mercredi 3 septembre 2008

Cassiopeia 1


The Queen Cassiopeia, wife of King Cepheus of the mythological Phoenician realm of Ethiopia, was beautiful but also arrogant and vain; these latter two characteristics led to her downfall.
Her name in Greek is Κασσιόπη, which means "she whose words excel".
The boast of Cassiopeia was that both she and her daughter Andromeda were more beautiful than all the Nereids, the nymph-daughters of the sea god Nereus. This brought the wrath of Poseidon, ruling god of the sea, upon the kingdom of Ethiopia.
Accounts differ as to whether Poseidon decided to flood the whole country or direct the sea monster Cetus to destroy it. In either case, trying to save their kingdom, Cepheus and Cassiopeia consulted a wise oracle, who told them that the only way to appease the sea gods was to sacrifice their daughter.
Accordingly, Andromeda was chained to a rock at the sea's edge and left there to helplessly await her fate at the hands of Cetus. But the hero Perseus arrived in time, saved Andromeda, and ultimately became her husband. Since Poseidon thought that Cassiopeia should not escape punishment, he placed her in the heavens in such a position that, as she circles the celestial pole, she is upside-down for half the time.
A smaller figure, next to the man, sitting on a chair. As it is near the pole star, it can be seen the whole year from the nothern hemisphere, although sometimes upside down. (The constellation Cassiopeia).

Cassiopeia was the vain and boastful wife of King Cepheus of Ethiopia, who lies next to her in the sky. They are the only husband-and-wife couple among the constellations. Classical authors spell her name Cassiepeia, but Cassiopeia is the form used by astronomers.
While combing her long locks one day, Cassiopeia dared to claim that she was more beautiful than the sea nymphs called the Nereids. There were 50 Nereids, daughters of Nereus, the so-called Old Man of the Sea. One of the Nereids, Amphitrite, was married to Poseidon, the sea god. The Nereids appealed to Poseidon to punish Cassiopeia for her vanity, and the sea god sent a monster to ravage the coast of King Cepheus’s country. This monster is commemorated in the constellation Cetus. To appease the monster, Cepheus and Cassiopeia chained their daughter Andromeda to a rock as a sacrifice, but Andromeda was saved from the monster’s jaws by the hero Perseus in one of the most famous rescue stories in history.
As an added punishment, Cassiopeia was condemned to circle the celestial pole for ever, sometimes hanging upside down in undignified posture. In the sky Cassiopeia is depicted sitting on her throne, still fussing with her hair.

The constellation of Cassiopeia has a distinctive W-shape made up of its five brightest stars, which writers such as Aratus likened to a key or a folding door. Alpha Cassiopeiae is called Shedir or Schedar, from the Arabic al-sadr meaning ‘the breast’, which position it marks. Beta Cassiopeiae is known as Caph from the Arabic meaning ‘stained hand’, as the stars of Cassiopeia were thought by them to represent a hand stained with henna. Delta Cassiopeiae is named Ruchbah, from the Arabic for ‘knee’, rukbat. The central star of the W, Gamma Cassiopeiae, is an erratic variable star, given to occasional outbursts in brightness.

1 commentaire:

GMV a dit…

À velocidade a que colocas mais informação neste teu blogue, é muito difícil para mim ler tudo de seguida. Esse ingrato, chamado tempo...
Por isso, dei um salto e vim directa a Cassiopeia, a minha preferida. Cheguei a achar que não iria aparecer por aqui. (voltarei, depois para trás, confesso que algumas nem sabia que existiam!)
Na minha singela opinião, este teu blogue merecia um aproveitamento diferente. É um estudo completíssimo sobre as "estrelas". Nada monótono, por toda a parte cultural, mítica, histórica e icónica com que o completas. Este assunto parece que é, para ti, muito mais do que um mero interesse.
Fica bem,com toda a minha admiração.
(obrigada por me teres aberto esta tua porta)