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Marble relief of the 4th century BC depicting Staphylus (l) with Athena (r)

Staphylus[pronunciation?] (Ancient Greek: Στάφυλος "grape cluster") is one of several personages of ancient Greek mythology, almost always associated with grapes or wine:

  • The son of wine-god Dionysus and Ariadne.[1][2] His brothers include Oenopion ("wine drinker"), Thoas, Peparethus, Phanus and Euanthes ("the richly blooming").[3] Both Staphylus and Phanus are counted among the Argonauts.[4][5] As one of Rhadamanthys' generals, he was the founder of the colony of Peparethos on the island of Skopelos in the Northern Sporades island chain.[6] Staphylus dwelt in Naxos and was married to Chrysothemis, by whom he had three daughters: Rhoeo, who was a lover to Apollo,[7] Parthenos, and Molpadia or Hemithea.[8] The latter became the mother of Basileus with Lyrcus, after Lyrcus had made a journey to the oracle at Didyma. Staphylus is said to have enticed Lyrcus into too much drinking of wine and then when his senses were dulled by drunkenness united him with Hemithea.[9]
  • The beloved of Dionysus, from the island of Thasos. It is thanks to Dionysus' love for him that Thasian wine is distinguished.[10]
  • In a reconstructed myth, the son of Bacchus and Erigone, where Bacchus assumed the form of a grape which Erigone ate. She immediately realized that she was with child and in time gave birth to a son whom she named Staphylus.[5][11]
  • The husband of Methe and father of Botrys. The family held court in their palace at Assyria. They received Dionysus as guest and held a banquet in his honor. Staphylus died a sudden death the next morning after the feast; to console his wife and son, Dionysus named grape bunches after Staphylus, drunkenness after Methe, and grapes after Botrys.[12][13]
  • Son of Oenomaus, who fought on Dionysus' side against Poseidon in the conflict of the two gods concerning Beroe.[14]
  • Son of Silenus, who introduced the practice of mixing wine with water.[15]
  • A goatherd of King Oeneus, who discovered wild grapes as he was pasturing the king's goats and saw one of them chewing on the plant. He presented it to Oeneus, who in his turn invented the way of making the grapes into a drink. When Dionysus visited Oeneus, the king served him the new drink. Dionysus suggested that the drink be named oinos (wine) after Oeneus, and the grapes staphyloi after the goatherd Staphylus.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bibliotheca, Epitome of Book 4, 1. 9
  2. ^ Scholia on Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica, 3. 997
  3. ^ Hermann Steuding; Karl Pomeroy Harrington; Herbert Cushing Tolman (1897). Greek and Roman Mythology. Original from Harvard University: Leach, Shewell, and Sanborn. pp. 68, 69 (item 92). 
  4. ^ Bibliotheca, 1. 9. 16
  5. ^ a b McClintock, John (1889). Cyclopaedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & brothers. p. 989. 
  6. ^ Diodorus Siculus, Library of History, 5. 79. 2
  7. ^ Müller, Karl Otfried Müller (1844). Introduction to a Scientific System of Mythology (Translated by John Leitch). Original from the University of Michigan: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans. p. 341. 
  8. ^ Diodorus Siculus, Library of History, 5. 62. 3
  9. ^ Parthenius, Love Romances, 1; Longus, John Maxwell Edmonds (contributor), Parthenius, (Translated by George Thornley and Stephen Gaselee) (1916). "Daphnis & Chloe" and (dual books under one cover) "The Love Romances Of Parthenius And Other Fragments". Original from Harvard University: G.P. Putnam's Sons. pp. 259–263. 
  10. ^ Suda, Ε 1276 s. v. Enekheis: "Stafulos o eromenos Dionusou"
  11. ^ Realencyclopädie der Classischen Altertumswissenschaft, Band IIIA, Halbband 6, Sparta-Stluppi (1929), ss. 2147-2148 (remarking that the actual primary sources never suggested that Dionysus and Erigone had a child together)
  12. ^ Nonnus, Dionysiaca, 18–19. 59
  13. ^ Morgan, Thomas (1886). Romano-British Mosaic Pavements: A History of Their Discovery and... Original from the University of Michigan: Pavements, Mosaic. pp. 18 and 19. 
  14. ^ Nonnus, Dionysiaca, 43. 60
  15. ^ Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 7. 56 (57)
  16. ^ Probus on Virgil's Georgics 1. 9