Rhodius Apollonius.

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again made answer thus, as was fitting : " Why, lo ! ye
come as kinsmen l of my father and beg our kindly aid in
your wretchedness. For Cretheus and Athamas were
brothers ; and I, the grandson of Cretheus, am on my way
with these my comrades from Hellas itself into the city of
^]etes. But we will speak of these matters yet again to
each other ; but first put on raiment ; for by heaven's
guidance, I ween, have ye come to my hands in your

Therewith he gave them raiment from the ship to put
on. And at once thereafter made they for the temple of
Ares, to offer sacrifice of sheep, and right eagerly they set
themselves about the altar, which stood outside the roofless
temple, built of pebbles ; within is a black stone planted,
the holy stone whereto in days gone by all the Amazons
did pray, nor was it lawful, when these did come from the
mainland opposite, to burn sacrifices of oxen and sheep
upon this altar, but they kept great herds of horses and
sacrificed them. Now when the heroes had done sacrifice
and eaten the feast they had prepared, then did the son of
JEson take up his parable and begin to speak : " Zeus hath
still his eye on all things, I trow ; and of a surety we men
escape not his ken, those of us who be god-fearing, nor yet
those who be just ; for even so he rescued your father from
a murderous step-mother, 2 and gave him boundless wealth
away from her ; and even so hath he also rescued you un-
hurt from the destroying storm. And ye may fare upon
this ship this way or that, whither ye list, either to JEa, or
to the rich city of goodly Orchomenus. For 'twas Athene

1 yvwrot = ffvyytviie. The relationship comes thus : Cretheus and
Athamas were brothers. ^Eson was the son of Cretheus, Jason the son
of ^Eson. Phrixus was the son of Athamas, Argus the son of Phrixus.
Jason and Argus were therefore cousins.

1 <t>6voio firjrpvirj^, " murder by a stepmother," i.e. Ino, who was
jealous of her step-children.

L. 1162-1218.] THE ARGONAUTICA. 93

that built this ship and cut with brazen axe her timbers
about the peak of Pelion ; and with the goddess worked
Argus. But that ship of yours hath the angry wave riven
asunder, or ever she came nigh to the rocks which clash to-
gether the livelong day in the sea's narrow channel. But
come now, even ye, and help us in our struggle to bring the
fleece of gold to Hellas, and be our pilots, for I am sent to
make full atonement for the attempted sacrifice 1 of Phrixus,
that stirred the wrath of Zeus against the sons of ^Eolus."

So spake he to comfort them, but they would none of it
when they heard ; for they thought they would find J^etes
no gentle host, if they desired to take the ram's fleece.
Thus spake Argus, sore vexed that they were bent on such
a quest, " My friends, the strength that is in us shall never
be withheld from helping you, no, not one jot, when any
need arise. But terribly is J3etes furnished with deadly
cruelty. Wherefore I do greatly fear to voyage thither.
He avows him 2 to be the son of Helios, and around him
dwell countless tribes of Colchians, and he might match
even with Ares his dread war cry and mighty strength.
Yea, and 'twere no easy task to take the fleece away from
7?Eetes ; so huge a serpent keepeth guard around and about
it, a deathless, sleepless snake, which earth herself did rear
in the wolds of Caucasus, by the rock of Typhon, where
they say Typhon, smitten by the bolt of Zeus, the son of
Cronos, what time he stretched out his strong hands against
him, did drop warm gore from his head ; and he came with
this wound to the mountains and plain of Nysa ; where to this
day he lies, deep beneath the waters of the Serbonian 3 mere."

1 i.e. Pelias had sent Jason ostensibly to fetch the golden fleece, for
an oracle had said that there should be no peace for the sons of JEolus
until the fleece was brought to lolchos, for Zeus was wroth at the treat-
ment Phrixus had received ; Ovr)\ag 4>pioio is therefore = the attempted
sacrifice of Phrixus.

3 ffTivTcti, Lat. jactare, " avows himself, boasts."

3 " The Serbonian lake " is near Pelusium in Egypt.


So spake he ; and o'er the cheek of many did paleness
spread at once, when they heard the greatness of their
labour. But Peleus quickly answered and said, with brave
words, " Be not so exceeding fearful at heart, my trusty
friend. 1 For we are not so wanting in valiancy, as to be no
match for a bout in arms with ^Eetes ; nay, methinks we
too came hither knowing somewhat of war, for we are near
in blood to the blessed gods. Wherefore if he give us not
the fleece of gold for love, I trow his tribes of Colchians
shall not much avail him."

