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The daughters of Anius, the son of Apollo, to wit, Elais, Spermo, and Oeno, are called the Wine-growers: Dionysus granted them the power of producing oil, corn, and wine from the earth.1

1 As to these three women, the Winegrowers (Oinotrophoi, or Oinotropoi) see Epicorum Graecorum Fragmenta, ed. G. Kinkel, pp. 29ff.; Tzetzes, Scholiast on Lycophron 570, 581; Scholiast on Hom. Od. vi.164; Ov. Met. 13.632-674; Serv. Verg. A. 3.80; Dictys Cretensis i.23. Each of the Winegrowers received from Dionysus the power of producing the thing from which she derived her name; thus Elais, who took her name from ἐλαία, “an olive,” could produce olive oil; Spermo, who took her name from σπέρμα, “seed,” could produce corn; and Oeno, who took her name from οἶνος, “wine,” could produce wine. According to Apollodorus, the women elicited these products from the ground; but according to Ovid and Servius, whatever they touched was turned into olive-oil, corn, or wine, as the case might be. Possessing these valuable powers, the daughters of Anius were naturally much sought after. Their father, a son of Apollo, was king of Delos and at the same time priest of his father Apollo (Verg. A. 3.80), and when Aeneas visited the island on his way from Troy, the king, with pardonable pride, dwelt on his daughters' accomplishments and on the income they had brought him in (Ov. Met. 13.650ff.) It is said by Tzetzes that when the Greeks sailed for Troy and landed in Delos, the king, who had received the gift of prophecy from his divine sire (Diod. 5.62.2), foretold that Troy would not be taken for ten years, and invited them to stay with him for nine years, promising that his daughters would find them in food all the time. This hospitable offer was apparently not accepted at the moment; but afterwards, when the Greeks were encamped before Troy, Agamemnon sent for the young women and ordered them peremptorily to feed his army. This they did successfully, if we may believe Tzetzes; but, to judge by Ovid's account, they found the work of the commissariat too exacting, for he says that they took to flight. Being overtaken by their pursuers, they prayed to Dionysus, who turned them into white doves. And that, says Servius, is why down to this day it is deemed a sin to harm a dove in Delos. From Tzetzes we learn that the story of these prolific damsels was told by Pherecydes and by the author of the epic Cypria, from whom Pherecydes may have borrowed it. Stesichorus related how Menelaus and Ulysses went to Delos to fetch the daughters of Anius (Scholiast on Hom. Od. vi.164). If we may judge from the place which the brief mention of these women occupies in the Epitome of Apollodorus, we may conjecture that in his full text he described how their services were requisitioned to victual the fleet and army assembling at Aulis. The conjecture is confirmed by the statement of Dictys Cretensis, that before the Greek army set sail from Aulis, it had received a supply of corn, wine, and other provisions from Anius and his daughters. It may have been in order to ensure these supplies that Menelaus and Ulysses repaired to Delos for the purpose of securing the persons of the women.

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