Aristaeus was a favorite of the gods. As he was of a younger age, he learned many arts of healing and prophesy. He also founded the town of Aristaeon. Aristaeus had been worshipped as protector of flocks and shepherds, vine and olive plantations, and bee-keeping. Known for his generosity, this god is seen as a young man and shepherd occassionally seen carrying a sheep.
Aristaeus, once ruler of Sardinia, had originally descended from Greece. He was born in Libya and traveled his way to Thebes, where he lived for quite some time. This new location is where he started to be taught the arts of healing and prophesy as stated above.
The protector of shepherds and flocks, Aristaeus is the son of Cyrene, a water nymph, and Apollo; although, there are stories and beliefs that he could be the son of Uranus and Ge, or the child of Cheiron and Carysrus. However, he then met and eventually married a women named Autonoe and had four children: Charmus, Calaicarpus, Actaeon, and Polydorus.
The first myth of Aristaeus is of a time when he was on the Minoan islands at a time of trouble and struggling heat waves; their people needed Aristaeus' help. He brought the Parrhasian tribe in Keos together to create an alter for the gods. Intended for the rain god specifically, the alter pleased the gods causing for them to "refresh" the earth with a wind to cool down the extreme temperatures for forty days.
Another myth involving the god of bee-keeping explains of how he recieved this title. One day, the bees being kept by Aristaeus began to die for an unknown reason, and he found his mother for helped. He was told to find Proteus, the god of the sea, who could change forms. Aristaeus had to chain proteus and hold him throughout all of the changes that he was going through in order to recieve what he wanted. After making it through all of Proteus' form-changes, he was told to leave dead animal carcasses for the gods for nine days. After these nine days passed, Aristaeus went back to the carcasses to find that there were hundreds of bees inside, all of which were now incapable of dying from any disease.
Aristaeus did not have any specific powers such as Proteus' ability to change form, although he was worshipped as the protector of shepperds. However, he was the god of bee-keeping, olive growing, and medicinal herbs. In the second myth, Aristaeus demonstrate characteristics of a hero with determination through his strength of resisting Proteus' shap-shifting. His generosity and willingness to help others is shown through his teaching even mortals knowledge unknown to them at the time.
The name Aristaeus comes from the Greek word for "best" or "most excellent/useful". He was once mortal, but became a god, and eventually a favorite of many for his generosity. Once he became a god, he gave humans the understanding of cheese-making and how to farm orchards. He also taught mortals how to hunt using traps and nets.
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