Nicolas Poussin: "The Infant Bacchus Entrusted to the Nymphs of Nysa; The Death of Echo and Narcissus" (1657). The painting shows Mercury (in Greek, Hermes) delivering the newly born baby Bacchus (in Greek, Dionysus) to the nymphs of Nysa. The Hyades were also called the nymphs of Nysa because they lived on Mount Nysa.
Click on image for full size
Image courtesy of the Fogg Art Museum. Gift of Mrs. Samuel Sachs in memory of Mr. Samuel Sachs. To be reproduced only by permission of the Harvard University Art Museums. (c) President and Fellows of Harvard College, Harvard University Art Museums.
For the ancient Greeks, the Hyades were daughters of Pleione and Atlas
, a giant who carried the heavens on his shoulders. The Hyades had several sisters, such as the
and the Hesperides. They were very attached to their brother Hyas. One day, while Hyas was hunting, he was killed by a lion. The Hyades were so
overcome with grief they committed suicide.
Zeus changed them into a cluster
of stars and placed them in the constellation Taurus the Bull.
Zeus was grateful to them because they nursed his son the god Dionysus.
One of the Hyades, Aldebaran, is the brightest star and represents the Bull's eye. The other Hyades are in a V-shape,
forming the horns and the nose of the bull.
Because the Hyades appear during rainy seasons, the Greeks believed them to be messengers of spring rain showers and
autumn storms. Their name means in Greek "to rain." The rain
was believed to represent their tears of grief for their brother Hyas.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
includes issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist
, full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science, ranging from seismology
, rocks and minerals
, and Earth system science
You might also be interested in:
According to the ancient Greeks, the Pleiades were seven sisters. In Greek, the word "pleiades" means "doves." Their parents were Pleione and Atlas who was condemned by Zeus to support the Heavens on his...more
Europa was the beautiful daughter of the king of Tyre, Agenor. Zeus (Jupiter), the King of the gods according to Greek mythology, saw Europa as she was gathering flowers by the sea a nd immediately fell...more
Ahsonnutli was the sky father and chief god for the Navajo. He created heaven, Earth, and the sky. Each of the four directions, or cardinal points, are supported by a giant. Each direction is symbolized...more
Amphitrite was one of the sea-nymphs called the Nereids. One day the sea god Poseidon saw her dancing and fell desperately in love with her. He promptly asked her to marry him but unfortunately she refused....more
Aphrodite was the Greek goddess of love and beauty. She was known to the Romans as Venus. To the perfection of her figure and the purity of her features she added an innocent grace. On her sweet face she...more
In Greek mythology, Apollo was the son of Jupiter(in Greek Zeus) and Leto (Letona). He was the god of the Sun, logic, and reason, and was also a fine musician and healer. Leto travelled all over Greece...more
According to an ancient Greek legend, the figure of a gigantic crab was placed in the nighttime sky by the goddess Hera to form the constellation Cancer. Hera swore to kill Heracles, the most famous Greek...more