Danaus in Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology
（Δαναός), a son of Belus and Anchinoe, and a grandson of
Poseidon and Libya. He was brother of Aegyptus, and farther
of fifty daughters, and the mythical ancestor of the Danai.
(Apollod. 2.1.4, &c.) According to the common story he was a
native of Chemnis, in the Thebais in Upper Egypt, and
migrated from thence into Greece. (Hdt. 2.91.) Belus had
given Danaüs Libya, while Aegyptus had obtained Arabia.
Danaus had reason to think that the sons of his brother were
plotting against him, and fear or the advice of an oracle
(Eustath. ad Hom. p. 37), induced him to build a large ship
and to embark with his daughters. On his flight he first
landed at Rhodes, where he set up an image of Athena Lindia.
According to the story in Herodotus, a temple of Athena was
built at Lindus by the daughters of Danaüs, and according to
Strabo (xiv. p.654) Tlepolemus built the towns of Lindus,
Ialysus and Cameirus, and called them thus after the names
of three Danaides. From Rhodes Danaüs and his daughters
sailed to Peloponnesus, and landed at a place near Lerna,
which was afterwards called from this event Apobathmi.
(Paus. 2.38.4.) At Argos a dispute arose between Danaüs and
Gelanor about the government, and after many discussions the
people deferred the decision of the question to the next
day. At its dawn a wolf rushed among the cattle and killed
one of the oxen. This occurrence was to the Argives an event
which seemed to announce to them in what manner the dispute
should terminate, and Danaus was accordingly made king of
Argos. Out of gratitude he now built a sanctuary of Apollo
Lycius, who, as he believed, had sent the wolf. (Paus.
2.19.3. Comp. Serv. ad Aen. 4.377, who relates a different
story.) Danaüs also erected two wooden statues of Zeus and
Artemis, and dedicated his shield in the sanctuary of Hera.
(Paus. 2.19.6; Hyg. Fab. 170.) He is further said to have
built the acropolis of Argos and to have provided the place
with water by digging wells. (Strab. i. p.23, viii. p. 371;
Eustath. ad Hom. p. 461.) The sons of Aegyptus in the mean
time had followed their uncle to Argos; they assured him of
their peaceful sentiments and sued for the hands of his
daughters. Danaüs still mistrusted them and remembered the
cause of his flight from his country; however he gave them
his daughters and distributed them among his nephews by lot.
But all the brides, with the exception of Hypermnestra
murdered their husbands by the command of their father.
[DANAIDES.] In aftertimes the Argives were called Danai.
Whether Danaüs died a natural death, or whether he was
killed by Lynceus, his son-in-law, is a point on which the
various traditions are not agreed, but he is said to have
been buried at Argos, and his tomb in the agora of Argos was
shewn there ae late as the time of Pausanias. (2.20.4;
Strab. viii. p.371.) Statues of Danaus, Hypermnestra and
Lynceus were seen at Delphi by Pausanias. (10.10.2.) - A
Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology,
William Smith, Ed.