Andromeda -- meaning "chained maiden" -- was the beautiful daughter of the arrogant queen Cassiopeia, who was forced to give Andromeda as a sacrifice to Neptune. Andromeda was rescued heroically, nonetheless, and she and her mother were later made stars.
In some ways, this myth is a lesson in Latin, for much of the English we use today is derived from the ancient Romans. You can also read a brief timeline of Roman religion to give you a flavor of the time.
One day, Cassiopeia, queen of an ancient land, was strolling along the seashore with her lovely daughter Andromeda. According to myth, beautiful nymphs lived underwater, watched over by the god Neptune.
Forever boasting of her own beauty, Cassiopeia gazed into the calm waters and remarked scornfully of the nymphs (nymphae), "The nymphs who live in the waters of my realm are jealous, Andromeda, for I am such an exquisite beauty."
The two walked on until Andromeda looked once again at the water and said in alarm, "Look mother! The water is no longer quiet and calm -- watch it churn!"
The women stood terrified (territa) and stared at the water. Suddenly there was a great eruption of water and out burst Neptune, king of the sea and ruler of the nymphs. Neptune roared irately (irata), "You have angered my nymphs; I love my nymphs, and I am angry, too. I demand that you sacrifice your daughter! I am the king of the sea and soon you will be inundated (unda = wave, inundatus = to overflow) with water. I will send a monster, as well, and your daughter will die! You will be powerless to save her. Now you are famous (fama = fame) and beautiful and proud, Cassiopeia. But no longer will you be mighty, Queen!"
The inhabitants carried Andromeda to the seashore -- she was to be the Queen's sacrifice, forfeited to please Neptune and his nymphs. She had been condemned for her mother's arrogance. Now, she was enfeebled by the great fortitude (forte = strong) of the god.
Soon, the water came and engulfed the land, and with it came the monster to kill Andromeda. But wait! From the sky, the legendary Greek hero Perseus had been watching Andromeda's desperate plight. Now, he flew down and landed on the great beast and slay it single-handedly. Andromeda was free! Perseus had saved her!
Later, Andromeda was a star; even now we can see her at night. The next time you gaze at the stars, be sure to tell the myth of Andromeda!