19. Andromeda

Written by probationideadlyi on September 12th, 2014. Posted in 88



And there revolves herself, image of woe,
Andromeda, beneath her mother shining.

The chained Princess

The origin of the constellation known to us as Andromeda is lost in remote antiquity, but the myth that relates to Andromeda, the daughter of Cepheus and Cassiopeia, and associated with the constellation, is probably as well known to-day as any that has come down to us.

As a constellation these stars have always borne our title,frequently with the added Hulier Catenate, the Woman Chained, and many of the classical Latins alluded to her as familiar and a great favorite. Caesar Germanicus called her Virgo Devote; a scholiast,Pertea, as the bride of Perseus ; while Manilius, and Germanicus again, had Cepheii,from her father.

In some editions of the Alfonsine Tables and Almagest she is Alamac, taken from the title of her star Gamma Andromedae  and Andromada, described as Mulier qui  non vidit maritum, evidently from Al Biruni, this reappearing in Bayer's Carens Omnino viro. Ali Aben Reduan (Haly), the Latin translator of the Arabian commentary on the Tetrabiblos,had Amade, which in the Berlin Codex reads Anmade et est mulier quae non habet tivum maritum ; these  changed by manifold transcriptionfrom Alarmalah, the Widow, appliedby the Arabians to Andromeda; but the philologist Buttmann said from Anroneda, another erroneous form of our word. The Antemarda of the Hindus is their variation of the classical name.

The originalfigure probably was, as Durer drew it,that of a young and beautiful woman bound to the rocks, Strabo said at lope, the biblical Joppa; and Josephus wrote that in his day the marks of her chains and the bones of her monster foe were still shown on that sea-shore. But this author, " who did not receive the Greek mythology, observes that these marks attest not the truth but the antiquityof the legend."
Others, who very naturally thought her too far from home at that spot, located lope in Aethiopia and made her a negress ; Ovid expressing this in his patriaefusca colore suae, although he followed Herodotus in referring her to India.

According to this myth, Cassiopeia boasted that she was fairer than the sea nymphs. This attitude was offensive to Neptune, who despatched a monster of the deep to ravage the seacoast. Cassiopeia, terrified at the prospect, besought the aid of the all-powerful Zeus, who ruled that her daughter Andromeda must be sacrificed to appease the wrath of the sea god. Consequently Andromeda,amid great lamentation, was chained to a wave-washed rock, there to await the coming of the sea monster to devour her.

In accordance with this legend, we find the constellation Andromeda depicted in the old star atlases as a beautiful maiden chained to a rock, with Cetus the Whale or the sea monster represented near at hand about to devour her.

In Burritt's atlas,* Andromeda is represented with chains attached to her wrists and ankles. The rock to
which she was said to have been bound does not appear in the picture.

In the edition of the Alphonsine tables, Allen tells us Andromeda is pictured with an unfastened chain around her body, and two fishes, one on her bosom and the other at her feet, showing an early connection with the neighbouring constellation Pisces.

In the Leyden Manuscript, Andromeda is represented as lying partly clothed on the sea beach, chained to rocks on either side, and on a map printed at Venice in 1488 she is pictured as bound by the wrists between two trees.

The legend further relates that Perseus, flying through the air on his steed Pegasus, fresh from his triumph over the Medusa, espied the maiden in distress, and like a true champion flew to her assistance.
Chained to a rock she stood; young Perseus stay'd His rapid flight, to woo the beauteous maid.
Holding the Medusa's head before him, he assailed the sea monster that threatened Andromeda, and immediately the creature was turned to stone, and the hero had the pleasure of releasing the wretched maiden.
For the statement that Perseus when he freed Andromeda was mounted on his winged steed Pegasus, there is however no classical authority.
The constellation Andromeda is bounded on the west by Pegasus, and on the east by Perseus, and thus links the two constellations together. This doubtless accounts for the presence of Pegasus in the myth.

Brown* thinks that in this legend of Andromeda and Perseus we have but another version of the all-pervading solar myth, Perseus may be Bar-Sav, the solar Herakles, and Andromeda his bride Schachar (the morning red).

The Hindus have almost the same story in their astronomical mythology, and almost the same names that have come down to us. They call the constellation "Antarmada."

In an ancient Sanscrit work are found drawings of Antarmada chained to a rock with a fish beside her.
Sappho, the Greek poetess of the 7th century B.C., refers to Andromeda, and Euripides and Sophocles both wrote dramas about her,—but there is Httle doubt, as Allen states, that the constellation originated far back of classical times in the valley of the Euphrates.

