̂Ἠμος δ' ἄκρον ἔβαλλε φαεσφόρος οὐρανὸν Ἠώς,
δὴ τότε λαιψηροῖο κατηλυσίῃ ζεφύροιο
βαῖνον ἐπὶ κληῖδας ἀπὸ χθονός· ἐκ δὲ βυθοῖο
εὐναίας εἷλκον περιγηθέες, ἄλλα τε πάντα
ἄρμενα μηρύοντο κατὰ χρέος· ὕψι δὲ λαῖφος
εἴρυσσαν τανύσαντες ἐν ἱμάντεσσι κεραίης. 890
νῆα δ᾿ ἐυκραὴς ἄνεμος φέρεν· αἶψα δὲ νῆσον
καλὴν Ἀνθεμόεσσαν ἐσέδρακον, ἔνθα λίγειαι
Σειρῆνες σίνοντ᾿ Ἀχελωίδες ἡδείῃσιν
θέλγουσαι μολπῇσιν, ὅ τις παρὰ πεῖσμα βάλοιτο.
τὰς μὲν ἄρ᾿ εὐειδὴς Ἀχελωίῳ εὐνηθεῖσα 895
γείνατο Τερψιχόρη, Μουσέων μία· καί ποτε Δηοῦς
θυγατέρ᾿ ἰφθίμην ἀδμῆτ᾿ ἔτι πορσαίνεσκον
ἄμμιγα μελπόμεναι· τότε δ᾿ ἄλλο μὲν οἰωνοῖσιν,
ἄλλο δὲ παρθενικῇς ἐναλίγκιαι ἔσκον ἰδέσθαι.
αἰεὶ δ᾿ εὐόρμου δεδοκημέναι ἐκ περιωπῆς 900
ἦ θαμὰ δὴ πολέων μελιηδέα νόστον ἕλοντο,
τηκεδόνι φθινύθουσαι· ἀπηλεγέως δ᾿ ἄρα καὶ τοῖς
ἵεσαν ἐκ στομάτων ὄπα λείριον. οἱ δ᾿ ἀπὸ νηὸς
ἤδη πείσματ᾿ ἔμελλον ἐπ᾿ ἠιόνεσσι βαλέσθαι,
εἰ μὴ ἄρ᾿ Οἰάγροιο πάις Θρηίκιος Ὀρφεὺς 905
Βιστονίην ἐνὶ χερσὶν ἑαῖς φόρμιγγα τανύσσας
κραιπνὸν ἐυτροχάλοιο μέλος κανάχησεν ἀοιδῆς,
ὄφρ᾿ ἄμυδις κλονέοντος ἐπιβρομέωνται ἀκουαὶ
κρεγμῷ· παρθενίην δ᾿ ἐνοπὴν ἐβιήσατο φόρμιγξ.
νῆα δ᾿ ὁμοῦ ζέφυρός τε καὶ ἠχῆεν φέρε κῦμα 910
πρυμνόθεν ὀρνύμενον· ταὶ δ᾿ ἄκριτον ἵεσαν αὐδήν.
ἀλλὰ καὶ ὧς Τελέοντος ἐὺς πάις οἶος ἑταίρων
προφθάμενος ξεστοῖο κατὰ ζυγοῦ ἔνθορε πόντῳ
Βούτης, Σειρήνων λιγυρῇ ὀπὶ θυμὸν ἰανθείς·
νῆχε δὲ πορφυρέοιο δι᾿ οἴδματος, ὄφρ᾿ ἐπιβαίη, 915
σχέτλιος· ἦ τέ οἱ αἶψα καταυτόθι νόστον ἀπηύρων,
ἀλλά μιν οἰκτείρασα θεὰ Ἔρυκος μεδέουσα
Κύπρις ἔτ᾿ ἐν δίναις ἀνερέψατο, καί ῥ᾿ ἐσάωσεν
πρόφρων ἀντομένη Λιλυβηίδα ναιέμεν ἄκρην.
οἱ δ᾿ ἄχεϊ σχόμενοι τὰς μὲν λίπον, ἄλλα δ᾿ὄπαζον 920 κύντερα μιξοδίῃσιν ἁλὸς ῥαιστήρια νηῶν.
