the Dictaean Meliae,a and Adrasteiab laid thee to rest in a cradle of gold, and thou didst suck the rich teat of the she-goat Amaltheia,c and thereto eat the sweet honey-comb. For suddenly on the hills of Ida, which men call Panacra,d appeared the works of the Panacrian bee. And lustily round thee danced the Curetese a war-dance,f beating their armour, that Cronus might hear with his ears the din of the shield, but not thine infant noise.
Fairly didst thou wax, O heavenly Zeus, and fairly wert thou nurtured, and swiftly thou didst grow to manhood, and speedily came the down upon thy cheek. But, while yet a child, thou didst devise all the deeds of perfect stature. Wherefore thy kindred, though an earlier generation, grudged not that thou shouldst have heaven for thine appointed habitation.g The ancient poets spake not altogether truly. For they said that the lot assigned to the sons of Cronus their three several abodes.h But who would draw lots for Olympus and for Hades—save a very fool? for equal chances should one cast lots; but these are the wide world apart. When I speak fiction, be it such fiction as persuades the listener’s ear! Thou wert made sovereign of the gods not by casting of lots but by the deeds of thy
- aThe ash-tree nymphs, cf. Hesiod, Th. 187.
- bCf. Apoll. Rh. iii. 132 ff. Διὸς περικαλλὲς ἄθυρμα | κεῖνο, τό οἱ ποίησε φίλη τροφὸς Ἀδρήστεια | ἄντρῳ ἐν Ἰδαίῳ ἔτι νήπια κουρίζοντι | σφαῖραν ἐυτρόχαλον; i.q. Nemesis, sister of the Curetes (schol.).
- cThe nymph or she-goat who suckled Zeus; Diodor. v. 70, Apollod. i. 5, schol. Arat. 161, Ovid, Fast. v. 115 ff.
- dMountains in Crete (Steph. Byz. s.v. Πάνακρα). Zeus rewarded the bees by making them of a golden bronze colour and rendering them insensible to the rigours of the mountain climate (Diodor. v. 70).
- eApollodor. i. 4, “The Curetes in full armour, guarding the infant in the cave, beat their shields with their spears that Cronus might not hear the child’s voice.”
- fπρύλις, the Cyprian name for the πυρρίχη (Aristotle fr. 476, schol. Pind. P. ii. 127) or dance in armour (Pollux iv. 96 and 99); see Classical Qu. xxxii. p. 131.
- gThis has been supposed to refer to the fact that Ptolemy Philadelphus was the youngest of the sons of Ptolemy Soter. See Introduction.
- hHomer, Il. xv. 187 ff.; cf. Apollodor. i. 7. Pind. O. vii. 54 ff.