The Ancient Library

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eastern ocean, and then round Asia to the southern ! coast of Libya. Here the Argonauts landed, and carried their ship through Libya on their shoulders until they came to the lake of Triton, through which they sailed northward into the Mediterra­nean, and steered towards Lemnos and lolcus. The Erythraean sea in this account is the eastern ocean. There is scarcely any other adventure in the ancient stories of Greece the detail of which has been so differently related by poets of all kinds. The most striking differences are those relative to the countries or seas through which the Argonauts returned home. As it was in most cases the object of the poets to make them return through some un­known country, it was necessary, in later times, to shift their road, accordingly as geographical know­ledge became more and more extended. While thus Pindar makes tLem return through the eastern ocean, others, such as Apollonius Rhodius and Apollodorus, make them sail from the Euxine into the rivers Ister and Eridanus into the western ocean, or the Adriatic; and others, again, such as the Pseudo-Orpheus, Timaeus, and Scymnus of Chios, represent them as sailing through the river Tanais into the northern ocean, and round the northern countries of Europe. A fourth set of traditions, which wr-s adopted by Herodotus, Cal-limachus, and Biodorus Siculus, made them return by the same way as they had sailed to Colchis.

All traditions, however, agree in stating, that the object of the Argonauts was to fetch the golden fleece which was kept in the country of Aeetes. This fleece was regarded as golden as early as the time of Hesiod and Pherecydes (Eratosth. Catast. 19), but in the extant works of Hesiod there is no trace of this tradition, and Mimnermus only calls it "a large fleece in the town of Aeetes, where the rays of Helios rest in a golden chamber." Simonides and Acusilaus described it as of purple colour. (Schol. adEurip. Med. 5, ad Apollon. Rhod. iv. 1147.) If, therefore, the tradition in this form had any historical foundation at all, it would seem to suggest, that a trade in furs with the countries north and east of the Euxine was carried on by the Minyans in and about lolcus at a very early time, and that some bold mercantile enterprise to those countries gave rise to the story about the Argonauts. In later traditions, the fleece is uni­versally called the golden fleece; and the won­drous ram who wore it is designated by the name of Chrysomallus, and called a son of Poseidon and Theophane, the daughter of Brisaltcs in the island of Crumissa. (Hygin. Fab. 188.) Strabo (xi. p. 499 ; comp. Appian, de Bell. Mithrid. 103) en­deavours to explain the story about the golden fleece from the Colchians' collecting by means of skins the gold sand which was carried down in their rivers from the mountains.

The ship Argo is described as a pentecontoros, that is, a ship with fifty oars, and is said to have conveyed the same number of heroes. The Scho­liast on Lycophron (175) is the only writer who states the number of the heroes to have been one hundred. But the names of the fifty heroes are not the same in all the lists of the Argonauts, and it is a useless task to attempt to reconcile them. (Apol-lod. i. 9. § 16 ; Hygin. Fab. 14, with the commen­tators ; compare the catalogue of the Argonauts in Burmann's edition of Val. Flaccus.) An account of the writers who had made the expedition of the Argonauts the subject of poems or critical iiivcsti-



gations, and whose works were used by Apollo­ nius Rhodius, is given by the Scholiast on this poet. Besides the Argonautics of the Pseudo- Orpheus, we now possess only those of Apollonius Rhodius, and his Roman imitator, Valerius Flaccus. The account which is preserved in Apollodorua' Bibliotheca (i. 9. §§ 16—27) is derived from the best sources that were extant in his time, and chiefly'from Pherecydes. We shall give his ac­ count here, partly because it is the plainest, and partly because it may fill up those parts which Pindar in his description has touched upon but slightly. ^

When Jason was commissioned by his uncle Pelias of lolcus to fetch the golden fleece, which was suspended on an oak-tree in the grove of Ares in Colchis, and was guarded day and night by a dragon, he commanded Argus, the son of Phrmis, to build a ship with fifty oars, in the prow of which Athena inserted a piece of wood from the speaking oaks in the grove at Dodona, and ho in­vited all the heroes of his time to take part in the expedition. Their first landing-place after leaving lolcus was the island of Lemnos, where all the-women had just before murdered their fathers and husbands, in consequence of the anger of Aphro­dite. Thoas alone had been saved by his daughters and his wife Hypsipyle. The Argonauts united themselves with the women of Lemnos, and Hyp­sipyle bore to Jason two sons, Euneus and Nebro-phonus. From Lemnos the Argonauts sailed to the country of the Doliones, where king Cizycus received them hospitably. They left the country during the night, and being thrown back on the coast by a contrary wind, they were taken for Pelasgians, the enemies of the Doliones, and a struggle ensued, in which Cizycus was slain ; but being recognised by the Argonauts, they buried him and mourned over his fate. They next landed in Mysia, where they left behind Heracles and Polyphemus, who had gone into the country in search of Hylas, whom a nymph had carried off while he was fetching water for his companions. In the country of the Bebryces, king Amycus challenged the Argonauts to light-with him; and when Polydeuces was killed by him, the Argo­nauts in revenge slew many of the Bebryces, and sailed to Salmydessus in Thrace, where the seer Phineus was tormented by the Harpyes. When the Argonauts consulted him about their voyage, he promised his advice on condition of their deli­vering him from the Harpyes. This was done by Zetes and Calais, two sons of Boreas ; and Phineus now advised them, before sailing through the Sym-plegades, to mark the flight of a dove, and to judge from its fate of what they themselves would have to do. When they approached the Symplegades, they sent out a dove, which in its rapid flight between the rocks lost only the end of its tail. The Argonauts now, with the assistance of Hera, followed the example of the dove, sailed quickly between the rocks, and succeeded in passing through without injuring their ship, with the exception of some ornaments at the stern. Henceforth the Symplegades stood immoveable in the sea. oh their arrival in the country of the Mariandyni, the Argonauts were kindly received by their king, Lycus. The seer Idmon and the helmsman Tij/hys died here, and the place of the latter was supplied by Ancaeus. They now sailed along the Thernio-don and the Caucasus, until they arrived at tii«

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