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Apollonius of Rhodes

ancient Greek poet

Apollonius of Rhodes (fl. first half of 3rd century BCE) is best known as the author of the Argonautica, an epic poem about Jason and the Argonauts and their quest for the Golden Fleece.

Contents

QuotesEdit

Argonautica (3rd century BC)Edit

 
Moved by the god of song, I set out to commemorate the heroes of old who sailed the good ship Argo up the Straits into the Black Sea and between the Cyanean Rocks in quest of the Golden Fleece.
 
On that day all the gods looked down from heaven upon the ship and the might of the heroes, half-divine, the bravest of men then sailing the sea.
 
She threw her left arm round his neck in her eagerness to kiss his gentle lips. Then with her right hand she drew his elbow down and plunged him in midstream.
 
The Harpies swooped down through the clouds and snatched the food from his mouth and hands with their beaks.
 
The first thing you see will be the two Cyanean Rocks, at the end of the straits. To the best of my knowledge, no one has ever made his way between them, for not being fixed to the bottom of the sea they frequently collide...
 
Send out a dove from Argo to explore the way. If she succeeds in flying in between the Rocks and out across the sea, do not hesitate to follow in her path.
Quotations in English are taken from The Voyage of Argo, trans. E. V. Rieu (1959), unless otherwise noted. The Argonautica (Penguin Classics, 2nd edition, 1971), ISBN 978-0140440850.


Main article: Argonautica

Book I. Preparation and DepartureEdit


  • Ἀρχόμενος σέο Φοῖβε παλαιγενέων κλέα φωτῶν
    μνήσομαι οἳ Πόντοιο κατὰ στόμα καὶ διὰ πέτρας
    Κυανέας βασιλῆος ἐφημοσύνῃ Πελίαο
    χρύσειον μετὰ κῶας ἐύζυγον ἤλασαν Ἀργώ.
    • Moved by the god of song, I set out to commemorate the heroes of old who sailed the good ship Argo up the Straits into the Black Sea and between the Cyanean Rocks in quest of the Golden Fleece.
      • Opening lines


  • Ἦ, καὶ ὁ μὲν φόρμιγγα σὺν ἀμβροσίῃ σχέθεν αὐδῇ·
    τοὶ δ᾽ ἄμοτον λήξαντος ἔτι προύχοντο κάρηνα
    πάντες ὁμῶς ὀρθοῖσιν ἐπ᾽ οὔασιν ἠρεμέοντες
    κηληθμῷ· τοῖόν σφιν ἐνέλλιπε θέλκτρον ἀοιδῆς.
    • The song was finished. His lyre and his celestial voice had ceased together. Yet even so there was no change in the company; the heads of all were still bent forward, their ears intent on the enchanting melody. Such was his charm – the music lingered in their hearts.


  • Πάντες δ᾽ οὐρανόθεν λεῦσσον θεοὶ ἤματι κείνῳ
    νῆα καὶ ἡμιθέων ἀνδρῶν μένος, οἳ τότ᾽ ἄριστοι
    πόντον ἐπιπλώεσκον.
    • On that day all the gods looked down from heaven upon the ship and the might of the heroes, half-divine, the bravest of men then sailing the sea.
      • Lines 547–549 (tr. R. C. Seaton)


  • Ἡ δὲ νέον κρήνης ἀνεδύετο καλλινάοιο
    νύμφη ἐφυδατίη· τὸν δὲ σχεδὸν εἰσενόησεν
    κάλλεϊ καὶ γλυκερῇσιν ἐρευθόμενον χαρίτεσσιν.
    πρὸς γάρ οἱ διχόμηνις ἀπ᾽ αἰθέρος αὐγάζουσα
    βάλλε σεληναίη. τὴν δὲ φρένας ἐπτοίησεν
    Κύπρις, ἀμηχανίῃ δὲ μόλις συναγείρατο θυμόν.
    αὐτὰρ ὅγ᾽ ὡς τὰ πρῶτα ῥόῳ ἔνι κάλπιν ἔρεισεν
    λέχρις ἐπιχριμφθείς, περὶ δ᾽ ἄσπετον ἔβραχεν ὕδωρ
    χαλκὸν ἐς ἠχήεντα φορεύμενον, αὐτίκα δ᾽ ἥγε
    λαιὸν μὲν καθύπερθεν ἐπ᾽ αὐχένος ἄνθετο πῆχυν
    κύσσαι ἐπιθύουσα τέρεν στόμα· δεξιτερῇ δὲ
    ἀγκῶν᾽ ἔσπασε χειρί, μέσῃ δ᾽ ἐνικάββαλε δίνῃ.
    • One [nymph], the naiad of the spring, was just emerging from the limpid water as Hylas drew near. And there, with the full moon shining on him from a clear sky, she saw him in all his radiant beauty and alluring grace. Her heart was flooded by desire; she had a struggle to regain her scattered wits. But Hylas now leant over to one side to dip his ewer in; and as soon as the water was gurgling loudly round the ringing bronze she threw her left arm round his neck in her eagerness to kiss his gentle lips. Then with her right hand she drew his elbow down and plunged him in midstream.
      • Line 1228–1239


Book II. Onward to ColchisEdit


  • The Harpies swooped down through the clouds and snatched the food from his mouth and hands with their beaks, sometimes leaving him not a morsel, sometimes a few scraps, so that he might live and be tormented.


