(BEING CONTINUED FROM 20/05/15-bookii)
Who was the next that died? For then a second time the heroes heaped up a barrow for a comrade dead. For still are to be seen two monuments of those heroes. The tale goes that Tiphys son of Hagnias died; nor was it his destiny thereafter to sail any further. But him there on the spot a short sickness laid to rest far from his native land, when the company had paid due honours to the dead son of Abas. And at the cruel woe they were seized with unbearable grief. For when with due honours they had buried him also hard by the seer, they cast themselves down in helplessnesson the sea-shore silently, closely wrapped up, and took no thought for meat or drink; and their spirit drooped in grief, for all hope of return was gone. And in their sorrow they would have stayed from going further had not Hera kindled exceeding courage in Ancaeus, whom near the waters of Imbrasus Astypalaea bore to Poseidon; for especially was he skilled in steering and eagerly did he address Peleus:
“Son of Aeacus, is it well for us to give up our toils and linger on in a strange land? Not so much for my prowess in war did Jason take me with him in quest of the fleece, far from Parthenia, as for my knowledge of ships. Wherefore, I pray, let there be no fear for the ship. And so there are here other men of skill, of whom none will harm our voyaging, whomsoever we set at the helm. But quickly tell forth all this and boldly urge them to call to mind their task.”
Thus he spake; and Peleus’ soul was stirred with gladness, and straightway he spake in the midst of all: “My friends, why do we thus cherish a bootless grief like this? For those two have perished by the fate they have met with; but among our host are steersmen yet, and many a one. Wherefore let us not delay our attempt, but rouse yourselves to the work and cast away your griefs.”
And him in reply Aeson’s son addressed with helpless words: “Son of Aeacus, where are these steersmen of thine? For those whom we once deemed to be men of skill, they even more than I are bowed with vexation of heart. Wherefore I forebode an evil doom for us even as for the dead, if it shall be our lot neither to reach the city of fell Aeetes, nor ever again to pass beyond the rocks to the land of Hellas, but a wretched fate will enshroud us here ingloriously till we grow old for naught.”
Thus he spake, but Ancaeus quickly undertook to guide the swift ship; for he was stirred by the impulse of the goddess. And after him Erginus and Nauplius and Euphemus started up, eager to steer. But the others held them back, and many of his comrades granted it to Ancaeus.
So on the twelfth day they went aboard at dawn, for a strong breeze of westerly wind was blowing. And quickly with the oars they passed out through the river Acheron and, trusting to the wind, shook out their sails, and with canvas spread far and wide they were cleaving their passage through the waves in fair weather. And soon they passed the outfall of the river Callichorus, where, as the tale goes, the Nysean son of Zeus, when he had left the tribes of the Indians and came to dwell at Thebes, held revels and arrayed dances in front of a cave, wherein he passed unsmiling sacred nights, from which time the neighbours call the river by the name of Callichorus and the cave Aulion.
Next they beheld the barrow of Sthenelus, Actor’s son, who on his way back from the valorous war against the Amazons–for he had been the comrade of Heracles–was struck by an arrow and died there upon the sea-beach. And for a time they went no further, for Persephone herself sent forth the spirit of Actor’s son which craved with many tears to behold men like himself, even for a moment. And mounting on the edge of the barrow he gazed upon the ship, such as he was when he went to war; and round his head a fair helm with four peaks gleamed with its blood-red crest. And again he entered the vast gloom; and they looked and marvelled; and Mopsus, son of Ampycus, with word of prophecy urged them to land and propitiate him with libations. Quickly they drew in sail and threw out hawsers, and on the strand paid honour to the tomb of Sthenelus, and poured out drink offerings to him and sacrificed sheep as victims. And besides the drink offerings they built an altar to Apollo, saviour of ships, and burnt thigh bones; and Orpheus dedicated his lyre; whence the place has the name of Lyra.
And straightway they went aboard as the wind blew strong; and they drew the sail down, and made it taut to both sheets; then Argo was borne over the sea swiftly, even as a hawk soaring high through the air commits to the breeze its outspread wings and is borne on swiftly, nor swerves in its flight, poising in the clear sky with quiet pinions. And lo, they passed by the stream of Parthenius as it flows into the sea, a most gentle river, where the maid, daughter of Leto, when she mounts to heaven after the chase, cools her limbs in its much-desired waters. Then they spedonward in the night without ceasing, and passed Sesamus and lofty Erythini, Crobialus, Cromna and woody Cytorus. Next they swept round Carambis at the rising of the sun, and plied the oars past long Aegialus, all day and on through the night.
And straightway they landed on the Assyrian shore where Zeus himself gave a home to Sinope, daughter of Asopus, and granted her virginity, beguiled by his own promises. For he longed for her love, and he promised to grant her whatever her hearts desire might be. And she in her craftiness asked of him virginity. And in like manner she deceived Apollo too who longed to wed her, and besides them the river Halys, and no man ever subdued her in love’s embrace. And there the sons of noble Deimachus of Tricca were still dwelling, Deileon, Autolycus and Phlogius, since the day when they wandered far away from Heracles; and they, when they marked the array of chieftains, went to meet them and declared in truth who they were; and they wished to remain there no longer, but as soon as Argestes blew went on ship-board. And so with them, borne along by the swift breeze, the heroes left behind the river Halys, and left behind his that flows hard by, and the delta-land of Assyria; and on the same day they rounded the distant headland of the Amazons that guards their harbour.