Thus did they hold converse together, until, satisfied
with food, they fell asleep. And when they woke at dawn,
a gentle breeze was blowing ; so they set the sails, which
did strain before the rushing wind ; and swiftly they left
the isle of Ares on the lee.

On the following night they passed the isle of Philyra, 2
where Cronos, son of Uranus, lay with Philyra, having
deceived E-hea, when he ruled the Titans on Olympus, and
that other, Zeus, was yet being reared in a cave in Crete by
the Idsean Curetes ; but the goddess caught them in the
midst of their dalliance ; and he sprang up and sped away
in the semblance of a horse with flowing mane, but she,
that child of Oceanus, Philyra, left that country and those
haunts in shame, and came to the distant hills of the
Pelasgi, where she bare to him in return for his love huge
Chiron, half horse, half god in appearance.

Thence they sailed on past the Macrones and the bound-
less coast of the Becheiri, and the lawless Sapeirae, and the
Byzerse next to them ; for ever onward they cleft their wav

1 riOtit, mostly an address of respect by a younger man to an elder,
though often, as here, the address of one friend to another.

3 So called from Philyra, the daughter of Ooeanus, who lived there.
Cronos, when he ruled over the Titans, formed a connexion with Philyra,
but being discovered by bis wife Khea, he changed himself into a stallion
and fled, while Philyra retired to Thessaly and there gave birth to Chiron
the Centaur, who was half man, half horse.

i. 1219-1279.] THE ARGOXATTTICA. 95

in haste, borne forward by the gentle wind. And as they
sailed, there came in sight a bay of the sea, and before
them rose up the steep cliffs of the Caucasian mountains,
where Prometheus was feeding with his liver an ea^le,
swooping back again and again, his limbs fast bound to the
hard rocks with bands of brass, unbreakable ; that eagle
did they see at eve skimming right above the ship with
loud rush of wings nigh to the clouds, and yet he made all
the sails to shake as he flapped his pinions. For he had
not the form of a bird of the air, but, when he moved bis
swift feathers, they were like to polished oars. And no
long time after, they heard a bitter cry, as the liver of
Prometheus was torn, and the welkin rang with his screams,
until again they marked the savage eagle soaring on his
way from the mountain ; and at night, by the skill of
Argus, came they to the broad stream of the Phasis. and
the uttermost ends of the sea.

Anon they furled and put away the sails and the yard-
arm within the hollow niast-hold. and they let down the
mast too along the deck, and quickly rowed into the river's
broad current ; and he dashed all round them, yet gave
way. Upon their left hand they kept steep Caucasus and
the Cytsean town of JE&, and next the plain of Ares and
that god's sacred grove, where the serpent keepeth watch
and ward o'er the fleece as it hangs on the oak's rough
branches. Then did the son of _son with his own hand
pour a libation sweet as honey, of unmixed wine, from a
golden chalice into the river to Earth and the gods of that
land, 1 and the spirits of heroes dead and gone ; and he be-
sought them to be his kindly helpers graciously, and to
Allow a fair anchoring of the ship. And forthwith Ancaeus

1 ivvaireuf = ty^wpioic, " gods of the country ;" a precaution usual
amongst Greeks to sacrifice to the gods and heroes of any new country
in which they might find themselves. In the same way Alexander of
Macedoa went out of his way to sacrifice to Zeus Ammon.


spake this word amongst them, " Lo ! we are come to the
Colchian land and the stream of Phasis ; 'tis high time to
make plans for ourselves, whether indeed we will try ./Eetes
with gentleness, or whether haply some different attempt
shall win the day."

So spake he ; and Jason, by the advice of Argus, bade
them row the ship into a shaded backwater ' and let her ride
at anchor in deep water, and that they found close by ;
so there they bivouacked for the night ; and no long time
after appeared the dawn to their longing eyes.

1 t'Aoe = properly " a marsh, water meadow," but this scarcely fits the
context ; possibly "a backwater''' is meant. Here they would run less
risk of being observed.



Hera and Athene persuade Aphrodite to send Eros to Medea. Mean-
time Jason comes to ./Eetes, king of Colchis, and begs the fleece ; but
the king was exceeding wroth, and set him great labours to perform,
namely, to yoke two fire-breathing bulls, and sow the dragon's teeth
upon Ares' acre, and then to slay the earth-born giants who should rise
o'er the lea.

But Medea is in love with Jason, and gives him drugs to tame those
bulls, telling him how to accomplish all. Wherefore Jason finished the
appointed task, to the grief and wonder of JEetes.