  • Πέτρας μὲν πάμπρωτον, ἀφορμηθέντες ἐμεῖο,
    Κυανέας ὄψεσθε δύω ἁλὸς ἐν ξυνοχῇσιν,
    τάων οὔτινά φημι διαμπερὲς ἐξαλέασθαι.
    οὐ γάρ τε ῥίζῃσιν ἐρήρεινται νεάτῃσιν,
    ἀλλὰ θαμὰ ξυνίασιν ἐναντίαι ἀλλήλῃσιν
    εἰς ἕν, ὕπερθε δὲ πολλὸν ἁλὸς κορθύεται ὕδωρ
    βρασσόμενον· στρηνὲς δὲ περὶ στυφελῇ βρέμει ἀκτῇ.
    τῶ νῦν ἡμετέρῃσι παραιφασίῃσι πίθεσθε,
    εἰ ἐτεὸν πυκινῷ τε νόῳ μακάρων τ᾽ ἀλέγοντες
    πείρετε· μηδ᾽ αὔτως αὐτάγρετον οἶτον ὄλησθε
    ἀφραδέως, ἢ θύνετ᾽ ἐπισπόμενοι νεότητι.
    οἰωνῷ δὴ πρόσθε πελειάδι πειρήσασθαι
    νηὸς ἄπο προμεθέντες ἐφιέμεν. ἢν δὲ δι᾽ αὐτῶν
    πετράων πόντονδε σόη πτερύγεσσι δίηται,
    μηκέτι δὴν μηδ᾽ αὐτοὶ ἐρητύεσθε κελεύθου,
    ἀλλ᾽ εὖ καρτύναντες ἑαῖς ἐνὶ χερσὶν ἐρετμὰ
    τέμνεθ᾽ ἁλὸς στεινωπόν· ἐπεὶ φάος οὔ νύ τι τόσσον
    ἔσσετ᾽ ἐν εὐχωλῇσιν, ὅσον τ᾽ ἐνὶ κάρτεϊ χειρῶν.
    τῶ καὶ τἆλλα μεθέντες ὀνήιστον πονέεσθαι
    θαρσαλέως· πρὶν δ᾽ οὔτι θεοὺς λίσσεσθαι ἐρύκω.
    εἰ δέ κεν ἀντικρὺ πταμένη μεσσηγὺς ὄληται,
    ἄψορροι στέλλεσθαι· ἐπεὶ πολὺ βέλτερον εἶξαι
    ἀθανάτοις. οὐ γάρ κε κακὸν μόρον ἐξαλέαισθε
    πετράων, οὐδ᾽ εἴ κε σιδηρείη πέλοι Ἀργώ.
    • The first thing you see will be the two Cyanean Rocks, at the end of the straits. To the best of my knowledge, no one has ever made his way between them, for not being fixed to the bottom of the sea they frequently collide, flinging up the water in a seething mass which falls on the rocky flanks of the straits with a resounding roar. Now if, as I take it, you are god-fearing travellers and men of sense, you will be advised by me: you will not rashly throw away your lives or rush into danger with the recklessness of youth. Make an experiment first. Send out a dove from Argo to explore the way. If she succeeds in flying in between the Rocks and out across the sea, do not hesitate to follow in her path, but get a firm grip on your oars and cleave the water of the straits. For that is the time when salvation will depend, not on your prayers, but on your strength of arm. So think of nothing else, be firm, and spend your energies on what will pay you best. By all means pray to the gods, but choose an earlier moment. And if the dove flies on, but comes to grief midway, turn back. It is always better to submit to heaven; and you could not possibly escape a dreadful end. The Rocks would crush you, even if Argo were an iron ship.
      • Lines 317–340


  • ἔνθ᾽ ἐπεὶ ἄρ κε τέκωνται ὑπ᾽ ἀνδράσι τέκνα γυναῖκες,
    αὐτοὶ μὲν στενάχουσιν ἐνὶ λεχέεσσι πεσόντες,
    κράατα δησάμενοι· ταὶ δ᾽ εὖ κομέουσιν ἐδωδῇ
    ἀνέρας, ἠδὲ λοετρὰ λεχώια τοῖσι πένονται.
    • Here, when a woman is in childbirth, it is the husband who takes to his bed. He lies there groaning with his head wrapped up and his wife feeds him with loving care. She even prepares the bath for the event.
      • Lines 1011–1014


