Rhodius Apollonius.

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sels of Argus they lashed the ship stoutly with a well-
twisted cable from within, stretching it on either side, that
the timbers might hold fast by their bolts and have strength
to meet the breakers. 1 And quickly they scooped out a

1 The account of the launching of Argo is by no means easy to
understand in all its details. It seems that the heroes dug a trench in
front of the bows of the ship and a little way beneath her ; then, as she
tilted forward of her own weight, they placed rollers under her keel,
and continued their trench at a somewhat greater depth, and so on, at a

L. 343-395.] THE AKGONAUTICA. 17

space as wide as the ship's girth encompassed, and about
the prow into the deep they dug out all that she would
take to run in, when they hauled her down. And ever in
front of the keel they kept hollowing deeper in the ground,
and in the furrow did they lay smooth rollers, and on to
the first of these they tilted her forward, that she might
slide along them and be carried on. And above, on this
side and on that, they laid the oars across the ship, so as to
project a cubit, and they bound them to the tholes ; while
they stood there on either side at alternate oars and pushed
with hand and chest together. And amongst them went
Tiphys to encourage the young men to push in time.
Loudly he shouted to urge them, and they at once leant on
with all their might, and thrust her with one rush right
from out her place, while with their feet they strained
and strove ; and lo ! Pelian Argo went with them very
swiftly, and they darted from her sides with a cheer. Be-
neath her heavy keel the rollers groaned at the friction, and
around them dark smoke and flame leapt l up beneath the
weight, and into the sea she slid. Then did they check her
onward course and held her with a rope. And they fitted
oars on both sides to the tholes, and laid the mast and
shapely sails and stores within her.

Now when they had taken careful heed to each thing,
first they portioned out the benches by lot, two men being

lower and lower grade, until they eased her down to the water's edge.
After this, apparently (cf. 1. 278), they placed oars right across the ship
from side to side, so that the blades protruded on one side, the handles
on the other, alternately ; then making these fast with cords to the
tholes, they used them to push against, and so thrust Argo into deep
water with a rush.

If this is what the poet intends, we should have to assume that the
beach was naturally a sloping one ; otherwise the plan of the graduated
trench would have been a matter of some difficulty.

1 Kt]Kit. Strictly this word means " to ooze " of juices from burnt


told off to one bench, but the midmost bench, apart from
the other heroes, did they select for Heracles and Ancaeus,
who dwelt in the citadel of Tegea. For them alone they
left the middle seat, at once, without casting lots ; and
with one accord they entrusted Tiphys to mind the helm of
their ship with her good keel.

Next, hard by the sea, they raised a pile of shingle, and
builded an altar there upon the strand to Apollo, naming
it after him who holds the shore and favours those who go
aboard. And quickly they laid thereon logs of dry olive ;
meantime, the herdsmen of the son of .^Eson drove before
them from the herd two oxen ; these the young men of his
crew dragged to the altar, while others then held the lustral l
water and meal for sprinkling nigh. And Jason called
upon Apollo, the god of his fathers, and prayed, " Hearken,
O king, who dwellest in Pagasae and the city of ^Eson, that
is called after my sire, thou who didst promise me when I
sought to thee at Pytho to show me the accomplishment
and end of my journey. For 'twas thou thyself that wast
the cause 2 of the enterprise. Do thou then bring my ship
with my comrades safe and sound hither back to Hellas-
Then in thy honour will we lay hereafter on thy altar noble
sacrifices of bulls for all of us who shall return, and other
gifts will I bring to Pytho, and others to Ortygia in count-
less number. Come then and receive this sacrifice at our
hands, far-darting god ; which we have set before thee ; a
first gift, as an offering for our embarking on this ship ;
and may I loose my cables with a harmless destiny through

= water for washing the hands of those who offered the

ovXvxvrai = the bruised barley for sprinkling upon the victim and
the altar as a beginning of the ceremony. Cf. the phrase OV\VXVTO.
KUTopxeffBai, 7rpo\VTai in 1. 425 is used in the same sense.

3 Apollo was answerable, because he had given the oracle which
frightened Pelias into sending Jason on his dangerous voyage, to get
rid of him.

L. 396-453.] THE ARGONAUTICA. 19

thy guidance, and may soft breezes blow, wherewith we may
go in fair weather across the sea."