COME now, Erato, 1 stand at my side and tell, how Jason
brought the fleece hence to lolchos by the love of
Medea. For thou too hast a share in all that the Cyprian
queen decrees, and by thy cares dost charm maidens yet
unwed ; wherefore is joined to thee a name that tells of

Thus those chieftains abode in their ambush, unseen
among the thick reeds, and the goddesses, Hera and Athene,
were ware of them ; so they came unto a chamber, apart
from Zeus himself and the other immortal gods, and took
counsel together ; and first did Hera make trial of Athene :
" Do thou now first begin with thy plan, daughter of Zeus.
What is to be done ? wilt thou devise some crafty wile,
whereby they shall take the golden fleece from ^etes and
carry it to Hellas, or shall they haply persuade him with
gentle words and so prevail? For surely he is terribly
haughty. And yet it is not right that any attempt of ours
should be turned aside."

So spake she ; and Athene answered her at once : " I was
even pondering these very things myself, Hera, when thou
didst question me outright ; but not yet, methinks, have I

1 'Eparw, the Muse of dancing. The name of this Muse at first sight
seems introduced here merely to bring in a weak play upon words tptas,
'Eparu, sirtiparov. But as this third book is to relate Jason's wooing and
winning of Medea, there is a certain appropriateness in an address to
the Muse who presided over such festivities as were customary at
weddings. 'Eparai vocat. = 'Eparol Attice.


devised a plan to help those chieftains brave, though many
are the schemes my mind revolves."

Therewith those goddesses fixed their eyes upon the
ground before them, pondering separately in their hearts.
Anon, when she had thought thus awhile, Hera broke the
silence : " Let us hence to Cypris ; and, when we are come,
let us both urge her to speak unto her boy, if haply he can
be persuaded to shoot an arrow at the daughter of .^Eetes,
mighty sorceress, and bewitch her with love of Jason.
For, methinks, he would by her helping counsel bear the
fleece to Hellas."

So spake she ; and her sage plan pleased Athene, and
once more she answered her with winning words : " Ah !
Hera, my sire begat me to know nought of the darts of
love, nor wot I of any magic spell of desire. But if this
word pleaseth thee thyself, surely I will follow ; but thou
must speak when thou comest before her."

Therewith went they darting to the great house of Cypris,
the house which her lord of the strong arms had builded
for her, when first he brought her from Zeus to be his
bride. So they entered the courtyard and stood beneath
the corridor that led to her chamber, where the goddess
used to make ready the couch of Hephaestus. But he had
gone to his smithy 1 and anvils at dawn, a cavern vast
within a floating island, wherein he would forge all manner
of cunning work with the blast of fire ; so she was sit-
ting alone in her house on her rounded chair, facing the
door, and she was combing her hair with a golden comb,
letting it cover her white shoulders on either side, and she
was in the act of plaiting her long tresses when she saw them
before her, and stopped; and she bade them enter, and
arose from her throne and made them sit on seats ; then
sat she down herself and bound up her uncombed hair

1 Hephaestus' forge was said to be in Lipara, one of the isles of JEolus,
not far from Sicily.

L. 20-76.] THE ARGONAUTICA. 101

with her two hands. And thus with a smile she spake to
them in wheedling words, " Fair ladies, what purpose or
business doth bring you hither after so long a time ? and
why are ye twain come that came not very often aforetime
to visit me ? for ye are far above all other goddesses."

Thus then did Hera answer her in turn : " Thou dost
mock us ; but the heart of us twain is stirred by sore mis-
chance. For even now in the river Phasis the son of ^Eson
stays his ship, and those others who come with him to
fetch the fleece. Verily for them all do we fear exceedingly,
since their work is nigh, but most of all for the son of
^]son. Him will I save, though he sail even to Hades, to
free Ixion 1 there below from his fetters of brass, so far as
there is any strength in my limbs, that Pelias may not
mock if he escape his evil doom ; he who in his haughtiness
left me without my meed of sacrifice. Yea, and, beyond all
that, Jason was ever dear to me aforetime, from that day
when he met me at the mouth of the swollen Anaurus, as
he came up from hunting, and I did test the righteousness
of men ; and all the hills and towering crags were coated
with snow, and their torrents came rushing down from
them with loud roar. But he had compassion on me in
the likeness of an old hag, and took me up upon his
shoulders and bore me through the headlong flood. Where-
fore he hath honour of me unceasingly, nor shall Pelias
work outrage upon him, even though thou grant him not
his return."

