Astraea, whose name was sometimes spelled Astria or Astrea, was the virgin goddess of purity and innocence. She was often associated with Dike, the goddess of justice who was also the daughter of Zeus and Themis.
More Facts About Astraea
• Astraea was the daughter of Eos, the goddess of the dawn, and Astraeus, the god of dusk.
• Some writers said she was the daughter of Zeus and Themis – which would have made Dike her sister and not just a companion.
• Astraea’s name means “starry night” or “star-maiden.”
• She was the last of the immortals to live among humans during the Golden Age.
• As humans became increasingly wicked during the Iron Age, Astraea fled Earth to the heavens and transformed in the constellation Virgo.
• According to one story, Zeus turned her into Virgo.
• Virgo’s nearness to the constellation Libra (the Scales) is said to represent Astraea’s association with Dike.
• According to legend, Astraea will return to Earth one day and usher in a new Golden Age.
• Astraea is mentioned in the works of the Roman poet Ovid (43 BC – 18 AD) and the scholar Hyginus (64 BC – 18 AD).
• During the Renaissance, people viewed Astraea as a symbol of cultural renewal.
• Some English writers, for example, identified her with Elizabeth I, the virgin queen who was credited with bringing a new Golden Age to England.
• Honoré d’Urfé (1568-1625) wrote an extremely popular romantic series called “L’Astrée” that featured a heroine named after Astraea.
• The Italian artist Salvator Rosa (1615-1673) depicted the goddess in his painting “Astraea.”
• Aphra Behn (1640 – 1689) was an English writer and spy who used “Astraea” as one of her code names.
• 5 Astraea is a large asteroid in the asteroid belt that was discovered in 1845.
• The British Royal Navy has built several ships named after Astraea over the years.
• The French Navy has built ships and submarines called “Astrée.”
• One of them was captured by the Nazis during World War II.
• Astraea is also the name of a plant genus and a sea snail genus.
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