Recently Added Images 

- Art Gallery -




Hyrai is a toponym mentioned in Homer's catalogue of the ships, where the leading position in the list is given to the contingents from Boeotia, where Hyria and stony Aulis, where the fleet assembled, lead the list.[1] The site was assigned to the territory of Tanagra by Strabo,[2] who is not more precise about its location, which was apparently no longer inhabited in his time. Pausanias does not mention it. Modern identifications of the site near Aulis place it near Megalo Vouno, on a mound of the coastal plain near Drámesi (Paralía), where the surface is strewn with Late Helladic pottery sherds.[3] and excavation has revealed Early Mycenaean pottery from a tomb.[4]

There[5] a childless king "Hyreus", who had prayed to the gods for a son. Zeus, Poseidon and Hermes, visitors in disguise responded by urinating on a bull's hide and burying it in the earth which produced a child. He was named Orion—as if "of the urine"— after the unusual event.[6]

Like some other archaic names of Greek cities, such as Athenai or Mycenae, Hyrai is a plural form: its name once had evoked the place of "the sisters of the beehive". According to Hesychius, the Cretan word hyron meant 'swarm of bees' or 'beehive'[7] Through his "beehive" birthplace Orion is linked to Potnia, the Minoan-Mycenaean "Mistress" older than Demeter—who was herself sometimes called "the pure Mother Bee". Winged, armed with toxin, creators of the fermentable honey (see mead), seemingly parthenogenetic in their immortal hive, bees functioned as emblems of other embodiments of the Great Mother: Cybele, Rhea the Earth Mother, and the archaic Artemis as honored at Ephesus. Pindar remembered that the Pythian pre-Olympic priestess of Delphi remained "the Delphic bee" long after Apollo had usurped the ancient oracle and shrine. The Homeric Hymn to Apollo acknowledges that Apollo's gift of prophecy first came to him from three bee-maidens.


  1. ^ Iliad II.496; E.V. Rieu renders the placename Hyrie.
  2. ^ IX.404. Strabo's passage is considered to have been taken in its entirety from Apollodorus' Commentary ofn the Catalogue of Ships (Carl W. Blegen, "Hyria" Hesperia Supplements 8 Commemorative Studies in Honor of Theodore Leslie Shear (1949:39-42,442-443) p. 39).
  3. ^ Blegen 1949
  4. ^ Mountjoy, P.A. Orchomenos 5: Mycenaean Pottery from Orchomenos, Eutresisand Other Boeotian Sites (Munich; Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften) 1983. Drámesi is included.
  5. ^ Ovid does not specify the site, for which Hyreius is an eponym.
  6. ^ Servius on Aeneid 1.539; Ovid, Fasti 5.537ff; Hyginus, Poetic Astronomy 2.34, noted in Graves 1960 41.f.3.
  7. ^ Kerenyi Dionysos: Archetypal Image of Indestructible Life 1976 pp 42-3; G. W. Elderkin, "The Bee of Artemis" The American Journal of Philology 60.2 (1939, pp. 203-213) p. 209.

Peneleus, Leitus, and Arcesilaus 
led the Boeotians, with Clonius and Prothoenor.  
Their men came from Hyria, rocky Aulis,
Schoenus, Scolus, mountainous Eteonus,
Thespeia, Graia, spacious Mycalassus,
men holding Harma, Eilesiun, Erythrae;
men holding Eleon, Hyle, Peteon, 
Ocalea, the well-built fortress Medeon,
Copae, Eutresis, Thisbe, city full of doves;
men from Coronea, grassy Haliartus;
men from Plataea, Glisas, those who held 
fortified Lower Thebes and sacred Onchestus,
with Poseidon's splendid grove; men from Arne,
land rich in grapes, Midea, sacred Nisa,
and distant Anthedon. Fifty ships came with these men,                       
each with one hundred and twenty young Boeotians.   
Iliad ,Book 2

Ancient Greece

Science, Technology , Medicine , Warfare, , Biographies , Life , Cities/Places/Maps , Arts , Literature , Philosophy ,Olympics, Mythology , History , Images

Medieval Greece / Byzantine Empire

Science, Technology, Arts, , Warfare , Literature, Biographies, Icons, History

Modern Greece

Cities, Islands, Regions, Fauna/Flora ,Biographies , History , Warfare, Science/Technology, Literature, Music , Arts , Film/Actors , Sport , Fashion



Greek-Library - Scientific Library

Retrieved from ""
All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License




Hellenica World