Danaides, according to the Grecian legend, 50 daughters of Danaus, married to the 50 sons of their uncle AEgyptus. (See Danaus.) Their father made them promise to murder their husbands on their wedding night. This promise they all fulfilled except Hypermnestra, who spared her husband Lynceus. Her father imprisoned her for this act, but she afterward gained his forgiveness, and was restored to her husband, who after the death of Danaus succeeded to the throne of Argos. According to some writers, he murdered Danaus with his own hands. The other Danaides buried the bodies of those they had slain, and after this expiatory act were purified from their crime by Mercury and Minerva. Danaus, to procure other husbands for them, instituted public games, in which his daughters' hands were the prizes of the victors. Though the idea is apparently inconsistent with that of their purification, the Danaides were represented as condemned in Hades to pour water into sieves, in the vain endeavor to fill them, mocked, like Sisyphus, with the delusive hope of ultimate success. This is the generally received version of the story of the Danaides; but some poets represent Lynceus as avenging the death of his brothers by the murder of all the sisters save his wife.
Other portions of the myth are differently given.