In Greek mythology, Melampus is a soothsayer and healer. He is able to understand the language of all animals.
Origins and Family Edit
Melampus’s father is Amythaon whose name means “unspeakably great,” therefore, Melampus and his brothers were referred to as Amythaides or “House of Amythaon.” His mother was Eidomene and brother was Bias. Melampus was said to have been the first mortal that was given prophetic powers such as being able to understand the language of all animals. This remarkable power was said to have given to him by two snakes who had licked his ears one night.
Melampus was known for his ability to understand the language of animals. Melampus was said to have received his supernatural power from two snakes that he raised after their parents had been killed by his servants. While he was sleeping, they licked his ears, which awakened him suddenly, and he was caught off guard with the unfathomable thought that he could understand the language of the birds flying overhead. This knowledge enabled him to predict future events and he became a soothsayer.
Melampus had helped his brother Bias marry Pero, who was the daughter of King Neleus of Pylos. Under the Kings conditions, the man who would marry Pero had to have to obtain the cattle of Phylacus, whom was the king of Phylace. Although Melampus was caught in the act, he cured Phylacus’s son of impotence and as a reward was given the cattle he attempted to steal.
Melampus lived in Pylos when the King offered a reward to anyone that could heal his son. Melampus killed an ox and talked to the vultures that came to eat the corpse. They hadn’t had this big of a feast, other than the last time the King had made a sacrifice. They told Melampus that the prince was afraid of the big, bloody knife and the king tossed it aside to calm the child. The knife hit a tree and injured a hamadryad, who put a curse on the prince with the sickness. The hamadryad told Melampus that the boy would be healed if the knife was taken out of the trunk of the tree and boiled, and once that was done, the prince should drink the rusty water that was left. Melampus followed the hamadryad’s directions, and as payment for the cure, Melampus demanded two thirds of the kingdom for himself and the rest for his brother Bias, the king agreed.
In Homer’s Odyssey, Melampus is forced into heroic exile. Melampus spends a year as bondsman in the house of Phylacus. Melampus is visited by the mad spell of fury, or a murderous spirit. But Melampus worked free of death and succeeded at last in bringing Phylacus’s cattle back to Pylos.
- Melampus taught the religions of Dionysus to Greece
- First mortal endowed with prophetic powers
- Most familiar with the language of the birds, although he could understand and hear all animals speak.
- Someone who had first practiced a medical art.
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