He spake, and, as he prayed, cast the barley-meal. And
those twain, Ancaeus the proud and Heracles, girt them-
selves to slay the steers. Now the one smote with his club
the middle of the head about the forehead, and forthwith
the ox lay fallen in a heap upon the earth. But Ancseus
struck the other on his broad neck with a brazen axe and
cleft the strong sinews, and down he tumbled, doubled up l
upon his horns. Quickly then their comrades cut the
oxen's throats, and flayed their hides ; next broke them up
and carved them, cutting out the sacred thighs, which they
wrapped closely in fat all together and burnt upon firewood.
Next the son of ./Eson poured pure libations ; and Idmon
was glad, when he saw the flame blaze up on every side
from the sacrifice and the smoke thereof leaping up favour-
ably in dark- gleaming wreaths ; and forthwith he declared
outright the will of the son of Leto.

" Lo ! it is the will of heaven and your destiny to come
hither again bringing the fleece with you, but countless
toils meantime await you as you come and go. But for
me 'tis fated to die by the hateful doom of a god, some-
where far away on Asia's strand. Even so came I forth
from my fatherland, though I knew my doom a while ago
from evil omens, that I might embark upon the ship, and
fair fame be left me in my home for my embarking."
, So spake he : and the young warriors heard his prophecy
and were glad for their return, though grief seized them
for the fate of Idmon. Now when the sun had passed the
still hour of noon, and the plough-lands were just shadowed
by the rocks, as the sun declined beneath the evening dusk ;
in that hour all strewed a deep couch of leaves upon the

Cf. Homer, Od. xxii. 84, where one of the suitors
when shot by Odysseus " falls doubled up over a table " (which he was
using as a shield) irepipprjdris Se Tpcnrey


sand and laid them down in order before the gray sea's
edge, and beside them lay vast stores of food and sweet
mead, which cupbearers drew forth in beakers ; next they
told each other tales in turn, such tales as young men oft
love to tell for their pastime l o'er the feast and wine, what
time the spirit of insatiate violence is far away. Now the
son of Jilson the while was lost in wonder, and was ponder-
ing each matter within himself like to one downcast, when
lo ! Idas noted him askance, and with loud voice railed upon
him, " Thou son of ^Eson, what plan is this thou turnest
over in thy heart ? Speak out thy will here in the midst.
Is it fear, that bugbear of cowards, that is coming upon
thee and mastering thee ? Be witness 'twixt us now, my
impetuous spear, wherewith I win myself renown far be-
yond other men in the wars, nor is it Zeus that helpeth me
the half as much as this my spear, yea, let it witness that
there shall come no deadly woe, and that no task shall re-
main unaccomplished while Idas is with thee, even though
a god should rise up against us. Such a man am I whom
thou art bringing from Arene to thy aid."

He spake ; and grasping in both hands a full goblet drank
off the pure sweet mead, and his lips and dark cheeks were
wet with wine ; but those others raised a din all together,
and Idmon lifted up his voice and spake, " God help thee, 2
fool ! deadly are thy thoughts, even beforehand, for thyself.
Is it that the pure mead makes thy bold heart to swell
within thy breast to thy undoing, and hath driven thee to
slight the gods ? Other are the words of comfort where-
with a man might cheer his fellow, but thou hast spoken
altogether presumptuously. Such a speech, 'tis said, the

i literally = to play with pebbles then = to amuse oneself
in any way.

2 caipovie almost = my good sir, with a tone of irony and rebuke,
and so always both in Homeric and Platonic Greek. A mild oath
perhaps gives the force of it most nearly.

L. 454-504.] THE ABGONATJTICA. 21

sons of Aloeus, 1 men of old time, did sputter forth against
the blessed gods ; and to them thou art nowise equal in
manhood ; yet were they both laid low by the swift arrows
of the son of Leto, for all their bravery."

He ended ; and Idas, son of Aphareus, laughed aloud his
fill ; and, with blinking " eyes, answered him with mocking
words, " Come now, tell me this by thy divination, whether
for me too the gods are fulfilling such another doom, as
that father of thine gave unto the sons of Aloeus. And
devise thee how thou mayest safely escape from my hands,
else shalt thou die for telling a prophecy light 3 as the

Thus in his wrath he upbraided him ; and the quarrel
would have gone further, had not their comrades and the
son of ^Eson himself called to them with one accord and
stayed them from their strife. Then too Orpheus lifted
up his lyre in his left hand and made essay to sing. He
sang how earth, and heaven, and sea, once all joined
together in unity, were separated, each apart, after a
deadly quarrel; and how, for ever in heaven, the stars,
and moon, and the paths of the sea have their steadfast
goal ; and how the mountains rose up, and how rivers
rushing noisily with their nymphs, and all creeping things
came into being. Next he sang how, at the first, Ophion
and Eurynome, daughter of Oceanus, held sway o'er snow-

1 The sons of Aloeus were Otus and Ephialtes, two enormous giants,
who at the age of nine were twenty-seven cubits high. They were
remarkable for their strength and daring ; they attempted to scale
heaven by piling Pelion on Ossa, which, says Homer, they would have
done had they grown to manhood, but Apollo slew them whilst yet in
their childhood.

