ἄλλην δ᾿ ἄκουσον δυσχερῆ θεωρίαν· ὀξυστόμους γὰρ Ζηνὸς ἀκραγεῖς κύνας γρῦπας φύλαξαι, τόν τε μουνῶπα στρατὸν 805Ἀριμασπὸν ἱπποβάμον᾿, οἳ χρυσόρρυτον οἰκοῦσιν ἀμφὶ νᾶμα Πλούτωνος πόρου· τούτοις σὺ μὴ πέλαζε. τήλουρον δὲ γῆν ἥξεις, κελαινὸν φῦλον, οἳ πρὸς ἡλίου ναίουσι πηγαῖς, ἔνθα ποταμὸς Αἰθίοψ. 810τούτου παρ᾿ ὄχθας ἕρφ᾿, ἕως ἂν ἐξίκῃ καταβασμόν, ἔνθα Βυβλίνων ὀρῶν ἄπο ἵησι σεπτὸν Νεῖλος εὔποτον ῥέος. οὗτός σ᾿ ὁδώσει τὴν τρίγωνον εἰς χθόνα Νειλῶτιν· οὗ δὴ τὴν μακρὰν ἀποικίαν, 815Ἰοῖ, πέπρωται σοί τε καὶ τέκνοις κτίσαι. τῶνδ᾿ εἴ τί σοι ψελλόν τε καὶ δυσεύρετον, ἐπανδίπλαζε καὶ σαφῶς ἐκμάνθανε· σχολὴ δὲ πλείων ἢ θέλω πάρεστί μοι.
εἰ μέν τι τῇδε λοιπὸν ἢ παρειμένον 820ἔχεις γεγωνεῖν τῆς πολυφθόρου πλάνης,
- 817ἐπανδίπλαζε Dindorf: ἐπαναδίπλαζε codd., Athenaeus 8.347c.
hear of another disagreeable sight. You must beware of the sharp-toothed, unbarking hounds of Zeus, the griffins, and the one-eyed, horse-riding host of the Arimaspians, 97 who dwell by the stream of the River Pluto, 98 which flows with gold: do not go near them. You will then come to a land at the furthest bounds of earth, to a black tribe that dwells at the sources of the sun, 99 where flows the River Aethiops. Follow the bank of this river until you come to the cataract 100 where the Nile pours down from the Bybline Mountains its holy stream, good to drink from. It will lead you to the three-cornered land of Nilotis, 101 where, Io, you are destined to found a settlement far from home for yourself and your children. If any of this is obscure and hard to understand, please ask again and you will learn it more clearly. I have ample leisure—more than I want.
If you have anything still left, or previously omitted, to tell her about her terrible wanderings, tell it. If you have told it
- 97The poet’s ultimate source here is the epic Arimaspea ascribed to the semi-legendary figure Aristeas of Proconnesus, supposed to have lived in the seventh century. The griffins and Arimaspians were said to be at enmity, the latter trying to steal the gold which was guarded by the former. See Herodotus 3.116, 4.13–14; Pausanias 1.24.6.
- 98i.e. “the River of Wealth”.
- 99i.e. at the south-eastern extremity of the world, where Asia and Africa are evidently imagined as being joined together.
- 100The First Cataract, near the cities of Syene (Aswan) and Elephantine in Upper Egypt; it was regarded as the boundary between Egypt and Ethiopia (Herodotus 2.17, 2.29). Herodotus (2.28) had heard, but did not take seriously, a story that at this place there were twin mountain peaks and between them two springs from which one river flowed north as the Nile, another south towards Ethiopia: do our poet’s “River Aethiops” and “Bybline [i.e. Papyrus] Mountains” reflect a version of this story?
- 101i.e. the Egyptian Delta.