight by his beam.
It is also stated in some versions that Apollo, worried for Diana's chastity, sent a scorpion to kill Orion.
Pegasus was created when Perseus was carrying away Medusas head. Some blood dripped into the sea and from it, Poseidon created Pegasus.
Perseus was one of the great heroes of classical mythology. He was the son of Jupiter and Danae, and is best known for his
killing of the Gorgon Medusa. This was a rather complex task, as anyone who saw her hideous face would be turned
immediately to stone. The Gorgons, according to Bulfinch, were monstrous females with huge teeth like those of swine, brazen
claws, and snaky hair. Perseus accomplishes it, however, by the aid of Hades, Hermes and Athena.
Hades lent his helmet of invisibility to Perseus, Hermes lent the hero his winged sandals, and Athena allowed him the use of her
shield. With the aid of the helmet and the sandals, Perseus was able to get within striking range without being detected by
Medusa or the two immortal Gorgons. He then used the reflection on the shield to guide his killing blow, and flew off unharmed
bearing the head of Medusa:
He was rather tired and wanted to rest when he arrived at the lands of Atlas, at the ends of the earth. Atlas, however, tried to
turn him away with his considerably greater strength. Perseus was infuriated and showed him the head of Medusa, turning the
Titan into a mountain as huge as the giant he had been. His beard and hair were turned into trees, his hands and shoulders
were mountain ridges, and what had been his head was now the mountain top. His bones became rock. Then, expanding in all
directions, he increased to a tremendous size. Such was the will of the gods. And the whole sky with its many stars rested upon
him. Perseus flew on until he spotted the beautiful maiden Andromeda, who was chained to the
rocky shore as a sacrifice to a sea monster. Perseus promptly fell in love with her, killed the monster, and married the princess.
There are some variants on the myth of Perseus. According to some versions, he had to win the winged sandals and the helmet
from the three Graeae, sisters of the Gorgons who shared one eye and one tooth among them. He stole the eye and the tooth,
returning them only in exchange for the sandals and the helmet he needed to defeat Medusa.
Scorpius is a zodaical constellation. The scorpion is generally believed to be responsible for the death of the great hunter Orion
According to some myths, the scorpion stung Orion in response to his boast that he could defeat any beast; according to
others, it was sent by Apollo, who was concerned for his sister Diana's continued chastity.
Serpens is the snake from the myth about Aesculapius
amd the constellation Ophiuchis meaning serpent holder. This serpent was in a house when Aesculapius came in to visit the owner. He saw the snake and killed it. Then another snake came out with an herb and gave it to the first snake and it sprang to life. Aesculapius took the herb from the snake and this is where he got the power of life and death. The snake Serpens was placed with Aesculapius in the skies.
Tauros is believed to be the bull Zeus turned into when he came down to take away Europa. Amazed at the gentleness of the bull, Europa played with it for a while, then gently climbed on its back when it suddenly darted off to the island of Crete.
This is how the Great Bear came to be. Zeus fell in love with the beautiful Callisto, who was a hunter. When hera found out, she went furious after Callisto.. When she found her, she said,"Your beauty, of which my husband speaks so tenderly, is no more!" Whereupon Hera changed Callisto into a bear. To make it worse, Hera left Callisto with her human feelings and not those of a bear. So Callisto roamed around the forest all day in constant fear of hunters and other wild animals. One day, she found herself right in front of a handsome hunter which she quickly reckognized as her son, Arcas
. She stood upon her hind legs to hug him.. Thinking that the bear was trying to attack him, Arcas raised his spear and was about to kill his mother. But Zeus was watching over them and instantly turned Arcas into a bear also. Then he grabbed both of their tails, and hurled them into the night sky, where they satnd today as Ursa Major
and Ursa Minor
Ursa Minor, or Arcas as he used to be, was the son of Callisto who turned into a bear and eventually, the constellation Ursa Major
. Anyway, one day while hunting, Arcas came upon a bear who he thought, was trying to attack him. Really, it was his mother trying to hug him. About to throw his spear at this bear, Arcas was immediately changed into a bear by Zeus. Upon this event, Zeus grabbed both their tails, and launched both into the sky where they stand today as constellations.