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DELPHIN

DELPHINUS, CONSTELLATION

Latin : Delphinus (the Dolphin)
Greek : Delphin (the Dolphin)
Sumerian : SHAH (the Pig or Boar)

DOLPHIN OF POSEIDON When Poseidon was wooing Amphitrite, she fled his advances and hid herself away. Dolphin was sent to find her, and persuaded her to return. As a reward for this service Poseidon set him amongst the stars. (Hyginus 2.17 on Eratosthenes)

DOLPHINS OF DIONYSUS When Dionysus was travelling between the islands of the Aegean, he was captured by Tyrrhenian pirates. The god drove them to terror with his illusions and, when they leapt from the ship, he transformed them into dolphins. In memory of the event he placed a dolphin amongst the stars. (Hyginus 2.17 on Aglaosthenes)

DOLPHIN OF ARION When the famed Corinthian bard Arion was thrown overboard by seamen who coveted his wealth, a dolphin came and carried him safely to shore. As memorial the kindly animal was placed amongst the stars. (Hyginus 2.17)

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DRACO, CONSTELLATION

Latin : Draco (the Dragon)
Greek : Drakôn (the Dragon)

HESPERIAN DRAGON The huge serpent which guarded the golden apples of the Hesperides. After the beast was slain by Heracles, Hera placed it amongst the stars as Draco. (Hyginus 2.3 on Eratosthenes)

DRAGON OF ATHENA A gigantic serpent which was cast at the goddess Athena during the giant war. She caught it in her hands and set it about the northern pole as the constellation Draco. (Hyginus 2.3)

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ERIDANUS

ERIDANUS, CONSTELLATION

Latin : Eridanus
Greek : Êridanos or Potamos (the River)
Akkadian : Purattu (the Euphrates)
Sumerian : BURANUN (the Euphrates)

ERIDANUS A river believed to flow through the mythical northern land of Hyperborea. It was set to flow amongst the northern stars. (Hyginus 2.32)

NILE The great river of Egypt was placed amongst the stars as the constellations Eridanus and Delta. The brightest star in its heavenly stream was named Canopus. (Hyginus 2.32)

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GEMINI

GEMINI, ZODIAC CONSTELLATION

Latin : Gemini (the Twins)
Greek : Didymoi (the Twins)
Akkadian : Tu'amu rabûtu (the Great Twins)
Sumerian : MASH.TAB.BA.GAL.GAL (the Great Twins) & MASH.TAB.BA.TUR.TUR (the Little Twins), the 4 main stars of Gemini

DIOSCURI Twin sons of Zeus, named Castor and Polydeuces. The pair were famed horsemen who were transferred to the heavens at death to form the constellation Gemini. The Dioscuri came to the rescue of sailors in distress. (Hyginus 2.22)

HERACLES & APOLLO When Apollo commanded that Heracles be sold into slavery to atone for murder, the hero was enraged as wrestled the god for the Delphic tripod. Their match was memorialised amongst the stars as the constellation Gemini. (Hyginus 2.22)

TRIPTOLEMUS & IASION The two favourites of the goddess Demeter. Triptolemus was a hero who first instructed mankind in the art of agriculture, while Iasion was her lover on the island of Samothrace, lying with her in a thrice-plowed field. (Hyginus 2.22)

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HERCULES

HERCULES, CONSTELLATION

Latin : Hercules
Greek : Engonasin (the Kneeler)
Sumerian : (the Stag?)

