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  • A minor god in Greek mythology, which we read largely through Athenian writers, Aristaeus, was the culture hero credited with the discovery of many useful arts, including bee-keeping; he was the son of Apollo and the huntress Cyrene. Aristeus was a cult title in many places: Boeotia, Arcadia, Ceos, Sicily, Sardinia, Thessaly, and Macedonia; consequently a set of "travels" was imposed, connecting his epiphanies in order to account for these widespread manifestations. If Aristaeus was a minor figure at Athens, he was more prominent in Boeotia, where he was "the pastoral Apollo" and was linked to the founding myth of Thebes by marriage with Autonoë, daughter of Cadmus, the founder. Aristaeus may appear as a winged youth in painted Boeotian pottery, similar to representations of the Boreads, spirits of the North Wind. According to Pindar's ninth Pythian Ode and Apollonius' Argonautica, Cyrene despised spinning and other womanly arts and instead spent her days hunting, but, in a prophecy he put in the mouth of the wise centaur Chiron, Apollo would spirit her to Libya and make her the foundress of a great city, Cyrene, in a fertile coastal plain.

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