According to Greek Mythology, Andromeda was the daughter of King Cepheus and Queen Cassiopeia, the rulers of Aethiopia (Ethiopia). Cassiopeia, the queen, earned the wrath of the sea god Nereus (Poseidon), since she boasted that her daughter was more beautiful than the Nereids, the nymph-daughters of the sea god. To punish the queen for her pride and insolence, Poseidon sent a sea monster named Cetus to ravage the coast of Aethiopia and wreak havoc. The people of the country became terrified, as the level of the sea was increasing rapidly.
To find out a possible way out, the King consulted with the oracle of Apollo. He was told that, there would be no respite, unless the king sacrifices his daughter, Andromeda, to the monster. Poor Andromeda, was therefore, stripped naked and was chained to a rock at the edge of the sea as an offering to Cetus, the monster.
Perseus, one of the greatest heroes in Greek mythology, was the only son of Zeus and Danae. One day, as he was returning home on his winged horse, Pegasus, with the head of Medusa, whom he killed, he noticed the helpless chained princes on the rock. He rescued her by using his magic sickle to cut the chains.
Just then, the giant sea serpent Cetus reared its ugly head to attack Andromeda. As Andromeda screamed, Perseus immediately flew near the eye level of the monster and killed it, either by striking a vicious blow with his sickle or turned the sea monster to stone by showing the Medusa’s head.
The couple fell in love, but it turned out that the Princess was already engaged to Phineus. Naturally, Phineus became mad and at the wedding a quarrel took place between the rivals. However, the possible fight concluded abruptly, when Phineus was turned to stone, after Perseus flaunted the head of Medusa.
Apart from painting, the episode of Perseus and Andromeda can be found in the works of Sophocles and Euripides. Andromeda has also been the subject of numerous ancient and modern works of art.