HERACLES DRAGON-SLAYER The great hero was placed amongst the stars in the form of a kneeling man with his club poised to strike the Hesperian dragon, the constellation Draco. (Hyginus 2.6 on Panyassis and Eratosthenes)

HERACLES IN LIGURIA The great hero was said to have been placed amongst the stars in the shape of kneeling man, as a memorial of his desperate battle with the Ligurians, whom he encountered on his return trip to Greece with the cattle of Geryon. (Hyginus 2.6 on Euripides)

IXION An Lapith king who attempted to rape the goddess Hera. As punishment for his crime he was bound to a fiery wheel and fixed in the heavens as the constellation Engonasin, a warning to others. (Hyginus 2.6)

PROMETHEUS As punishment for his defiance of Zeus, the Titan Prometheus was chained to Mount Caucasus where an eagle set to feed on his ever-regenerating liver. Heracles later released him from his torment, felling the eagle with an arrow. In memory of this deed, Prometheus, the arrow and the eagle were placed side by side amongst the stars as the constellations Engonasin, Aquila (or Lyra the vulture) and Sagitta. (Hyginus 2.6)

ORPHEUS A Thracian bard who was torn to pieces by the Bacchantes when they caught him spying on their secret rites. He was placed amongst the stars by Apollo and the Muses as a kneeling man with a lyre. The lyre was represented by the adjacent constellation Lyra. (Hyginus 2.6)

THAMYRIS A bard who was blinded by the Muses as punishment for daring to challenge them to a musical contest. He was placed amongst the stars as a man bent down on one knee in supplication along with his lyre. (Hyginus 2.6)

THESEUS The Athenian hero was set amongst the stars in the pose of a kneeling man, the constellation Ennosagin. In this way he was depicted lifting the stone at Troezen under which Aegeus had laid the sword as proof of his paternity. Some say, the adjacent constellation Lyra was his. (Hyginus 2.6 on Hergesianax)

CETEUS A King of Arcadia who was placed amongst the stars as the constellation Kneeler. He was depicted kneeling in lamentation with a hand reached out to his daughter Megisto, the constellation Ursa Major, who had been transformed into a bear. (Hyginus 2.1 & 2.6 on Araethus of Tegea)

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HYDRA

HYDRA, CONSTELLATION

Latin : Hydra (the Water Serpent)
Greek : Hydra (the Water Serpent)
Summerian : MUSH (the Snake)

LERNAEAN HYDRA A monstrous nine-headed serpent which haunted the springs of Lerna. Heracles slew it as one of his twelve labours, along with its ally the crab. Hera placed the pair in the heavens as the constellations Hydra and Cancer. (Hyginus 2.40)

SERPENT OF APOLLO A water-serpent was placed amongst the stars by the god Apollo in the form of the constellation Hydra, to guard the heavenly bowl Crater, preventing the crow Corvus from drinking. (Hyginus 2.40)

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LEO

LEO, ZODIAC CONSTELLATION

Latin : Leo (the Lion)
Greek : Leon (the Lion)
Sumerian : UR.GU.LA (the Lion)

NEMEAN LION A lion whose hide was impervious to weapons which terrorized the countryside of Nemea. When Heracles was commanded to destroy it was one of his twelve labours, he throttled the beast to death with his bare hands. The lion was then placed by Hera amongst the stars as the constellation Leo. (Hyginus 2.24)

KING LION The lion, king of all the beasts, was set amongst the stars as the constellation Leo in recognition of his supremacy. (Hyginus 2.24)


LEPUS

LEPUS, CONSTELLATION

Latin : Lepus (the Hare)
Greek : Largos (the Hare)

HARE OF ORION A hare which was set amongst the stars before the hunter Orion and his dog (Canis) to play out an eternal chase. (Hyginus 2.33)

HARE OF HERMES A hare was placed amongst the stars by the god Hermes in honour of the species' bountiful fertility. (Hyginus 2.33)

HARE OF LEROS The island of Leros was once free of hares, until a young man brought a pregnant female into the country as a pet. The fast-breeding animals quickly got out of control and devoured everything on the island, forcing the inhabitants to abandon their homes. As a warning to others, a hare was placed amongst the stars by the gods. (Hyginus 2.33)

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LIBRA

LIBRA, ZODIAC CONSTELLATION

Latin : Libra (the Scales)
Greek : Zyygos (the Scales) or Khêlai (the Claws)
Akkadian : Zibanitu (the Scales)
Sumerian : ZI.BA.AN.NA (the Scales)

