Dana´des in Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology
（*Danai/+des), the fifty daughters of DanaŘs, whose names
are given by Apollodorus (2.1.5) and Hyginus (Hyg. Fab.
170), though they are not the same in both lists. They were
betrothed to the fifty sons of Aegyptus, but were compelled
by their father to promise him to kill their husbands, in
the first night, with the swords which he gave them. They
fulfilled their promise, and cut off the heads of their
husbands with the exception of Hypermnestra alone, who was
married to Lynceus, and who spared his life. (Pind. N.
10.7.) According to some accounts, Amymone and Berbyce also
did not kill their husbands. (Schol. ad find. Pyth. 9.200;
Eustath. ad Dionys. Perieg. 805.) Hypermnestra was punished
by her father with imprisonment, but was afterwards restored
to her husband Lynceus. The Danaides buried the corpses of
their victims, and were purified from their crime by Hermes
and Athena at the command of Zeus. DanaŘs afterwards found
it difficult to obtain husbands for his daughters, and he
invited men to public contests, in which his daughters were
given as prizes to the victors (Pind. Ryth. 9.117.) Pindar
mentions only forty-eight Danaides as having obtained
husbands in this manner, for Hypermnestra and Amymone are
not included, since the former was already married to
Lynceus and the latter to Poseidon. Pausanias (7.1.3. Comp.
3.12.2; Hdt. 2.98) mentions, that Automate and Scaea were
married to Architeles and Archander, the sons of Achaeus.
According to the Scholiast on Euripides (Hecub. 886), the
Danaides were killed by Lynceus together with their father.
Notwithstanding their purification mentioned in the earlier
writers, later poets relate that the Danaides were punished
for their crime in Hades by being compelled everlastingly to
pour water into a vessel full of holes. (Ov. Met. 4.462,
Heroid. xiv.; Hor. Carm. 3.11. 25; Tib. 1.3. 79; Hyg. Fab.
168; Serv. ad Aen. 10.497.) Strabo (viii. p.371 ) and others
relate, that DanaŘs or the Danaides provided Argos with
water, and for this reason four of the latter were
worshipped at Argos as divinities; and this may possibly be
the foundation of the story about the punishment of the
Danaides. Ovid calls them by the name of the Belides, from
their grandfather, Belus; and Herodotus (2.171), following
the titles of the Egyptians, says, that they brought the
mysteries of Demeter Thesmophoros from Egypt to
Peloponnesus, and that the Pelasgian women there learned the
mysteries from them. - A Dictionary of Greek and Roman
biography and mythology, William Smith, Ed.