  • Ἱρὸν δ᾽ αὖτ᾽ ἐπὶ τοῖσιν ὄρος καὶ γαῖαν ἄμειβον,
    ᾗ ἔνι Μοσσύνοικοι ἀν᾽ οὔρεα ναιετάουσιν
    μόσσυνας, καὶ δ᾽ αὐτοὶ ἐπώνυμοι ἔνθεν ἔασιν.
    ἀλλοίη δὲ δίκη καὶ θέσμια τοῖσι τέτυκται.
    ὅσσα μὲν ἀμφαδίην ῥέζειν θέμις, ἢ ἐνὶ δήμῳ,
    ἢ ἀγορῇ, τάδε πάντα δόμοις ἔνι μηχανόωνται·
    ὅσσα δ᾽ ἐνὶ μεγάροις πεπονήμεθα, κεῖνα θύραζε
    ἀψεγέως μέσσῃσιν ἐνὶ ῥέζουσιν ἀγυιαῖς.
    οὐδ᾽ εὐνῆς αἰδὼς ἐπιδήμιος, ἀλλά, σύες ὣς
    φορβάδες, οὐδ᾽ ἠβαιὸν ἀτυζόμενοι παρεόντας,
    μίσγονται χαμάδις ξυνῇ φιλότητι γυναικῶν.
    αὐτὰρ ἐν ὑψίστῳ βασιλεὺς μόσσυνι θαάσσων
    ἰθείας πολέεσσι δίκας λαοῖσι δικάζει,
    σχέτλιος. ἢν γάρ πού τί θεμιστεύων ἀλίτηται,
    μιν κεῖν᾽ ἦμαρ ἐνικλείσαντες ἔχουσιν.
    • Next they passed the Sacred Mountain and the highlands where the Mossynoeci live in the mossynes or wooden houses from which they take their name. These people have their own ideas of what is right and proper. What we do as a rule openly in town or market-place they do at home; and what we do in the privacy of our houses they do out of doors in the open street, and nobody thinks the worst of them. Even the sexual act puts no one to blush in this community. On the contrary, like swine in the fields, they lie down on the ground in promiscuous intercourse and are not at all disconcerted by the presence of others. Then again, their king sits in the loftiest hut of all to dispense justice to his numerous subjects. But if the poor man happens to make a mistake in his findings, they lock him up and give him nothing to eat for the rest of the day.
      • Lines 1015–1029


Book III. Jason and MedeaEdit


  • Εἰ δ᾽ ἄγε νῦν, Ἐρατώ, παρά θ᾽ ἵστασο, καί μοι ἔνισπε,
    ἔνθεν ὅπως ἐς Ἰωλκὸν ἀνήγαγε κῶας Ἰήσων
    Μηδείης ὑπ᾽ ἔρωτι.
    • Come, Erato, come lovely Muse, stand by me and take up the tale. How did Medea's passion help Jason to bring back the fleece to Iolcus?
      • Lines 1–3


 
I was disguised as an old woman and he took pity on me, lifted me up, and carried me across the flood on his shoulders. For that, I will never cease to honour him.
  • Καὶ δ᾽ ἄλλως ἔτι καὶ πρὶν ἐμοὶ μέγα φίλατ᾽ Ἰήσων
    ἐξότ᾽ ἐπὶ προχοῇσιν ἅλις πλήθοντος Ἀναύρου
    ἀνδρῶν εὐνομίης πειρωμένῃ ἀντεβόλησεν
    θήρης ἐξανιών· νιφετῷ δ᾽ ἐπαλύνετο πάντα
    οὔρεα καὶ σκοπιαὶ περιμήκεες, οἱ δὲ κατ᾽ αὐτῶν
    χείμαρροι καναχηδὰ κυλινδόμενοι φορέοντο.
    γρηὶ δέ μ᾽ εἰσαμένην ὀλοφύρατο, καί μ᾽ ἀναείρας
    αὐτὸς ἑοῖς ὤμοισι διὲκ προαλὲς φέρεν ὕδωρ.
    τῶ νύ μοι ἄλληκτον περιτίεται.
    • ... I have been very fond of Jason ever since the time when I was putting human charity on trial and as he came home from the chase he met me at the mouth of the Anaurus. The river was in spate, for all the mountains and their high spurs were under snow and cataracts were roaring down their sides. I was disguised as an old woman and he took pity on me, lifted me up, and carried me across the flood on his shoulders. For that, I will never cease to honour him.
      • Lines 66–74; spoken by Hera.


  • [Aphrodite] set out, and after searching up and down Olympus for her boy, found him far away in the fruit-laden orchard of Zeus. With him was Ganymede, whose beauty had so captivated Zeus that he took him up to heaven to live with the immortals. The two lads, who had much in common, were playing with golden knuckle-bones. Eros, the greedy boy, was standing there with a whole handful of them clutched to his breast and a happy flush mantling his cheeks. Near by sat Ganymede, hunched up, silent and disconsolate, with only two left. He threw these for what they were worth in quick succession and was furious when Eros laughed. Of course he lost them both immediately – they joined the rest. So he went off in despair with empty hands and did not notice the goddess's approach. Aphrodite came up to her boy, took his chin in her hand, and said: 'Why this triumphant smile, you rascal?'


