Andromeda is one of the 48 different constellations listed by the 2nd-century Greco-Roman astronomer Ptolemy and remains to this day as one of the 88 modern constellations. It is located in the first quadrant of the northern hemisphere. Sitting between the latitudes +90 and -40, its neighboring constellations are Cassiopeia, Lacerta, Pegasus, Perseus, Pisces, and Triangulum.
The lore of Andromeda originally stemmed from Greek mythology in which Andromeda was the exquisite daughter of King Cepheus and Queen Cassiopeia of Joppa and wife of Perseus, a neighboring constellation of Andromeda. It is said that Cassiopeia offended the Nereids by saying that Andromeda was more beautiful than any of the women of the Nereids. In revenge, the god of the sea, Poseidon sent a sea monster to devastate Cepheus’ kingdom.
“My daughter, Andromeda, come here and let me see your beauty once more.” Called Queen Cassiopeia to Andromeda, who waited in the room just before. Andromeda elegantly swept into the room, adorned with regal grace and poise. “You called for me, mother?” Answered she. “Yes, yes, your beauty rejuvenates me more than the nectar of the lotus flower. For this, I shall tell all of Cepheus, for you are more beautiful than the daughters of Nereus and Doris themselves.” “For this reason, my daughter, I shall send out a decree that all below thee shall answer with glee.” Declared Cassiopeia. “Why mother, nothing would bring me more joy than to have you write a decree for someone as lowly as me.” She replied with humility. “Hush, Hush, my daughter, your beauty rivals the goddesses themselves, I say. I shall grab your father at once, and the decree will be all but written.” Said Cassiopeia before she rose from her seat and entered the throne room in all of her vanity and pride.
The next day, a royal decree was sent to all of the lands about the glowing beauty of princess Andromeda of Cepheus’ kingdom. By chance or by fate, the royal decree found its way to the Aegean Sea. Upon having seen of the boastful kingdom’s decree, the Nereids cried out, declaring, “Woe is we, for they have forsaken our birthright saying that a mere princess is more beautiful than we.” Poseidon, the god of the sea, heard their cries and felt their anguish. He wished to relieve them of their forsaken nature, and the agony of the Nereids only fueled his anger for the boastful kingdom. When his anger finally reached its boiling point, he sent a great three-headed sea monster of violent storms and deathly whirlpools to tear down the great kingdom of Cepheus.
Many died in the terror that followed, and the royal family nearly succumbed to the will of the beast. Yet, even after having her home destroyed and her people killed, Cassiopeia continued to boast of her daughter’s great beauty, and only princess Andromeda and King Cepheus could keep her frivolous nature from angering the gods once more.