Greek mythology is known for its great stories and fables that have lasted throughout history. These myths have influenced much of modern culture, as is seen in movies, art and books that retell these stories in a way that can be enjoyed by many people today.
However, these sometimes served a deeper purpose as they conveyed a sort of moral teaching, which is understood past the literal sense of the words written. Stories such as Achilles’ heel, Pandora’s box or how Icarus flew too close to the sun serve a deeper purpose other than just being an interesting read, as they provide a moral lesson through the hardship and suffering of its protagonists.
Such is the same with the story of Andromeda, who suffered the consequences of the selfish actions of her mother, Queen Cassiopeia.
The Story of Andromeda
Princess Andromeda was the daughter of King Cepheus and Queen Cassiopeia, rulers of Atheiopia. Andromeda was blessed with the gift of being very beautiful. This was to such degree that her mother could not help bragging about her daughter’s godlike beauty. So much so was this terrible habit of boasting this to everyone that one day, the queen was bold enough to say that Andromeda was even more beautiful than the Nereids.
These spirits of the sea, who were the 50 nymphs in total, were known for being incredibly beautiful creatures. Such a claim about Andromeda’s beauty being superior to the Nereids appalled the powerful god of the sea, Poseidon, whom was a very dear friend of the Nereids. For this, Poseidon decided to punish the mortals for their boisterous claims. He decides to send the sea monster Cetus to destroy the coast of the city of Atheiopia to teach the mortals a lesson. As a last-ditch attempt to save his city, King Cepheus chooses to sacrifice his daughter to the sea monster Cetus in hopes it will serve as penance for the blasphemous crimes committed against the Nereids.
He ordered that Andromeda be chained to a rock and be left there to be ravaged by the monster Cetus. Afterwards, the king forbade Cassiopeia from ever making such claims that could anger the gods. Thus, with the utter demise of his daughter Andromeda, the King was able to prevent his city from being totally destroyed by the wrath of Poseidon and the monster Cetus.
Perseus saves Andromeda
While returning triumphantly from his quest to kill Medusa, the hero Perseus stumbles upon the rock where Andromeda is chained helplessly waiting to be killed by the Cetus. Upon arriving to Andromeda, Perseus is instantly enchanted by her beauty and falls in love with the poor damsel in distress.
It would seem that while Andromeda’s beauty was the cause of her demise, it would also be her saving grace, causing Perseus to put all his effort into saving her.With the desire to marry Andromeda, a condition is proposed by King Cepheus where he will concede his daughter’s hand in marriage if Perseus is able to kill the Cetus, thereby saving Andromeda and the city of Atheiopia.
Fortunately, Perseus was easily able to do so with aid of the head of Medusa, that which was able to turn any living thing that gazed into its eyes to stone (other sources claim that he used a magical “sickle-sword” to kill the beast as he had used it to kill Medusa as well). However, even after saving the poor Andromeda, Perseus had to fight Phineus, who was the brother of King Cepheus and the promised husband to be of Andromeda. Nonetheless, this resulted as a fairly easy task with the help of Medusas’ head, thus turning Phineus to stone just as he did with the Cetus. Shortly after, Perseus married Andromeda and returned to Seriphos where he rescued his mother Danae from the abusive captivity of King Polydectes.
Life as a Queen
After resolving the problem regarding the abuse of Perseus’ mother, Andromeda follows Perseus back to Argos. They then went to Larissa, a city in Greece, where Perseus accidentally kills his grandfather and ruler, King Acrisius, and fulfills the prophecy foreseen by the oracles. Following this unfortunate event, Perseus leaves Larissa in the hands of Megapenthes and proceeds to become the ruler of Tiryns, along side of Andromeda. Here, they would have nine children, who are believed to be the ancestors of the Persians. After living a happy life alongside her husband King Perseus, Andromeda dies of old age.
Before her death, the goddess Athena promised Andromeda that she would have a place in the sky where she would remain for all of eternity. This was taken to fruition after Andromeda’s death, and Athena places her within the Andromeda constellation along side her mother Cassiopeia and her beloved husband Perseus. Here, Andromeda would live on forever, with stories of her beauty lasting till the present
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Link will appear as Andromeda – From Damsel in Distress to Queen of Greece: https://greekgodsandgoddesses.net - Greek Gods & Goddesses, January 7, 2022