The Spirit of the Abyss is the Shower Guy from Star Trek: Enterprise. He shows up at key points in history to try and rewrite it. His intervention led to the Magog destroying the Commonwealth.
The Commonwealth is descended from The Culture.Hence the naming of their ships Balance of Judgment, Renewed Valor and especially the ships The Continuation of Politics and Salient Debate. Andromeda Ascendant is a relatively "normal" name - but it belongs to the Glorious Heritage Class. The Culture fell some time after Earth became a member. The Vedran Empire is the last offshoot of the Culture (and why they are able to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence, called "subliming" in the Culture.