SCALES OF JUSTICE The scales of Astraea, the goddess of justice, were placed beside her in the heavens as the constellation Libra. Astraea herself was Virgo. (Hyginus 2.25)

SCALES OF FATE The scales of Tyche, goddess of fortune, were set amongst the stars as the constellation Libra. Tyche herself was one of the goddesses identified as Virgo. (Hyginus 2.25)

CLAWS OF SCORPION The claws of the constellation Scorpio were sometimes said to be represented amongst the stars as Libra. (Hyginus 2.26)


LYRA

LYRA, CONSTELLATION

Latin : Lyra (the Lyre)
Greek : Lyrê (the Lyre) or Khelys (the Tortoise)
Akkadian : Enzu (the She-Goat)
Sumerian : ÙZ (the She-Goat)

TORTOISE OF HERMES The lyre first carved by the god Hermes out of the shell of a tortoise. He traded it with Apollo for the caduceus, who set it amongst the stars as memorial. (Hyginus 2.7 ; Aratus 268)

LYRE OF ORPHEUS The lyre of the great bard Orpheus, who could charm animals, trees and rocks with his music. After he was slain by the Bacchantes, Apollo and the Muses placed his lyre amongst the stars. Some say Orpheus was himself represented nearby in the form of the constellation "Hercules," the Kneeling Man. (Hyginus 2.7 on Eratosthenes)

LYRE OF THESEUS The lyre of the hero Theseus who was set in the stars as the constellation "Heracles" next to that of the lyre. (Hyginus 2.6)

LYRE OF THAMYRIS A bard who was blinded by the Muses. He was placed amongst the stars as a warning along with his lyre as the constellations Ennosagin (or "Hercules") and Lyra. (Hyginus 2.6)

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OPHIOCHUS

OPHIUCHUS, CONSTELLATION

Latin : Ophiuchus
Greek : Ophiokhos (the Serpent Holder)

ASCLEPIUS The great physician, a son of the god Apollo. When Asclepius dared to extend his craft by bringing back men from the dead, Zeus struck him dead with a thunderbolt. As a memorial the hero was placed amongst the stars along with the serpent which coiled around his staff. (Hyginus 2.14)

CARNOBON A King of the Getae tribe of Thrace. When the hero Triptolemus passed through his land instructing mankind in agriculture, he set an ambush and slew one of his flying serpents. The goddess punished Carnobon and afterwards set him amongst the stars struggling eternally with a serpent as warning. (Hyginus 2.14)

HERACLES The great hero. Heracles spent time in the service of Queen Omphale of Lydia, where he slew a gigantic serpent which was ravaging the land. As a memorial Zeus commemorated the deed amongst the stars of heaven. (Hyginus 2.14)

PHORBAS A hero of the island of Rhodes. When the island was plagued by serpents, Phorbas destroyed them all, and as a reward for this service was placed amongst the stars by the god Apollon. (Hyginus 2.14 on Polyzelus the Rhodian)

TRIOPAS A Thessalian king. In his greed he tore the roof from a temple of Demeter for his own palace. The goddess in wrath inflicted him with unquenchable hunger and sent a serpent to further plague him. When he died she set him amongst the stars to continue for eternity the struggle with the serpent. (Hyginus 2.14)

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ORION

ORION, CONSTELLATION

Latin : Orion
Greek : Ôriôn (the Mountain Man?)
Akkadian : Shidallu (the True Shepherd of Anu)
Sumerian : SIPA.ZI.AN.NA (the True Shepherd of Anu)

ORION A giant hunter who was set amongst the stars as the constellation Orion. Some say he chased Lepus, the hare, across the heavens with his dog, the constellation Canis, others that he was in pursuit of Taurus the bull, or even chasing after the seven beautiful Pleiad nymphs. In the story of his death, Orion was either killed by Artemis or by a scorpion sent by Gaea to punish him for boasting that he would slay all the creatures of the earth. The scorpion was also placed amongst the stars and continued to plague him, for as it rose in the east, Orion fled beneath the horizon in the west. (Hyginus 2.34 on Hesiod, Aristomarchus and Istrus ; Aratus 634)

