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themselves, with all their leaves, upon the fringe of the
Thracian shore. So mighty a man was Orpheus, whom
the son of JEson, by the counsels of Chiron, did persuade
and take to help him in his toils from his kingship over
Bistonian Pieria.

Anon came Asterion ; he it was whom Cometes did beget
by the waters of swirling Apidanus, when he dwelt in
Peiresia, hard by the Phylleian hill, where mighty Apidanus *
and divine Enipeus do unite, flowing into one stream from
their distant sources.

To these came Polyphemus, 2 son of Elatus, having left
Larissa ; who erst, what time the Lapithae armed against

1 The Apidanus and Enipeus, two rivers in Thessaly. The Phylleian
mountain is in Macedonia. Peiresia, or Pieria, name of a Macedonian
district and town.

2 The Polyphemus here mentioned is not the same as the giant
shepherd of Sicily, whom Odysseus blinded. This hero, who figures
afterwards as the loyal and trusty friend of Heracles, had already dis-
tinguished himself in the famous battle between the Lapithae and the
Centaurs at the wedding feast of Pirithous.


the Centaurs, joined the fray as the youngest of the mighty
Lapithse. Now on that day were his limbs weighed down
with wine, but firm abode his warlike spirit still, even as

No long space was Iphiclus, uncle of the son of ^Eson,
left behind in Phylace ; for ^iEson had wedded his sister,
Alcimede of Phylace ; whence the claims of blood and kith
bade him enrol himself in the muster.

Neither did Admetus, lord of Pherse, rich in sheep, abide
beneath the peak of the Chalcodonian mountain.

Erytus and Echion too, sons of Hermes, well skilled in
craftiness, and rich in broad cornlands, lingered not in
Alope ; and yet a third arrived to join them as they were
starting, .ZEthalides, their kinsman ; l him by the stream of
Myrniidonian Amphrysus did Eupolemeia, maid of Phthia,
bear ; but those other twain were sons of Antianeira,
daughter of Menetes.

Came too Coronus, son of Cseneus, 2 leaving rich G-yrton, a
goodly man, yet scarce his father's match. For minstrels
tell how Caeneus, though he liveth yet, was slain by the
Centaurs ; what time, alone and apart from the other
chiefs, he routed them ; and, when they suddenly rallied
again, they could not make him give way nor slay him ;
but he, unconquered and unflinching, passed beneath the
earth, smitten by the heavy pines they hurled on him.

Next came Mopsus, sprung from Titaron ; him the son
of Leto had taught the augury of birds beyond all men ;

1 yvwroe here as elsewhere in Apollonius Rhodius means " kinsman,"
not " well-known."

2 Cseneus took part in the battle between the Lapithse and Centaurs.
Ovid, Metam. xii. 171 sqq., relates how Cseneus had originally been a
beautiful maiden named Csenis ; this maiden Poseidon loved and changed
into a man who should be invulnerable ; so when in the battle the Cen-
taurs could not kill Cseneus with sword or spear, they buried him alive
beneath a mass of trees, but even so his spirit sped away in the form of
a bird.


likewise came Eurydamas, son of Ctimenus, who had his
dwelling in Dolopian Ctimene, nigh unto the Xunian 1

Moreover Actor sent forth his son Mencetius from Opus,
to go with the chieftains.

And Eurytion followed, and valiant Eribotes ; one the
son of Teleon, the other of Irus, son of Actor ; verily,
famous Eribotes was sprung from Teleon, and Eurytion
had Irus for his sire. With these went a third, Oileus,
matchless for chivalry, and skilled enow in rushing on the
rear of the foe, what time their ranks give way.

From Eubcea Canthus hied him forth ; he it was whom
Canethus, son of Abas, was sending with eager feet ; yet
was he never to turn again and reach Cerinthus. For his
fate it was with Mopsus, that skilled diviner, to wander to
his death in the utmost ends of Libya. For of evils none
is too far away for man to meet therewith; seeing that
men buried those twain even in Libya, as far from Colchis
as the rising and the setting of the sun are seen to be from
each other.

Next then gathered to the muster Clytius and Iphitus,
wardens of (Echalia, sons of Eurytus the harsh that
Eurytus, to whom the far-darting god gave a bow ; yet had
he no joy of the gift, for of his own choice he strove with
the giver himself.

After these the sons of JEacus joined the quest ; they
came not both together, nor from the same place ; for they
dwelt apart, keeping aloof from jiEgina, since the day,
when in their witlessness they slew their kinsman Phocus.
Now Telamon had settled in Salamis, isle of Attica ; while
Peleus went away and builded him a home in Phthia.

