Peleus became annoyed

From the second Loeb volume of Hesiod in the collection of fragments – an amusing scholia from Apollonius Rhodius’ Argonautica about a lost work attributed (in antiquity) to Hesiod. A compilation of the more absurd of these would be very entertaining for a very small audience.

The author of the Aegimius says in Book 2 that Thetis cast the children she bore to Peleus into a cauldron of water since she wanted to find out whether they were mortal . . . And after many had been destroyed, Peleus became annoyed and prevented Achilles from being cast into the cauldron.

ὁ τὸν Αἰγίμιον ποιήσας ἐν δευτέρῳ φησίν, ὅτι ἡ Θέτις εἰς λέβητα ὕδατος ἔβαλλεν τοὺς ἐκ Πηλέως γεννωμένους, γνῶναι βουλομένη εἰ θνητοί εἰσιν . . . · καὶ δὴ πολλῶν διαφθαρέντων ἀγανακτῆσαι τὸν Πηλέα καὶ κωλῦσαι τὸν Ἀχιλλέα ἐμβληθῆναι εἰς λέβητα.

The verb used for Pelias’ emotion (ἀγανακτέω) is not the sort of terribly strong one you’d expect of a man whose wife seems to have made it a practice to boil/drown their children. Below is the LSJ entry.

ἀγᾰνακτ-έω, properly in physical sense,

  • Afeel a violent irritation, of the effects of cold on the body, Hp. Liqu. 2, cf. Heliod. ap. Orib. 46.7.8; of wine, ferment, Plu. 2.734e; so metaph., ζεῖ τε καὶ ἀ., of the soul, Pl. Phdr. 251c.
    • IImetaph., to be displeased, vexed, μηδʼ ἀγανάκτει Ar. V. 287; esp. show outward signs of grief, κλάων καὶ ἀ. Pl. Phd. 117d; τὰ σπλάγχνʼ ἀγανακτεῖ Ar. Ra. 1006, etc.; ἀ. ἐνθυμούμενος . . And. 4.18:—foll. by a relat., ἀ. ὅτι . . Antipho 4.2.1Lys. 3.3; ἀ. εἰ . ., ἐάν . . And. 1.139Pl. La. 194a.
      • 2c. dat. rei, to be vexed at a thing, θανάτῳ Pl. Phd. 63b, etc.; c. acc. neut., ib.64a; ἀ. ταῦτα, ὅτι . . Id. Euthphr. 4d; ἀ. ἐπί τινι Lys. 1.1Isoc. 16.49, etc.; ὑπέρ τινος Pl. Euthd. 283e, etc.; περί τινος Id. Ep. 349d; διά τι Id. Phd. 63c; πρός τι Epict. Ench. 4M.Ant. 7.66; and sts. c. gen. rei, AB 334.
      • 3to be vexed at or with a person, τινί X. HG 5.3.11; πρός τινα Plu. Cam. 28Diog.Oen. 68; κατά τινος Luc. Tim. 18:—c. part., to be angry at, ἀ. ἀποθνῄσκοντας Pl. Phd. 62e, cf. 67d.
    • IIIMed. in act. sense, aor. part. -ησάμενος Luc. Somn. 4; prob. in Palaeph. 40; ἠγανάκτηνται τῷ πράγματι Hyp. Fr. 70.

Just as the shimmering light from a watery surface in bronze-lipped Cauldrons

A famous metaphor of mental processes from Aeneid 8.18-25 (Ahl’s translation below):

Talia per Latium. quae Laomedontius heros
cuncta videns magno curarum fluctuat aestu,
atque animum nunc huc celerem nunc dividit illuc
in partisque rapit varias perque omnia versat:
sicut aquae tremulum labris ubi lumen aënis
sole repercussum aut radiantis imagine lunae
omnia pervolitat late loca, iamque sub auras
erigitur summique ferit laquearia tecti.

Such is the tally of Latium’s ills. Once Laomedon’s kinsman
Drinks in this vision, the hero is swept on a swell of emotions,
Scurrying thoughts into this or that channel of choice and decision,
Surging in random directions, examining every perspective,
Just as the shimmering light from a watery surface in bronze-lipped
Cauldrons—itself but reflected sun, or the radiant, mirrored
Face of the moon—ripples all round a room, leaps up through the yielding
Air where it flickers on fretted beams panelled high on the ceiling.

Which is a certain imitation of Apollonius’ Argonautica 3.750-760 (in Race’s now Loeb translation):

But by no means had sweet sleep overtaken Medea, because in her longing for Jason many anxieties kept her awake, as she dreaded the great strength of the oxen that were going to make him die a horrid death in the field of Ares. Over and over the heart within her breast fluttered wildly, as when a ray of sunlight bounds inside a house as it leaps from water freshly poured into a cauldron or perhaps into a bucket, and quivers and darts here and there from the rapid swirling—thus did the girl’s heart tremble in her breast.