2 t7nXAiwv = winking with the eyes so of the blinking gaze of a

3 nfTap.wmov = /taraiov, " idle," " vain ; " the old derivation, fiera
avipoQ = " that which the wind carries away with it," is not to be


capped Olympus, and how the one yielded up his honours
to the mighty hands of Cronus, while she gave way to
Rhea, and they plunged 'neath the waves of ocean. Awhile
did these lord it over the blessed Titan gods, whilst Zeus
was yet a child and thought as a child in his home beneath
the Cave 1 of Dicte, for not yet had the earth-born Cyclopes
made strong his hands with bolts of flashing lightning,
for 'tis these that bring glory to Zeus.

He ended, and checked his lyre and voice divine ; but
they, as he ceased, still leant their heads towards him with
eager ears, one and all hushed but hungry still by his en-
chantment, so strong a spell of music had he left within
their hearts. But not long after did they mix libations for
Zeus, as was his due, and piously poured them on the
blazing tongues, 2 and so bethought them of sleep for the

Now when the radiant Dawn with bright eyes looked
forth upon the high mountain-tops of Pelias, and the
headlands of the tossing main were swept into clear view
before the breeze ; in that hour uprose Tiphys, and at
once he bade his comrades go aboard and make ready the
oars. And strangely did the harbour of Pagasse, yea, and
Pelian Argo herself cry aloud, urging them to set forth.
For within Argo was laid one beam 3 divine ; this it was
that Athene made of oak from Dodona, and fitted all along
the keel. So they went up upon the benches one after
another, as before they had allotted to each in his place to
row, and sat them down in order beside their gear. And
in the midst sat Ancaeus and Heracles, that mighty man,

1 AtKTdiov, i.e. Cretan, from the cave Dicte in Crete, where Zeus
was brought up.

2 The tongues of the victims were burnt as a sacrifice to Hermes at
the very end of the feast. Cf. Homer, Od. iii. 332.

3 " One beam divine." This was the oaken keel cut from Dodona,
home of prophetic utterance, by Athene, who gifted it with human

L. 505-564.] THE ABGONAUTICA. 23

and nigh to him he set his club, and beneath his tread the
ship's keel sank deep. And now were the cables drawn in,
and they poured a cup of mead upon the sea. And Jason
with a tear turned his eyes away from his fatherland.

But they, like young men who range themselves to
dance to Phcebus, either in Pytho, or haply in Ortygia or
by the waters of Ismenus, and all together and in time
they beat the ground with nimble feet to the sound of the
lyre round his altar ; even so they in time to the lyre of
Orpheus smote with their oars the boisterous water of the
deep, and the waves went dashing by, while on this side
and on that the dark brine bubbled up in foam, boiling
terribly 'neath the might of those strong men. And their
harness flashed like flame in the sunlight as the ship sped
on, while ever far behind their course was white with foam,
like a track seen over a grassy plain.

On that day all the gods looked down from heaven at
the ship, and those men of courage half divine, who then
were sailing o'er the sea, a picked crew ; and upon the tops
of peaks stood the Pelian nymphs, marvelling to see the
work of Itonian Athene, and the heroes too, wielding their
oars in their hands. Yea, and from a mountain-top came
another nigh unto the sea, Chiron, 1 son of Philyra, and he
wetted his feet where the gray waves break, and with his
weighty hand he waved them on full oft, chanting the
while as they went a returning free from sorrow. And
with him his wife, bearing on her arm Achilles, son of
Peleus, sent a greeting to his dear father.