τῇ μὲν γὰρ Σκύλλης λισσὴ προυφαίνετο πέτρη,
τῇ δ᾿ ἄμοτον βοάασκεν ἀναβλύζουσα Χάρυβδις·
ἄλλοθι δὲ Πλαγκταὶ μεγάλῳ ὑπὸ κύματι πέτραι
ῥόχθεον, ἧχι πάροιθεν ἀπέπτυεν αἰθομένη φλὸξ 925
ἄκρων ἐκ σκοπέλων πυριθαλπέος ὑψόθι πέτρης,
καπνῷ δ᾿ ἀχλυόεις αἰθὴρ πέλεν, οὐδέ κεν αὐγὰς
ἔδρακες ἠελίοιο. τότ᾿ αὖ λήξαντος ἀπ᾿ ἔργων
Ἡφαίστου θερμὴν ἔτι κήκιε πόντος ἀυτμήν.
ἔνθα σφιν κοῦραι Νηρηίδες ἄλλοθεν ἄλλαι 930
ἤντεον· ἡ δ᾿ ὄπιθεν πτέρυγος θίγε πηδαλίοιο
δῖα Θέτις, Πλαγκτῇσιν ἐνὶ σπιλάδεσσιν ἔρυσθαι.
ὡς δ᾿ ὁπόταν δελφῖνες ὑπὲξ ἁλὸς εὐδιόωντες
σπερχομένην ἀγεληδὸν ἑλίσσωνται περὶ νῆα,
ἄλλοτε μὲν προπάροιθεν ὁρώμενοι, ἄλλοτ᾿ ὄπισθεν, 935 ἄλλοτε παρβολάδην, ναύτῃσι δὲ χάρμα τέτυκται·
ὣς αἱ ὑπεκπροθέουσαι ἐπήτριμοι εἱλίσσοντο
Ἀργῴῃ περὶ νηί, Θέτις δ᾿ ἴθυνε κέλευθον.
καί ῥ᾿ ὅτε δὴ Πλαγκτῇσιν ἐνιχρίμψεσθαι ἔμελλον,
αὐτίκ᾿ ἀνασχόμεναι λευκοῖς ἐπὶ γούνασι πέζας, 940
ὑψοῦ ἐπ᾿ αὐτάων σπιλάδων καὶ κύματος ἀγῆς
ῥώοντ᾿ ἔνθα καὶ ἔνθα διασταδὸν ἀλλήλῃσιν.
τὴν δὲ παρηορίην κόπτεν ῥόος· ἀμφὶ δὲ κῦμα
λάβρον ἀειρόμενον πέτραις ἐπικαχλάζεσκεν·
αἱ δ᾿ ὁτὲ μὲν κρημνοῖς ἐναλίγκιαι ἠέρι κῦρον, 945
ἄλλοτε δὲ βρύχιαι νεάτῳ ὑπὸ πυθμένι πόντου
ἠρήρειν, τὸ δὲ πολλὸν ὑπείρεχεν ἄγριον οἶδμα.
αἱ δ᾿, ὥς τ᾿ ἠμαθόεντος ἐπισχεδὸν αἰγιαλοῖο
παρθενικαὶ δίχα κόλπον ἐπ᾿ ἰξύας εἱλίξασαι
950σφαίρῃ ἀθύρουσιν περιηγέι· αἱ μὲν ἔπειτα
ἄλλη ὑπ᾿ ἐξ ἄλλης δέχεται καὶ ἐς ἠέρα πέμπει
ὕψι μεταχρονίην, ἡ δ᾿ οὔ ποτε πίλναται οὔδει·
ὣς αἱ νῆα θέουσαν ἀμοιβαδὶς ἄλλοθεν ἄλλη
πέμπε διηερίην ἐπὶ κύμασιν, αἰὲν ἄπωθεν
πετράων· περὶ δέ σφιν ἐρευγόμενον ζέεν ὕδωρ. 955
τὰς δὲ καὶ αὐτὸς ἄναξ κορυφῆς ἔπι λισσάδος ἄκρης
ὀρθὸς ἐπὶ στελεῇ τυπίδος βαρὺν ὦμον ἐρείσας
Ἥφαιστος θηεῖτο, καὶ αἰγλήεντος ὕπερθεν
οὐρανοῦ ἑστηυῖα Διὸς δάμαρ, ἀμφὶ δ᾿ Ἀθήνῃ
βάλλε χέρας, τοῖόν μιν ἔχεν δέος εἰσορόωσαν. 960
ὅσση δ᾿ εἰαρινοῦ μηκύνεται ἤματος αἶσα,
τοσσάτιον μογέεσκον ἐπὶ χρόνον, ὀχλίζουσαι
νῆα διὲκ πέτρας πολυηχέας. οἱ δ᾿ ἀνέμοιο
αὖτις ἐπαυρόμενοι προτέρω θέον· ὦκα δ᾿ ἄμειβον
Θρινακίης λειμῶνα, βοῶν τροφὸν Ἠελίοιο. 965
ἔνθ᾿ αἱ μὲν κατὰ βένθος ἀλίγκιαι αἰθυίῃσιν
δῦνον, ἐπεί ῥ᾿ ἀλόχοιο Διὸς πόρσυνον ἐφετμάς·
τοὺς δ᾿ ἄμυδις βληχή τε δι᾿ ἠέρος ἵκετο μήλων,
μυκηθμός τε βοῶν αὐτοσχεδὸν οὔατ᾿ ἔβαλλεν.
