The Mythology Behind The Andromeda Constellation Explained

Look up at night with stars dotting the sky and try to pick out the constellations, like the Big Dipper, the Little Dipper, Aquarius, and Aries, just to name a few. They all have stories behind them. Few of them are as fascinating as the one known as Andromeda. 

Per Britannica, it all started with Cassiopeia (sometimes called Cassiope), who was the queen of Ethiopia with her husband, King Cepheus. The queen said Andromeda was better looking than the Nereids, which were companions to the god of the sea, Poseidon. This was a pretty big error on the part of Cassiopeia. The gods were supposed to be the epitome of beauty, and the Nereids were not far behind at all in that category. So this was a big slight, and it was not about to go unnoticed on Mount Olympus. 

According to Greek Mythology, Poseidon was not happy about this at all. Apparently, nobody insulted his companions and got away with it. Did he send a sternly-worded email to Cassiopeia? Perhaps an angry letter left inside her mailbox? Maybe even knock on her door and attempt to discuss the errors of her ways? No. Instead, he sent a giant sea creature to destroy a lot of the Ethiopian coast.

This naturally panicked Cassiopeia and Cepheus, and they consulted an oracle. It turns out that a mere mea culpa would not work. They'd have to sacrifice their daughter Andromeda to the sea monster. 

Fortunately for Andromeda, Perseus was nearby

So it looked pretty dire for Andromeda — she was left chained on a rock in the water as bait for the sea monster to appease the anger of the gods. Then, via Universe Today,  Perseus, the same one who had recently freed Medusa's head from her body, happened to be flying nearby and saw her chained to the rock. He became smitten by her. After a bit of an awkward conversation, he was able to get her to explain a bit of what happened, but then the sea monster rudely interrupted their conversation. Andromeda's parents were there, too. They got Perseus to promise to kill the monster, and he could marry Andromeda in exchange for that. So, once again, she is not free to make her own choices, but at the time, arranged marriage must have sounded better than winding up in the mouth of a sea creature. 

 Perseus battled the monster for a long time and ended it by stabbing it. Andromeda and Perseus then married, though apparently she was first promised to her uncle Phineus and Perseus had to turn that angry uncle to stone with Medusa's head, per Theoi. The two lived happily ever after and are shown next to each other in the skies as constellations, forever together.