Earth, give birth thou also! thy birthpangs are light.” So spake the goddess, and lifting her great arm aloft she smote the mountain with her staff; and it was greatly rent in twain for her and poured forth a mighty flood. Therein, O Lord, she cleansed thy body; and swaddled thee, and gave thee to Nedaa to carry within the Cretan covert, that thou mightst be reared secretly: Neda, eldest of the nymphs who then were about her bed, earliest birth after Styxb and Philyra.c And no idle favour did the goddess repay her, but named that stream Nedad; which, I ween, in great flood by the very city of the Cauconians,e which is called Lepreion,f mingles its stream with Nereus,g and its primeval water do the son’s sons of the Bear,h Lycaon’s daughter, drink.
When the nymph, carrying thee, O Father Zeus, toward Cnosus,i was leaving Thenaei—for Thenae was nigh to Cnosus—even then, O God, thy navel fell away: hence that plain the Cydoniansj call the Plain of the Navel.k But thee, O Zeus, the companions of the Cyrbantesl took to their arms, even
- aCf. Paus. iv. 33. 1, “The Messenians say that Zeus was reared among them and that his nurses were Ithome and Neda, after whom the river got its name.” Cf. viii. 38 ff.
- bStyx, daughter of Oceanus and Tethys, Hesiod, Th. 361.
- cPhilyra, daughter of Oceanus, mother of Cheiron by Cronus.
- dPaus. iv. 20. 2. The river Neda rises in Mount Lycaeon, flows into Messenia and forms the boundary between Messenia and Elis. Cf. Strabo 348 who says it rises in Lycaeon from a spring which Rheia caused to flow in order to wash the infant Zeus.
- eA people of Triphylia, Horn. Od. iii. 366.
- fHerod, iv. 148 says that Lepreon in Triphylia was founded by the Minyae after driving out the Cauconians.
- gi.e. the sea.
- hArcas, the ancestor of the Arcadians, was the son of Zeus and Lycaon’s daughter Callisto who was changed into a bear.
- iTown in Crete.
- jCydonia, town in Crete.
- kSchol. Nicand. Alex. 7 Ὀμφαλὸς γὰρ τόπος ἐν Κρήτῃ, ὡς καὶ Καλλίμαχος· πέσε . . . Κύδωνες. Diodor. v. 70 tells the story the says Zeus was carried by the Curetes) and gives the name of the place as Omphalos and of the plain around as Omphaleion.