Astraea or Astraia (Greek Ἀστραíα ) is a figure from Greek and Roman mythology, which is related to the myth of the ages of the world, who first appears in Hesiod's poem Works and Days. There, the poet describes the last, the iron race that knows no respect for law and justice more, no respect for the parents or the sacredness of the guest, so that their incarnation finally leaves the earth:
Aido, the personification of shame ( especially the fear of disgrace and shame for past injustices ), and Nemesis, the personification of divine punitive justice, return a hopelessly corrupt humanity 's back and highlight as the withdrawal of the divine from the world.
What is barely mentioned by Hesiod, Aratus of Soli was extended from the 3rd century in the Phainomena an independent myth. In this astronomical didactic poem he tells the history of the origin of the constellation of Virgo. This maiden was the dike, the embodiment of justice ( according to the Nemesis in Hesiod ), originally, in the Golden Age lived among the people and visibly appeared in the meetings to preach the law:
Prior to the next, the silver human race, which tended already to violence itself, Dike retreated to distant mountains back of which they seldom came among men, and then only to accuse decay and to warn of an even worse future. This then also joined with the appearance of a third, the brazen human race ( in the version of the Eon of Aratus there is neither an iron human race, even a race of heroes, while the third, of brass, is already the most corrupt ). Under these murderers and robbers, who kill and eat the animal plow, is for Dike no longer being, she goes to heaven, where it is the constellation of Virgo.
Traditionally Dike was the daughter of Zeus and Themis, with Aratus but is called as the father of the Virgin Astraios in Hyginus Eos is then added as a mother.
Ovid finally gives the Nemesis / Dike / Virgo own name, Astraea, or Greek Astraia. He lets the Virgin appear in his version of the myth Hesiod only at the end when she leaves the bloodstained soil of the iron age:
In Virgil's famous prophetic fourth Eclogue conversely shows the appearance of the Virgin the imminent return of the Golden Age to:
Immediately afterwards speaks Virgil of the birth of a child, a savior, what relative contemporaries to Augustus ( but also other potentially intentioned people), Virgil supported an interpretation of Augustus by in the Aeneid in the underworld journey of Aeneas 's father Anchises from can announce the return of the Golden Age, this time with explicit reference to Augustus. In Christianity, Virgil's fourth Eclogue was interpreted on the birth of Jesus, which in turn Vergil a kind of saint was anticipated. Obviously, the mythical Virgin of prophecy with the Virgin Mary has been identified, for the first time by the Emperor Constantine in his " speech to the assembly of the saints ."
In England of Elizabeth I, this myth is taken up again. The Queen is even to Astraea, justice and the return to the original promises of religion ( they, or their court poets refer here to the Anglican Church ). The Golden Age attained a new reality through the discovery and colonization of the New World. It is now no longer merely a realm of faith, but a global empire that is united by the rule of a just and virtuous queen.