But when they had left the rounded headland of the
harbour by the cunning and skill of Tiphys, wise son of
Hagnias, who deftly handled the polished helm to guide
the ship stedfastly, then did they set up the mighty mast
in the cross-plank, and made it fast with stays, drawing

1 Peleus had entrusted his child to Chiron to be brought up, on the
day Thetis, his goddess wife, left him in anger for ever.


them taut on either side, and they spread the sails upon
it, stretching them along the yard-arm. Therewith a fresh
fair wind fell on them, so they fastened the ropes on the
deck to polished pins, set at intervals, and quietly they
sped beneath the long headland 1 of Tisa. And for them the
son of (Eager touched his lyre and sang in rhythmic song
of Artemis, daughter of a noble sire, protectress of ships,
who keepeth 'neath her care those peaks by the sea and
the land of lolchos ; and the fishes darting beneath the
deep sea, great and small together, followed bounding
through the watery ways. As when, in the track of the
shepherd, countless sheep follow to the fold filled to the
full with grass, while he goeth before them gaily piping
some shepherd's madrigal on his shrill pipe ; even so did
the fishes follow with them, and ever onward the steady
wind bare Argo.

Anon the misty 2 land of the Pelasgi, with its many corn-
fields, sank out of sight ; and past the Pelian cliffs they
went, speeding ever onward; then the Sepian 3 headland
opened to them, and Sciathus 4 by the sea came in view, and
in the distance were seen the Peiresian headlands and the
headland of Magnesia, calm and clear upon the mainland,
and the cairn of Dolops ; there they beached their ship
at eve, as the wind veered round, and in honour of Dolops
they burnt victims at nightfall by the swell of the heaving
deep. And two days they rested on the beach, but on the
third they put forth the ship, stretching the wide canvas
aloft ; wherefore men still call that beach the loosing
place of Argo.

1 " Headland of Tisa " a promontory either of Thessaly or

2 tjipia = either " misty," or " land of the dawn." The same epithet
is used of Egypt. IltXairywj' = QiaaciXuv.

3 A promontory in lolehos, so called because Thetis changed herself
into a cuttle-fish there when pursued by Pcleus.

4 An island not far from Eubcea.

L. 565-615.] THE ABGONAtTTICA. 25

Thence onward they sped past Melibcea, 1 seeing its black
and stormy strand. And at dawn they saw Homole close
to them lying on the deep, and past it they steered, nor
was it long before they were to sail away from the streams
of the river Amyrus. From thence they beheld Eurymenae,
and the sea-beat ravines of Ossa and Olympus ; and then
speeding on by the breath of the wind they reached at
night the slopes of Pallene, beyond the headland of
Canastra. 2 Now, as they fared on in the morning, the
Thracian hill of Athos 3 rose before them, which over-
shadows with its crest Lemnos, lying as far away as a well-
found merchantman could make by noon, even unto
Myrine. On the self-same day the wind blew on for them
till nightfall, exceeding fresh, and the sails of the ship
strained to it. But at sunset, when the wind fell, they
rowed, and came to Sintian Lemnos, 4 rugged isle.

There had all the men-folk together been ruthlessly slain
by the women's wanton violence in the past year ; for the
men had rejected their wedded wives from dislike, and had
had. a wild passion for captive maids, whom they brought
from the mainland opposite from their forays in Thrace ;
for the dire wrath of Cypris was upon them, for that they

1 A city in Thessaly. Homole, a mountain in Thessaly. Amyrus,
a river in Thessaly.

2 Canastra, a promontory of Pallene.

3 The highest point of the mountainous peninsula of Athos rises to
over 6,000 feet ; its shadow falls as far as Lemnos, which is half way
between Mount Athos and the Hellespont.

4 The men of Lemnos, called by Homer Thracian Sinties, had all
been massacred by the women on account of their infidelity to the
marriage vow ; this fact, however, was concealed from the Argonauts,
who remained there some time and became the fathers of a new race,
called Minyse, after their sires. Hypsipyle alone, the queen of the
island, had saved her aged father, Thoas, from the massacre by sending
him secretly over the sea. She now married Jason, and bore him twin
sons ; afterwards the other Lesbian women, discovering that she had
spared her father alive, drove her from the island.


