“οὐκ ἄρ᾿ ἐγὼ μούνη μετὰ Λάτμιον ἄντρον ἀλύσκω,
οὐδ᾿ οἴη καλῷ περιδαίομαι Ἐνδυμίωνι.
ἦ θαμὰ δὴ καὶ σεῖο, κύον, δολίῃσιν ἀοιδαῖς
60μνησαμένη φιλότητος, ἵνα σκοτίῃ ἐνὶ νυκτὶ
φαρμάσσῃς εὔκηλος, ἅ τοι φίλα ἔργα τέτυκται.
νῦν δὲ καὶ αὐτὴ δῆθεν ὁμοίης ἔμμορες ἄτης,
δῶκε δ᾿ ἀνιηρόν τοι Ἰήσονα πῆμα γενέσθαι
δαίμων ἀλγινόεις. ἀλλ᾿ ἔρχεο, τέτλαθι δ᾿ ἔμπης,
65καὶ πινυτή περ ἐοῦσα, πολύστονον ἄλγος ἀείρειν.”
ὣς ἄρ᾿ ἔφη· τὴν δ᾿ αἶψα πόδες φέρον ἐγκονέουσαν.
ἀσπασίως δ᾿ ὄχθῃσιν ἐπηέρθη ποταμοῖο
ἀντιπέρην λεύσσουσα πυρὸς σέλας, ὅ ῥά τ᾿ ἀέθλου
παννύχιοι ἥρωες ἐυφροσύνῃσιν ἔδαιον.
70ὀξείῃ δἤπειτα διὰ κνέφας ὄρθια φωνῇ
ὁπλότατον Φρίξοιο περαιόθεν ἤπυε παίδων,
Φρόντιν. ὁ δὲ ξὺν ἑοῖσι κασιγνήτοις ὄπα κούρης
αὐτῷ τ᾿ Αἰσονίδῃ τεκμαίρετο· σῖγα δ᾿ ἑταῖροι
θάμβεον, εὖτ᾿ ἐνόησαν ὃ δὴ καὶ ἐτήτυμον ἦεν.
75τρὶς μὲν ἀνήυσεν, τρὶς δ᾿ ὀτρύνοντος ὁμίλου
Φρόντις ἀμοιβήδην ἀντίαχεν· οἱ δ᾿ ἄρα τείως
ἥρωες μετὰ τήν γε θοοῖς ἐλάασκον ἐρετμοῖς.
οὔ πω πείσματα νηὸς ἐπ᾿ ἠπείροιο περαίης
βάλλον, ὁ δὲ κραιπνοὺς χέρσῳ πόδας ἧκεν Ἰήσων
80ὑψοῦ ἀπ᾿ ἰκριόφιν· μετὰ δὲ Φρόντις τε καὶ Ἄργος,
υἷε δύω Φρίξου, χαμάδις θόρον. ἡ δ᾿ ἄρα τούς γε
γούνων ἀμφοτέρῃσι περισχομένη προσέειπεν·
“ἔκ με, φίλοι, ῥύσασθε δυσάμμορον, ὣς δὲ καὶ αὐτοὺς
ὑμέας, Αἰήταο· πρὸ γάρ τ᾿ ἀναφανδὰ τέτυκται
85πάντα μάλ᾿, οὐδέ τι μῆχος ἱκάνεται. ἀλλ᾿ ἐπὶ νηὶ
φεύγωμεν, πρὶν τόν γε θοῶν ἐπιβήμεναι ἵππων.
δώσω δὲ χρύσειον ἐγὼ δέρος εὐνήσασα
φρουρὸν ὄφιν· τύνη δὲ θεοὺς ἐνὶ σοῖσιν ἑταίροις,
ξεῖνε, τεῶν μύθων ἐπιίστορας, οὕς μοι ὑπέστης,
90ποίησαι, μηδ᾿ ἔνθεν ἑκαστέρω ὁρμηθεῖσαν
χήτεϊ κηδεμόνων ὀνοτὴν καὶ ἀεικέα θείης.”
