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Cassiopeia is the name of several figures in Greek mythology.

Wife of Cepheus

The king of Ethiopia Cepheus and the queen Cassiopeia thank Perseus for freeing their daughter Andromeda, La Délivrance d'Andromède (1679) Pierre Mignard, Louvre

The Queen Cassiopeia, wife of king Cepheus of Æthiopia, 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 in her throne, she is upside-down half the time. The constellation resembles her throne, though it is sometimes construed as a crown.

As it is near the pole star, the constellation Cassiopeia can be seen the whole year from the northern hemisphere, although sometimes upside down.

Wife of Phoenix

There was another Cassiopeia in Greek mythology. According to Hesiod, this Cassiopeia was the daughter of Arabus and the wife of King Phoenix. She is given as the mother of the hero Atymnius, by either her husband or the god Zeus). Other accounts also claim she was the mother (by Phoenix) of Phineas and Carme, although the latter is more often said to be a daughter of Eubuleus, a Cretan.

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Simple English

File:Mignard-Andromeda and
Cepheus and Cassiopeia thank Perseus for saving their daughter Andromeda, La Délivrance d'Andromède (1679) Pierre Mignard, Louvre
Cassiopeia was a woman in Greek mythology. She was the wife of Cepheus who was king of a place called Ethiopia. This is not the same place as the African country called Ethiopia. They had a daughter called Andromeda. Cassiopeia was very beautiful but also very arrogant and vain. She thought that she was better than other people. One day, Cassiopeia said that her daughter Andromeda was more beautiful than all of the Nereids.[1] The Nereids were sea-nymphs. When the sea-god Poseidon heard what Cassiopeia had said, he was very angry. He sent floods and a sea monster called Cetus to destroy Ethiopia. Cassiopeia and her husband Cepheus asked an oracle what to do. The oracle said that they must sacrifice their daughter so they chained Andromeda to a rock. A hero called Perseus came and rescued Andromeda. Later, they got married.

Poseidon was still angry with Cassiopeia and wanted to punish her. He placed her in the sky. There is a constellation called Cassiopeia named after her.

There was another woman called Cassiopeia in Greek mythology who was married to a king called Phoenix.

References

  1. Moore, Patrick (1987). Astronomers' stars. Routledge. pp. 67. ISBN 0710212879. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=DvQNAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA67. 

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