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*Me/lissa), that is, the soother or propitiator (from μελισσω or μειλίσσω), occurs:

1. As the name of a nymph who discovered and taught the use of honey, and from whom bees were believed to have received their name, μέλισσαι (Schol. ad Pind. Pyth. 4.104.) Bees seem to have been the symbol of nymphs, whence they themselves are sometimes called Melissae, and are sometimes said to have been metamorphosed into bees. (Schol. ad Pind. 1. c. ; Hesych. s. v. Ὀροδεμνίαδες; Columell. 9.2; Schol. (ad Theocrit. 3.13.) Hence also nymphs in the form of bees are said to have guided the colonists that went to Ephesus (Philostr. Icon. 2.8) ; and the nymphs who nursed the infant Zeus are called Melissae, or Meliae. (Ant. Lib. 19; Callim. Hymn. in Jov. 47; Apollod. 1.1.3.)

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