ἴσκεν ἀκηχεμένη· μέγα δὲ φρένες Αἰσονίδαο
γήθεον. αἶψα δέ μιν περὶ γούνασι πεπτηυῖαν
ἦκ᾿ ἀναειρόμενος προσπτύξατο, θάρσυνέν τε·
95“δαιμονίη, Ζεὺς αὐτὸς Ὀλύμπιος ὅρκιος ἔστω
Ἥρη τε Ζυγίη, Διὸς εὐνέτις, ἦ μὲν ἐμοῖσιν
κουριδίην σε δόμοισιν ἐνιστήσεσθαι ἄκοιτιν,
εὖτ᾿ ἂν ἐς Ἑλλάδα γαῖαν ἱκώμεθα νοστήσαντες.”
ὣς ηὔδα, καὶ χεῖρα παρασχεδὸν ἤραρε χειρὶ
100δεξιτερήν. ἡ δέ σφιν ἐς ἱερὸν ἄλσος ἀνώγει
νῆα θοὴν ἐλάαν αὐτοσχεδόν, ὄφρ᾿ ἔτι νύκτωρ
κῶας ἑλόντες ἄγοιντο παρὲκ νόον Αἰήταο.
ἔνθ᾿ ἔπος ἠδὲ καὶ ἔργον ὁμοῦ πέλεν ἐσσυμένοισιν·
εἰς γάρ μιν βήσαντες ἀπὸ χθονὸς αὐτίκ᾿ ἔωσαν
105νῆα· πολὺς δ᾿ ὀρυμαγδὸς ἐπειγομένων ἐλάτῃσιν
ἦεν ἀριστήων. ἡ δ᾿ ἔμπαλιν ἀίσσουσα
γαίῃ χεῖρας ἔτεινεν ἀμήχανος· αὐτὰρ Ἰήσων
θάρσυνέν τ᾿ ἐπέεσσι καὶ ἴσχανεν ἀσχαλόωσαν.
57–65: According to the ancient commentators on A. Sappho was the first to write about Endymion and Selene. The legend can be traced in literature from then down to Nonnus. The Moon’s intervention is a statement of unrequited love. The tone of the speech is arch and ironic. Bearing in mind the number of reminiscences of Sappho at the beginning of this book (cf. particularly line 17), perhaps we may discern, behind the Moon’s speech, a Sapphic original, similar to fr. 26, on the theme of Endymion and Selene, that A. is recalling and viewing through an ironic lens (see also n. 54–6). Comparison of the love of Jason and Medea with the love of Endymion and the Moon is appropriate in that the sleep of Endymion is balanced by the indifference with which Jason later treats Medea in Book 4. A. makes the Moon say that she is not the only one to be driven to madness over an indifferent lover; Medea is now involved in a similar situation. The Moon’s sentiments are clarified by the section of the speech, beginning νῦν δὲ καὶ αὐτὴ δῆθεν ὁμοίης ἔμμορες ἄτης ‘and you yourself, so it seems, have shared a similar madness’. Even for the Moon, the story of her frustrated love for Endymion seems to function as a literary motif.
The close links between the two stories can be illustrated from art of the late Classical period: an Apulian Red Figure crater, Dallas Museum of Art (1998.74), attributed to the Underworld Painter, 4thcentury BC depicts the shepherd Endymion luring the moon-goddess Selene from the sky with a shining Fleece. The goddess rides in a four-horse chariot, and is crowned with a crescent moon and aureole. To her left stand Aphrodite and Peitho. To the right of Endymion is Athena and a serpent-entwined tree which covers both the upper and lower panels. The Endymion, Athena and serpent-tree are probably simultaneously designed to represent the story of Jason and the Golden Fleece.
57 οὐκ . . . ἀλύσκω: The beginning of an ironic rhetorical self- consolation. ‘So I am not the only one . . .?’ The transmitted text ἀλύσκω does not really make sense in contect. ἀλύσκω always means ‘flee from, shun, avoid.’ This use of the verb has previously been explained as equivalent to ἀλύω or ἀλύσσω. This possibility occurs nowhere else.
