1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Andromeda

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For works with similar titles, see Andromeda.

ANDROMEDA, in Greek legend, the daughter of Cepheus and Cassiopeia (Cassiope, Cassiepeia), king and queen of the Ethiopians. Cassiopeia, having boasted herself equal in beauty to the Nereïds, drew down the vengeance of Poseidon, who sent an inundation on the land and a sea-monster which destroyed man and beast. The oracle of Ammon having announced that no relief would be found until the king exposed his daughter Andromeda to the monster, she was fastened to a rock on the shore. Here Perseus, returning from having slain the Gorgon, found her, slew the monster, set her free, and married her in spite of Phineus, to whom she had before been promised. At the wedding a quarrel took place between the rivals, and Phineus was turned to stone by the sight of the Gorgon’s head (Ovid, Metam. v. 1). Andromeda followed her husband to Tiryns in Argos, and became the ancestress of the family of the Perseidae. After her death she was placed by Athena amongst the constellations in the northern sky, near Perseus and Cassiopeia. Sophocles and Euripides (and in modern times Corneille) made the story the subject of tragedies, and its incidents were represented in numerous ancient works of art.

Apollodorus ii. 4; Hyginus, Fab. 64; Ovid, Metam. iv. 662; Fedde, De Perseo et Andromeda (1860).

The Greeks personified the constellation Andromeda as a woman with her arms extended and chained. Its Latin names are Persea, Mulier catenata (“chained woman”), Virgo devota, &c.; the Arabians replaced the woman by a seal; Wilhelm Schickard (1592–1635) named the constellation “Abigail”; Julius Schiller assigned to it the figure of a sepulchre, naming it the “Holy Sepulchre.” In 1786 Johann Elert Bode formed a new constellation, named the “Honours of Frederick,” after his patron Frederick II., out of certain stars situated in the arm of Ptolemy’s Andromeda; this innovation found little favour and is now discarded.

Twenty-three stars are catalogued by Ptolemy and Tycho Brahe; Hevelius increased this number to forty-seven, while Flamsteed gave sixty-six. The most brilliant stars are α Andromedae or “Andromeda’s head,” and β Andromedae in the girdle (Arabic mirach or mizar), both of the second magnitude; γ Andromedae in the foot (alamak or alhames), of the third magnitude. Scientific interest centres mainly on the following:—the nebula in Andromeda, one of the finest in the sky (see Nebula); γ Andromedae, the finest binary in the heavens, made up of a yellow star of magnitude 21/2, and a blue-green of magnitude 51/2, the latter being itself binary; Nova Andromedae, a “new” star, discovered in the nebula by C. E. A. Hartwig in 1885, and subsequently spectroscopically examined by many observers; R Andromedae, a regularly variable star; and the Andromedids, a meteoric swarm, associated with Biela’s comet, and having their radiant in this constellation (see Meteor).