Saturday, September 22, 2012


Perseus and Andromeda by Anton Raphael Mengs

Andromeda is a name that most people admire, but find too unusual or extreme to use in real life, therefore they put it away on their "guilty pleasures" list of names they're not brave enough to use. Which is a shame, really, since it's such a gorgeous mythological gem. But I do agree, it does come on strong, which is why it's on my own GP list. I have thought an easy and accessible nickname would make it more useable, though.

Nickname possibilities: Andie, Anna, Anne, Annie, Andra, Andrea, Dru, Dre, Drama, Mei/Mae, Meda

There were 31 baby girls given the name Andromeda in 2011 (only 5 were given the name of her mother, Cassiopeia) and only 20 named Andromeda in 2010.

The Rock of Doom by Edward Burne-Jones

So many are familiar with Andromeda's tale: her mother, Queen Cassiopeia (another great name, meaning "she whose words excel"), was arrogantly proud of her daughter's beauty and boasted that she and Andromeda were both more beautiful than the Nereids. Poseidon, god of the sea, demanded King Cepheus and Queen Cassiopeia sacrifice their daughter to a sea monster named Cetus as punishment for Cassiopeia's vanity and arrogance, or else he would destroy their country, Aethiopia (Ethiopia). After hesitating and visiting the Oracle, they eventually tied Andromeda to a rock at the seashore, awaiting her demise to save the country. Perseus, who had just finished killing Medusa, was riding home on his horse Pegasus when he came upon Andromeda chained to the rock. He figured out what was going on and rescued Andromeda by killing the sea monster, supposedly in disguise. Then Perseus married Andromeda, which was the second great thing to happen after he saved her, since she was promised in marriage to her uncle Phineus. In fact, Phineus was so angry about this that he came to the wedding, and as an end result, he was turned to stone by the gorgon Medusa's head (which Perseus either just had lying around or became part of his shield as depicted in the art). They traveled around, Perseus saved more people, and they had seven sons and two daughters, none with names worth mentioning. (Sorry.) They say Perseus is the ancestor of the Persians, since his children (the family of the Perseidae) kept rule over Mycenae for such a long time. As for Andromeda, when she died, Athena turned her into a constellation in the northern sky, next to her mother and husband. Other characters turned constellations include the sea monster Cetus, her father King Cepheus, the winged horse Pegasus, and even the mother of Perseus, Danae.

Perseus and Andromeda by Gustave Moreau

They say there is a place in Jaffa, Tel Aviv where Andromeda was really chained to the rocks. Her story is still the subject of great art to this day, including movies. I also want to comment on the fact that she had a good relationship with her mother despite the horrible outcome of her mother's actions. Cassiopeia was not a bad person, just proud. However, Poseidon made her into a constellation with the specific torment of being tied to a chair, upside down half the time.

Perseus and Andromeda by Joachim Wtewael

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