A more plausible solution is to emend ἀλύσκω into ἀλύσσω. The mss. confusion of κ and σ / ϲ is easy. Such a corruption would be helped by the common occurrence of forms of ἀλύσκω at the end of the line and the rarity of ἀλύσσω, once in Homer at Il. 22.70 and then only in [Hipp.] Mul. 1.2 (ἀλύξει τε και ῥίψει ἑαυτὴν, ‘will be restless and throw herself’). Hippocrates’ use of the word favours the emendation. A medical word to describe Selene’s love fever is not surprising especially as the Greeks often described love explicitly as a disease or fever.
The Latmian cave is traditionally sited in Caria, in Asia Minor. ἄρα adds a tone of inference or conclusion, based on what the Moon has already observed (Smyth § 2790). For μετά with the accusative, see Smyth § 1691.
58–61 οὐδ᾽ . . . τέτυκται: οὐδ᾽(ε) opens the second strand of the Moon’s opening thought. Implicit in what the Moon says is that Medea, following the practice of Thessalian witchcraft, had drawn down the moon to the cave of Endymion (51–3n. for this skill). There is a hint of Sappho and Theocritus Idyll 2 (Sappho fr. 1 5–7 (addressed to Aphrodite) Voigt ἀλλά τυίδ᾽ ἔλθ᾽, αἴποτα κἀτέρωτα / τᾶσ ἔμας αύδας αἴοισα πήλοι / ἔκλυες (‘but come hither, if ever before you heard my voice from afar and listened’)). Just as Medea is associated with δολίῃσιν ἀοιδαῖς, Aphrodite is called δολόπλοκος (fr. 1.2). Sappho’s incantation to Aphrodite is neatly paralleled, with its typical Hellenistic reversal, by Selene’s address to Medea. Theocritus’ Simaetha, also skilled in drugs, calls on Selene and compares herself to Medea (2.14), her dilemma with Delphis paralleling that of Medea with Jason.
περιδαίομαι alludes to the symptoms of ‘the fires of love’ and ἦ θαμὰ δὴ, the frequency of their occurrence. There is no need to alter transmitted κύον (‘bitch’). As a word of reproach, it is used in Homer to denote shamefulness or audacity on the part of a woman. The Moon’s have a definite sarcastic ring. The participial phrase μνησαμένη φιλότητος depends on περιδαίομαι (pace ad loc.- ‘being on fire’ must be part of the process of being aroused. There is no to speculate that anything is missing. Adding another line can only make for repetition in a phrase that is already well-expressed. σκότιος stresses that the clandestine nature of Medea’s activities. Both εὔκηλος and φίλα ἔργα emphasise that that this is a role that she enjoys. τέτυκται (3rd sg. perf. ind. of τέυχω) adds a solemn, epic note to the Moon’s judgement on Medea’s behaviour. The word accurs at the end of a line as here in all but one of its twenty-five appearances in Homer.
62 νῦν . . . ἄτης: The turning point in the speech is strongly marked by νῦν δὲ (‘but now . . .’). The Moon turns from her own case to that of Medea. The particle δῆθεν reinforces the sarcastic tone of the Moon’s remarks ( Smyth § 2849. The end of the line is heavily resonate with literary allusion: The sentiment recalls the appeal to Erato at the beginning of Book 3 (3–4) σὺ γὰρ καὶ Κύπριδος αἶσαν ἔμμορες, ‘for you also have been allotted a share in Kypris’ power’. Goddesses share power over love, while Medea shares the pain. The significant verb ἔμμορες (aorist of μείρομαι) also echoes an Homeric line (Il. 1.278 οὔ ποθ᾽ ὁμοίης ἔμμορε τιμῆς / σκηπτοῦχος βασιλεύς, ‘a sceptred king has a share in extraordinary honour’, where ὁμοίης means ‘not equal, not similar’ and therefore ‘out of the ordinary’. The change τιμῆς ∼ἄτης ‘honour’ to ‘ruin’ is typically Hellenistic. The exact meaning of ὁμοῖος / ὁμοῖιος has been disputed by ancient and modern critics. It is an important feature of A.’s style to be allusive at important points in his narrative.
