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Atlas and Pleione, daughter of Ocean, had seven daughters called the Pleiades, born to them at Cyllene in Arcadia, to wit: Alcyone, Merope, Celaeno, Electra, Sterope, Taygete, and Maia.1 Of these, Sterope was married to Oenomaus,2 and Merope to Sisyphus. And Poseidon had intercourse with two of them, first with Celaeno, by whom he had Lycus, whom Poseidon made to dwell in the Islands of the Blest, and second with Alcyone, who bore a daughter, Aethusa, the mother of Eleuther by Apollo, and two sons Hyrieus and Hyperenor. Hyrieus had Nycteus and Lycus by a nymph Clonia; and Nycteus had Antiope by Polyxo; and Antiope had Zethus and Amphion by Zeus.3 And Zeus consorted with the other daughters of Atlas.

1 As to the Pleiades, see Aratus, Phaenomena 254-268; Eratosthenes, Cat. 23; Quintus Smyrnaeus, Posthomerica xiii.551ff.; Scholiast on Hom. Il. xviii.486; Scholiast on Pind. N. 2.10(16); Scholiast on Ap. Rhod., Argon. iii.226; Hyginus, Ast. ii.21; Hyginus, Fab. 192; Ovid, Fasti iii.105, iv.169-178; Serv. Verg. G. 1.138, and Serv. Verg. A. 1.744; Scholia in Caesaris Germanici Aratea, p. 397, ed. F. Eyssenhardt (in his edition of Martianus Capella); Scriptores rerum mythicarum Latini, ed. Bode, i. p. 73 (First Vatican Mythographer 234). There was a general agreement among the ancients as to the names of the seven Pleiades. Aratus, for example, gives the same names as Apollodorus and in the same order. However, with the exception of Maia, a different list of names is given by the Scholiast on Theocritus xiii.25, who tells us further, on the authority of Callimachus, that they were the daughters of the queen of the Amazons. As their father was commonly said to be Atlas, they were sometimes called Atlantides (Apollodorus, below; Diod. 3.60.4; compare Hes. WD 382). But there was much diversity of opinion as to the origin of the name Pleiades. Some derived it from the name of their mother Pleione; but the most probable view appears to be that the name comes from πλεῖν, “to sail,” because in the Mediterranean area these stars were visible at night during the summer, from the middle of May till the beginning of November, which coincided with the sailing season in antiquity. This derivation of the name was recognized by some of the ancients (Serv. Verg. G. 1.138). With regard to the number of the Pleiades, it was generally agreed that there were seven of them, but that one was invisible, or nearly so, to the human eye. Of this invisibility two explanations were given. Some thought that Electra, as the mother of Dardanus, was so grieved at the fall of Troy that she hid her face in her hands; the other was that Merope, who had married a mere man, Sisyphus, was so ashamed of her humble, though honest, lot by comparison with the guilty splendour of her sisters, who were all of them paramours of gods, that she dared not show herself. These alternative and equally probable theories are stated, for example, by Ovid and Hyginus. The cause of the promotion of the maidens to the sky is said to have been that for seven or even twelve years the hunter Orion pursued them with his unwelcome attentions, till Zeus in pity removed pursuer and pursued alike to heaven, there to shine as stars for ever and to continue the endless pursuit. The bashful or mournful Pleiad, who hid her light, is identified by modern astronomers with Celaeno, a star of almost the seventh magnitude, which can be seen now, as in antiquity, in clear moonless nights by persons endowed with unusually keen sight. See A. von Humboldt, Cosmos, translated by E. Sabine, iii.47ff.

2 Compare Paus. 5.10.6. According to another account, Sterope or Asterope, as she is also called, was not the wife but the mother of Oenomaus by the god Ares. See Eratosthenes, Cat. 23; Hyginus, Ast. ii.21; Hyginus, Fab. 84, 159; Scriptores rerum mythicarum Latini, ed. Bode, i. p. 73 (First Vatican Mythographer 234).

3 See above, Apollod. 3.5.5.

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