long had grudged her her honours. Ah ! hapless wives,
insatiate in jealousy to your own grief. Not only did they
slay their husbands with those captives for their guilty
love, but the whole race of men as well, that they might
exact no vengeance thereafter for the pitiful murder. Alone
of all the women Hypsipyle spared Thoas her aged father,
who indeed was king over the people ; but him she sent to
drift o'er the sea in a hollow ark, if haply he might escape.
Him did fisher-folk bring safe to an island, formerly called
(Enoe, but afterwards Sicinus, from that Sicinus whom
(Enoe, the water-nymph, bare from the embraces of Thoas.
Now to these Lemnian women, one and all, the herding of
cattle, and the donning of bronze harness, and ploughing
the wheat-bearing tilth was an easier lot than the toils l of
Athene, whereat ever aforetime they busied them. Yet
for all that full oft would they peer across the broad sea in
grievous dread against the coming o the Thracians. Where-
fore when they saw Argo rowing near the island, forth-
with in all speed they did on their warlike gear, and
poured down to the beach from out the gates of Myrine,
like to Thyades who eat raw flesh, for they thought that
surely the Thracians were come ; and amongst them, she,
the daughter of Thoas, Hypsipyle, did on her father's
harness ; and they poured forth speechless with dismay ;
such dread was in their fluttering hearts. Meantime forth
from the ship the chieftains sent jEthalides, 2 their swift
herald, to whose care they entrusted their message and
the wand of Hermes, his own sire, who gave to him a
memory for all things, that waxed not old ; for even when

1 " The toils of Athene,'' i.e. the work of the distaff, embroidery,
weaving, and other elegant arts, of which Athene was patroness.

* yKt halides. son of Hermes and Eupolemia, herald of the Argonauts,
exemplified the doctrine of niTi^vxwotc. His soul, after passing
through numerous phases, at length took possession of the body of
Pythagoras, in which it still recollected its former migrations.

L. 616-679.] THE ARGONAUTICA. 27

he crossed the dreadful whirlpools of Acheron forgetf ulness
rushed not o'er his soul, but its portion is ever to change
to and fro, now counted amongst those beneath the earth,
now amongst living men in the sun-light. But why need
I tell out in full the tale of ^Ethalides ? He it was who
then persuaded Hypsipyle to receive the heroes, as they
came at dusk, toward the close of day ; nor did they loose
the cables of their ship at dawn to the breath of the north-

Now the women of Lemnos went through the city and
sat themselves in the assembly ; for such was the bidding
of Hypsipyle herself. And when they were gathered, one
and all, and come together, forthwith amongst them she
made eager harangue.

" My friends, come now, let us give the men gifts in
plenty, all that men should have to carry on a ship, food
and sweet mead, that so they may abide steadfastly outside
our battlements, and may not in pursuit of their business
get to know us too well, and a foul report spread far and
wide ; for we have wrought a great deed, which will not be
wholly to their liking, if they should learn it. Let this be
our plan now in this matter. But if any of you can devise
better counsel, let her arise, for to this end did I call you
hither." ,

So spake she, and sat down on her father's seat of stone.
And next 'uprose her dear nurse Polyxo, limping on feet
shrivelled with age, I trow, and leaning on a staff ; and
she longed exceedingly to have her say. And by her, with
her white hair about her head, sat four unmarried maidens.
So she stood in the midst of the assembly, and raising ever
so little her bent and skinny back, she spake thus :

" Gifts let us send to the strangers, as is pleasing
to Hypsipyle herself, for 'tis better to send them. But for
you, what plan have ye to keep your life, if a Thracian
army fall on you, or any other foe, as happeneth oft


'mongst men ? since even now yon host is come unex-
pectedly. And if any one of the blessed gods turn this
aside, yet hereafter there await us countless other woes
worse than battle, when the aged women are dead, and ye
younger maidens reach a cheerless old age, childless. How
then will ye live, poor creatures ? shall the oxen, yoked of
their own accord for you, drag the plough, that cleaves the
fallow, through the deep tilth, and straightway in the
f ulness of the year reap the harvest ? Of a truth o'er me,
methinks, the earth shall lie this very year that cometh,
albeit the Fates have hitherto shrunk away from me, and
I shall get my meed of burial even thus, as is right, or
ever misfortune arrive. 1 But I bid you younger women
heed these things well. For now before you open stands
the door of escape, if but ye will give over to the care of
strangers your homes and all your booty and your glorious

So spake she, and through the assembly ran a murmur
of assent. For her saying pleased them well. But after
her at once Hypsipyle, again uprising, took up her parable
and said :

" Why, then, if unto you all this purpose is pleasing, at
once will I send forth even a messenger to find their

She spake, and called to Iphinoe sitting near, " Eouse
thee, Iphinoe, I pray, and beg yon man who leads their
company to come unto us, that I may tell to him the word
that finds favour with my people, and bid his company, if
they will, set foot within our land and city boldly and with
a good heart."

She spake, and broke up the assembly ; and then started
to go to her own house. And so Iphinoe came unto the

1 \jt. it matters little to me what happens, for I feel assured my end
is very uear, although the Fates have shrunk away so long from my
hideous form, avrwg ^ ovruig .

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