Next came the warrior Butes from Cecropia, the son of

1 The Xunian lake is in Thessaly. The Scholiast says it was so
called from being on the confines of Thessaly and Boeotia, and so common.
(vv6v = KOIVOV) to both ; it was not far from lake Bcebe.

L. 67-111.] THE AEGONAUTICA. 7

goodly Teleon, and Phalerus of the stout ashen spear.
Alcon, his sire, had sent him forth, albeit he had no other
sons to nurse the evening of his life ; yet for all he was
his well-beloved, 1 yea, his only-begotten, still would he
send him to win renown among those heroes bold.

But Theseus, who far excelled all the sons of Erechtheus,
did an unseen 2 bond keep back beneath the land of Taenarus,
for thither had he gone along with Peirithous. Verily
these twain might 3 have made the accomplishment of their
toil lighter for them all.

And Tiphys, son of Hagnias, left his Thespian folk in
Siphas ; a cunning prophet he to foretell a rising tumult
amid the waves of the wide sea, and cunning to divine
storms of wind and the course of a ship from the sun and
the stars. Him did Tritonian Athene herself rouse to the
gathering of the chiefs, and he came amongst men eager for
his coming ; for it was Athene, too, that builded the swift
ship, and with her had Argus, son of Arestor, fashioned it

1 rr]\vytTO. Whatever be the derivation of this much-disputed word,
one meaning seems to cling to it throughout Apollonius Rhodius, and it
is to be remembered that the Alexandrine usage of words does not
necessarily correspond with that of earlier writers. The Alexandrine
etymology was not unfrequently very faulty ; and so in translating this
doubtful Homeric word as " well-beloved," from the idea of affection
naturally attaching to the last born child, we shall be following the
meaning of the author, although perhaps he misunderstood the word

2 air)\o. Apollonius greatly affects the use of Homeric words,
though not by any means always in their Homeric sense, which possibly
was misinterpreted by the critics of Alexandria. The word aiSrj\og is
used here and elsewhere by the poet in the sense of " unseen," probably
from a false etymology, though into a controversy upon Homeric words,
which are still in many cases " sub judice," we cannot here attempt to

Theseus, attempting to carry off Persephone from Hades, was over-
come and bound by an invisible agency to a rock from which he could
not rise.

3 An ellipse of " if they had been there."


by her counsels. Wherefore was Argo far the best of all
the barques that ever crossed the sea with oars.

Next came Phlias from Araethyrea, where he dwelt in
plenty by the grace of Dionysus, his father, in his home
by the springs of Asopus.

From Argos came forth Talaus and Areius, two sons of
Bias; and mighty Leodocus, whom Pero, daughter of
Neleus, bare; for her sake Melampus, son of ^Eolus,
endured grievous misery in the steading of Iphiclus.

Nor are we told that mighty Heracles, stout of heart,
made light of the earnest prayer of the son of ^Eson. Nay,
when he heard the report that the heroes were gathering,
he changed his path anew from Arcadia and came to
Lyrceian Argos, whither he was bringing alive a boar that
battened in the glens of Lampeia l beside the vast marsh of
Erymanthus ; and he cast him down from off his mighty
back, fast bound in chains, at the entrance to the assembly
of the Mycenaeans, while himself started off as he listed
against the purpose of Eurystheus; and with him came
Hylas, his trusty squire, in the bloom of youth, to bear his
arrows and to keep his bow.

Next came the son of divine Danaus, Nauplius. Lo!
he was son of Clytoneus, the child of Naubolus ; and
Naubolus was the son of Lernus ; and of Lernus we are
told that he was the son of Prcetus, whom Nauplius begat ;
for the maid Amymone, daughter of Danaus, in days gone
by, bare, from the embraces of Poseidon, Nauplius, who far
excelled all men in seamanship.

And hist of those, who dwelt in Argos, came Idmon ;
for he would be there, although from augury he knew his
fate ; lest the people should grudge him a fair fame. He,
of a truth, was no son of Abas, but the child of Leto him-
self begat him to swell the number of the famous race of

1 A mountain in Arcadia, in which the river Erymanthus rises.


; l yea, and himself did teach him divination, and to
heed the flight of birds, and to read signs in blazing fire.

Moreover, .ZEtolian Leda sent forth from Sparta strong
Polydeuces and Castor, skilled to curb fleet steeds ; these,
her well-beloved sons, she bare at one birth in the halls of
Tyndarus, and when they would go she said not nay, for
her thoughts were worthy the bride of Zeus.