 
Silence reigned over the deepening dark. But gentle sleep did not visit Medea. In her yearning for Jason, fretful cares kept her awake.
  • Νὺξ μὲν ἔπειτ᾽ ἐπὶ γαῖαν ἄγεν κνέφας· οἱ δ᾽ ἐνὶ πόντῳ
    ναῦται εἰς Ἑλίκην τε καὶ ἀστέρας Ὠρίωνος
    ἔδρακον ἐκ νηῶν· ὕπνοιο δὲ καί τις ὁδίτης
    ἤδη καὶ πυλαωρὸς ἐέλδετο· καί τινα παίδων
    μητέρα τεθνεώτων ἀδινὸν περὶ κῶμ᾽ ἐκάλυπτεν·
    οὐδὲ κυνῶν ὑλακὴ ἔτ᾽ ἀνὰ πτόλιν, οὐ θρόος ἦεν
    σιγὴ δὲ μελαινομένην ἔχεν ὄρφνην.
    ἀλλὰ μάλ᾽ οὐ Μήδειαν ἐπὶ γλυκερὸς λάβεν ὕπνος.
    πολλὰ γὰρ Αἰσονίδαο πόθῳ μελεδήματ᾽ ἔγειρεν
    δειδυῖαν ταύρων κρατερὸν μένος, οἷσιν ἔμελλεν
    φθίσθαι ἀεικελίῃ μοίρῃ κατὰ νειὸν Ἄρηος.
    Πυκνὰ δέ οἱ κραδίη στηθέων ἔντοσθεν ἔθυιεν.
    • Night threw her shadow on the world. Sailors out at sea looked up at the circling Bear and the stars of Orion. Travellers and watchmen longed for sleep, and oblivion came at last to mothers mourning for their children's death. In the town, dogs ceased to bark and men to call to one another; silence reigned over the deepening dark. But gentle sleep did not visit Medea. In her yearning for Jason, fretful cares kept her awake. She feared the great strength of the bulls; she saw him face them in the field of Ares; she saw him meet an ignominious end. Her heart fluttered within her, restless...
      • Lines 744–755


  • Ἠελίου ὥς τίς τε δόμοις ἐνιπάλλεται αἴγλη
    ὕδατος ἐξανιοῦσα, τὸ δὴ νέον ἠὲ λέβητι
    ἠέ που ἐν γαυλῷ κέχυται· ἡ δ᾽ ἔνθα καὶ ἔνθα
    ὠκείῃ στροφάλιγγι τινάσσεται ἀίσσουσα.
    • As a sunbeam quivers upon the walls of a house when flung up from water, which is just poured forth in a caldron or a pail may be; and hither and thither on the swift eddy does it dart and dance along.
      • Lines 756–759 (tr. R. C. Seaton)


 

Ἐρρέτω αἰδώς, ἐρρέτω ἀγλαΐη.

'Away with modesty, farewell to my good name!'
  • Δύσμορος· οὐ μὲν ἔολπα καταφθιμένοιό περ ἔμπης
    λωφήσειν ἀχέων· τότε δ᾽ ἂν κακὸν ἄμμι πέλοιτο,
    κεῖνος ὅτε ζωῆς ἀπαμείρεται. ἐρρέτω αἰδώς,
    ἐρρέτω ἀγλαΐη· ὁ δ᾽ ἐμῇ ἰότητι σαωθεὶς
    ἀσκηθής, ἵνα οἱ θυμῷ φίλον, ἔνθα νέοιτο.
    αὐτὰρ ἐγὼν αὐτῆμαρ, ὅτ᾽ ἐξανύσειεν ἄεθλον,
    τεθναίην, ἢ λαιμὸν ἀναρτήσασα μελάθρῳ,
    ἢ καὶ πασσαμένη ῥαιστήρια φάρμακα θυμοῦ.
    ἀλλὰ καὶ ὧς φθιμένῃ μοι ἐπιλλίξουσιν ὀπίσσω
    κερτομίας· τηλοῦ δὲ πόλις περὶ πᾶσα βοήσει
    πότμον ἐμόν· καί κέν με διὰ στόματος φορέουσαι
    Κολχίδες ἄλλυδις ἄλλαι ἀεικέα μωμήσονται·
    ἥτις κηδομένη τόσον ἀνέρος ἀλλοδαποῖο
    κάτθανεν, ἥτις δῶμα καὶ οὓς ᾔσχυνε τοκῆας,
    μαργοσύνῃ εἴξασα. τί δ᾽ οὐκ ἐμὸν ἔσσεται αἶσχος;
    ᾤ μοι ἐμῆς ἄτης. ἦ τ᾽ ἂν πολὺ κέρδιον εἴη
    αὐτῇ ἐν νυκτὶ λιπεῖν βίον ἐν θαλάμοισιν
    πότμῳ ἀνωίστῳ, κάκ᾽ ἐλέγχεα πάντα φυγοῦσαν,
    πρὶν τάδε λωβήεντα καὶ οὐκ ὀνομαστὰ τελέσσαι.
    • Indeed I am ill-starred, for even if he dies I have no hope of happiness; with Jason dead, I should taste real misery. Away with modesty, farewell to my good name! Saved from all harm by me, let him go where he pleases, and let me die. On the very day of his success I could hang myself from a rafter or take a deadly poison. Yet even so my death would never save me from their wicked tongues. My fate would be the talk of every city in the world; and here the Colchian women would bandy my name about and drag it in mud – the girl who fancied a foreigner enough to die for him, disgraced her parents and her home, went off her head for love. What infamy would not be mine? Ah, how I grieve now for the folly of my passion! Better to die here in my room this very night, passing from life unnoticed, unreproached, than to carry through this horrible, this despicable scheme.
      • Lines 783–801


