Philostratus the Younger, Imagines 4. Heracles or Achelous

LCL 256: 302-303

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Philostratus the Younger


(1) Ζητεῖς ἴσως, τίς ἡ κοινωνία δράκοντός τε, ὃς ἐνταῦθα πολὺς ἀνέστηκεν ἐγείρας τὸν πῆχυν 10κατὰ νῶτα δαφοινὸς καὶ γένεια καθιεὶς ὑπ᾿ ὀρθῇ καὶ πριονωτῇ τῇ λοφιᾷ βλέπων τε δεινῶς δεδορκὸς καὶ ἱκανὸν εἰς ἔκπληξιν ἀγαγεῖν, ταύρου1 τε, ὃς ὑπὸ τοσαύτῃ κεραίᾳ γυρώσας τὸν αὐχένα καὶ διασκάπτων τὴν ἐν ποσὶ γῆν ὡς ἐς ἐμβολὴν 15ἵεται, καὶ ἀνδρὸς τούτου ἡμίθηρος· βούπρῳρα μὲν γὰρ αὐτῷ πρόσωπα2 καὶ γενειὰς ἀμφιλαφὴς πηγαί τε ναμάτων ἐκπλημμυροῦσαι τοῦ γενείου. τό τε συνερρυηκὸς ὡς ἐς θέαν πλῆθος καὶ ἡ ἐν μέσοις κόρη, νύμφη τις οἶμαι, τουτὶ γὰρ χρὴ 20νοεῖν τῷ ἀμφ᾿ αὐτὴν κόσμῳ, καὶ γέρων οὗτος ἐν ἀθύμῳ τῷ εἴδει νεανίας τε ἐκδυόμενος λεοντῆς καὶ ῥόπαλον ἐν ταῖν χεροῖν ἔχων, ἡρωίνη τέ τις


Heracles or Acheloüs. 4

4. Heracles or Acheloüs1

Probably you are asking what these three figures have to do with each other—a serpent “ruddy of back”2 which rises there lifting its long form, a beard hanging beneath an erect serrated crest, its glare terrible and its glance one that cannot but work consternation; a bull that curves its neck beneath those mighty horns and, pawing the earth at its feet, rushes as for a charge;3 and here a man that is half animal, for he has the forehead of a bull and a spreading beard, while streams of water run in floods from his chin.4 The multitude that has gathered as for a spectacle; the girl in their midst, a bride, I suppose (for this must be inferred from the ornaments she wears); an old man yonder of sad countenance; a youth who is divesting himself of a lion’s skin and holding in his hands a club; and here a heroine of sturdy form who has been crowned

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.philostratus_younger-imagines_4_heracles_achelous.1931