Plunket* is of the opinion that the constellation of Andromeda dates from 3500 B.C. in accordance with the other constellations around it, and there is some ground for believing that its date goes back to 6000 B.C.
In Dr. Seiss's mythology, Andromeda was intended for a prophetic symbol of the Christian church. Sayce claims that she appeared in the great Babylonian Epic of Creation of more than two millenniums before our era, in connection with the story of Bel Marduk and the dragon Tiamat, which doubtless is the foundation of the story of Perseus and Andromeda.

The constellation Andromeda has borne the following names:
Mulier Catenata, the woman chained.  Persea, as the bride of Perseus. Cepheis, from her father. 
Alamac, from the title of the star Gamma. Some authorities claim that Andromeda was a native of .Ethiopia and regard her as a negress.

The Arabian astronomers knew these stars as "Al mar'ah al musalsalah," and to them they represented a sea calf or seal with a chain around its neck that united it to one of the two fishes.

Allen states that according to Csesius, Andromeda represented the biblical Abigail of the Books of Samuel, and Julius Schiller in 1627 made of these stars the Sepulchrum Christi, the new Sepulchre wherein was never man yet laid.
Milton in his Paradise Lost thus refers to Andromed:
the fleecy star that bears
Andromeda far oflf Atlantic seas
Beyond the horizon.

Kingsley's Andromeda is beautifully descriptive of the constellation.
Pluche' accounts for the names of the constellations Perseus, Andromeda, and Cepheus in the following ingenius way:

It was an ordinary turn of the Hebrew and Phoenician
languages to say that a city or country was the daughter of
the rocks, deserts, rivers, or mountains that surrounded
her or that were enclosed within her walls.

Thus Jerusalem is often called "the daughter of Sion," that is, the daughter of drought or daughter of the barren hills contained within its compass. Palestine originally was nothing more than a long maritime coast consisting of rocks and a sandy fiat shore. It was proper to speak of this long coast as the daughter of Cepheus and Cassiope, Cepha signifying a stone. If you would say in Phoenician, a long coast or a long chain or ridge, you would call it Andromeda.

Palestine would have been destroyed had it not been for the assistance of the barks and pilots that voyaged to Pharos and Sais to convey provisions. Strabo informs us that the Phoenicians were accustomed to paint the figure of a horse upon the stern of their barks, but there was beside the winged horse (the emblem of navigation) a horseman bearing a peculiar symbol, and, as it were, the
arms of the city of Sais. This was the Medusa's head.

Furthermore, a bark in the vulgar tongue was called Perseus, which means a runner or horseman. This then according to Pluche was the meaning of the fabled sacrifice of Andromeda:—Exposed to a cruel monster on the rocks of Joppa, in Syria, Andromeda (or the coast towns of Palestine) , owed her deliverance to a flying rider, Perseus . History oj the Heavens, by  Pluche (the Phoenician barks), to whom the goddess of Sais had lent the frightful head of Medusa to turn all her enemies into stone with terror.

Josephus wrote that in his day the inhabitants of Joppa showed the links and remains of the chain that bound Andromeda to the rock, and the bones of the sea monster.

Burritt suggests that the fable of Andromeda might mean that the maiden was courted by some monster of a sea captain who attempted to carry her away,  but was prevented by another more gallant and successful rival.

Maunder claims that in the 12th chapter of the Apocalypse there is an allusion to what cannot be doubted are the constellations Andromeda, Cetus, and Eridanus :

"And the serpent cast out of his mouth after the woman, water
as a river, that he might cause her to be carried away by
the stream."

Andromeda is always represented as a woman in distress, and the sea monster has always been understood to be her persecutor, and from his mouth pours forth the stream Eridanus.

The constellation Andromeda presents a beautiful appearance rising in the eastern sky in the early evening during the months of autumn. Low over the hills twinkle her chain of stars, sweeping down in a long graceful curve from the Great Square of Pegasus, like tiny lamps swinging from an invisible wire, a chain of gold with which heroic Perseus holds in check his winged steed.

Astronomically speaking, the great feature of interest in the constellation is the famous nebula, the so-called "Queen of the Nebulae," or Al Sufi's "Little Cloud," said to have been known as far back as a.d. 905.

