Wednesday, July 22, 2015

TFBT: First Random Notes on Argonautica

The Hour 25 Book Club will host a discussion on Apollonius Rhodius Argonautica Book 3, via Google+ Hangout on Tuesday, August 11 at 11 a.m.

You can find R.C. Seaton’s translation of the text online for free here, or you can read any other edition you prefer.  Here is my first random notes in preparation for August 11;

3.1. 1 “Come now, Erato, stand by my side, and say next…”  Erato?  What?  The Muse of Love Poetry?  Not Epic?  We’ve studied so hard on the standards of epic and heroes who battle for unwilting glory.  Are their new standards and paradigms we must learn for what I heard Nagy call Jason yesterday; “A Love-Hero”? 

3.1. 37) “Cypris, which her husband, the halt-footed god,  So Hephaestus netted his wife and Ares sometime between the beginning of the Argonautica and well before the end of the Iliad when he was then married to Aglaia. 

3.1. 60 “Him will I deliver, though he sail even to Hades to free Ixion below from his brazen chains,”  Why would Hera use an example suggesting the freedom of a mortal that attempted raping her?

Zeus had a blooming fruitful orchard on Olympus.  3.1. 113-4 & 158  Wonder what he was raising?   “ 

3.1.201. "willows and osiers, on whose topmost branches hang corpses bound with cords. For even now it is an abomination with the Colchians to burn dead men with fire; nor is it lawful to place them in the earth and raise a mound above, but to wrap them in untanned oxhides and suspend them from trees far from the city. And so earth has an equal portion with air, seeing that they bury the women; for that is the custom of their land.”  Intersting.  Are there any Bronze Age cultures that actually did this? 

Cytaean Aeetes  Cytae was the town where Aeetes’ daughter Medea was born (Culture In Pieces: Essays on Ancient Texts in Honour of Peter Parsons  By Dirk Obbink) 

Eidyia his wedded wife, the youngest daughter of Tethys and Oceanus.”  Interesting.   That makes her the last of the Oceanides.  Was Styx the first? 

3.1. 275-298; “ Meantime Eros passed unseen through the grey mist, causing confusion, as when against grazing heifers rises the gadfly, which oxherds call the breese. And quickly beneath the lintel in the porch he strung his bow”  Interesting that a god uses the lintel to transition from the divine plan to the mundane.





  1. I suppose that the orchard was full of apple-trees, and Themis took one of their apples to give to Eris immediately before the wedding of Thetis. It is usually presumed that the apple was from the garden of the Hesperides, but it hardly makes sense.

    The affair of Aphrodite & Ares when Hephaestus caught them is thought by some to have produced Harmonia. She lived before Heracles, and Heracles was contemporary of the Argonauts (in some versions, one of them), so time doesn't add up. But maybe Hephaestus and Aphrodite reconciled after the net and divorced later.

  2. Maya,

    The Hesperides were the nymphs of the tree. The garden actually belonged ti Hera

  3. Yes, it belonged to Hera, but it was located at the edge of the inhabitable world. To me, real estate thousands of miles away is a troubled asset. You have an orchard full of golden apples, but when you need one, there is no way to get it in real time. Especially if they were not gold but golden, i.e. with shiny surface but otherwise eatable and biodegradable.