καὶ τὰ μὲν ἑρσήεντα κατὰ δρία ποιμαίνεσκεν 970
ὁπλοτέρη Φαέθουσα θυγατρῶν Ἠελίοιο,
ἀργύρεον χαῖον παλάμῃ ἔνι πηχύνουσα·
Λαμπετίη δ᾿ ἐπὶ βουσὶν ὀρειχάλκοιο φαεινοῦ
πάλλεν ὀπηδεύουσα καλαύροπα. τὰς δὲ καὶ αὐτοὶ
βοσκομένας ποταμοῖο παρ᾿ ὕδασιν εἰσορόωντο 975
ἂμ πεδίον καὶ ἕλος λειμώνιον· οὐδέ τις ἦεν
κυανέη μετὰ τῇσι δέμας, πᾶσαι δὲ γάλακτι
εἰδόμεναι χρυσέοισι κεράασι κυδιάασκον.
καὶ μὲν τὰς παράμειβον ἐπ᾿ ἤματι· νυκτὶ δ᾿ ἰούσῃ
πεῖρον ἁλὸς μέγα λαῖτμα κεχαρμένοι, ὄφρα καὶ αὖτις
980 Ἠὼς ἠριγενὴς φέγγος βάλε νισσομένοισιν.
Bearing in mind that the original Argonautica, if there was one, was an intertext for the Odyssey, which is, in turn, an intertext for A. With this in mind, it comes as a surprise that Thetis does not tell Peleus about the Sirens at all, allowing the Argonauts to depart in complete ignorance of the dangerous beings awaiting them.
The home of the Sirens has been identified with several islands. According to Strabo (126.96.36.199–13.20), some ancient sources located the Sirens close to Cape (Capo del Faro, the northeastern promontory of Sicily), others (A. included) near the Galli Islands (modern Sirenuse), between Capri and the Amalfi Coast.
885:‘Dawn the light-bearer struck the horizon.’ ἄκρον . . . οὐρανὸν: literally, ‘the edge of heaven.’
886: λαιψηροῖο κατηλυσίῃ ζεφύροιο: ‘With the descent of quick-moving Zephyr’ (i.e. the west wind). λαιψηροῖο . . . ζεφύροιο / . . . βυθοῖο: is a striking sequence of rhymes at the caesura and line ends. λαιψηρός often alludes to fast-dancing feet, so conveys a fine image when used of a lively wind. κατηλυσία is a rare word, only used here and at Arat. 536 where it refers to the ‘going down’ of stars on each of the great celestial circles. For ‘descending winds’ see here.
887: κληῖδας: ‘Rowing benches.’ (s.v. 2IV).
888: εὐναίας εἷλκον: ‘They pulled up the anchors.’ A. uses εὐναίη for εὐνή, usually ‘bed’ here the stone thrown from the prow of a Homeric ship and used as an anchor. For discussion and illustration of what these anchors might have looked like, see here (Wachsmann 2009, 255–93). περιγηθέες: "Very joyful." Only the night before, the Argonauts were amusing themselves by playing games on the shore. "Ihis sets up an ironic contrast with the corresponding episode in the Odyssey. "There the heroes are in a sombre mood, having just buried their pilot Elpenor (Od. 12.1—200). The irony is intensified when we consider that Circe warned Odysseus that whoever approaches the Sirens unawares is doomed to lose his nostos (Od. 12.39—43). In the Argonautica, no one seems to perceive the Sirens as a threat to the heroes, not even Hera. When she discusses with Thetis how to help the Argo through the Wandering Rocks, the Sirens are not even mentioned.
889 ἄρμενα μηρύοντο κατὰ χρέος: ‘They fastened the cables as was proper.’ ἄρμενα is the general term for the ropes or tackle of a ship. κατὰ χρέος means ‘according to what is needful’ (cf. Hom. Hym. Herm. 138; Arg. 3.189, Aratus 343). The passage in Aratus is particularly of interest since the context is the description of the Argo constellation.