  • Ἦ, καὶ φωριαμὸν μετεκίαθεν, ᾗ ἔνι πολλὰ
    φάρμακά οἱ, τὰ μὲν ἐσθλά, τὰ δὲ ῥαιστήρι᾽, ἔκειτο.
    ἐνθεμένη δ᾽ ἐπὶ γούνατ᾽ ὀδύρετο. δεῦε δὲ κόλπους
    ἄλληκτον δακρύοισι, τὰ δ᾽ ἔρρεεν ἀσταγὲς αὔτως,
    αἴν᾽ ὀλοφυρομένης τὸν ἑὸν μόρον. ἵετο δ᾽ ἥγε
    φάρμακα λέξασθαι θυμοφθόρα, τόφρα πάσαιτο.
    ἤδη καὶ δεσμοὺς ἀνελύετο φωριαμοῖο,
    ἐξελέειν μεμαυῖα, δυσάμμορος. ἀλλά οἱ ἄφνω
    δεῖμ᾽ ὀλοὸν στυγεροῖο κατὰ φρένας ἦλθ᾽ Ἀίδαο.
    ἔσχετο δ᾽ ἀμφασίῃ δηρὸν χρόνον, ἀμφὶ δὲ πᾶσαι
    βιότοιο μεληδόνες ἰνδάλλοντο.
    μνήσατο μὲν τερπνῶν, ὅσ᾽ ἐνὶ ζωοῖσι πέλονται,
    μνήσαθ᾽ ὁμηλικίης περιγηθέος, οἷά τε κούρη·
    καί τέ οἱ ἠέλιος γλυκίων γένετ᾽ εἰσοράασθαι,
    ἢ πάρος, εἰ ἐτεόν γε νόῳ ἐπεμαίεθ᾽ ἕκαστα.
    καὶ τὴν μέν ῥα πάλιν σφετέρων ἀποκάτθετο γούνων,
    Ἥρης ἐννεσίῃσι μετάτροπος.
    • With that she went and fetched the box in which she kept her many drugs, healing or deadly, and putting it on her knees she wept. Tears ran unchecked in torrents down her cheeks and drenched her lap as she bemoaned her own sad destiny. She was determined now to take a poison from the box and swallow it; and in a moment she was fumbling with the fastening of the lid in her unhappy eagerness to reach the fatal drug. But suddenly she was overcome by the hateful thought of death, and for a long time she stayed her hand in silent horror. Visions of life and all its fascinating cares rose up before her. She thought of the pleasures that the living can enjoy. She thought of her happy playmates, as a young girl will. And now, setting its true value on all this, it seemed to her a sweeter thing to see the sun than it had ever been before. So, prompted by Hera, she changed her mind and put the box away.
      • Lines 802–818


  • Πυκνὰ δ᾽ ἀνὰ κληῖδας ἑῶυ λύεσκε θυράων,
    αἴγλην σκεπτομένη· τῇ δ᾽ ἀσπάσιον βάλε φέγγος
    Ἠριγενής, κίνυντο δ᾽ ἀνὰ πτολίεθρον ἕκαστοι.
    • Time after time she opened her door to catch the first glimmer of day; and she rejoiced when early Dawn lit up the sky and people in the town began to stir.
      • Lines 822–824