So spake she ; but speechlessness seized Cypris. For she

1 Ixion was bound to an ever-turning wheel by Zeus because he had in-
sulted Hera. " Even him," says Hera, " I would release if Jason required
it, for I remember how he showed kindness to me on the day I made
trial of men's hearts." Hera had assumed the form of an old woman,
in which guise Jason had found her on the banks of the swollen
torrent Anaurus; and when she would go over but dare not, Jason
carried her across upon his shoulders, and knew not that it was the


was awe-struck at seeing Hera ask a favour of her, and
she answered her with kindly words, " Dread goddess, may
nought worse than Cypris l ever come to thee, if I neglect
thy desire in word or deed, so far as these weak hands can
effect aught ; and let me have no thanks in return."

So spake she ; and Hera once again made prudent speech :
" We come not to thee through lack of might or strength
at all. But, as thou canst, softly bid thy boy bewitch the
daughter of ^Eetes 2 with passion for the son of JSson. For
if she do help him with friendly counsel, lightly, I trow,
will he take the golden fleece and return to lolchos ; for she
is very crafty."

So spake she; and Cypris said unto them both, " Hera,
and Athene, he will obey you rather than me. For shame-
less as he is, haply will he have some little reverence at
sight of you, but me he regardeth not, but ever and aye he
slighteth me, and striveth with me. And lo ! overcome by
his naughtiness, I have a mind to break his bow and ill-
sounding arrows before his eyes ; for in a burst of anger he
threatened me on this wise, that if I would not keep my
hands off him, whilst he was mastering his temper, I would
have only myself to blame hereafter."

So spake she ; and the goddesses smiled, and looked at
one another ; but Cypris answered with a sigh, " Others can
laugh at my sorrows, nor ought I to tell them to every
one ; enough that my own heart knows them. But now
since this is the will of both of you, I will try and coax
him, nor will he disobey."

So spake she ; and Hera stroked her dainty hand, and
with a soft smile spake to her in answer, " Yes, even so
accomplish this business now at once, as thou sayest, O

1 i.e. may all of whom you make requests be as easy to persuade as
Aphrodite, then will you ever gain your point. Merely a rhetorical way
of saying that she will do all she can.

a i.e. Medea.

L. 77-137.] THE AEGONAUTICA. 103

Cytherea, and distress not thyself at all, nor wrathfully strive
with thy child, for he shall cease tormenting thee hereafter."
Therewith she left her seat, and Athene went with her.
So they twain went back again, and Cypris too went on her
way through the wolds of Olympus, to see if she could find
her son. And she found him far away in a blooming
orchard of Zeus, not alone, but Ganymede was with him ;
he it was whom Zeus on a day brought to dwell in heaven
with the immortals, eager for his beauty. And those
twain were sporting with golden dice, as youths alike in
habits will. Now the one, even greedy Eros, held the palm
of his left hand quite full already beneath his breast as he
stood there upright ; and a sweet blush was mantling, on
the skin of his cheeks ; but the other sat crouching near in
moody silence, and he held two dice, casting one forth upon
the other, where he sat, and he was angered at the loud
laughter of Eros. Now when he had lost these at once as
well as the first, away he went with empty hands, helpless,
and he was not ware of Cypris as she drew nigh ; so she
stood facing her child, and at once, laying her hand upon
his mouth, she spake to him : " Thou monstrous rogue, why
laughest thou ? surely thou didst cheat him, poor dupe, at
that game, and thou didst not fairly get the better of him/,
But come now, accomplish readily the business I shall tell
thee of, and verily I will give thee that fair plaything,
which his fond nurse, Adresteia, made for Zeus, in the
cave of Ida, while he was yet a little child, a ball well-
rounded, than which thou canst get no fairer toy from the
hands of Hephaestus. Of gold are his circles fashioned, 1

1 The description of the ball is rather puzzling on account of the
numerous allusions to the seams in it. KVK\U = the pieces of which the
ball was made ; di//ifcc are the fastenings which hold it together ;
j>a<t>ai are the stitches of these fastenings ; while over and around all the
fastenings runs a spiral (s'Xt) of blue, not as a fastening, but as an orna-
ment to the whole work.


and round each runneth a double fastening, holding them
together, but the seams thereof are hidden, for a blue
spiral runneth over them all. And if thou toss it in thy
hands, it sends a track of flame through the air, like a star.
Yea, this will I give thee, but do thou shoot at the daughter
of ^letes and bewitch her with love for Jason, and let
there be no delay, for then would the gratitude be

So spake she ; and 'twas a welcome word to him when
he heard. Down he threw all his toys, and caught hold of
the goddess's robe with both hands eagerly on either side.
And he besought her instantly to give it him at once ; but
she met him with gentle words, and drew his cheek to hers
and put her arms round him and kissed him, answering :
" Be witness 1 now thine own darling head and mine, that I
will surely give it thee, and will not deceive thee, if thou
fix thy shaft in the heart of the daughter of ^Eetes."