ἀλλὰ μάλ᾿ οὐ Μήδειαν ἐπὶ γλυκερὸς λάβεν ὕπνος·
πολλὰ γὰρ Αἰσονίδαο πόθῳ μελεδήματ᾿ ἔγειρεν
δειδυῖαν ταύρων κρατερὸν μένος, οἷσιν ἔμελλεν
φθίσθαι ἀεικελίῃ μοίρῃ κατὰ νειὸν Ἄρηος.
πυκνὰ δέ οἱ κραδίη στηθέων ἔντοσθεν ἔθυιεν,
ἠελίου ὥς τίς τε δόμοις ἐνιπάλλεται αἴγλη
ὕδατος ἐξανιοῦσα, τὸ δὴ νέον ἠὲ λέβητι
ἠέ που ἐν γαυλῷ κέχυται, ἡ δ᾿ ἔνθα καὶ ἔνθα
ὠκείῃ στροφάλιγγι τινάσσεται ἀίσσουσα·
ὣς δὲ καὶ ἐν στήθεσσι κέαρ ἐλελίζετο κούρης.

But also a partial recollection of an image in Lucretius (4.211-213, Rouse’s Loeb text and translation)

that as soon as the brightness of water is laid in the open air under a starry sky, at once the serene constellations of the firmament answer back twinkling in the water

quod simul ac primum sub diu splendor aquaiponitur, extemplo caelo stellante serenasidera respondent in aqua radiantia mundi.

They drove him into the underworld like a peg

A modestly amusing footnote in the Loeb edition of Apollonius’ Argonautica (1.55ish), as the poet enumerates the crew.

And from wealthy Gyrton came Caeneus’ son, Coronus—a brave man, but no braver than his father. For bards sing of how Caeneus, although still living, perished at the hands of the Centaurs, when, all alone and separated from the other heroes, he routed them. They rallied against him, but were not strong enough to push him back nor to kill him, so instead, unbroken and unbending, he sank beneath the earth, hammered by the downward force of mighty pine trees*

They drove him into the underworld like a peg, hence he perished while still alive; cf. Pindar, fr. 128f.


ἤλυθε δ᾿ ἀφνειὴν προλιπὼν Γυρτῶνα Κόρωνος
Καινεΐδης, ἐσθλὸς μέν, ἑοῦ δ᾿ οὐ πατρὸς ἀμείνων.
Καινέα γὰρ ζωόν περ ἔτι κλείουσιν ἀοιδοὶ
Κενταύροισιν ὀλέσθαι, ὅτε σφέας οἶος ἀπ᾿ ἄλλων
ἤλασ᾿ ἀριστήων· οἱ δ᾿ ἔμπαλιν ὁρμηθέντες
οὔτε μιν ἀγκλῖναι προτέρω σθένον οὔτε δαΐξαι,
ἀλλ᾿ ἄρρηκτος ἄκαμπτος ἐδύσετο νειόθι γαίης,
θεινόμενος στιβαρῇσι καταΐγδην ἐλάτῃσιν

The Pindar fragment (with the Loeb edition by the same editor/translator as Apollonius) is:

128f The same papyrus gives scraps of vv. 3–8. A scholion on Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica. “Apollonius took it from Pindar, who said” (vv. 7–9):

(lines 1–2 are fragmentary)
excel(?)
famous(?)
5and Castor(?)
. . . . . .
But Caeneus,6 (struck with) green (fir trees)
disappears after splitting the earth with his upright
foot.

Cf. Plutarch, The Stoics Talk More Paradoxically Than the Poets. “Pindar’s Caeneus used to be criticized for being an implausible creation—invulnerable to iron, feeling nothing in his body, and finally having sunk unwounded under the ground, ‘after splitting the earth with his upright foot.’”

But the best telling is Ovid’s (Metamorphoses 12.490is) in Nestor’s version of the battle of  the Centaurs and the Lapiths:

Now, quite beside themselves, the double monsters rushed on with huge uproar, and all together against that single foe they aimed and drove their weapons. The spears fell blunted, and Caeneus, the son of Elatus, still stood, for all their strokes, unwounded and unstained. The strange sight struck them speechless. Then Monychus exclaimed: ‘Oh, what a shame is this! We, a whole people, are defied by one, and he scarcely a man. And yet he is the man, while we, with our weak attempts, are what he was before. Of what advantage are our monster-forms? What our twofold strength? What avails it that a double nature has united in our bodies the strongest living things? We are not sons of any goddess nor Ixion’s sons, I think. For he was high-souled enough to aspire to be great Juno’s mate, while we are conquered by an enemy but half-man! Come then, let us heap stones and tree-trunks on him, mountains at a time! let’s crush his stubborn life out with forests for our missiles! Let sheer bulk smother his throat, and for wounds let weight suffice.’ He spoke and, chancing on a tree-trunk overthrown by mad Auster’s might, he hurled it at his sturdy foe. The others followed him; and in short time Othrys was stripped of trees and Pelion had lost his shade. Buried beneath that huge mound, Caeneus heaved against the weight of trees and bore up the oaken mass upon his sturdy shoulders. But indeed, as the burden mounted over lips and head, he could get no air to breathe. Gasping for breath, at times he strove in vain to lift his head into the air and to throw off the heaped-up forest; at times he moved, just as if lofty Ida, which we see yonder, should tremble with an earthquake. His end is doubtful. Some said that his body was thrust down by the weight of woods to the Tartarean pit; but the son of Ampycus denied this. For from the middle of the pile he saw a bird with golden wings fly up into the limpid air. I saw it too, then for the first time and the last.


