Cassiopeia and her husband Cepheus
Click on image for full size
(c) 1995 Visual Language. All rights reserved.


The constellation of Cassiopeia is one of the most famous in the sky. It is very easy to identify the stars that are part of it because they have the shape of a W.
Cassiopeia was the daughter of Arabus, a son of Hermes, who gave his name to the country named Arabia. Cassiopeia was also the ostentatious wife of Cepheus, the king of Ethiopia.

She was so proud of her beauty that once she declared that she and her daughter Andromeda were more beautiful than the sea nymphs, the Nereids. Offended, the nymphs complained to the sea god Poseidon, who avenged Cassiopeia's offense by sending a sea monster and a flood to destroy Cassiopeia's land. In despair, the king consulted the oracle of Ammon about how to prevent the destruction of his kingdom.

The oracle predicted that only the sacrifice of the king's daughter to the monster could appease Poseidon's wrath. Andromeda was chained naked to a sea cliff. Fortunately, at this same moment, Perseus , the nephew of the king of Argos, was traveling along the coast. Perseus noticed the beautiful Andromeda chained to a cliff and immediately fell in love with her.

Nearby, Andromeda's parents waited, resigned to their daughter's fate. Perseus approached them and learned of the impending peril. He promised to save Andromeda and marry her. Perseus'courage prevailed against the monster, and the marriage could finally be celebrated. It is said that the sea god Poseidon placed the figure of Cassiopeia among the stars to remind people of her vanity.

You might also be interested in:

Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more


In the Northern Hemisphere sky is the constellation Cepheus, king of Ethiopia, and that of his wife Cassiopeia. Cassiopeia claimed that she and her daughter Andromeda were more beautiful than the sea nymphs,...more


Ahsonnutli was the sky father and chief deity of the Navajo Indians. He created heaven, Earth, and the sky. Each of the four cardinal directions was supported by a giant. Each direction was also associated...more


Amphitrite was one of the fifty Nereids, the attendants of the sea-god Poseidon. Poseidon (Neptune) had fallen in love with Amphitrite after seeing her dancing on the island of Naxos. Amphitrite rejected...more


Aphrodite was the Greek goddess of love and beauty. She was known to the Romans as Venus. There were actually two different Aphrodites, one was the daughter of Uranus, the other the daughter of Zeus and...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 was the jealous wife of the sky god, Zeus....more


According tho the Navajo mythology, the Milky Way was created by the misbehavior of the mischievous deity, Coyote. When the world was created, the Holy People gathered around Black God to place the stars...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA