The name Melissa was reasonably common among nymphs and priestesses. When the name Melissae applied to the latter, the women usually served one of the Great Mothers (Rhea or Cybele) or a goddess of nature (Demeter or Persephone). The Neoplatonic philosopher Porphyry of Tyre (c. 234 - c. 305 CE) claimed that the priestesses of Demeter in Eleusis were known as melissae (bees). These women called Persephone Melitodes (Honeyed) and Artemis or the Moon Melissa (bee). The Greek poet and librarian Callimachus confirms Porphyry’s term for Demeter’s priestesses. As for a reason for this peculiar name, the most popular tradition claimed that Melissa was an older woman and priestess of Demeter. She lived in Corinth and had been initiated into the Eleusinian Mysteries by the goddess. The local women pressed Melissa to reveal the secrets of the Mysteries. When she refused, they murdered her and tore her to pieces. Demeter was furious at this preposterous sacrilege and sent a plague upon the women of Corinth. Melissa’s body parts became bees that befell the women and tortured them to no end.