That is, the soother or propitiator (from μελισσω or μειλίσσω). From the nymphs (see Melissa) the name Melissae was transferred to priestesses in general, but more especially to those of Demeter,1 Persephone,2 and to the priestess of the Delphian Apollo.3 According to the Scholiasts of Pindar and Euripides, priestesses received the name Melissae from the purity of the bee.

Compare a story about the origin of bees in Servius on Virgil's Aeneid i, 434.



  1. Scholiast on Pindar, l.c.; Callimachus. Hymn to Apollo, 110; Hesychius, s.v. Μελισσαι.
  2. Scholiast on Theocritus, xv, 94.
  3. Pindar. Pythian Odes iv, 106; Scholiast on Euripides' Hippolytus, 72.


  • Smith, William. (1870). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. London: Taylor, Walton, and Maberly.

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