Pleiades in Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology

(*Pleia/des or Πελειάδες), the Pleiads, are called daughters of Atlas by Pleione (or by the Oceanid Aethra, Eustath. ad Hom. p. 1155), of Erechtheus (Serv. ad Aen. 1.744), of Cadmus (Theon, ad Arat. p. 22), or of the queen of the Amazons. (Schol. ad Theocrit. 13.25.) They were the sisters of the Hyades, and seven in number, six of whom are described as visible, and the seventh as invisible. Some call the seventh Sterope, and relate that she became invisible from shame, because she alone among her sisters had had intercourse with a mortal man ; others call her Electra, and make her disappear from the choir of her sisters on account of her grief at the destruction of the house of Dardanus (Hyg. Fab. 192, Poet. Astr. 2.21). The Pleiades are said to have made away with themselves from grief at the death of their sisters, the Hyades, or at the fate of their father, Atlas, and were afterwards placed as stars at the back of Taurus, where they form a cluster resembling a hunch of grapes, whence they were sometimes called βότρυς (Eustath. ad Hom. p. 1155). According to another story, the Pleiades were virgin companions of Artemis, and, together with their mother Pleione, were pursued by the hunter Orion in Boeotia; their prayer to be rescued from him was heard by the gods, and they were metamorphosed into doves (πελειάδες), and placed among the stars (Hygin. Poet. Astr. 2.21; Schol. ad Apollon. Rhod. 3.226; Pind. Ncm. 2.17). The rising of the Pleiades in Italy was about the beginning of May, and their setting about the beginning of November. Their names are Electra, Maia, Taygete, Alcyone, Celaeno, Sterope, and Merope (Tzetz. ad Lyc. 219, comp. 149; Apollod. 3.10.1). The scholiast of Theocritus (13.25) gives the following different set of names : Coccymo, Plaucia, Protis, Parthemia, Maia, Stonychia, Lampatho. (Comp. Hom. Il. 18.486, Od. 5.272; Ov. Fast. 4.169, &c.; HYADES; and Ideler, Untersuch. über die Sternennamen, p. 144.) - A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, William Smith, Ed.

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