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The Minyades (Greek: Μινυάδες) were three sisters in Greek mythology who were daughters of Minyas, and the protagonists of a myth about the perils of neglecting the worship of Dionysus.[1] Their names were Alcathoe (or Alcithoe), Leucippe and Arsippe (although instead of "Arsippe", Claudius Aelianus calls the latter "Aristippa", and Plutarch "Arsinoë"; Ovid uses "Leuconoe" instead of "Leucippe").[2][3][4]


At the time when the worship of Dionysus was introduced into Boeotia, and while the other women and maidens were reveling and ranging over the mountains in Bacchic joy, these sisters alone remained at home, devoting themselves to their usual occupations, and thus profaning the days sacred to the god. Dionysus punished them by changing them into bats, and their work into vines.[5] Plutarch, Aelian, and Antoninus Liberalis, though with some differences in the detail, relate that Dionysus appeared to the sisters in the form of a maiden, and invited them to partake in the Dionysian Mysteries. When the sisters declined the invitation, the god metamorphosed himself successively into a bull, a lion, and a panther, and the sisters were driven mad.

In this state of madness, they were eager to honor the god, and Leucippe, who was chosen by lot to offer a sacrifice to Dionysus, gave up her own son Hippasus, whom the sisters tore to pieces. The sisters afterwards roamed over the mountains in a frenzy, until at last Hermes changed them into bats. Plutarch adds that down to his time the men of Orchomenus descended from that family were called psoloeis (ψολόεις), that is, mourners, and the women oleiai or aioleiai (ὀλεῖαι or αἰολεῖαι), that is, the destroyers.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Schmitz, Leonhard (1867). "Alcithoe". in William Smith. Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. 1. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. pp. 97. 
  2. Claudius Aelianus, Varia Historia 3. 42)
  3. Plutarch, Quaestiones Graecae 38
  4. Ovid, Metamorphoses, 4. 168
  5. Ovid, Metamorphoses iv. 1—40, 390—415

This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology by William Smith (1870).

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Minyades. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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