In the West it seems to have been first observed by Simon Marius, Dec. 15, 1612. It is the only naked eye nebula, and according to Marius it resembles "the diluted light from the flame of a candle seen through horn." An arc light glimpsed through a dense fog is also descriptive of its naked eye appearance.. It is an enormous body, estimated to be in length as much as thirty thousand times the distance of the earth from the sun (ninety-three million miles) ,a proportion inconceivable. Herschel thought that the nebula was resolvable into separate stars, although his glass failed to prove the fact. Later observations with more powerful telescopes confirmed his opinion.

An examination made at Cambridge in 1848 proved the existence of upwards of fifteen hundred minute stars within the nebula, while the nebulous character of the whole was still apparent. In the spectroscope this nebula gives clearly a continuous spectrum, thus proving that it is not a mass of incandescent gas but rather a highly condensed cluster of stars. Recent and more reliable calculations of its distance give it a light journey of about nineteen years.

The star Alpha Andromedas, or Alpheratz as it was called by the Arabs, was formerly associated with the constellation Pegasus, and called Delta Pegasi. The Arabs also knew this star as "Sirrah," and it represented to them the horse's navel. Alpheratz is situated at the north-eastern corner of the Great Square of Pegasus, a stellar landmark, and is known as one of the "Three Guides," marking  the equinoctial colure, the prime meridian of the heavens, Beta Cassiopeiae and Gamma Pegasi being the other two guides.

In astrology Alpheratz portended honour and riches to all born under its influence. It culminates at 9 P.M., on the loth of November. Alpheratz is situated in the head of the figure of Andromeda, and was familiarly known as "Andromeda's Head" in England two centuries ago. In all late Arabian astronomy taken from Ptolemy it was described as the "Head of the Woman in Chains." According to Prof. Russell, Alpheratz has a dark companion spectroscopically revealed, revolving about it in a ' While Serviss says it resembles a whirlwind of snow, and the appearance of swift motion and terrific force is startling highly eccentric orbit, in a period of about one hundred days.

Gamma Andromedae was known to the Arabs as "Almach."
Allen tells us this name was derived from a phrase meaning a small predatory animal similar to a badger. The propriety of such a designation here is not obvious in connection with Andromeda, and the name would indicate that it belonged to a very early Arab astronomy. In the astronomy of China, Gamma, with other stars in Andromeda and Triangulum, was "Tien Ta Tseang," "Heaven's Great General." Astrologically this star was "honourable and eminent." The duplicity of Almach according to Allen was discovered by Johann Tobias Mayer of Gottingen in 1778, and Wilhelm Struve in 1842 found that its companion was a close double.

Herschel regarded Almach as one of the most beautiful objects in the heavens, and Webb, Proctor, and Serviss all speak in glowing terms of the beautiful contrast in colour between the gold and blue of
the primary and its companion. Almach certainly vies in beauty with the famous double Beta Cygni, and is perhaps with this exception the most charming of all double stars.

It is an easy double for small telescopes and is consequently a great favourite with amateur astronomers. It requires a 5" glass at least to split the blue companion star.
The celebrated meteor shower known as "the Andromedes II.," the so-called Bielid meteors of November, radiate from the vicinity of this star. There was a wonderful display of these meteors in 1872 and 1885.

Delta Andromedae marks the radiant point of the Andromedes I., a meteor shower due the 21st of July.
The fourth magnitude stars X… Andromedae and the fifth magnitude star…. Andromedae form a "Y "-shaped figure which bears the name of "Gloria Frederica" or Frederick's Glory, an asterism formed by Bode in 1787 in honour of the great Frederick II., of Prussia, who died in 1786.

The figure is thus described: "Below a nimbus the sign of royal dignity hangs, wreathed with the imperishable laurel of fame, a sword, pen, and an olive branch, to distingtiish this ever to be remembered monarch, as hero, sage, and peacemaker."

This figure, with the exception of the nimbus, appears on Burritt's Atlas, but later atlases omit the asterism entirely, and it is seldom mentioned. The remaining stars in this constellation require no
special mention.

How to remember Andromeda: Two legs trailing off behind Pegasus as the unsuspecting Andromeda is plucked from the shore


  1. α (Alpheratz)
  2. β (Mirach)
  3. γ (Almach)
  4. δ
  5. ε
  6. ζ
  7. η
  8. θ
  9. ι
  10. κ
  11. λ
  12. μ
  13. ν
  14. ξ (Adhil)
  15. ο
  16. π
  17. ρ
  18. σ
  19. τ
  20. υ
  21. φ
  22. χ
  23. ψ
  24. ω




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