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The Pleiades were the seven daughters of the Titan Atlas and the Oceanid Pleione born on Cyllene. They were the sisters of the Hesperides, the Hyades, Calypso and Hyas. The Pleiades were Nymphs in the train of Artemis, and together with their seven sister Hyades were called the Atlantides, Dodonides, or Nysiades, nursemaids and teachers to the infant Dionysus. They were thought to have been translated to the night sky as a cluster of stars, the Pleiades, and were associated with rain.

History

After Atlas was forced to carry the heavens on his shoulders, Orion began to pursue all of the Pleiades, and Zeus transformed them first into doves, and then into stars to comfort their father. The constellation of Orion is said to still pursue them across the night sky.

One of the most memorable myths involving the Pleiades is the story of how these sisters literally became stars, their catasterism. According to some versions of the tale, all seven sisters committed suicide because they were so saddened by either the fate of their father, Atlas, or the loss of their siblings, the Hyades. In turn Zeus, the ruler of the Greek gods, immortalized the sisters by placing them in the sky. There these seven stars formed the star cluster known thereafter as the Pleiades.

Notable Pleiades

Etymology

Pleiades are derived from their mother name "Pleione". However, in reality the name of the star-cluster almost certainly came first, and Pleione was invented to explain it. According to another suggestion Pleiades derives from plein , "to sail" because of the cluster's importance in delimiting the sailing season in the Mediterranium sea"the season of navigation began with their heliacal rising".

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