The Pleiades (mythology)

the Pleiades - mythology

In Greek mytholo­gy, the Pleiades were a bevy of nymphs, daughters of Atlas, belonging to the train of the huntress-god­dess Artemis (Diana). They were pursued by the giant Orion. In terror they applied for protection to Zeus, who changed them to doves and placed them as a constellation in the sky. There were originally seven of them, but one has disappeared. The story runs that one of the nymphs, Electra, left her place that she might not behold the destruction of Troy, which city was found­ed by her son, Dardanus. The other stars of the group have been paler since they looked on the awful sight of that city's ruin. The lost Pleiad is alluded to fre­quently by the poets. The name La Pleiade or the Pleiad is given in literature to sev­eral different groups of seven poets living at the same time. One such group is of ancient poets, including Theocritus, Callim­achus, and Homer; another is of French poets of the sixteenth century.

Many a night I saw the Pleiades,
rising through the mellow shade
Glitter like a swarm of fireflies,
tangled in a silver braid.