 
The pair of them stood face to face without a word or sound, like oaks or tall pines that stand in the mountains side by side in silence when the air is still.
  • Οὐδ᾽ ἄρα Μηδείης θυμὸς τράπετ᾽ ἄλλα νοῆσαι,
    μελπομένης περ ὅμως· πᾶσαι δέ οἱ, ἥντιν᾽ ἀθύροι
    μολπήν, οὐκ ἐπὶ δηρὸν ἐφήνδανεν ἑψιάασθαι.
    ἀλλὰ μεταλλήγεσκεν ἀμήχανος, οὐδέ ποτ᾽ ὄσσε
    ἀμφιπόλων μεθ᾽ ὅμιλον ἔχ᾽ ἀτρέμας· ἐς δὲ κελεύθους
    τηλόσε παπταίνεσκε, παρακλίνουσα παρειάς.
    ἦ θαμὰ δὴ στηθέων ἐάγη κέαρ, ὁππότε δοῦπον
    ἢ ποδὸς ἢ ἀνέμοιο παραθρέξαντα δοάσσαι.
    αὐτὰρ ὅγ᾽ οὐ μετὰ δηρὸν ἐελδομένῃ ἐφαάνθη
    ὑψόσ᾽ ἀναθρώσκων ἅ τε Σείριος Ὠκεανοῖο,
    ὃς δή τοι καλὸς μὲν ἀρίζηλός τ᾽ ἐσιδέσθαι
    ἀντέλλει, μήλοισι δ᾽ ἐν ἄσπετον ἧκεν ὀιζύν·
    ἄρα τῇ καλὸς μὲν ἐπήλυθεν εἰσοράασθαι
    Αἰσονίδης, κάματον δὲ δυσίμερον ὦρσε φαανθείς.
    δ᾽ ἄρα οἱ κραδίη στηθέων πέσεν, ὄμματα δ᾽ αὔτως
    ἤχλυσαν· θερμὸν δὲ παρηίδας εἷλεν ἔρευθος.
    γούνατα δ᾽ οὔτ᾽ ὀπίσω οὔτε προπάροιθεν ἀεῖραι
    ἔσθενεν, ἀλλ᾽ ὑπένερθε πάγη πόδας. αἱ δ᾽ ἄρα τείως
    ἀμφίπολοι μάλα πᾶσαι ἀπὸ σφείων ἐλίασθεν.
    τὼ δ᾽ ἄνεῳ καὶ ἄναυδοι ἐφέστασαν ἀλλήλοισιν,
    ἢ δρυσίν, ἢ μακρῇσιν ἐειδόμενοι ἐλάτῃσιν,
    τε παρᾶσσον ἕκηλοι ἐν οὔρεσιν ἐρρίζωνται,
    νηνεμίῃ· μετὰ δ᾽ αὖτις ὑπὸ ῥιπῆς ἀνέμοιο
    κινύμεναι ὁμάδησαν ἀπείριτον· ὧς ἄρα τώγε
    μέλλον ἅλις φθέγξασθαι ὑπὸ πνοιῇσιν Ἔρωτος.
    • Meanwhile Medea, though she was singing and dancing with her maids, could think of one thing only. There was no melody, however gay, that did not quickly cease to please. Time and again she faltered and came to a halt. To keep her eyes fixed on her choir was more than she could do. She was for ever turning them aside to search the distant paths, and more than once she well-nigh fainted when she mistook the noise of the wind for the footfall of a passer-by. But it was not so very long before the sight of Jason rewarded her impatient watch. Like Sirius rising from Ocean, brilliant and beautiful but full of menace for the flocks, he sprang into view, splendid to look at but fraught with trouble for the lovesick girl. Her heart stood still, a mist descended on her eyes, and a warm flush spread across her cheeks. She could neither move towards him nor retreat; her feet were rooted to the ground. And now her servants disappeared, and the pair of them stood face to face without a word or sound, like oaks or tall pines that stand in the mountains side by side in silence when the air is still, but when the wind has stirred them chatter without end. So these two, stirred by the breath of Love, were soon to pour out all their tale.
      • Lines 948–972


  • Ἦ γὰρ ἔοικας
    ἐκ μορφῆς ἀγανῇσιν ἐπητείῃσι κεκάσθαι.
    • Indeed your loveliness assures me of a kind and tender heart within.
      • Lines 1006–1007; Jason to Medea.


 
Thus he spake, honouring her; and she cast her eyes down with a smile divinely sweet; and her soul melted within her.
  • Ὧς φάτο κυδαίνων· ἡ δ᾽ ἐγκλιδὸν ὄσσε βαλοῦσα
    νεκτάρεον μείδησ᾽· ἐχύθη δέ οἱ ἔνδοθι θυμὸς
    αἴνῳ ἀειρομένης.
    • Thus he spake, honouring her; and she cast her eyes down with a smile divinely sweet; and her soul melted within her, uplifted by his praise.
      • Lines 1008–1010 (tr. R. C. Seaton)


  • Ἰαίνετο δὲ φρένας εἴσω
    τηκομένη, οἷόν τε περὶ ῥοδέῃσιν ἐέρση
    τήκεται ἠῴοισιν ἰαινομένη φαέεσσιν.
    • Her heart was warmed and melted like the dew on roses under the morning sun.
      • Lines 1019–1021


  • Ἄμφω δ᾽ ἄλλοτε μέν τε κατ᾽ οὔδεος ὄμματ᾽ ἔρειδον
    αἰδόμενοι, ὁτὲ δ᾽ αὖτις ἐπὶ σφίσι βάλλον ὀπωπάς,
    ἱμερόεν φαιδρῇσιν ὑπ᾽ ὀφρύσι μειδιόωντες.
    • At one moment both of them were staring at the ground in deep embarrassment; at the next they were smiling and glancing at each other with the love-light in their eyes.
      • Lines 1022–1024


  • Γυμνὸς δέμας, ἄλλα μὲν Ἄρει
    εἴκελος, ἄλλα δέ που χρυσαόρῳ Ἀπόλλωνι.
    • [Jason's] body was bare, so that he looked like Apollo of the golden sword as much as Ares god of war.
      • Lines 1282–1283