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PEGASUS

PEGASUS, CONSTELLATION

Latin : Equus (the Horse)
Greek : Hippos (the Horse) or Pegasos
Akkadian : Sisû (the Horse)
Sumerian : ANSHE.KUR.RA (the Horse)

PEGASUS A winged horse, son of the Gorgon Medusa. It was tamed by the hero Bellerophon who rode it into battle against the three-headed monster Chimera. When he later tried to fly to heaven, he was thrown back down to earth, but the horse was received and set amongst the stars by Zeus. (Hyginus 2.18 on Aratus ; Aratus 205)

MELANIPPE A daughter of the centaur Chiron. When she became pregnant by the hero Aeolus, she hid herself away in a forest in shame, and prayed that her father might not find her. The gods then transformed her into a horse, and after her child was born set her amongst the stars as a constellation. There she was said to continue to hide from her father, setting just as her father's own constellation was on the rise. (Hyginus 2.18 on Euripides)

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PERSEUS

PERSEUS, CONSTELLATION

Greek : Perseus (the Destroyer)
Akkadian : Shibu (the Old Man)
Summerian : SHU.GI (the Old Man)

PERSEUS An Argive hero, the son of Zeus and Danae. When he was returning on his quest for the Gorgon's head, he spied the Ethiopian princess Andromeda chained to the rocks as sacrifice to a sea-monster. Perseus slew the beast and saved the girl. In memorial of the event Athena placed Perseus, Andromeda, Cepheus and Cassiopea (the girl's parents) and Cetus (the Sea Monster) amongst the stars. (Hyginus 2.12 ; Aratus 248)

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PISCES

PISCES, ZODIAC CONSTELLATION

Latin : Pisces (the Fishes)
Greek : Ikhthyes (the Fishes)
Akkadian : Nunu (the Fish) & Shinunutu (the Swallow)
Sumerian : KU (the Fish) & SIM.MAH (the Swallow)

FISHES OF APHRODITE When the monster Typhon attacked Olympus, the gods fled in a body to the south. Aphrodite and her son Eros reached the river Eridanus where they threw themselves in the water and hid in the guise of fish. In memory of the event a pair of fish were set amongst the stars as the constellation Pisces. (Hyginus 2.30 on Diognetus Erythraeus)

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PISCES AUSTRALIS, CONSTELLATION

Latin : Pisces Australis (the Southern Fish)
Greek : Ikhthys Notion (the Southern Fish)

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SAGGITA, CONSTELLATION

Latin : Saggita (the Arrow)
Greek : Oistos (the Arrow)
Sumerian : KAK.SI.KI (the Arrow)

ARROW OF APOLLO The arrow which Apollo used to slay the Cyclopes, to avenge the death of his son Asclepius who had been destroyed by a thunderbolt created on their forge. Both Asclepius and the arrow were placed amongst the stars, as Ophiochus and Sagitta respectively. (Hyginus 2.15 on Eratosthenes)

ARROW OF HERACLES The arrow with which Heracles slew the eagle set to torment the Titan Prometheus. The eagle and arrow were placed side by side in the heavens as the constellations Aquila and Sagitta. (Hyginus 2.15)

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SAGGITARIUS

SAGGITARIUS, ZODIAC CONSTELLATION

Latin : Saggitarius (the Archer)
Greek : Toxeutês (the Archer)
Sumerian : PA.BIL.SAG

CHIRON The wise centaur Chiron was placed amongst the stars as the constellation Saggitarius or Centaurus, when he surrendered his immortality after being poisoned by an arrow of Heracles.

