The Greek myth of the Inotropes or Inofores (“wine growers” or “wine makers”), that of the three sisters (Ino, Elais, Spermo), whose names were associated with the three main products of the Greek lands (wine, oil, wheat), begins in Minoan Crete.
According to the myth, Anius was the illegitimate son of Apollo and Rhoeo, who was the daughter of Staphylus and granddaughter of Dionysus. When Rhoeo became pregnant with Apollo's child, Staphylus, enraged by his daughter's pregnancy, and in order to punish her, locks her in a coffin and throws her into the sea. The waves wash her up on the shores of Euboea, where Rhoeo bears her son and names him Anius for the grief (ania) he has caused her.
When Anius grew up, Apollo took him to Delos where he was made a seer, a priest and the king of the island. Anius married Dorippe and they had a son and three daughters, Ino, Elais and Spermo, of whom he dedicated the daughters to the god Dionysus, wishing for his family to be under his protection.
It is said that the name of the Inotropes came from Dionysus himself, who, in exchange for Anius's offering, gave to each of his great-granddaughters a unique gift, "to make wine, olive oil and wheat from the earth"; that is, Ino to make wine, Elais to produce olive oil and Spermo to grow wheat from the soil - the three most precious Greek products constituting the Mediterranean diet.
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