Aristaeus | Ancient Greek God | The First Farmer?
Updated: May 3
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Eventually, while living in the Aimos Mountains, one day he suddenly disappeared.