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Pleiades

stars, six and seven

PLE'IADES (Lat., from Gk.IIXfaiSes,HkylaiSfs), In Greek legend, to the most general account, the seven daughters of Atlas and Pleione, the (laughter of Oceanus. Of their story there scents to have been no canonical version, but various local legends were adopted by different writers. According to sonic they committed sui cide from grief, either at the death of their sis ters, the Hyades. or at the fate of their father, Atlas (q.v.) ; according to others. they were companions of Artemis (Diana), and being pur sued by Orion (q.v.), were rescued from him by the gods by being translated to the sky. All agree that, after their death or translation, they were transformed into stars. As only six of these stars are easily visible to the naked eye. the story was told that Sterope hid herself from shame that she alone had married a mortal, while her six sisters were the loves of different gods. Others said that Electra, mother of Dar danos by Zeus, had withdrawn in grief at the fall of Troy. Their names are Electra. Maia, Taygete,

Aleyone, Celamo. (the invisible one ) , and Merope. To the Greeks the constellation was important. since with their heliacal rising in May the navigation began, and with their setting in November it was supposed to close. They also served as guides for seed-time and harvest.

In astronomy the name designates a group of six stars placed on the shoulder of Taurus, the second sign of the Zodiac, and forming, with the pole star and the twin, Castor and Pollux, the three angular points of a figure which is nearly an equilateral triangle. Many believe. from the uniform agreement that the Pleiades were seven in number, that the constellation at an early period contained seven stars, but that one has since disappeared—not a very 1111C0111111011 occur rence.