63–4 δῶκε . . . ἀλγινόεις: The mockery of Medea continues, echoing the opening of Book 4 (4.4). It gains strength from the straight forward, brutal nature of the statement. Jason will be ‘a grievous misery’ (ἀνιηρόν τοι Ἰήσονα πῆμα) and the cause of this unhappiness is due to the intervention of a cruel god (δαίμων ἀλγινόεις). The fact that the god’s identity is deliberately left ambiguous adds to the cruelty. It could be the σχέτλι᾽ Ἔρως of 4.445–9 (4.446–7 ἐκ σέθεν . . . ἄλγεά . . . τετρήχασιν, ‘From you, torments swirl up’). It could Hera (4.20) or even Aphrodite (n. 35–9). The gods deal with mortals in an arbitrary way.
64–5 ἀλλ᾽ . . . ἀείρειν: The Moon concludes on an imperative note (ἔρχεο - 2nd sg. pres. imperat. of ἔρχομαι, τέτλαθι- 2nd sg. perf. imperat. of τλάω). For all Medea’s skills, πινυτή περ ἐοῦσα, (in witchcraft), she is destined to suffer (πολύστονον ἄλγος ἀείρειν). The final admonition gains weight from the assonance of the last two words (ἄλγος ἀείρειν) and the epithet (πολύστονον) which is full of foreboding for the girl’s future. Again there is an allusive twist: ἄλγος ἀείρειν reverses the Homeric κῦδος ἄροιο (Il. 4.95, 9.303), with an additional allusion to ἄχθος ἄειραν (Od. 3.312).
66–81 After the Moon’s sarcastic intervention, the description of Medea’s night escape continues at a faster pace (4.66 ἐγκονέουσαν). The light of the heroes’ fire seen through the darkness, together with Medea’s voice cutting through the gloom, are dramatic touches.
There may be reminiscences of night scenes in Homer such as Priam’s visit to Achilles, the Doloneia(Il. 10) and Il. 18.203–30 during which Achilles’ flaming helmet and shout terrify the Trojans (70–4n.). The motif of fire seen through the darkness occurs at Il. 10.11–12 (66–9n.). In the Doloneia much is made of going to spy on the Trojans by night (Il. 10.82–3 ἀνὰ στρατὸν ἔρχεαι οἶος / νύκτα δι᾽ ὀρφναίην, ‘you go alone through the army in the darkness of the night’ ∼4.70 διὰ κνέφας), just as Medea is seeking out the Argonauts. There is also a loud scream as Athena sends her heron as a good omen to Odysseus: Il. 10.276 νύκτα δι᾽ ὀρφναίην.
66–9 ὧς . . . ἔδαιον: The opening short vivid phrase (τὴν δ᾽ αἶψα πόδες φέρον ἐγκονέουσαν), with the almost onomatopoeic participle increases the sense of Medea’s urgency. Her feet carry her along. ‘In one bound’, she was free and on top of the banks of the river (ὄχθῃσιν ποταμοῖο). The Aorist Passive (ἐπηέρθη from Homeric ἐπαείρω) gives a strange sense, if translated literally, ‘was raised up on the banks of the river’. Perhaps it contains within it the metaphorical sense of ἐπαίρω, ‘‘raised up’ in the sense ‘raised spirits, excitement, elation’. Up to this point, Medea’s flight has been a fearful one, but the sight of the Argonauts’ fire changes her mood. Both ἀσπασίως and λεύσσουσα fit more naturally into the sense of the sentence if ἐπηέρθηv is interpreted in this way. παννύχιοι signals the fact that there are extraordinary circumstances in the Argonauts’ camp, you might expect the light of the fire (πυρὸς σέλας) to be extinguished when evening turns into night so that the heroes can sleep. The flame seen through the darkness is another vivid touch that enhances the atmospheric night scene. Instead of sleeping, they are celebrating their joy (ἐυφροσύνῃσιν) that Jason has triumphed in the contest (ἀέθλου).
