Coma Berenices

Berenice`s Hair

Coma Berenices Constellation

The Story

A Real Queen Berenice

Coma Berenices is one of the few constellations to be connected with a real person, Queen Berenice of Egypt. As had been the tradition of Egyptian rulers for centuries, Berenice married her brother Ptolemy III Euergetes. Berenice was very proud of the beauty of her hair.

Berenice's Vow

Shortly after their marriage, Berenice's husband rode off to battle in Asia. The Queen made a vow before her gods, that if Ptolemy won victory and returned alive that she would shear her hair.

Fulfilling The Vow

Ptolemy did indeed return home victorious. Berenice fulfilled her vow and sheared her locks, depositing her tresses in the temple at Zephyrium, which was dedicated to her mother Arsinoe.

The Missing Hair

The next day the hair was missing. But an adviser to the king pointed out a group of stars near Leo's tail and explained that his bride's locks had gone to join the stars.  

Copyright © 1998 - 2010 by Arnold V. Lesikar,
Professor Emeritus
Dept. of Physics, Astronomy, and Engineering Science,
St. Cloud State University,St. Cloud, MN 56301-4498

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