889—90 λαῖφος / εἴρυσσαν τανύσαντες ἐν ἱμάντεσσι κεραίης: "They drew up the sail stretching it on the rigging of the yardarm." ἱμάς: is the halyard, the rope that is used to raise and lower the beam (κεραίη) over which the sail is extended (i.e., the yardarm). For discussion and illustration of these terms, see here (Casson 1971, 229) and here (Wachsmann 2009, 248). Virgil seems to have understood the terminology: Aen. 5.829 iubet ocius omnes / attolli malos, intendi bracchia velis. ‘He (Aeneas) bids all the masts be raised with speed and the yards spread with sails.’ Virgil seems to have this description in mind: (830–2) ‘Together all set the sheets, and all at once, now to the left and the right, they let out the canvas; together they turn to and fro the yardarms aloft; favouring breezes bear on the fleet.’ εἴρυσσαν τανύσαντες ἐν ἱμάντεσσι is an internal rhyme.
891: νῆα δ᾿ ἐυκραὴς ἄνεμος φέρεν: ‘the gentle Wind [Zephyr] bore the ship.’
on.’ The image of a beautiful day with ideal sailing conditions contributes to
the suspense felt by the reader familiar with the Sirens episode in the Odyssey. The echo of ἐυκραὴς ἄνεμος at 2.1228 reinforces the same feeling; the symmetry contributes to the heroes' false sense of safety. In the earlier scene, they departed the island of Ares with a fair wind, leaving behind a flock of bird-monsters. Here the reader knows that the fair wind is blowing them toward similar bird-monsters. ἐυκραὴς: ‘brisk, blowing-strongly.’ The formation of this word properly involves some Alexandrian Homeric scholarship. A. seems to intend it as a variation on ἀκραής, with, in this context, basically the same meaning. It is a matter of whether the word is divided as ἀκρ–αής, ‘strong, verging on violent’ or ἀ–κραής, unmixed and derived from ἄημι or κεράννυμι. The details are clearly explained here (Rengakos 1994, 42–3). For other scholarly allusions in A., which depend on the interpretation see 152–3n. on ἄβρομος.
892 Ἀνθεμόεσσαν: A proper name meaning "blossomy." Homer describes theSirens' island as having a flowery meadow λειμῶν᾽ ἀνθεμόεντα (Od. 12.159),but he does not give it a name. According to Σ to Arg. 4.892 (p. 298.7 Wendel), Apollonius seems to be following Hesiod (fr. 27 M-W), who calledthe island "Anthemoessa." Clearly, both the name and the description are
meant to be euphemistic, since the image in the Odyssey of the Sirens sittingin their meadow with the moldering corpses of their victims heaped up allaround hardly suggests a place worthy of the epithet καλή (Od. 12.39–46; cf.4-901—2). Apollonius' first picture of the island is intensely sensual, engaging sight, smell (καλὴν Ἀνθεμόεσσαν ἐσέδρακον 4.892), sound (λίγειαι, 4.892;
θέλγουσαι μολπῇσιν, 4.894), and touch (σίνοντ᾿ . . . ἡδείῃσιν 4.893).
892—93: λίγειαι / Σειρῆνες σίνοντ᾿ Ἀχελωίδες ἡδείῃσιν / θέλγουσαι μολπῇσιν:
"Clear-toned Sirens, daughters of Achelous, destroy by enchanting with their pleasing songs." "With a clear tone," Often signifies a beautiful but sad or mournful sound, especially in tragedy (e.g., Aes. Pers. 332, 468; Ag. 1146; Soph. OC 671). In the fourth century, the Sirens were frequently portrayed on funerary art, often depicted as mourners or as musicians (with the lyre or
double pipes) on gravestones or as statues on tombs; see D. C. Kurtz and J. Boardman, Greek Burial Customs (London 1971), 134—35. The importance of the sonic dimension of poetry is especially highlighted in this episode by the piling up of several sound devices. In these lines alone, there are alliteration
(note the sigmas above) and internal rhyme ἡδείῃσιν / θέλγουσαι μολπῇσιν (between metrical breaks, line end, and caesura). Achelous is a sea god.
895—96 τὰς μὲν ἄρ᾿ εὐειδὴς Ἀχελωίῳ εὐνηθεῖσα / γείνατο Τερψιχόρη, Μουσέων μία: "Beautiful Terpsichore, one of the Muses, bore them after laying with Achelous." Internal rhyme occurs in εὐειδὴς Ἀχελωίῳ εὐνηθεῖσα, alliteration in Μουσέων μία. The Sirens are almost always presented as the children of Achelous; the exception is a fragment of Sophocles (fr. 861 TrGF) where Odysseus refers to them as the daughters of Phorcys. The repetition of Achelous suggests that Apollonius is "correcting" the Sophoclean genealogy."Ihe mother of the Sirens varies: in addition to Terpsichore, Melpomene, and Calliope (fellow Muses), Gaia and Sterope are named. Apollonius' choice of a Muse over Gaia or Sterope creates a nice balance between the Sirens and Orpheus, whose mother is Calliope. The preference for Terpsichore, the Muse of choral poetry, over Melpomene, the Muse of tragedy, seems to highlight the opposition between, on the one hand, choral song and dance and, on the other, epic poetry (the province of Calliope). This generic tension is an
important aspect Of Orpheus' function in the poem; see J. Nishimura-Jensen, "The Chorus of Argonauts in Apollonius of Rhodes' Argonautica," Phoenix 63 (2009) 1—23.