70–4 ὀξείῃ . . . ἦεν: Medea’s dramatic shout across the river adds narrative variety to the action. Line 70 is elegantly interlaced, with her piercing cry (ὀξείῃ . . . φωνῇ; ὄρθια is used adverbially) cutting through the darkness (διὰ κνέφας). The moment has literary antecedents: perhaps, Achilles’ terrifying cry (Il. 18.217), as he mounts the trench around the Greek ships at Troy or possibly the moment when Persephone is abducted by Hades (Hom. Hym. 2.20 ἰάχησε δ᾽ ἄρ’ ὄρθια φωνῇ, ‘she cried out in a shrill voice’). δἤπειτα (an example of crasis) stands for δή and ἔπειτα.
Medea approaches Phrontis first not Jason or Argos because her feelings towards Jason are ambivalent (30–33) and Argos is a close associate of Jason (3.318, 440), even though a relationship exists between him and Medea (i.e. Aunt). The indirectness of Medea’s approach makes a sharp contrast with Jason’s instant magnanimity in lines 92–98. Why does A. stress that Phrontis is the youngest of Phrixos’ children (71–2 ὁπλότατον Φρίξοιο . . . παίδων, / Φρόντι), placing the name in an emphatic position? There appear to have been different age rankings given to the sons of Phrixos. A. may be stating an opinion concerning mythological detail.
Open-mouthed astonishment at an extraordinary happening (σῖγα δ᾽ ἑταῖροι / θάμβεον), as well as being a natural reaction-none of the Argonauts, apart from Jason, have ever heard her voice-has good epic precedents, e.g. at Il. 9.29-30 where the Greeks become hushed in silence, when Agamemnon makes trial of them and says that it is all over with the siege of Troy and that everybody should go home.
75–6 τρὶς . . . ἀντίαχεν: τρὶς . . . τρὶς is a frequent structuring phrase, ‘Three’ a significant number and ὀτρύνοντος ὁμίλου genitive absolute (Smyth § 2070). Medea’s shout seems to be verging on a war cry; cf. Achilles at Il. 18.228–9 τρὶς μὲν ὑπὲρ τάφρου μεγάλ᾽ ἴαχε δῖος Ἀχιλλεύς, / τρὶς δὲ κυκήθησαν Τρῶες, ‘Thrice godlike Achilles bellowed greatly over the trench, thrice were the famous Trojans and allies panic-stricken.’ The first verb is a strong one (ἀναύω) and marks her approach to the Argonauts as strong and confident, revealing the heroic side of her character, likening her to Achilles (4.16–7n.), despite the fact she is about to play the role of the suppliant.
76–81 οἱ . . . θόρον: The iterative tense ἐλάασκον reinforces the fast-moving action, as does the asyndeton of οὔπω. Up to line 79, Phrontis has been the chief negotiator on the Argonauts’ side. Before the reader reaches the end of the line, ὁ δέ could well refer to him. The unexpectedness of Ἰήσων making his rescue leap is emphasised by the position of his name in the line. ὑψοῦ ἀπ' ἰκριόφιν refers to the half deck at the stern of a ship. Jason is shown in heroic mode in 79–81. In his eagerness to play the rescuer, he does not wait for the ship to beach before jumping ashore; cf. Protesilaus, who was the first to leap ashore at Troy and also the François Vase which shows the ship coming to pick up Theseus with the young Athenians he rescued from the Minotaur, or just arriving in Crete. A youth labelled Phaidimos jumps overboard and another swims to the shore. For A.’s attention to descriptive detail cf. the scene when Thetis and the Nereids help the Argonauts to negotiate the Planktai where again A. could be describing a work of art (4. 939–60).
