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Ὑάδες). According to some, the daughters of Atlas and sisters of the Pleiades. The best accounts, however, make them to have been the nymphs of Dodona, to whom Zeus confided the nurture of Bacchus. Pherecydes gives their names as Ambrosia, Coronis, Eudora, Dioné, Aesula, and Polyxo. Hesiod, on the other hand, calls them Phaesula, Coronis, Cleea, Phaeo, and Eudora. The names generally given to the seven stars are Ambrosia, Eudora, Pedilé, Coronis, Polyxo, Phyto, and Dioné or Thyené. The Hyades went about with their divine charge, communicating his discovery to mankind, until, being chased with him into the sea by Lycurgus, Zeus, in compassion, raised them to the skies and transformed them into stars. According to the more common legend, however, the Hyades, having lost their brother Hyas, who was killed by a bear or lion, or, as Timaeus says, by an asp, were so disconsolate at his death that they pined away and died; and after death they were changed into stars (Hyg. Fab. 192). The stars called Hyades (Ὑάδες) derived their name from ὕειν, “to make wet,” “to rain,” because their setting, at both the evening and morning twilight, was for the Greeks and Romans a sure presage of wet and stormy weather, these two periods falling respectively in the latter half of April and November. Horace, with a double allusion to both fable and physical phenomena, calls the stars in question tristes Hyadas Carm. i. 3, 14). The Roman writers sometimes call these stars by the name of Suculae, “little pigs,” for which epithet Pliny assigns a singular derivation. According to this writer, the Roman farmers mistook the etymology of the Greek name Hyades, and deduced it, not from ὕειν, “to rain,” but from ὗς, “a sow” (Pliny , Pliny H. N. xviii. 26). It is more probable, however, that Suculae was the oldest Roman name, given before the Greek appellation was known, and to be compared with our popular astronomical terms such as “the Dipper,” “Charles's Wain,” etc. Isidorus derives the term Suculae from succus, in the sense of “moisture” or “wet” (a succo et pluviis, Isidor. Orig. iii. 70), an etymology which has found its way into many later works. Some grammarians, again, sought to derive the name Hyades from the Greek Υ (upsilon), in consequence of the resemblance which the cluster of stars bears to that letter.

The Hyades, in the celestial sphere, are at the head of the Bull (ἐπὶ τοῦ βουκράνου).

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    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 18.26
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