From Arene came the sons of Apharetus, Lynceus and
Idas, of overweening pride, both too confident in their great
strength ; and Lynceus too excelled in the keenness of his
sight, if that is really a true legend, that he could see with
ease a man even beneath the earth.

And with them Periclynienus, son of Neleus, started to go,
eldest of all the children that were born to divine Neleus
in Pylos ; him Poseidon gifted with boundless might, and
granted that 2 whatsoever he should pray to be during the
fray, that should he become in the stress of battle.

Again, from Arcadia came Amphidamas and Cepheus,
who dwelt in Tegea, the heritage of Apheidas, the two sons
of Aleus ; and eke a third followed in their train, Ancaeus,
whom his own father Lycurgus was sending ; he was elder
brother to those twain, but was left behind in the city that
he might care for Aleus in his old age, but he sent his own
son to join his brethren. And the young man went on his
way, brandishing the skin of a bear of Maenalus, and in his
right hand a great two-edged axe. For his grandsire
Aleus had hidden his weapons in an inner closet, if haply
he might stay him even yet from setting out.

There came too Augeas, who, legend saith, is son to
Helios ; and over the men of Elis this prince held sway,

1 ./Eolus, the son of Hellen, had two sons, Cretheus and Athamas ;
JEson was the son of Cretheus ; Jason, the son of ./Eson.

2 Periclymenus had the power of changing his shape at will during

TJ here is demonstrative z=" that."


glorying in his wealth ; but greatly did he long to see the land
of Colchis and vEetes in person, the leader of the Colchians.

And Asterius and Amphion, sons of Hyperasius, came
from Achaean Pellene, which on a day their grandsire
Pelles founded on the crags by the sea-shore.

To these, again, came Euphemus, leaving Tsenarus ; he
it was whom Europe, daughter of Tityus, of giant strength,
bare, outstripping all in speed of foot. He would run
upon the sea's gray swell, and never wet his swift feet;
but, moistening just the soles thereof, he sped along his
watery l path.

And there came two other sons of Poseidon ; the one, to
wit, Erginus, who had left the town of noble Miletus ; the
other, Ancaeus, the proud, who had come from Parthenie,
seat of Imbrasian 2 Hera ; both these boasted their knowledge
of seacraft and of war.

Next came valiant Meleager, son of (Eneus, having
started from Calydon, and Laocoon too, who was brother
of (Eneus ; yet were they not sons of one mother, but him
did a bondwoman bear ; he it was whom (Eneus sent, now
that he was grown up, to guard his child ; so while yet a
youth he entered that brave band of heroes, and none, me-
thinks, mightier than he had come, save Heracles alone, if
he had stayed but one year 3 longer there and been trained

1 citpfi. The meaning of this word in this passage at any rate is
clearer than its etymology. From the context it obviously = " wet,"
but Homeric scholars will remember passages in which this rendering is

2 'IpPpaoiTie, I.e. Samian. The Imbrasus is a river in Samos, near
which, according to one legend, Hera spent her early years.

i 3 \vKaftavra. It is difficult on etymological grounds to account for
this word. Both in Homer and in the Alexandrine imitators of his
style it seems to mean "a year." One derivation connects it with
\VKTI fiaivu = the path of light, i.e. the sun's course, i.e. the year ; but
this is scarcely less fanciful than the Scholiast's suggestion that it is a
variant form of Xvyufiav ra, from Xvyov, " an osier," the colour of which,
he says, is black, " and with blackness the year departs."

L. 174-231.] THE ARGONAUTICA. 11

up amongst the ^Etolians. And lo ! his uncle Iphiclus, the
son of Thestius, bare him company on that journey, a,
spearman good, and skilled enow as well to match himself
with any in close fight.

And with him was Palaemonius, son of Leriius, of Olenus ;
son of Lernus men called him, but he drew his lineage from
Hephaestus, wherefore he was lame of foot ; but none would
have the hardihood to scorn his form and manliness, where-
fore he too was numbered amongst the other chiefs, swel-
ling the fame of Jason.

From the Phocians then came Iphitus, sprung from
Naubolus, son of Ornytus ; now he had been Jason's host
aforetime when he came to Pytho to ask an oracle about
his voyage ; for there did Iphitus receive him in his halls.

Next came the sons of Boreas, Calais and Zetes, whom,
on a day, Oreithyia, daughter of Erechtheus, bare to Boreas
at the verge of wintry Thrace ; thither it was that Thracian
Boreas had snatched her away from Cecropia, as she was
circling in the dance by the banks of the Ilissus. And
from afar he brought her to the spot men call Sarpedon's
rock, beside the stream of the river Erginus, and there he
shrouded her in dark clouds, and had his will of her.
These his two sons made strong pinions move on either
ancle as they rose, a mighty marvel to behold, radiant with
scales of gold ; and about their backs, from the crown of
the head and on" either side the neck, dark hair was waving
in the breeze.

