A. Sutherland - AncientPages.com - There are many crimes in ancient Greek myths, but this story is about not only one crime but a terrible massacre committed by forty nine maidens, which are later terribly punished for their horrible wrongdoing.
This very powerful Greek legend says that these maidens were daughters to Danaus, son of Belus, king of Egypt, and twin brother of Aegyptus.
Danau had a plan; at the feast, Danaus gave each of his daughters a dagger and all of them had been told what to do. They had to obey their father. After the marriage, in the dead of night, they killed their husbands. Photo: Hellenica World.
Driven out of Egypt by his brother, Danaus fled with his 50 daughters (the Danaides) to Argos, where he became king. Soon thereafter the 50 sons of Aegyptus also arrived in Argos.
The sons of Aegyptus presented themselves to Danaus' daughters and asked to marry them and unfortunately, Danaus - having no choice - was forced to consent to their marriage with his daughters.
He knew that Aegyptus arrived to take over his new kingdom, so he organized a wedding party and decided to preside at the marriage feast.
But he had a plan; at the feast, Danaus gave each of his daughters a dagger and all of them had been told what to do. They had to obey their father. After the marriage, in the dead of night, they killed their husbands.
Only one of the girls, Hypermnestra, did not commit the crime. She felt pity for her young husband, Lynceus, and spared his life.
Only one of the girls, Hypermnestra, did not commit the crime. She felt pity for her young husband, Lynceus, and spared his life. Without doubt, Danaus brought her in front of the Argos court. Photo:artmight.com
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She woke her husband, told him the truth, and helped him to flee. Her father Danaus brought her in front of the Argos court and threw her into prison for her treachery to him.
One story says that she and Lynceus came together again and lived at last in happiness; they had a son, Abas, the great-grandfather of Perseus, the legendary founder of Mycenae and of the Perseid dynasty of Danaans.
Another story says that Aphrodite, the goddess of love, helped Hypermnestra saving her from punishment and her husband, Lynceus, the only survivor of the fifty sons of Aegyptus, who later killed Danaus to revenge for his brothers.
The forty-nine daughters of Danaus who killed their husbands were punished for their crime. They were compelled to pursue in the lower world as a punishment. At the river's edge they filled forever jars, full with holes, so that the water poured away and they must return to fill them again, and again.
Their torture would never end.
Written by – A. Sutherland AncientPages.com Staff Writer
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