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RI.2-2758: The Hyades saving Alcmena. Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher (Göttingen, 1845- Dresden, 1923), Ausfürliches Lexikon der griechisches und römisches Mythologie, 1884.

"For Hyas his mother wept, and for Hyas his sad sisters, and Atlas, soon to bow his neck to the burden of the pole, yet the love of the sisters exceeded that of both parents: it won for them a place in the sky, but Hyas gave them their name." (Ovid, Fasti 5.170).

The HYADES 1 were sisters of Hyas, or else his daughters, and when Hyas died while hunting, killed by a lion, a boar, or a Lybian lioness, they grieved his death exceedingly, and turned into the stars called Hyades which are in the constellation of Taurus.

Parentage disputed

It is said that Atlas and Aethra 1 had fifteen daughters, out of which five were called Hyades because they were sisters of Hyas. When due to continual lamentation they perished, the remaining ten sisters killed themselves; and it is said that they were called PLEIADES because so many experienced the same grief. But others have said that the HYADES 1 were so called after their father Hyas, and the PLEIADES after their mother Pleione, wife of Atlas.

Among the stars

For it has also been said that Atlas had by Pleione twelve daughters, and a son Hyas, who was killed by a wild boar or a lion. On his death, the sisters died of their grief and some of them (Phaesyla, Ambrosia, Coronis 1, Eudore 1, and Polyxo 2) were put in the constellation of Taurus between the horns of the bull, being called Hyades (the Suculae) after their brother, whom they grieved. The rest of the sisters, who also died of grief although for the death of the HYADES 1, were called PLEIADES, some say because of their number, others because of their mother, and still others for other reasons.

Nurses of Dionysus 2

Also the HYADES 1, who previously were the NYMPHS DODONIDES (see NYMPHS), are called nurses of Dionysus 2, and it is said that they, and not Hermes, delivered the god, when he still was a defenceless child, to Athamas 1's wife Ino, so that she and her husband should rear him. For this, they say, Zeus rewarded them by putting them among the CONSTELLATIONS. It is also said that these NYMPHS DODONIDES, at a request of Dionysus 2, were changed into young girls by Medea, who put off their Old Age before they were consecrated among the stars; for the god had witnessed the rejuvenation of Jason's father Aeson, which the witch had performed, and marvelling at it, asked Medea that his nurses might be restored to Youth. At other times, the HYADES 1 are considered to be the MAENADS who were put to flight by Lycurgus 1, the King of the Edonians (Thrace) or of the island of Naxos, or of the Arabians, who was the first to oppose and expel Dionysus 2.

Saved Alcmena

A vase shows Alcmena seated on an altar stacked with wood. According to this version of the myth (which is depicted in yet another vase), Alcmena's infidelity was punished by her husband Amphitryon (the figure holding the torches). Alcmena was saved by Zeus, who sent a storm. The HYADES ('sisters of rain') are seen pouring water on the pyre. The scene could be a representation of Euripides' Alcmena.

Others so called



Parentage (three versions)

Atlas & Pleione


Atlas & Aethra 1


Hyas & Boeotia


List of HYADES 1

(* = Nurse of Dionysus 2)

Ambrosia is named among those who followed Dionysus 2 in his Indian campaign. When they came in conflict with Lycurgus 1, she raised a stone and hurled it at him. Lycurgus 1 caught her, but she managed to escape by transforming into a vineshoot and instead catching him in her long foliage.
Hyg.Ast.2.21; Hyg.Fab.182, 192; Nonn.21.3, 21.26, 21.296.

Hes.Ast.2; Hyg.Ast.2.21; Hyg.Fab.192.

*Coronis 1.
Hyg.Ast.2.21; Hyg.Fab.182, 192.

*Eudore 1.
Hyg.Ast.2.21; Hyg.Fab.182, 192.

Hyg.Ast.2.21; Hyg.Fab.182, 192.

Hyg.Ast.2.21; Hyg.Fab.182, 192.

Hyg.Ast.2.21; Hyg.Fab.192.

Hyg.Ast.2.21; Hyg.Fab.182, 192.

*Polyxo 2.
Polyxo 2 is also counted among the MAENADS who tried to kill King Lycurgus 1.
Hyg.Ast.2.21; Hyg.Fab.182, 192; Nonn.21.69.

*Thyone 2.
Hyg.Ast.2.21; Hyg.Fab.182, 192.

Related sections



Hyg.Ast.2.21; Hyg.Fab.182, 192, 248; Ov.Fast.3.105, 5.170; Ov.Met.7.294. Roscher, Lex. 1.247.21, 1.2758.15