Apollonius of Rhodes, Argonautica

LCL 1: 46-47

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Apollonius Rhodius

στεῖραν Ἀθηναίη Δωδωνίδος ἥρμοσε φηγοῦ. οἱ δ᾿ ἀνὰ σέλματα βάντες ἐπισχερὼ ἀλλήλοισιν, ὡς ἐδάσαντο πάροιθεν ἐρεσσέμεν ᾧ ἐνὶ χώρῳ, 530εὐκόσμως σφετέροισι παρ᾿ ἔντεσιν ἑδριόωντο. μέσσῳ δ᾿ Ἀγκαῖος μέγα τε σθένος Ἡρακλῆος ἵζανον, ἄγχι δέ οἱ ῥόπαλον θέτο· καί οἱ ἔνερθεν ποσσὶν ὑπεκλύσθη νηὸς τρόπις. εἵλκετο δ᾿ ἤδη πείσματα, καὶ μέθυ λεῖβον ὕπερθ᾿ ἁλός· αὐτὰρ Ἰήσων 535δακρυόεις γαίης ἀπὸ πατρίδος ὄμματ᾿ ἔνεικεν. οἱ δ᾿, ὥς τ᾿ ἠίθεοι Φοίβῳ χορὸν ἢ ἐνὶ Πυθοῖ ἤ που ἐν Ὀρτυγίῃ ἢ ἐφ᾿ ὕδασιν Ἰσμηνοῖο στησάμενοι, φόρμιγγος ὑπαὶ περὶ βωμὸν ὁμαρτῇ ἐμμελέως κραιπνοῖσι πέδον ῥήσσωσι πόδεσσιν· 540ὣς οἱ ὑπ᾿ Ὀρφῆος κιθάρῃ πέπληγον ἐρετμοῖς πόντου λάβρον ὕδωρ, ἐπὶ δὲ ῥόθια κλύζοντο. ἀφρῷ δ᾿ ἔνθα καὶ ἔνθα κελαινὴ κήκιεν ἅλμη δεινὸν μορμύρουσα ἐρισθενέων μένει ἀνδρῶν. στράπτε δ᾿ ὑπ᾿ ἠελίῳ φλογὶ εἴκελα νηὸς ἰούσης 545τεύχεα· μακραὶ δ᾿ αἰὲν ἐλευκαίνοντο κέλευθοι, ἀτραπὸς ὣς χλοεροῖο διειδομένη πεδίοιο. πάντες δ᾿ οὐρανόθεν λεῦσσον θεοὶ ἤματι κείνῳ νῆα καὶ ἡμιθέων ἀνδρῶν γένος, οἳ τότ᾿ ἄριστοι πόντον ἐπιπλώεσκον· ἐπ᾿ ἀκροτάτῃσι δὲ νύμφαι 550Πηλιάδες κορυφῇσιν ἐθάμβεον εἰσορόωσαι
  • 548γένος wE: μένος LA

Argonautica: Book 1

that Athena had fashioned from Dodonian oak for the middle of the keel.59 They went to their benches one behind the other, as they had previously been allotted to row, each in his place, and took their seats in due order next to their weapons. In the middle sat Ancaeus and mighty Heracles; he placed his club next to him, and beneath his feet the ship’s keel sank deep. By now the cables were being hauled in, and the men were pouring libations of wine over the sea. But Jason, in tears, turned his eyes away from his fatherland.

And they, as when young men form a chorus to honor Phoebus either in Pytho, or perhaps in Ortygia, or by the waters of Ismenus, and around the altar to the lyre’s accompaniment with swift feet they beat the ground all together in rhythm—thus to the accompaniment of Orpheus’ lyre did they smite the rushing water of the sea with their oars, and the surge washed over the blades. On this side and that the dark sea water bubbled with foam as it seethed furiously from the strength of the mighty men. Their armor flashed in the sunlight like a flame as the ship proceeded, and their long wake remained ever white, like a path seen across a green plain.

On that day all the gods gazed down from the sky upon the ship and the race of demigods, the best of men who then were sailing over the sea. On the highest peaks, the nymphs of Pelion marveled to see the work of Itonian60

  • 59Oaks at Dodona, site of Zeus’ oracle, were endowed with prophetic speech (cf. Odyssey 14.327–328).
  • 60Named for Iton in Thessaly, a cult site of Athena.
DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.apollonius_rhodes-argonautica.2009