Thus she ; and he gathered his dice together, and, after
counting them all carefully, cast them into the fold of his
mother's bright robe. Next he slung about him with a
belt of gold his quiver, which was hanging on a tree-
trunk, and he took up his bended bow, and went on his
way from the halls of Zeus through the fruitful orchard.
Then came he forth from the heavenly gates of Olympus,
where is a path down from heaven ; for the world's two
poles, the highest points on earth, whereon the sun at his
rising rests with his earliest rays, uphold steep mountain-
tops ; while below, on the one side, Earth, the life-giver,
and the cities of men, and sacred river-streams, and, on
the other, hills and sea all round appeared to him, as he
passed through the wide upper air.

Now the heroes sat in council on the ship's benches, in
their ambush apart, in a backwater of the river. And

1 i.e. I swear by myself and by the love I bear you.

L. 138-196.] THE ARGONATJTICA. 105

amongst them the son of ^Eson himself was speaking,
while they, sitting quietly in their place in order, did listen :
" My friends, surely I will tell you what seems good to me
myself ; but 'tis for you to bring it to pass. For all alike
share this quest, and all alike can speak; and he who
silently withholds his purpose and counsel, let him know,
that 'tis he and he alone who robbeth this expedition of its
return. Do ye others abide here quietly in the ship with
your arms ; but I will go to the halls of JEetes, taking the
sons of Phrixus and two comrades as well. And when I
meet him, I will first see what words may do, whether he
be willing to give us the golden fleece for love, or, if ' he
will not, but, trusting to his might, will not heed our
quest. For thus of himself shall we learn his ill-will afore
and devise, whether to meet him in the field, or whether
there shall be some other plan to help us, if we restrain our
battle-cry. But let us not deprive him of his possession
thus by force, till we have tried what words can do. Nay,
'twere better first to go and conciliate him with words.
Full oft, I wis, hath a word easily accomplished at need,
what might would scarce have won, in that it seemed
soothing. Yea, and this man too once welcomed gallant 2
.Phrixus as he fled from the wiles of a step-mother and the
sacrifice 3 his father had prepared. For all men in all lands,
even the most shameless, do reverence and regard the
ordinance of Zeus, the god of strangers."

So spake he ; and forthwith the young men agreed to the
word of the son of ^son, and^ there was not one who could
bid him do otherwise. So then he roused the sons of

1 }E icoi ov. The icai shows that the speaker does not anticipate that
JEetes will give up the fleece for love.

a dfivfjtova, purely an " epitheton ornans," without any reference to
the man's moral character or attributes, much as we say " my honourable
friend," " the noble lord," &c.

3 i.e. the sacrifice of his own son and daughter.


Plirixus and Telamon and Augeas to go with him ; and in
his hand he took the wand of Hermes ; l and anon forth
they went from the ship, beyond the reeds and water,
toward the country over a rising plain. This, they say, is
called the plain of Circe, and on it were growing in rows
many willows and osiers, 2 on whose branches hang dead
men, bound with cords. For to this day 'tis an abomina-
tion to Colchians to burn the corpses of men with fire ;
nor is it lawful to lay them in the earth, and heap a cairn
above them ; but two 3 men must roll them up in hides un-
tanned, and fasten them to trees afar from the town. And
yet the earth getteth an equal share with the air, for they
bury their women folk in the ground; for such is the
custom they have ordained.

Now as the heroes went through the city, Hera, with
friendly intent, shed a thick mist on them, that they might
reach the house of ^Eetes, unseen by the countless Colchian
folk ; but straight when they were come from the plain to
the city and house of JSetes, then again did Hera disperse
the cloud. And they stood at the entrance, astonied at the
king's fenced walls and wide gates and columns, which
stood in rows upholding the walls ; and above the house

1 ffKij-Trrpov 'Epfjfiao. This wand had been entrusted in the outset to
the herald ^Etbalides as the badge of his sacred office its presence
would insure the safety of the bearer.

2 Curious customs of the Cok-hians, who do not bury men, but hang

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