Melampus starts a run of 'black' names. He was a seer, the son of Amythaon and Idomene, and his name means 'black foot', from melas, 'black' and pous, podos, 'foot'. We can interpret this in three different ways, literally, allusively, or historically.

As a literal meaning, the name refers to an incident that occurred when he had just been born: Idomene put her baby in the shade but by mistake left his feet exposed to the sun, where they duly acquired an impressive tan. Allusively, he could have been a 'son of darkness', an Obscure one', this being a reference to his powers of prophecy.

Historically, the stories about Melampus could have originated in Egypt, where in fact Melampodes was a nickname for the Egyptians (who paddled in the black mud of the Nile when sowing their crops!). The choice can confidently be left to the reader, since each interpretation is as valid, or invalid, as the others.