ecce ruunt vasto rabidi clamore bimembres
telaque in hunc omnes unum mittuntque feruntque.
tela retusa cadunt: manet inperfossus ab omni
inque cruentatus Caeneus Elateius ictu.
fecerat attonitos nova res. ‘heu dedecus ingens!’
Monychus exclamat. ‘populus superamur ab uno
vixque viro; quamquam ille vir est, nos segnibus actis,
quod fuit ille, sumus. quid membra inmania prosunt?
quid geminae vires et quod fortissima rerum
in nobis natura duplex animalia iunxit?
nec nos matre dea, nec nos Ixione natos
esse reor, qui tantus erat, Iunonis ut altae
spem caperet: nos semimari superamur ab hoste!
saxa trabesque super totosque involvite montes
vivacemque animam missis elidite silvis!
massa premat fauces, et erit pro vulnere pondus.’
dixit et insanis deiectam viribus austri
forte trabem nactus validum coniecit in hostem
exemplumque fuit, parvoque in tempore nudus
arboris Othrys erat, nec habebat Pelion umbras.
obrutus inmani cumulo sub pondere Caeneus
aestuat arboreo congestaque robora duris
fert umeris, sed enim postquam super ora caputque
crevit onus neque habet, quas ducat, spiritus auras,
deficit interdum, modo se super aera frustra
tollere conatur iactasque evolvere silvas
interdumque movet, veluti, quam cernimus, ecce,
ardua si terrae quatiatur motibus Ide.
exitus in dubio est: alii sub inania corpus
Tartara detrusum silvarum mole ferebant;
abnuit Ampycides medioque ex aggere fulvis
vidit avem pennis liquidas exire sub auras,
quae mihi tum primum, tunc est conspecta supremum.

Some metaphors of divine travel in Homer and Apollonius

Homer’s original at Iliad 15.78-83.  The first translation is the new Peter Green – which I was curious to glance through.  He seems rather to miss the core of the image in failing to translate the νόος (mind) of the νόος ἀνέρος – or does he separate it to a few lines later?  The second is the Loeb by A.T. Murray.

So he spoke, and Hērē, white-armed goddess, did not disobey him,
but went from the mountains of Ida to lofty Olympos.
Like a man who’s travelled to many countries, who
hurries about, reflects, “How I wish I was here, or there”,
whose sharp mind speeds its way through a mass of desires,
so rapidly in her eagerness flew the lady Hērē

So he spoke, and the goddess, white-armed Hera, failed not to obey, but went from the mountains of Ida to high Olympus. And just as swiftly darts the mind of a man who has traveled over far lands and thinks in his cunning mind, “Would I were here, or there,” and many are the wishes he conceives, so swiftly sped on the queenly Hera in her eagerness;

ὣς ἔφατ᾽, οὐδ᾽ ἀπίθησε θεὰ λευκώλενος Ἥρη,
βῆ δ᾽ ἐξ Ἰδαίων ὀρέων ἐς μακρὸν Ὄλυμπον.
ὡς δ᾽ ὅτ᾽ ἂν ἀΐξῃ νόος ἀνέρος, ὅς τ᾽ ἐπὶ πολλὴν
γαῖαν ἐληλουθὼς φρεσὶ πευκαλίμῃσι νοήσῃ
ἔνθ᾽ εἴην ἢ ἔνθα, μενοινήῃσί τε πολλά,
ὣς κραιπνῶς μεμαυῖα διέπτατο πότνια Ἥρη:

And Apollonius’s reworking in Argonautica 2.541-48, in the Loeb translation of William Race

And as when a man roams from his homeland—as we suffering humans often must wander—and no land is distant but all routes are visible, and he thinks of his own home, and pictures at once the way by sea and land, and in his swift thoughts seeks now one place, now another with his eyes—so quickly did Zeus’ daughter spring down and plant her feet on the inhospitable Thynian shore.

ὡς δ᾽ ὅτε τις πάτρηθεν ἀλώμενος, οἷά τε πολλὰ
πλαζόμεθ᾽ ἄνθρωποι τετληότες, οὐδέ τις αἶα
τηλουρός, πᾶσαι δὲ κατόψιοί εἰσι κέλευθοι,
σφωιτέρους δ᾽ ἐνόησε δόμους, ἄμυδις δὲ κέλευθος
ὑγρή τε τραφερή τ᾽ ἰνδάλλεται, ἄλλοτε δ᾽ ἄλλῃ
ὀξέα πορφύρων ἐπιμαίεται ὀφθαλμοῖσιν:
ὧς ἄρα καρπαλίμως κούρη Διὸς ἀίξασα
θῆκεν ἐπ᾽ ἀξείνοιο πόδας Θυνηίδος ἀκτῆς.