895—96 καί ποτε Δηοῦς / θυγατέρ᾿ ἰφθίμην ἀδμῆτ᾿ ἔτι πορσαίνεσκον: "And once upon a time they attended Demeter's stately daughter, still a virgin." Apollonius seems to be the earliest extant poet to say that the Sirens were withPersephone when Hades carried her off. In Euripides' Helen (164—78), it is
only hinted at: their role as mourners links them to Persephone, the queen of the dead. According to the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, e.g., Persephone wasattended by the daughters of Oceanus.
898 ἄμμιγα: Adverb, "mixed together"; i.e., together in a chorus; cf. LSJ Suppl. s.v. ἄναμιγα.
898—99 τότε δ᾿ ἄλλο μὲν οἰωνοῖσιν, ἄλλο δὲ παρθενικῇς ἐναλίγκιαι ἔσκον ἰδέσθαι: "At that time, they were partly like birds and partly like maidens in appearance." In art (as mentioned above), the Sirens are depicted as birds with women's heads or torsos or legs. Apollonius' description is noncommittal enough to agree with the range of visual representations. He also glosses over a controversy in the tradition about how the Sirens obtained their birdlike form. Whereas Ovid (Met. 5-552—63) says that they were transformed into birds in order to search for Persephone, Hyginus (Fab 141) reports their
transformation as a punishment from Demeter for not preventing the rape. ἰδέσθαι: "to look at," is an epexegetical infinitive.
900 εὐόρμου δεδοκημέναι ἐκ περιωπῆς: Literally, "from a well-harboured lookout," i.e.,
from a lookout above a good harbour. δεδοκημέναι: Irregular perfect participle < δέχομαι, "waiting and watching."
901 ἦ θαμὰ δὴ: "Often indeed," a collocation of particles and adverbs found only in the Argonautica (1.631, 3-954, 4-59, 4.1242). In most cases, it emphasizes the action as habitual. The language describing the watchfulness of the Sirens recalls the description of the Lemnian women on the lookout for ships (1.631 ἦ θαμὰ δὴ πάπταινον ἐπὶ πλατὺν ὄμμασι πόντον). πολέων: = πολλῶν (sc. ναυτῶν), genitive of separation.
902 τηκεδόνι φθινύθουσαι: φθινύθουσαι: is transitive < φθινύθω, "causing them to perish by (a) wasting away," as the sailors could not drag themselves away to eat. τηκεδόνι is the very form used by Homer in his description οf dead mortals (Od. 11.201). ἀπηλεγέως: "Without caring for anything, outright, bluntly" (LSJ). In Homer, the word appears only in the context of speaking, as in μῦθον ἀπηλεγέως ἀποειπεῖν (Il. 9.309; Od. 1.373).
903 ἵεσαν ἐκ στομάτων ὄπα λείριον: "They sent forth from their mouths a lily-like sound." It is uncertain what the adjective λείριος means precisely, but it is generally assumed to be etymologically related to the noun λείριον "lily." Some scholars assume that the metaphor implies a "delicate" sound, others a "smooth" sound, but both meanings are unsatisfactory. In the context, the sound catches the hearers' attention from a good distance and over the noise of the wind and the waves (910). The related adjective λειριόεις (Hes. Theog. 41; ll.3.152) is part of a simile in the Iliad comparing the chatter of old men at the city gate to the noise of cicadas (ὄπα λειριόεσσαν ἱεῖσι): neither of these sounds is, of course, "delicate" or "smooth." Since the metaphor obviously brings together different sense perceptions, experience should be our guide. It is more convincing that the issue is not the delicacy or smoothness of the lily but, rather, its brightness or stiffness compared to other flowers. On the one hand, the intensity of the lily's colour translates into the intensity of sound's dynamism; on the other, the stiffness of the flower corresponds to the tautness of the strings of musical instruments or the rigidity of cicada wings, a quality organologically responsible for the production of sound that carries. In either case, we are left with the impression that Sirens emit a stentorian sound— loud, clear, and powerful.