81–101 Medea’s speech is a supplication. In Book 3 Medea was supplicated by Chalkiope and Jason to obtain her help; now, severing all links with her parents and fatherland, she is a fugitive suppliant. Her approach to Jason and the other leaders of the Argonauts shows one of the paradoxes of the suppliant state. On the one hand she is weak and defenceless (4.92 ἀκηχεμένη) and yet still constitutes a threatening force. This has already been implied throughout the opening part of her escape, when she has been described by similes and language more usually attached to heroic conflict. At the beginning of her speech Medea calls Jason and the other Argonauts φίλοι (82). The situation is further complicated by the presence of Phrontis and Argos, the sons of Phrixos. Medea is to be imagined going from one to the other, ending at Jason’s knees. There are natural reasons why she approaches her own relatives first. The bond between them is stronger than that of mere ξεῖνοι; (cf. 4.89 ξεῖνε). Even at this stage, it is the promise of even more help which decides in her favour: she offers to bewitch the dragon and enable the Argonauts finally to obtain the Golden Fleece. Her supplication is successful: she is immediately raised up from her position at Jason’s knees, a comforting speech is made and an oath sworn to Zeus and Hera, the goddess of marriage, an important role in Book 4.
The supplication (Hiketeia) here of Jason by Medea in front of his comrades matches the promises made by him in Book 3, when they met alone near Hekate’s temple. The right hand offered to seal the promise answers the right hand given by Medea when she decides to help Jason (3.1067–8) and yield to passion. Textbook ritual behaviour is, however, in sharp contrast with the perjury committed by Jason soon afterwards.
81–2 ἡ . . . προσέειπεν: The emphatic pronoun τούσγε refers to Argos and Phrontis and at τύνη . . . ξεῖνε (88–9) we must imagine some movement on the part of Medea as she turns to address Jason. See 81–100n. for the significance of the gesture described. The genitive (γούνων) depends on περισχομένη, with χερσί to be understood with ἀμφοτέρῃσι.
83–4 ἔκ . . . Αἰήταο: Medea’s first plea contained between the hyperbaton of preposition (ἐκ) and noun (Αἰήταο) is an abrupt and dramatic opening. The enclitic’s (με) position is in accordance with Wackernagel’s law but although there are other examples in A. of words placed between ἐκ and its noun (1.207) the separation is never usually as drastic as here (with the exception of 2.586–7). This stylistic feature must have arisen as a reaction against Homeric word order which, compared with that of Hellenistic poetry, is much closer to prose (simplex ordo); it exhibits a desire to introduce a more sophisticated placing of words
There is a different papyrus reading here (P.Oxy. 75.5030) ἐκ δὲ καὶ, producing an anaphora which may add something to the forceful opening of the speech and be what the poet actually wrote (Hunter ad loc). This seems unlikely: ἐκ δὲ καὶ αὐτ– does not occur in this position in Homer or Apollonius, who also does not like anaphora of this kind. The usual phrase is ὧς δὲ καὶ αὐτ–.
84–5 πρὸ . . . ἱκάνεται: ‘All is discovered!’ ‘There is no help at hand!’ A dramatic (perhaps melodramatic) moment. πρό is either in tmesis with τέτυκται, ‘all has been discovered beforehand’ (3rd sg. perf. ind. of τεύχω) or reinforcing ἀναφανδά (adjectival), ‘fully discovered’. Eur IA 1140ἀπωλόμεσθα· προδέδοται τὰ κρυπτά μου, ‘Ruined! my secret betrayed!’ and Men. Sam. 316εἰδότα γ’ ἀκριβῶς πάντα καὶ πεπυσμένον, ‘everything is fully known and discovered’ are similar moments. πάντα τέτυκται (58–61n.) occurs at Od. 12.280. A., as a Hellenistic poet, deliberately varies on this order.
