In Greek mythology, Melampus, or Melampous ( Μελάμπους ) , son of Amythaon and Idomene , was a soothsayer and healer who could talk to animals. A number of pseudepigraphal works of divination circulated under his name.
Melampus in Myth
As a young boy, he told his servants not to kill two snakes. Grateful, the snakes gave Melampus the ability to speak with animals.
Melampus lived in Pylos during the reign of Anaxagoras or possibly Proetus. The prince suffered from a strange malady and the king offered a reward for anybody that could heal him. Melampus killed an ox and talked to the vultures that came to eat the corpse. They said that the last time they had had such a feast was when the king made a sacrifice. They told Melampus that the prince had been frightened of the big, bloody knife and the king tossed it aside to calm the child. It had hit a tree and injured a hamadryad, who cursed the prince with the sickness. The hamadryad told Melampus that he boy would be healed if the knife was taken out of the trunk of the tree and boiled, then the rusty water that resulted dranken by the prince. Melampus followed her directions and demanded two thirds of the kingdom for himself, and one third for his brother, Bias. The king agreed.
When the women of Argos were driven mad by Dionysus, in the reign of Anaxagoras or possibly Proetus, he was brought in to cure them, but demanded a third of the kingdom as payment. The king refused, but the women became wilder then ever, and he was forced to seek out Melampus again, who this time demanded both a third for himself and another third for his brother Bias.
After this there were three kings ruling Argos at any time, one descended from each of Bias, Melampus, and Anaxagoras. Melampus was succeeded by his son Mantius, and his house of Melampus lasted down to the brothers Alcmaeon and Amphilochus, who fought in the Trojan War.
Late in his life, Melampus was kidnapped. In his cell, he overheard two termites talking, claiming they would be finished eating through Melampus' ceiling the next morning. Melampus demanded a move and made such a ruckus that the kidnappers acquiesced. When the ceiling collapsed the next morning, the kidnappers decided he was a prophet and to hold on to him might offend the gods. They let him go.
Beside the entrance to the sanctuary of Dionysus is the grave of Astycratea and Manto. They were daughters of Polyidus, son of Coeranus, son of Abas, son of Melampus, who came to Megara to purify Alcathous when he had killed his son Callipolis.
...In Aegosthena is a sanctuary of Melampus, son of Amythaon, and a small figure of a man carved upon a slab. To Melampus they sacrifice and hold a festival every year. They say that he divines neither by dreams nor in any other way.
The Argives are the only Greeks that I know of who have been divided into three kingdoms. For in the reign of Anaxagoras, son of Argeus, son of Megapenthes, the women were smitten with madness, and straying from their homes they roamed about the country, until Melampus the son of Amythaon cured them of the plague on condition that he himself and his brother Bias had a share of the kingdom equal to that of Anaxagoras. Now descended from Bias five men, Neleids on their mother's side, occupied the throne for four generations down to Cyanippus, son of Aegialeus, and descended from Melampus six men in six generations down to Amphilochus, son of Amphiaraus.
Bias wooed Pero, daughter of Neleus. But as there were many suitors for his daughter's hand, Neleus said that he would give her to him who should bring him the kine of Phylacus. These were in Phylace, and they were guarded by a dog which neither man nor beast could come near. Unable to steal these kine, Bias invited his brother to help him. Melampus promised to do so, and foretold that he should be detected in the act of stealing them, and that he should get the kine after being kept in bondage for a year. After making this promise he repaired to Phylace and, just as he had foretold, he was detected in the theft and kept a prisoner in a cell. Apollodorus, Library and Epitome 1.9.12
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Dictionary of Greek Mythology