Bees in Greek Mythology

Amphora - Archaic Greek. ca. 550 BCE. Vulci, Italy.
Amphora is a Storage Vessel for Wine, Corn, Oil or Honey.

Image Left - Greek Gods, Laios, Keleos, Kerberos and Aigolios, being stung by bees in the Dictaean Cave. The scene is depicted with much spirit and abundance of broad humour. The men are probably the impious four who, according to a curious legend, plundered the hives from the honey of which Zeus was nourished when an infant.
In Crete (says an ancient writer) there is said to be a cavern sacred to bees, where the story goes that Rhea gave birth to Zeus; and it is unlawful for any, be he god or man, to enter therein. Moreover, at a certain season year by year a flood of light streams forth from the cave; and tradition says that this takes place when the birth-blood of Zeus overflows. Now it happened that four men, attracted by the honey, encased themselves in bronze and ventured into the cave. Here they saw the swaddling-bands of Zeus; upon which their bronze armour split and the god was minded to slay them with his thunderbolt. But the Fates intervened on the ground that it was unlawful for any man to die in the cave. Zeus relenting transformed the intruders into birds.
The vase-painting gives, it will be seen, the moment after the bronze has fallen from the men, being stung by bees, before their metamorphosis into birds.

Image Right - Greek mythological figures; Satyrs (male companions of Pan) and Maenads (female followers of Dionysus)
Amphora is a Storage Vessel for Wine, Corn, Oil or Honey.
Amphora is Latin, from Greek amphoreus; an abbreviation of amphiphoreus; amphi- ("on both sides", phoreus ("carrier"). The word Amphora refers to vessel's with two carrying handles on opposite sides, meant to be carried from both sides.
(Front Side); Four male figures stung by bees, all nude and bearded; they are Laios, Keleos, Kerberos, and Aigolios, who plundered from the hives the honey on which the infant Zeus was nourished. The one on the left tries to drive off with a branch the bees which are stinging him on the knees, feet, and back; his left foot is drawn up in agony. The next to right is squatting down, full face, raising left hand to his head; bees are stinging him on the head, right arm, left knee and foot, and penis. The next, with a branch, is endeavoring to drive off bees which are stinging him in the breast and left arm. The last figure is crouching down to right, holding in his hands the disk-shaped stone on which one of the hives had been placed; he is being stung on the head, breast, left knee and penis. In the field are numerous other bees flying about.
(Back Side); Satyrs and Maenads: In the centre is a Maenad to left, dancing, with right arm raised, and another to right on each side, dancing, the one on right looking back. All have long hair, fillets, and long embroidered chitons with diploidia. On either side are two Satyrs facing them; of the two on the left, the greater part is lost.

Source: British Museum via Historical Honeybee Articles - Beekeeping History