85–6 ἀλλ᾽ . . . ἵππων: ‘We must flee in the ship! before Aietes takes to his chariots’. ἐνὶ νηὶ (Brunck’s emendation) seems better than transmitted ἐπί. τόνγε is the reading of P.Oxy. 4.692, the mediaeval tradition. having τόνδε. Medea is imagining that Aietes will be upon her at any moment and therefore τόνδε pointing out something close at hand is better.
87–8 δώσω . . . ὄφιν: With expressions that have formulaic possibilities such as ‘Golden Fleece’ A. succeeds in being as unrepetitive as possible by alternating between κῶας (8 times) and δέρος (7), χρύσειον (11) and χρύσεον (4), hyperbaton often separating the two combinations.
The hyperbaton here with the personal pronoun placed between the two components of the formula emphasises Medea’s role in the Argonauts’ ultimate success and the price that she can exact. The echo of Aietes’ statement at 3.404 δώσω τοι χρύσειον ἄγειν δέρος, ‘I will give you the Fleece to take away’ is deliberate: Aietes is not going to give the Argonauts the Fleece without a fight. Medea gives it to them in exchange for saving her from Aietes. The phrase is an adaptation of the Homeric formula for gift-giving; cf. Od. 4.589–91 δώσω δέ τοι ἀγλαὰ δῶρα, / τρεῖς ἵππους καὶ δίφρον ἐύξοον· αὐτὰρ ἔπειτα / δώσω καλὸν ἄλεισον, ‘I will give you splendid gifts, three horses and a well-polished car; and besides I will give you a beautiful cup.’
Guardian Serpents or Snakes (are traditional mythological guardians of treasure but most, like the Colchian one, prove ineffective in the end. The climax in 156–61 where Medea puts the dragon to sleep by means of a drug deviates from the usual legend (see 156–8n.). Later in the poem, when Heracles captures the Golden Apples of the Hesperides(4.1433–4), his treatment of their Guardian Snake is brutal by comparison.
88–90 τύνη . . . ποίησαι: This strong assertion beginning with τύνη contrasts with her supposed suppliant status and perhaps shows A. modifying some of the traditional elements of a supplication to demonstrate the force of Medea’s character. The involved syntax embraces the whole sentence and gives rhetorical weight to the pressure that Medea is trying to exert on Jason: ‘ You (τύνη) make (ποίησαι) the gods (θεοὺς) witnesses (ἐπιίστορας) of what you promised me.’ She is attempting to put her relationship with Jason on to a legal footing. After her flight, she no longer has a legal guardian (Line 91 χήτει κηδεμόνων) and to avoid becoming an object of scorn and disgrace, she tries to persuade Jason to accept a form of marriage by mutual consent, which would place her under the protection of her husband. There is some evidence of a move towards this type of relationship in the Hellenistic period. Up to this point, Medea refers to Jason as ξεῖνε (4.89, 3.619, 630, 638, 905). After they make the marriage contract, she calls Jason by his name (4.355 Αἰσονίδη). This subtle point of characterisation might represent something of the breakdown of the barriers against mixed marriages that took place in Egypt in the third century.
90–1 μηδ᾽ . . . θείης: The shame incurred by Medea’s desertion of her family is a constant theme in the opening of Book 4. ὁρμηθεῖσαν is sg. aor. pass. fem. acc. participle of ὁρμάω with active meaning. χῆτος, τό (only used in dat.) takes the dative. For the optative (θείης) expressing a wish, see § Smyth 1814.
92–3 ἴσκεν . . . γήθεον: Jason’s joy seems to result from Medea’s presence, not just that he is about to obtain the Fleece. This is demonstrated by his jumping ashore ashore to greet her and showing her physical signs of affection (see below). As Book 4 develops, this magnanimity will be seen to short-lived. The Alexandrian use of ἴσκεν as an equivalent of ἔλεγε is based on an ancient critical discussion of Od. 22.31 ἴσκεν ἕκαστος ἀνήρ, ‘so guessed / spoke each man’.