904—7 ἔμελλον ἐπ᾿ ἠιόνεσσι βαλέσθαι, / εἰ μὴ ἄρ᾿ Οἰάγροιο πάις Θρηίκιος Ὀρφεὺς /
Βιστονίην ἐνὶ χερσὶν ἑαῖς φόρμιγγα τανύσσας / κραιπνὸν ἐυτροχάλοιο μέλος κανάχησεν ἀοιδῆς: "They would have cast their cables ashore immediately, if the son of Oeagrus, Thracian Orpheus, had not stretched tight his Bistonian lyre with his hands and twanged out a fast-paced melody of a smooth-rolling song." The expected ἄν in the apodosis of this counterfactual condition has been omitted, as ἔμελλον, "were about to," already suggests that the action of βαλέσθαι did not occur. ἄρα, “ I guess" or "after all," expresses an inference drawn from impression or feeling, rather than a positive conclusion drawn from facts (Smyth § 2787a).
905—6: Οἰάγροιο πάις Θρηίκιος Ὀρφεὺς / Βιστονίην: The accumulation of identity markers for Orpheus is striking. The only other places in the poem where they all occur in the same context (but over several lines) are his introduction in the catalogue (1.23—34) and his paean in response to the sudden appearance of Apollo with his bow stretched tight (2.685—704). In the latter case, as here, Orpheus takes the lead by using his music to respond to the unexpected danger. It is interesting that Apollonius attributes θέλξις, "enchantment," only to the Sirens' song; to Orpheus' music, he only grants speed, loudness, smoothness, and violence. The Bistonians were Thracian tribesmen; here "Bistonian" = "Thracian." ἐνὶ χερσὶν ἑαῖς φόρμιγγα τανύσσας: The verb is more often used with weapons, notably the bow. Given Apollo's association with the lyre and the bow,
this language at least equates poet and hero by assimilating lyre playing to bow shooting. An allusion to the strength required to string Odysseus' bow is also very likely (Od. 21.315 ἐντανύσῃ χερσίν).
907 κραιπνὸν ἐυτροχάλοιο μέλος κανάχησεν ἀοιδῆς: [Orpheus] twanged out a fast-paced melody of a smooth-rolling song." The metaphor associates Orpheus' song with a smooth-rolling fast-paced wheeled vehicle (cf. 1.845, 3.889), a favourite metapoetic image of poets, especially Pindar, for whom the image represents epinician poetry. Significantly, in Pythian 4 (17—81, 244—48),
Pindar's "Argonautica" is figured both as a "ship of song" and a "'chariot of song." Apollonius makes the same double association at Arg. 1.1156—58 and 4.1604—10: see J. Murray, "Polyphonic Argo" (PhD diss., University Of Washington, 2005), 25-42.
908—9 ὄφρ᾿ ἄμυδις κλονέοντος ἐπιβρομέωνται ἀκουαὶ κρεγμῷ: "So that their ears would buzz together with the sound of him wildly thrumming the strings." κλονέοντος is genitive of source with κρεγμῷ; Orpheus is the subject of the participle. The metaphor recalls Apollonius' earlier use of the verb in
a simile to describe bees smoked out of a hive: 2.132—33αἱ δ' ἤτοι τείως μὲν ἀολλέες ᾧ ἐνὶ σίμβλῳ βομβηδὸν κλονέονται). Metrically, lines 907—8 are literally fast-paced because of their dactylic quality. The alliteration of kappa and chi words and the onomatopoeia in ἐπιβρομέωνται and κρεγμῷ create sound effects that reinforce the image.
909: παρθενίην δ᾿ ἐνοπὴν ἐβιήσατο φόρμιγξ: "The lyre overpowered the girls' voice." The metaphor figures the lyre as a weapon or a violent man. In prose, the use of βιάω + a word referencing a woman (as its object) denotes rape e.g., Hdt. 4–43), a theme that was introduced at lines 89 5—96 with the allusion
to the rape of Persephone.
911 ἄκριτον: The meaning "indistinguishable" is here preferable to "ceaseless." The point is that the Argonauts could not make out the Sirens' words with Orpheus' music and the noise of the wind and waves in their ears.
912 καὶ ὧς: ”Even so." Τελέοντος ἐὺς πάις: The only other mention of Boutes is at 1.95—96, where he and his brother Eribotes are introduced as coming from Cecropia (Attika).
Apollonius seems to be the earliest extant source to connect Boutes to Aphrodite and Eryx.