Nor yet had Acastus, son of stalwart Pelias himself, any
longing to abide within his father's house ; nor Argus
either, servant of the goddess Athene ; nay, for they too, I
ween, were to be counted in the muster.

This, then, is the tale of those who gathered to the son
of Jilson to aid him with their counsel ; whom the neigh-
bouring folk called Minyan chieftains, one and all, since
most of them, and those the best, avowed them to be of the


blood of the daughters of Minyas ; even so Alcimede, the
mother of Jason himself, was sprung from Clymene, a
daughter of Minyas.

Now when the thralls had made all things ready, where-
with ships are furnished for their freight, whenso business
calls men to make a voyage across the sea ; in that hour
they betook them to the ship through the city to the place
men call the headland of Pagasae, 1 in Magnesia ; and around
them a crowd of folk ran thronging eagerly ; but they
showed like bright stars amid clouds, and thus would each
man say as he gazed on them flashing in their harness :
" King Zeus, what is the intent of Pelias ? whither is he
sending such a muster of heroes from out the Panachsean 2
land ? They will sack the homes of JEetes with baleful fire
the very day they see them, if so be he give them not the
fleece of his own accord. But the voyage may not be
shunned, nor shall their toil be fruitless, if they go."

So spake they, one here, one there throughout the city ;
and the women lifted up their hands full oft toward
heaven to the immortal gods, praying that they would
grant the accomplishment of their return as their heart
desired. And one to another would thus complain through
her tears : " Ah, hapless Alcimede, to thee too hath sorrow
come, late though it be, nor hast thou finished thy course
with joy. Surely JSson is a man of sorrows, and that in no
small measure. Yea, better for him had it been, if ere this
he had been wrapped in his shroud 3 and were lying 'neath
the earth, a stranger still to evil enterprises. Would that
the black wave had engulfed Phrixus too, fleece and all,

1 Pagasae, the starting-point and also the landing-place on the return
of the expedition, is a headland of Magnesia ; there was a harbour there
in the historical days of the Greek states.

2 Thessaly is called Panachsean because it was first named Achaea,
from Achaeus, the son of Xuthas.

3 KTipia generally = possessions of any kind, here = shroud. Of.

L. 232-281.] THE AKGONAUTICA. 13

on the day that the maiden Helle perished ! But no ! that
prodigy of ill uttered l a human voice, that it might bring
grief and countless woes to Alcimede, in days to come."

Thus would the women speak as the heroes went on their
way forth. And many thralls, both men and maids, were
already gathering, and his mother flung herself on Jason's
neck. For piercing grief had entered each woman's breast ;
and with her his father, bowed by baleful age, made moan
upon his bed, closely veiled from head to foot.

And Jason, the while, was soothing their grief with
words of comfort ; but he signed to the thralls to take up
his weapons of war, and they in silence and with downcast 2
look took them up. But his mother, so soon as she had
thrown her arms around her boy, so clung to him, while
her sobs 3 came ever more thick and fast ; as when a maiden
in her solitude is fain to cast her arms about her gray-
haired nurse and weep, one who hath none left to defend
her, but she leads a cruel life under a step-mother, who ill-
treats her tender years with many a flout ; and as she
weeps, her heart within her is held fast in misery, nor can
she utter 4 half the grief she yearneth to ; even thus was Al-
cimede weeping loud and long, as she held her son in her
arms. And in her affliction she spake this word : " Ah !
would that I had straight given up the ghost and so for-
gotten my troubles, on the day I heard king Pelias declare
to my sorrow his evil hest, that thou, my child, with thine

1 The ram which rescued Phrixus and Helle from the cruelty of
their step-mother Ino had the power of human speech.

2 car?j0 literally =" with heads bowed down with woe."

3 icXaiovaa dSivtartpov. Another Homeric phrase. aSivog = thick,
close ; so the meaning seems to be " with sobs coming quicker and
quicker upon each other ; " perhaps " choking " is an English equiva-
lent. Homer uses the word frequently of " thronging sheep " (ddiva

4 tK<t>\vKai is literally the boiling and bubbling of water heated in a


own dear hands mightest have buried me ; since that was
all I yet could wish of thee, for all else that thy nurture
owed I have long enjoyed. Now shall I, who erst was so
admired by the Achaean women, be left like a slave in my
empty halls, miserably wasting away in longing for thee,
over whom 1 once had much joy and glory, my only son for
whom I loosed my maiden zone l for the first time and the
last. For the goddess Eileithyia 2 exceedingly did grudge
me many children. Ah me ! for my blind folly ! Little I
recked of this, even in dreams, that Phrixus would be an
evil for me to shun."

