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2.1. The Myth

The origin of the name "Coma Berenices" dates back to the year ~ 245 B.C, when Ptolemy III, the Egypt pharaon, left his country to make war against Syria. His wife, Berenices, worried for her husband's safety, offered a lock of her hairs to the goddess Arsinoes Zephiritis in the temple of Canopus (near today's Abuqir).

The lock misteriously disappeared during the night, and princess Berenices felt very sad about what she considered a bad omen. Conon, the court astronomer, told the princess that the lock had been transformed into a star constellation, Coma Berenices, i.e. Berenices' hairs.

Apparently, the goddess appreciated Berenices' offer, infact Ptolemy came back safe. Berenices had a pleasant and rich life until she was killed by one of her sons.

It was not until 1629 that the constellation name was used again, by Kepler.