913 προφθάμενος ξεστοῖο κατὰ ζυγοῦ ἔνθορε πόντῳ: "He had already leapt (<ἐνθρῴσκω) into the sea"; i.e., Boutes was the only one to hear the Sirens' song before Orpheus
914 ἰανθείς: < ἰαίνω, warmed, melted," i.e., charmed.
916 νόστον ἀπηύρων: “The Sirens would have robbed him of his homecoming." A past contrafactual without åv. ἀπηύρων is active third-person plural aorist indicative < ἀπούρας (aor. according to LSJ).
917—18 θεὰ Ἔρυκος μεδέουσα / Κύπρις: Apollonius is silent, but according to Diodorus Siculus 4.83—citing the Hellenistic historian Timaeus (ca. 345—250 BCE), an older contemporary of Apollonius—Aphrodite bore Boutes a son, Eryx, who was the eponymous founder of the city Eryx, now modern Erice in the west of Sicily, where a famous temple to Aphrodite-Venus was built by Aeneas, according to Virgil Aen. 5–760. It is worth bearing in mind that at the time the final form of the Argonautica was published, the Carthaginians had just lost their control Of Sicily. At the beginning Of the Second Punic War, they had destroyed Eryx (260 BCE), but by the end, they had tosurrender Lilybaeum to the Romans (241 BCE).
919: Λιλυβηίδα ναιέμεν ἄκρην: "To dwell at Cape Lilybaeum," infinitive of purpose. The modern city Marsala, which is about sixteen miles from Erice, is on the site of ancient Lilybaeum.
920: ἄχεϊ σχόμενοι: ‘seized by anguish.’ σχόμενοι > ἔχω: aor. mid. particip. nom. plural masc. The construction is based on Od. 11.279 (see also Od. 8.182) ᾧ ἄχεϊ σχομένη· τῷ δ’ ἄλγεα κάλλιπ’ ὀπίσσω, (of Epicaste-mother of Oedipus: ‘caught by her own grief; but for him she left behind countless woes.’), the content of which is similar to the present lines. τὰς μὲν: the Sirens. It is true (Hunter ad loc.) that the lines constitute an example of the Odyssean theme of ‘leaving comrades behind and moving on after a disaster’ but the twist that A. gives it is that those who are left behind are the agents of the disaster not those who have suffered from it as at Od. 9.62–3.
920–1: ἄλλα δ᾿ὄπαζον / κύντερα: “Other worse (than the Sirens) dangers (lit. “worse things”) pressed upon them.” ὀπάζω usually has the sense of ‘grant, bestow’ but see LSJ III. The use of a plural verb with a neuter pl. subj. does occur in Homer (Smyth § 959a). For the irregular comparative κύντερα see Smyth § 321. It agrees with ῥαιστήρια νηῶν, ‘destructive of ships’ > ῥαιστήριος is an Apollonian speciality, as is μιξοδίῃσιν ἁλὸς > μιξοδία, ‘in the joining places of the sea, i.e. the Straits of Messene.
922: This mention of Scylla and Charybdis adapts Od. 12.235–61. ; τῇ μὲν . . . τῇ δ᾿ is A.’s adaption of Homer’s ἔνθεν μὲν . . . ἑτέρωθι δὲ. Three dangers are looming and the line opens with four spondees (a rare occurrence: 2.13, 3.700 and here) to mark the solemn moment: τῇ μὲν: the smooth rock of Scylla; τῇ δ᾿: Charybdis roaring and spouting and ἄλλοθι: the Wandering Rocks. However, Σκύλλης λισσὴ . . . πέτρη: recalls Od. 12.79 πέτρη γὰρ λίς ἐστι, περιξεστῇ ἐικυῖα, which is Circe’s earlier description of the dangers that will face Odysseus and his men (see 786n.). It is typical of A. (and Hellenistic poetry in general) that he alternates between different parts of his original to create a more subtle texture of allusion. προυφαίνετο: > προφαίνω, “appeared, was seen.” The form only occurs a couple of times in Homer (elsewhere Od. 9.143), one of which seems to be significant: προὐφαίνετο: Od. 13.169 οἴκαδ’ ἐλαυνομένην· καὶ δὴ προὐφαίνετο πᾶσα, “she was returning home and indeed was in full sight.” Poseidon has turned the Phaeacians’ ship to stone, as it returns home after taking Odyssey to Ithaca. The two passages constitute two very conspicuous stone landmarks.
