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Staphylus

by Dr Alena Trckova-Flamee Ph.D.

One of the sons of the wine-god Dionysus and his wife Ariadne was Staphylus, the brother of Oenopion, Thoas, Latramys, Euanthes and Tauropolus. These boys were the grandsons of the Cretan king Minos. Staphylus became a hero and is mentioned as one of the fifty Argonauts, who were travelling with Jason to Colchis for the Golden Fleece. He became also a legendary king of Peparethos (now Scopelos).

Rhadamantys, the brother of Minos, who was the rightful lawmaker in Crete, bequeathed to Staphylus a small mountainous island in the region of Magnesia in the Northern Sporades, named Peparethos.Staphylus brought to this land the knowledge of viniculture (Greek staphyli, meaning a bunch of grapes or a grape-vine). He is also considered to be the founder of the ancient town of Peparethos (now the main town of Scopelos).

Staphylus married Chrysothemis of Crete, who -- according to Pausanias -- was a Delphic price winner for singing a hymn to the god. They had one daughter Rhoeo (Rhoio). Apollo fell in love with her and he made her his secret lover. When Staphylus became aware that his daughter Rhoeo was pregnant, he locked her up in a coffer, which he threw into the sea. According to a myth, Rhoeo was thrown up by the waves on the shores of the island Euboia (or maybe on Delos according to another version) and there she gave birth to a son whom she named for her troubles Anius (Greek anio, "to annoy, to vex"). He later became a priest of Apollo, who made him the king of Delos.

It is said that Staphylus died in Peparethos and the so-called "Staphylus grave" was discovered there with a Cretan symbol of double axes (presently in the Archaeological Museum of Volos), some golden jewels, a few representations of gods, and other findings.

Concluding, we can note that the story about Staphylus -- which is similar to the myth about his brother Oenopion -- was to explain the legendary history in which Staphylus was the founder of the Hellenic tribe in Peparethos.


Article details:

  • Also known as:
    Staphylos

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