The Mythology Behind The Pisces Constellation Explained

There have been movies where fish have been the heroes. Such as "Finding Nemo," for example, per IMDb. They also act as great sidekicks, like Flounder in "The Little Mermaid." But they are more at the mercy of the surrounding forces — it's not like Marlin could go up against a great white shark when he's out looking for his son, for example. So while he's not going to be written in the annals of mythology for brave behavior like that, some might point to his courage in traveling as far as he did to find his son. 

Have there been fish immortalized for bravery? Yes, and you don't have to look too far for them, either — just gaze up at the stars and look upon the Pisces constellation. The story is a fascinating one of two fish that gained the appreciation and approval of none other than the ancient gods themselves. 

Two fish helped two gods escape

While there was a Syrian version of this story, people remember the Greek one, as told by Ptolemy, per Under Lucky Stars. It started when Typhon, who was an evil sea creature made up of a giant man's torso atop a group of large snakes. Like Medusa, he had snakes as hair, except they were fiery, and they also screamed a lot. To add to his arsenal, he had wings. The denizens of Mount Olympus, as mighty as they were, wanted no part of Typhon, since he presented a real danger to them. They shunned the creature. 

One day, Typhon had enough and decided to fly up to Mount Olympus. The gods and goddesses, sensing he was not coming to try to sell magazine subscriptions, all turned into animals to escape the monster's gaze. All but two of them, Aphrodite and Eros, didn't. Their talk of loving and not fighting didn't seem to faze Typhon, who was about to inflict some hurt on them. Then two fish showed up, let the two gods on their backs, and swam off, leaving a frustrated Typhon in their wake. 

The gods were grateful. How grateful? They elevated the two fish up to the stars, where they are now known as the Pisces constellation. Stargazers in the Northern Hemisphere can see them in the autumn. They might not be marketing juggernauts like Marlin, but those are hero fish.