923 ἄμοτον: “ceaselessly, insatiably,” but the meaning and sense of the word, in Homer and as adapted later by A. are unclear. Cuypers (1997, 315) discusses the various possibilities, which, apart from the two just given, are: “unconstrained/able, unleashed/able, unstoppable, uncontrolled/able, continual, insatiate.” βοάασκεν: “was continuously barking.” For the iterative imperfect see 76–81, 799nn. There are a number in A.’s principal model (Od. 12.235–61). ἀναβλύζουσα: “gushing forth,” see 788n. The description, as a whole, recalls Od. 12.85 δεινὸν λελακυῖα, “yelping terribly.” The twin monsters have been vividly described but it is the Wandering Rocks that claim the reader’s sole attention now.
924: ἄλλοθι δὲ Πλαγκταὶ . . . πέτραι: “In another part (of the strait), the Wandering Rocks.” The vagueness of ἄλλοθι, “somewhere else”, must allude not only to the geographical situation of the Planktai but to the literary games (Cartledge et al. 1997, 67) that Hera introduced as an element in her negotiations with Thetis starting at 786 (n.): “Hera simply forgets that the hero whom she now advises is not Odysseus . . . She is following Homer closely, as closely as can be expected from a reader of Homer, but too closely for a reliable trip advisor.” (Stockhammer 2013, 131–5).
924–5: μεγάλῳ ὑπὸ κύματι . . . / ῥόχθεον: These lines rewrite Od. 12.59–60 ἔνθεν μὲν γὰρ πέτραι ἐπηρεφέες, προτὶ δ᾽ αὐτὰς / κῦμα μέγα ῥοχθεῖ. The link between the two is the rare verb ῥοχθέω and indeed the vocabulary is very rich in this passage (see below).
925: ἀπέπτυεν: “spat out.” Very appropriate for the mouth of a Volcano. αἰθομένη φλὸξ: This must be Aetna, which the Argonauts would sight as they made their way through the Straits of Messina, avoiding the Planktai. The Aeneadae make the same sighting (Aen. 3.554 tum procul e fluctu Trinacria cernitur Aetna.) This striking phrase, used as subject of the main verb ἀπέπτυεν, seems to recall Pindar P. 1.23–24 ἀλλ᾽ ἐν ὄρφναισιν πέτρας / φοίνισσα κυλινδομένα φλὸξ ἐς βαθεῖαν φέρει πόντου πλάκα σὺν πατάγῳ, which also describes Aetna. This possibility gains support from the fact that the name of the Volcano (Paschalis 1997, 138) is commonly derived from αἴθω, beginning in ancient times; e.g. the Etymologicum Magnum (40.29) specifically says that the name is derived παρὰ τὸ αἴθω, τὸ καίω. That such a link might have been known to A. is reinforced by the Virgilian phrases Aen. 3.579–80 Aetnam . . . flammam, 7.786 Aetnaeos . . . ignis and Georg. 1.471–2 effervere . . . Aetnam.
926: ἄκρων ἐκ σκοπέλων: “from the high peaks.” This is another link with the Odyssean model: Od. 12.239 ἄκροισι σκοπέλοισιν (from the description of Scylla and Charybdis). Virgil had this passage in mind when describing Aeneas and his followers encountering the same dangers. He describes Aetna as Trinacria, commonly derived from the τρεῖς ἄκραι (the three promontories) of Sicily: Pelorus, Pachynus and Lilybaeum (Paschalis 1997, 137). A.’s phrase must refer to these peaks. πυριθαλπέος ὑψόθι πέτρης: ‘high above the rocks,’ presumably reefing to the mouth of Aetna. πυρι. is gen. sing. and agrees with π. The adjective seems to be a coinage by A.
927: καπνῷ δ᾿ ἀχλυόεις αἰθὴρ πέλεν: Virgil develops A.’s description of Aetna wonderfully at Aen. 3.571–77, “and Aetna's throat / with roar of frightful ruin thunders nigh. / Now to the realm of light it lifts a cloud / of pitch-black, whirling smoke, and fiery dust” Read More.
Casson, L. (1971) Ships and Seamanship in the Ancient World (Princeton). Wachsmann, S. (2009) Seagoing Ships & Seamanship in the Bronze Age Levant (Texas A&M).
Rengakos, A. (1994) Apollonios Rhodios und die antike Homererklärung (Munich).
Stockhammer, R. (2013) ‘Exokeanismós: The (Un)Mappability of Literature,’ Primerjalna književnost (Ljubljana) 36, no. 2: 123–138.
Green, P. (1997) "'These Fragments Have I Shored Against My Ruins': Apollonius Rhodius and the Social Revalidation of Myth for a New Age." in Paul Cartledge, Peter Garnsey, Erich S. Gruen (eds.) Hellenistic Constructs: Essays in Culture, History, and Historiography (Berkeley, Los Angeles and London).
Paschalis, M. (1997) Virgil's Aeneid: Semantic Relations and Proper Names (Oxford).