Cassiopeia was the arrogant queen of Ethiopia, who was forced to sacrifice her daughter, Andromeda to the god Neptune. After the brave rescue of Andromeda, Cassiopeia was preserved in the sky as a constellation.
You will notice many references to Latin, which should not be surprising, considering that a majority of English words are derived from this supposedly "dead" language. If you are interested, we also have a brief timeline of Roman religion.
One day, Cassiopeia, queen of ancient Ethiopia, 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!"
Cassiopeia was forced to concede defeat: if she did not give her daughter in sacrifice, then her kingdom would be doomed to flood. Her subjects would be dead and she would be in ruin. To save their own lives, the inhabitants dutifully carried Andromeda to the seashore -- she was to be the Queen's sacrifice, forfeited to please Neptune and his nymphs. Andromeda had been condemned for her mother's arrogance. Ready to be flooded by great waves of water, she shuddered in fear of the god's fortitude (forte = strong).
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, saved by Perseus! Cassiopeia's kingdom, the inhabitants and her daughter were all saved!
Later, Cassiopeia became a constellation (stella), which we can still see at night. The arrogant queen, brought nearly to collapse by the power of a single god, had been saved.