 
From somewhere in the bowels of the earth ... the pair of bulls appeared, breathing flames of fire.
  • And now, from somewhere in the bowels of the earth, from the smoky stronghold where they slept, the pair of bulls appeared, breathing flames of fire. The Argonauts were terrified at the sight. But Jason planting his feet apart stood to receive them... He held his shield in front of him, and the two bulls, bellowing loudly, charged and butted it with their strong horns...
    • Lines 1289–1294 and 1296–1297


  • Ὡς δ᾽ ὅτ᾽ ἐνὶ τρητοῖσιν ἐύρρινοι χοάνοισιν
    φῦσαι χαλκήων ὁτὲ μέν τ᾽ ἀναμαρμαίρουσιν,
    πῦρ ὀλοόν πιμπρᾶσαι, ὅτ᾽ αὖ λήγουσιν ἀυτμῆς,
    δεινὸς δ᾽ ἐξ αὐτοῦ πέλεται βρόμος, ὁππότ᾽ ἀίξῃ
    νειόθεν· ὧς ἄρα τώγε θοὴν φλόγα φυσιόωντες
    ἐκ στομάτων ὁμάδευν, τὸν δ᾽ ἄμφεπε δήιον αἶθος
    βάλλον ἅ τε στεροπή· κούρης δέ ἑ φάρμακ᾽ ἔρυτο.
    • The bulls snorted and spurted from their mouths devouring flames, like a perforated crucible when the leather bellows of the smith, sometimes ceasing, sometimes blowing hard, have made a blaze and the fire leaps up from below with a terrific roar. The deadly heat assailed [Jason] on all sides with the force of lightning. But he was protected by Medea's magic.
      • Lines 1299–1305


Book IV. Homeward BoundEdit


 
The serpent with his sharp unsleeping eyes had seen them coming and now confronted them, stretching out his long neck and hissing terribly.
  • Αὐτὰρ ὁ ἀντικρὺ περιμήκεα τείνετο δειρὴν
    ὀξὺς ἀύπνοισιν προϊδὼν ὄφις ὀφθαλμοῖσιν
    νισσομένους, ῥοίζει δὲ πελώριον.
    • But the serpent with his sharp unsleeping eyes had seen them coming and now confronted them, stretching out his long neck and hissing terribly.
      • Lines 127–129


  • Δείματι δ᾽ ἐξέγροντο λεχωίδες, ἀμφὶ δὲ παισὶν
    νηπιάχοις, οἵ τέ σφιν ὑπ᾽ ἀγκαλίδεσσιν ἴαυον,
    ῥοίζῳ παλλομένοις χεῖρας βάλον ἀσχαλόωσαι.
    • Babies sleeping in their mothers' arms were startled by the hiss, and their anxious mothers waking in alarm hugged them closer to their breasts.
      • Lines 136–138


 
Lord Jason held up the great fleece in his arms. The shimmering wool threw a fiery glow on his fair cheeks and forehead; and he rejoiced in it, glad as a girl who catches on her silken gown the lovely light of the full moon.
  • Ὡς δὲ σεληναίην διχομήνιδα παρθένος αἴγλην
    ὑψόθεν ἐξανέχουσαν ὑπωροφίου θαλάμοιο
    λεπταλέῳ ἑανῷ ὑποΐσχεται· ἐν δέ οἱ ἦτορ
    χαίρει δερκομένης καλὸν σέλας· ὧς τότ᾽ Ἰήσων
    γηθόσυνος μέγα κῶας ἑαῖς ἐναείρατο χερσίν·
    καί οἱ ἐπὶ ξανθῇσι παρηίσιν ἠδὲ μετώπῳ
    μαρμαρυγῇ ληνέων φλογὶ εἴκελον ἷζεν ἔρευθος.
    • Lord Jason held up the great fleece in his arms. The shimmering wool threw a fiery glow on his fair cheeks and forehead; and he rejoiced in it, glad as a girl who catches on her silken gown the lovely light of the full moon as it climbs the sky and looks into her attic room.
      • Lines 167–173


  • θάμβησαν δὲ νέοι μέγα κῶας ἰδόντες
    λαμπόμενον στεροπῇ ἴκελον Διός. ὦρτο δ᾽ ἕκαστος
    ψαῦσαι ἐελδόμενος δέχθαι τ᾽ ἐνὶ χερσὶν ἑῇσιν.
    • The youths marvelled to behold the mighty fleece, which gleamed like the lightning of Zeus. And each one started up eager to touch it and clasp it in his hands.
      • Lines 184–186


