fem. proper name, from Latin Berenice, from Macedonian Greek Berenikē (classical Greek Pherenikē), literally "bringer of victory," from pherein "to bring" (from PIE root *bher- (1) "to carry") + nikē "victory" (see Nike).
The constellation Berenice's Hair (Coma Berenices) is from the story of the pilfered amber locks of the wife of Ptolemy Euergetes, king of Egypt, c. 248 B.C.E., which the queen cut off as an offering to Venus. The constellation features a dim but visible star cluster; Ptolemy (the astronomer) regarded it as the tuft of fur at the end of Leo's tail, but German cartographer Caspar Vopel put it on his 1536 globe as Berenice's Hair, and it endured. Berenice's Hair is also sometimes incorrectly given as an old name of the star Canopus, based on Holland's mistranslation of Pliny in 1601.
updated on October 07, 2022