CROTUS A horse-legged, satyr hunter who was a companion of the Muses on Mount Helicon. As a reward for his zeal he was placed amongst the stars as the constellation Saggitarius. His victory wreath was further set as a circle of stars at his feet. (Hyginus 2.27 on Sositheus)

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SCORPIO

SCORPIO, ZODIAC CONSTELLATION

Latin : Scorpio (the Scorpion)
Greek : Skorpios (the Scorpion)
Akkadian : Zuqaqipu (the Scorpion)
Sumerian : GÍR.TAB (the Scorpion)

SCORPION OF ORION A scorpion sent forth by the earth-goddess Gaea to kill Orion when the giant boasted that he would slay all the animals of the earth. The pair were placed amongst the stars as the constellations Scorpio and Orion. The ancients sometimes combined a pair of constellations to create the the scorpion, with Libra forming the claws. (Hyginus 2.26 ; Aratus 634)

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TAURUS

TAURUS, ZODIAC CONSTELLATION

Latin : Taurus (the Bull)
Greek : Tauros (the Bull)
Sumerian : GU.AN.NA (the Bull of Heaven)

Latin : Suculae (the Suckling Pigs)
Greek : Hyades (the Rainy Ones)

Latin : Vergiliae
Greek : Pleiades (the Ladies of Plenty)
Akkadian : Zappu (the Bristle)
Sumerian : MUL.MUL (the Stars)

BULL ZEUS When the Phoenician princess Europa was playing by the sea shore, Zeus approached her in the guise of a bull and, tempting her to climb onto his back, carried her away to the island of Crete. (Hyginus 2.21 on Euripides)

COW IO The Argive princess Io was loved by Zeus, who transformed her into a cow to hide her from the jealous gaze of his wife Hera. She was nevertheless recognised by the goddess who set a maddening gladfly to torment her that drive her wandering to Egypt. There Io was restored to human form and gave birth to her son Epaphos. As a memorial of her trials, Io was set amongst the stars as the constellation "Taurus." (Hyginus 2.21)

HYADES Five nymphs whose stars outline the face of the bull Taurus. They were nurses of the god Dionysus who were awarded for their service with a place amongst the stars of heaven. Their rising heralded the onset of the rainy season in Greece. Some say they were teary nymphs placed in the heavens following the death of their brother Hyas, who was killed by a lion. Presumably this Hyas and the lion were represented by the constellations Aquarius and Leo. (Hyginus 2.21 on Pherecydes)

PLEIADES Seven nymphs whose stars form the "tail of the Bull" Taurus. The sisters were placed amongst the stars by the god Zeus, after the lustful giant Orion had pursued them across the earth for seven years. Orion was also set in heaven, but doomed to continue a futile chase for all eternity. (Hyginus 2.21 ; Aratus 254)

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TRIANGULUM

TRIANGULUM, CONSTELLATION

Latin : Triangulum (the Triangle)
Greek : Deltôton (the Triangle or letter D)

DIVISION OF THE COSMOS A triangle was placed amongst the stars to commemorate the division of the universe amongst the three sons of Cronus : Zeus received the heavens, Poseidon the sea, and Hades the underworld. (Hyginus 2.19)

D FOR DIOS The Greek letter Delta (shaped like a triangle) was placed amongst the stars by Hermes to mark more clearly the faint sign of Aries. It was also placed as a memorial of his invention of the alphabet, the letter D being chosen to signify the name of Zeus (spelt Dios, Dii, in other forms). (Hyginus 2.19)

DELTA OF EGYPT The triangle formed by the delta of the River Nile was placed amongst the stars as the constellation of the same name. Others say the triangle represented the whole of Egypt from the Nile border with Egypt down to the sea. (Hyginus 2.19)

ISLAND OF SICILY The triangle shaped island of Sicily was represented amongst the stars as the constellation Triangulum. The reason for its placement is not known. (Hyginus 2.19)

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URSA MAJOR

URSA MAJOR, CONSTELLATION

Latin : Ursa Major (the Great Bear)
Greek : Arktos Megale (the Great Bear) or Amaza (the Wagon) or Helikê
Akkadian : Eriqqu (the Wagon)
Sumerian : MAR.GÍD.DA (the Wagon)

