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The Thriae ( /ˈθr./ ; Ancient Greek : θριαίThriaí) were nymphs, three virginal sisters, one of a number of such triads in Greek mythology. [1] They were named Melaina ("The Black"), Kleodora ("Famed for her Gift"), and Daphnis ("Laurel") or Corycia . They were the three Naiads (nymphs) of the sacred springs of the Corycian Cave of Mount Parnassus in Phocis, and the patrons of bees. The nymphs had heads like women and lower body with wings like a bee. [2]

It was Corycia who was the sister after whom the Corycian Cave was named. She was the mother of Lycoreus with Apollo.

Kleodora was loved by Poseidon, and with Poseidon (or Kleopompos) was the mother of Parnassos, who founded the city of Parnassus. (Pausanias 10.6.13).

Melaina was loved by Apollo, bearing him Delphos (although another tradition names Thyia as the mother of Delphos). Her name, meaning "the black," suggests that she presided over subterranean nymphs.

These three bee maidens with the power of divination and thus speaking truth are described in Homer's Hymn to Hermes , and the food of the gods is "identified as honey"; the bee maidens were originally associated with Apollo, and are probably not correctly identified with the Thriae. Both the Thriae and the Bee Maidens are credited with assisting Apollo in developing his adult powers, but the divination that Apollo learned from the Thriae differs from that of the Bee Maidens. The type of divination taught by the Thriae to Apollo was that of mantic pebbles, the throwing of stones, rather than the type of divination associated with the Bee Maidens and Hermes: cleromancy, the casting of lots. [3] Honey, according to a Greek myth, was discovered by a nymph called Melissa ("Bee"); and honey was offered to the Greek gods from Mycenean times. Bees were associated, too, with the Delphic oracle and the prophetess was sometimes called a bee. [4]


  1. Hesiod's Theogony gives the Gorgon, the Horae, the Moirai, and the Charites; later myth adds the Erinyes, the Graiae, the Sirens, the Hesperides, and Greek cult has given more: see the list in Scheinberg 1979:2.
  2. Rosen, Brenda (2009). The Mythical Creatures Bible: The Definitive Guide to Legendary Beings. Sterling Publishing Company, Inc. ISBN   978-1-4027-6536-0.
  3. Larson, Jennifer (1996). "The Corycian Nymphs and the Bee Maidens of the Homeric Hymn to Hermes". Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies: 341–357.
  4. Scheinberg, Susan (1979). "The Bee Maidens of the Homeric Hymn to Hermes". Harvard Studies in Classical Philology. 83: 1–28. doi:10.2307/311093. JSTOR   311093.

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