Here once when Melanippe, daughter of Ares, had, gone forth, the hero Heracles caught her by ambuscade and Hippolyte gave him her glistening girdle as her sister’s ransom, and he sent away his captive unharmed. In the bay of this headland, at the outfall of Thermodon, they ran ashore, for the sea was rough for their voyage. No river is like this, and none sends forth from itself such mighty streams over the land. If a man should count every one he would lack but four of a hundred, but the real spring is only one. This flows down to the plain from lofty mountains, which, men say, are called the Amazonian mountains. Thence it spreads inland over a hilly country straight forward; wherefrom its streams go winding on, and they roll on, this way and that ever more, wherever best they can reach the lower ground, one at a distance and another near at hand; and many streams are swallowed up in the sand and are without a name; but, mingled with a few, the main stream openly bursts with its arching crest of foam into the inhospitable Pontus. And they would have tarried there and have closed in battle with the Amazons, and would have fought not without bloodshed for the Amazons were not gentle foes and regarded not justice, those dwellers on the Doeantian plain; but grievous insolence and the works of Ares were all their care; for by race they were the daughters of Ares and the nymph Harmonia, who bare to Ares war-loving maids, wedded to him in the glens of the Acmonian wood had not the breezes of Argestes comeagain from Zeus; and with the wind they left the rounded beach, where the Themiscyreian Amazons were arming for war. For they dwelt not gathered together in one city, but scattered over the land, parted into three tribes. In one part dwelt the Themiscyreians, over whom at that time Hippolyte reigned, in another the Lycastians, and in another the dart-throwing Chadesians. And the next day they sped on and at nightfall they reached the land of the Chalybes.
That folk have no care for ploughing with oxen or for any planting of honey-sweet fruit; nor yet do they pasture flocks in the dewy meadow. But they cleave the hard iron-bearing land and exchange their wages for daily sustenance; never does the morn rise for them without toil, but amid bleak sooty flames and smoke they endure heavy labour.
And straightway thereafter they rounded the headland of Genetaean Zeus and sped safely past the land of the Tibareni. Here when wives bring forth children to their husbands, the men lie in bed and groan with their heads close bound; but the women tend them with food, and prepare child-birth baths for them.
Next they reached the sacred mount and the land where the Mossynoeci dwell amid high mountains in wooden huts, from which that people take their name. And strange are their customs and laws. Whatever it is right to do openly before the people or in the market place, all this they do in their homes, but whatever acts we perform at home, these they perform out of doors in the midst of the streets, without blame. And among them is no reverence for the marriage-bed, but, like swine that feed in herds, no whit abashed in others’ presence, on the earth they lie with the women.Their king sits in the loftiest hut and dispenses upright judgments to the multitude, poor wretch! For if haply he err at all in his decrees, for that day they keep him shut up in starvation.
They passed them by and cleft their way with oars over against the island of Ares all day long; for at dusk the light breeze left them. At last they spied above them, hurtling through the air, one of the birds of Ares which haunt that isle. It shook its wings down over the ship as she sped on and sent against her a keen feather, and it fell on the left shoulder of goodly Oileus, and he dropped his oar from his hands at the sudden blow, and his comrades marvelled at the sight of the winged bolt. And Eribotes from his seat hard by drew out the feather, and bound up the wound when he had loosed the strap hanging from his own sword-sheath; and besides the first, another bird appeared swooping down; but the hero Clytius, son of Eurytus — for he bent his curved bow, and sped a swift arrow against the bird–struck it, and it whirled round and fell close to the ship. And to them spake Amphidamas, son of Aleus:
“The island of Ares is near us; you know it yourselves now that ye have seen these birds. But little will arrows avail us, I trow, for landing. But let us contrive some other device to help us, if ye intend to land, bearing in mind the injunction of Phineus. For not even could Heracles, when he came to Arcadia, drive away with bow and arrow the birds that swam on the Stymphalian lake. I saw it myself. But he shook in his hand a rattle of bronze and made a loud clatter as he stood upon a lofty peak, and the birds fled far off, screeching in bewildered fear. Wherefore now too let us contrive some such device, and I myself will speak, having pondered the matter beforehand. Set on your heads your helmets of lofty crest, then half row by turns, and half fence the ship about with polished spears and shields. Then all together raise a mighty shout so that the birds may be scared by the unwonted din, the nodding crests, and the uplifted spears on high. And if we reach the island itself, then make mighty noise with the clashing of shields.”
(TO BE CONTINUED)
By Apollonius εκ ροδου
TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH PROSE FROM THE TEXT OF R. MEKKEL EDWARD P. COLERIDGE, B.A.E COLL. ORIEL, OXON.
LONDON :GEORGE BELL AND SONS, YORK STREET,COVENT GARDEN.