Tuesday, May 23, 2017

TFBT: Death of the Trojan Misenus

"Triton… when he had hollowed out the trumpet he had invented, took it with him against the Gigantes (Giants), and there blew strange sounds through the shell. The Gigantes, fearing that some wild beast had been brought by their adversaries, took to flight, and thus were overcome and came into their enemies' power." (Pseudo-Hyginus, Astronomica 2. 23)   "[After the Great Deluge had wiped out mankind, Triton) raised his horn, his hollow spiraled whorl, the horn that, sounded in mid ocean, fills the shores of dawn and sunset round the world; and when it touched the god's wet-bearded lips and took his breath and sounded the retreat, all the wide waters of the land and sea heard it, and all, hearing its voice, obeyed."  Ovid, Metamorphoses 1. 332 ff

Misenus, son of Aeolus, surpassed by none in stirring men with his bugle’s blare…by chance he made the seas ring with his hollow shell – madman – and with his blare calls the gods to contest, jealous Triton, if the tale can win belief, caught and plunged him in the foaming waves amid the rocks.”  (Aeneid 6)

Apparently, the Trojan Misenus made the same error as the satyr Marsyas, the archer Eurytus and the Sirens in competing with the gods. This god, Lord Triton was apparently proud of his fame as a “bugler” and would not allow competition  

Aeneas' pilot Palinurus "Headlong he fell" to his death.  I thought for sure he would meet his master in Hades as Elpenor found Odysseus. Instead, But loyal Aeneas heaps over him a massive tomb, with the soldier’s own arms, his oar and trumpet, beneath a lofty hill, which now from him is called Misenus, and keeps from age to age an ever living name.”  

(Elpenor has to settle for heroic honors from the country that finds his body.)

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