Nature God


Aristaeus, God of the Gardens by François-Joseph Bosio

Aristaeus, God of the Gardens by François-Joseph Bosio (1812–1817)

Louvre Museum, Paris / JastrowCC BY-SA 4.0


Aristaeus was a Greek hero and nature god. The son of Apollo and the nymph Cyrene, he was raised by the earth goddess Gaia and by the Horae (or by the wise Centaur Chiron, depending on the source). Aristaeus became an expert in many valuable skills and arts, including beekeeping, shepherding, olive-growing, hunting, healing, and prophecy.

One famous myth told of how Aristaeus inadvertently caused the death of Eurydice, Orpheus’ wife (she was bitten by a snake while fleeing his unwanted advances). As punishment for this act, all of Aristaeus’ bees were killed.

But with the help of the gods, Aristaeus found a way to magically regenerate his bees through a process called bugonia: he sacrificed some bulls to the nymphs, and a new swarm of bees emerged from the carcasses.

Aristaeus was a popular figure, venerated throughout the Greek world, including in Thessaly (his birthplace), Boeotia (where he fathered Actaeon), and Ceos (which he saved from drought and plague). He was fondly remembered for sharing his vast knowledge wherever he traveled.[1]