Astraea (starry) In Roman mythology, goddess of justice; daughter of Zeus and Themis; sister of the Moerae and the Horae; sometimes called Dike; she lived on earth during the Golden Age but fled when men became wicked. She was placed among the constellations of the Zodiac as Virgo. Vergil refers to the goddess in his Fourth Eclogue: “Now returns the Virgin, too, the Golden Age returns.” Dryden, the English poet, wrote Astraea Redux (1660) to celebrate the return of Charles II after the harsh rule of Cromwell. Alexander Pope also used the image in his poem Messiah, which deals with the coming of Christ. Pope used the name directly in Imitations of Horace (First Epistle, Second Book) when he writes:

The stage how loosely does Astraea tread, Who fairly puts all characters to bed.

The lines refer to Mrs. Aphra Behn, who used the nom de plume Astraea. She wrote plays in which women often had to resort to sex to win their ends. In The Faerie Queene by Spenser the knight of Justice, Artegall, is brought up by Astraea.



Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, Third Edition – Written by Anthony S. Mercatante & James R. Dow-Copyright © 2009 by Anthony S. Mercatante