 
Unconscionable Love, bane and tormentor of mankind, parent of strife, fountain of tears, source of a thousand ills, rise, mighty Power...
  • Σχέτλι᾽ Ἔρως, μέγα πῆμα, μέγα στύγος ἀνθρώποισιν,
    ἐκ σέθεν οὐλόμεναί τ᾽ ἔριδες στοναχαί τε γόοι τε,
    ἄλγεά τ᾽ ἄλλ᾽ ἐπὶ τοῖσιν ἀπείρονα τετρήχασιν.
    δυσμενέων ἐπὶ παισὶ κορύσσεο, δαῖμον, ἀερθείς,
    οἷος Μηδείῃ στυγερὴν φρεσὶν ἔμβαλες ἄτην.
    • Unconscionable Love, bane and tormentor of mankind, parent of strife, fountain of tears, source of a thousand ills, rise, mighty Power, and fall upon the sons of our enemies with all the force you used upon Medea when you filled her with insensate fury.
      • Lines 445–449


  • Αἶψα δὲ κούρη
    ἔμπαλιν ὄμματ᾽ ἔνεικε, καλυψαμένη ὀθόνῃσιν,
    μὴ φόνον ἀθρήσειε κασιγνήτοιο τυπέντος.
    • Medea quickly turned aside, covering her eyes with her veil so as not to see her brother's blood spilt.
      • Lines 465–467; the murder of Absyrtus.


  • Ἔνθα σφιν κοῦραι Νηρηίδες ἄλλοθεν ἄλλαι
    ἤντεον· ἡ δ᾽ ὄπιθεν πτέρυγος θίγε πηδαλίοιο
    δῖα Θέτις, Πλαγκτῇσιν ἐνὶ σπιλάδεσσιν ἐρύσσαι.
    • The Nereids, swimming in from all directions, met them here, and Lady Thetis coming up astern laid her hand on the blade of the steering-oar to guide them through the Wandering Rocks.
      • Lines 930–932


  • Ὡς δ᾽ ὁπόταν δελφῖνες ὑπὲξ ἁλὸς εὐδιόωντες
    σπερχομένην ἀγεληδὸν ἑλίσσωνται περὶ νῆα,
    ἄλλοτε μἑν προπάροιθεν ὁρώμενοι, ἄλλοτ᾽ ὄπισθεν,
    ἄλλοτε παρβολάδην, ναύτῃσι δὲ χάρμα τέτυκται·
    ὧς αἱ ὑπεκπροθέουσαι ἐπήτριμοι εἱλίσσοντο
    Ἀργῴῃ περὶ νηί, Θέτις δ᾽ ἴθυνε κέλευθον..
    • As when in fair weather herds of dolphins come up from the depths and sport in circles round a ship as it speeds along, now seen in front, now behind, now again at the side and delight comes to the sailors; so the Nereids darted upward and circled in their ranks round the ship Argo, while Thetis guided its course.
      • Lines 933–938 (tr. R. C. Seaton)


  • Αἱ δ᾽, ὥστ᾽ ἠμαθόεντος ἐπισχεδὸν αἰγιαλοῖο
    παρθενικαί, δίχα κόλπον ἐπ᾽ ἰξύας εἱλίξασαι
    σφαίρῃ ἀθύρουσιν περιηγέι· αἱ μὲν ἔπειτα
    ἄλλη ὑπ᾽ ἐξ ἄλλης δέχεται καὶ ἐς ἠέρα πέμπει
    ὕψι μεταχρονίην· ἡ δ᾽ οὔποτε πίλναται οὔδει·
    ὧς αἱ νῆα θέουσαν ἀμοιβαδὶς ἄλλοθεν ἄλλη
    πέμπε διηερίην ἐπὶ κύμασιν, αἰὲν ἄπωθεν
    πετράων.
    • It was like the game that young girls play beside a sandy beach, when they roll their skirts up to their waists on either side and toss a ball round to one another, throwing it high in the air so that it never touches the ground. Thus, though the water swirled and seethed around them, these sea-nymphs kept Argo from the Rocks.
      • Lines 948–955


  • Αἵδε δ᾽ ἀοιδαὶ
    εἰς ἔτος ἐξ ἔτεος γλυκερώτεραι εἶεν ἀείδειν
    ἀνθρώποις.
    • May these songs year after year be sweeter to sing among men.
      • Lines 1773–1775 (tr. R. C. Seaton)

Quotes about ApolloniusEdit

  • Ἐπείτοιγε καὶ ἄπτωτος ὁ Ἀπολλώνιος ἐν τοῖς Ἀργοναύταις ποιητὴς ... ἆῤ οὖν Ὅμηρος ἂν μᾶλλον ἢ Ἀπολλώνιος ἐθέλοις γενέσθαι;
    • Apollonius, for instance, in his Argonautica is an impeccable poet ... Yet would you not rather be Homer than Apollonius?
    • Longinus, On the Sublime, XXXIII, 3–4 (Loeb translation)
  • If the sublime be the characteristic of Homer, the romantic is that of Apollonius; and in nature and tenderness he needs not shun a comparison even with Homer. No poet has ever excelled the Rhodian in the refined display of female character; in the gay amenities, the modest reserves, the delicate artifices, the conflicting uncertainties, and the poignant sensibilities of female love. Dido is but a feeble copy of the interesting and impassioned Medea.
  • Apollonius Rhodius was a great grammarian, as well as a poet.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

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