Thus was she, poor lady, sobbing and wailing, and the
women her handmaids took up the wail in turn, but Jason
spake to her softly with words of comfort : " Mother mine,
lay not such piteous grief on me thus all too much, for by
thy tears shalt thou not keep from suffering ; nay, thou
wilt join sorrow on to sorrow. For the gods allot to
mortals woes they cannot see. Take heart to bear the lot
of mortals for all thy heaviness of soul, and cheer thee with
the solemn promise of Athene and with the god's answer,
for very favourable was the word of Phoebus, and after
these with the aid of the chieftains. But now do thou
with thy handmaidens abide quietly within the house, and
be not a bird of ill omen to our ship ; for my clansmen and
my thralls shall lead me on my way thither."

He spake, and forth from the house started on his path.
Even as Apollo goes forth from his fragrant shrine through
holy Delos, or Claros, or through Pytho, in his might, or
wide Lycia by the streams of Xanthus ; in such beauty
went he through the throng of folk, and there arose a shout

1 The poetical allusion is to the custom of young married women
dedicating the fjurpa or U>I>T] to Artemis after the birth of their first

a Eileithyia, i.e. the goddess who comes to aid women in childbirth;
the Romans called her Lucina, afterwards identified with Diana.

L. 282-342.] THE ARGONAUTICA. 15

of men giving commands all together. And there met him
Iphias, the aged priestess of Artemis, protectress of the
city ; and she clasped him by his right hand but could not
say a word for all her longing, since the crowd went hasting
on ; so she turned aside and left him there, as an old dame
must before younger folk ; and lo ! he passed by and was
gone far away.

Now when he had left the streets of the town with their
fair buildings, and was come to the headland of Pagasse ;
there did his comrades welcome him, abiding together be-
side the ship Argo. There she stood at the river mouth,
and they were gathered over against her ; when lo ! they
saw Acastus and with him Argus coming forth from the
city to them, and they marvelled to see them hasting thither
with all speed, against the will of Pelias. And the one,
Argus, son of Arestor, had fastened about his shoulders a
bull's hide, reaching to his feet, black, with the hair upon
it ; but the other had a fair mantle of double woof, which
his sister Pelopeia gave to him. But Jason refrained for
all that from questioning the pair on each point, but bade
them seat themselves at the assembly ; for there were they
sitting one and all in rows on furled sails and the mast
that lay upon the ground. And amongst them the son of
jiEson spake with good intent, " For the rest, whatsoever a
ship should be furnished withal lies ready against our start,
for all hath been done well and in order ; therefore no long
space will we hold back from our voyage on that account,
when but the winds blow fair. Nay but, friends, since our
return to Hellas again is for all of us, and for all is the
voyage to the land of ^etes, choose ye therefore now un-
grudgingly the best of you for leader, to whom each thing
shall be a care, to take upon him our quarrels and our
covenants with strangers."

So spake he : and the young men looked round at bold
Heracles sitting in their midst ; and with one shout they


bade Jason declare him leader ; but he forthwith, from
where he sat, stretched out his right hand and uttered his
voice, " Let none offer this honour to me. For I will never
consent ; wherefore I will even stay another from rising up.
Let him who gathered us together, also lead the throng."

So spake he in the greatness of his heart; and they
would have it as Heracles bade. Then arose warlike Jason
himself in his gladness, and to his eager listeners thus made
harangue : "If then 'tis your will that your fame be in my
hands, no longer let the voyage be delayed as hitherto.
Now forthwith let us appease Phoebus with sacrifice and
make a feast at once ; and whilst my thralls, the overseers
of my steadings, go forth, whose business it is to make good
choice of oxen and drive them hither from the herd ; mean-
time will we drag the ship to sea, and do ye place all the
tackling therein and allot the oars amongst the benches ;
and let us the while build an altar on the strand to Apollo,
lord of embarkation, who in answer to my prayer hath
promised to declare and show the passage o'er the sea, if
haply by sacrifice to him I may begin my contest with the

So spake he, and was the first to turn him to the work,
and they rose up obedient to him ; and they piled up their
garments apart in rows on a smooth ledge of rock, over
which the sea burst not with its waves, but long ago the
stormy brine had washed it clean. First then by the coun-

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