CALLISTO An Arcadian princess who was loved by the god Zeus and transformed into a bear by the wrathful goddess Artemis or Hera. She was later placed amongst the stars as the constellation Ursa Major, along with her son Arcas, who became Bootes. Hera was still furious and forbade Callisto's stars ever set into the river Oceanus. (Hyginus 2.1 & 2.4 from Hesiod, Amphis and others)

HELICE A nymph who nursed the infant god Zeus on Mount Ida in Crete. As a reward for her service, she was placed amongst the stars as the constellation Ursa Major, along with her sister Cynosura as Ursa Minor. (Hyginus 2.2 on Aglaosthenes ; Aratus 25)

MEGISTO An Arcadian princess, daughter of King Ceteus. She was transformed into a bear and placed amongst the stars as the constellation Ursa Major. Her father and was placed beside her in the form of the Kneeler ( "Hercules") apparently lamenting her fate. (Hyginus 2.1 & 2.6 on Araethus of Tegea)

WAIN OF BOOTES The ox-drawn wagon or plough of the farmer Bootes was set amongst the stars in the form of the constellation Ursa Major. Their driver stands immediately behind it in the heavens. (Hyginus 2.2)

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URSA MINOR

URSA MINOR, CONSTELLATION

Latin : Ursa Minor (the Little Bear)
Greek : Arktos Mikra (the Little Bear) or Amaza (the Wagon) or Kynosoura (the Dog's Tail)

CYNOSURA An Idaean nymph who nursed the infant god Zeus in the Dictaeon cave of Crete. She and her sister Helice were placed amongst the stars as the constellation Ursa Minor and Major, as a reward for their service. (Hyginus 2.2 on Aglaosthenes ; Aratus 25)

PHOENICE A Phoenician girl or bear who was set amongst the stars as the constellation Ursa Minor. The ancient Phoenicians navigated by her stars. (Hyginus 2.2 on Thales of Miletus)

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VIRGO

VIRGO, ZODIAC CONSTELLATION

Latin : Virgo (the Virgin)
Greek : Parthenos (the Virgin)

Latin : Vindemiator (the Vintager)
Greek : Protrugêtêr (the Vintager)

ASTRAEA The maiden goddess of justice, who departed from the earth at the start of the Brazen Age of Man. She was given a place amongst the stars as the winged constellation Virgo, with her scales set nearby in the form of Libra. (Hyginus 2.25 on Hesiod and Aratus ; Aratus 96)

TYCHE The goddess of good fortune was set amongst the stars as Virgo, along with the scales of fate, Libra. (Hyginus 2.25)

DEMETER The goddess of agriculture was given a memorial amongst the stars in the form of the constellation Virgo, which some say holds a sheaf of wheat in its hand. (Hyginus 2.25)

ERIGONE An Athenian maiden, the daughter of Icarius, the man who Dionysus first instructed in the making of wine. When her father was killed by peasants who mistook thought the wine was poison, she committed suicide by hanging herself from a tree. Dionysus afterwards placed the pair amongst the stars as the constellations Virgo and Bootes. Their dog Maera was set nearby as Canis Major. (Hyginus 2.4 & 2.25)

PARTHENOS A maiden daughter of Apollon who died young and was set amongst the stars by her father as the constellation Virgo. (Hyginus 2.25)

THE VINTAGER A star on the right wing of the constellation Virgo. (Aratus 137)

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THE MILKY WAY

Latin : (Milky Way)
Greek : Gala (Milky Way)

MILK OF HERA Zeus once conspired to place the infant Heracles at the breast of Hera. The goddess woke from her sleep, because of the roughness of the child, and pushed him away in disgust. The milk which flowed forth formed the Milky Way. (Hyginus 2.43)

MILK OF RHEA When the Titaness Rhea presented a stone wrapped in swaddling cloth to Cronus as substitute for the infant Zeus, the Titan pressed it against her breast and milk flowed forth which flowed formed the Milky Way. (Hyginus 2.43)


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