93–4 αἶψα . . . θάρσυνέν τε: A. is describing the classic mode of supplication. It is not just a matter of Medea’s taking hold of Jason’s knees (Il. 1.500 λάβε γούνων).A. uses a more dramatic word πεπτηυῖαν ‘crouched at his knee.’ θάρσυνεν, ‘comforted’, might be seen as an implicit comment on the true nature of Jason’s oath. His sincerity only runs surface deep. He is sympathetic because he wants something from her. The psychology behind this scene is subtle and delicately nuanced.
95–6 Δαιμονίη . . . εὐνέτις: For the importance of the oath as a theme in the Argonautica, see 358–9n. and 388–9n. Δαιμονίη is a frequent respectful opening to Homeric speech (e.g. Il. 24.193–4 where Priam thus addresses Hecuba), and the word which Jason again uses to propitiate Medea at 4.395n. ἔστω is 3rd sg. pres. imperat. act. of εἰμί (I am). ζύγιος describes Hera as presiding over marriage.
96–8 ἦ . . . νοστήσαντες: The consequences of this oath will be felt through the poem. The installation of the bride in the conjugal home is part of the essential elements of the ancient Greek marriage ceremony. Adjective and noun at opposite ends of the line reinforce the solemnity of the moment and constitute an elegant feature of Hellenistic style. Arete echoes the phrase at 4.1085 κουριδίην θήσεσθαι ἐνὶ μεγάροισιν ἄκοιτιν. Did she have a verbal report from Medea of what Jason said here?
Ἑλλάδα γαῖαν is not Homeric. A., as with ‘Golden Fleece’, builds up his own system of formulas. The use of the phrase also stresses the Barbarian v. Greek contrast, a major theme of the poem.
99–100 ὧς . . . δεξιτερήν: The gesture seals the oath and implies acceptance of the supplication. It echoes a similar gesture made by Medea at 3.1067–8, when she first decides to help Jason. One might expect a moment in which Medea shows gratitude in some way. As it is, Jason's right hand is left hanging in the enjambed position and her immediate dominance is shown by the way in which she commands them to go to the sacred grove. ηὔδα is 3rd sg. imperf. ind. act. of αὐδάω and ἤραρε is 3rd sg. aor. ind. act. of ἀραρίσκω.
100–2 ἡ . . . Αἰήταο: Medea gives the orders (ἀνώγει), although she has just been playing the role of the humble suppliant. In a similar way, during their encounter with the guardian serpent, Medea takes care of the frightened Jason just as the mothers take care of frightened newborn children (4.136–8). σφιν is masc. dat. pl. of personal pronoun σφεῖς. The pres. inf. act. ἐλάαν (from ἐλαύνω) depends on ἀνώγει and ἄγοιντο is the 3rd pl. pres. opt. of ἄγω, after ὄφρ’(α) – Smyth § 2183.
103 ἔνθ’ . . . ἐσσυμένοισιν: A possible paraphrase is our ‘no sooner said than done’. ἐσσυμένοισιν is masc. dat. pl. of ἐσσύμενος part. Pass. of σεύω (in sense and accent pres., but redupl. as if pf.). For the dat., see Smyth § 1474.
104–6 εἰς . . . ἀριστήων: The action now speeds up, aided by A.’s brief allusions to more expansive Homeric passages and also prose usage: Od. 9.103–4 ‘So they went on board straightway and sat down on the benches, and sitting well in order struck the grey sea with their oars.’ εἰσβαίνω (here in tmesis, together with ἀπὸ . . . ἔωσαν= ἀπωθέω) is the usual verb for putting something or someone on board.
106–8 ἡ δ᾽ . . . ἀσχαλόωσαν: This is an instinctive, but almost formal gesture in such situations. Medea is overcome with grief as she abandons her native land. ἴσχανεν ἀσχαλόωσαν, ‘restrained her grief’; (pace Hunter ad loc.) she is not about to leap overboard. She’s in despair but she has made her decision(4.30–3).