Aristaeus | Ancient Greek God | The First Farmer or the First Doctor of History?
Updated: Sep 12
George Papadellis | SG Head
Aristaeus, according to Greek Mythology, was born in Kissavos and discovered many useful arts, including bee-keeping. When he was born, according to Pindar, Hermes took him to be made immortal by his grandmother Gaia.
The nymphs taught him arts and crafts, how to prepare milk for cheese, how to tame bees, how to make olives. Thus, he became the god of cattle, hunting, husbandry and bee-keeping.
Photo by: in the public domain (according to Wikimedia Commons)
Aristaeus Greek Mythology
He was the son of Apollo and Kyrini (excellent hunter and daughter of the King of Lapithes, Ipseas, also mentioned as daughter of river Pineios who gave birth to Idmon, prophet of the Argonaut Expedition). According to ancient texts (Pindaros, Diodoros, Apollonios), Aristaeus was raised and educated from the nymphs, the muses and Chiron Centaur in agriculture and bee-keeping.
Aristaeus and Dead Bees | Photo by: anonymous, Malarz francuski XIX wiek - Aristaeus and dead bees - M.Ob.2034 MNW - National Museum in Warsaw, cropped by Shiny Greece, CC0 1.0
Aristaeus God Of
Some more specific facts for Aristaeus, according to the Greek Mythology, are:
The muses taught him divination and medicine. The nymphs taught him the cultivation of the olive, the vaccination of the wild olive, the viticulture and the horticulture. He studied cheese making, he invented the pressing of the olives for olive oil production, the wool processing and hunting processes. In Sicily and Sardinia he taught olive cultivation and he was worshiped by the local olive tree growers. He also converted waste land into productive land in Sardinia.
Aristaeus, Euridice and Orpheus | Photo by: Sailko, C.sf., urbino, francesco xanto avelli, coppa con euridice, aristeo e orfeo, 1531 circa, CC BY-SA 3.0
The legends say that by sacrificing to Zeus he managed to stop the heat and hunger that struck Greece. He followed Dionysus in India where he was distinguished as a doctor.
Aristaeus and Eurydice
He fell in love with his good friend Orpheus' wife, so when one day he met Eurydice in the forest he wanted to make love to her. Eurydice started running to avoid him, but a drug snake snapped her up and she soon died and went to Hades. The gods punished Aristaeus by sending sickness to his bees.
The Shepherd Aristaeus mourning the loss of his bees | Photo by: Jules Fresquet Rvalette, Jules Fesquet - Le berger Aristée pleurant la perte de ses abeilles, cropped by Shiny Greece, CC BY-SA 4.0
Eventually, while living in the Aimos Mountains, one day he suddenly disappeared.