William Morris Archive

Annotations for Book VI

VI.Argument Symplegades: In mythology, these were "clashing rocks" at the Bosporus which smote together randomly. The Argonauts had to pass by these to enter the Black Sea, but after Jason and the Argonauts managed the pass, aided by advice from Phineus, the Symplegades stopped moving permanently. See Map 5, G5.

VI.Argument Æa: Æa was the capital of ancient Colchis, along the Rioni river; its current name is Kutaisi, in Georgia. See Map 5, L3.

VI.14 your horse-nurturing land: Iolchos, home of the Argonauts, contained pastureland and meadows suitable for grazing.

VI.26 narrowing: a narrowed place or part

VI.28 deedless: helpless, unable to act

VI.28 Clashers: see note on “Symplegades” above.

VI.73 gainful: productive of gain or profit; profitable, advantageous

VI.91 the giant’s brood: Not an entirely clear reference, but could refer to the castration on of Uranus by Cronus, or possibly the killing of Orion while swimming by Diana.

VI.94 sea-worm: Mythological sea-serpent, of which Hydra was a famous example.

VI.104 that herald’s, whose sweet words rejoice the Gods: In mythology, Hermes was the herald of the Olympian gods and conductor of souls to the underworld. The son of Zeus and the nymph Maia, he is represented with winged sandals and a herald's staff.

VI.166 Iris: Goddess of the rainbow, for the most part hardly distinguishable from the natural phenomenon itself.

VI.186 foam-bow: bow, similar to a rainbow, formed by sunlight upon foam or spray

VI.206 Lycus: King of the Mariandyni, a tribe on the Black Sea's southern coast (see Argonautica, Bk. II, c. 220-50).

VI.217 perforce: of necessity

VI.256 Nathless: nevertheless

VI.303 clean: completely

VI.326 Phoenician scarlet: Rich cloth from Phoenicia. In early use, some rich cloth, often of a bright red colour, but also sometimes of other colours, as ‘pers’, blue, green, or brown.

VI.327 woad and cinnabar: “Woad” is a blue dye-stuff prepared from the leaves of Isatis tinctoria powdered and fermented: now generally superseded by indigo, in the preparation of which it is still sometimes used.

“Cinnabar” refers to the pigment out of the red or crystalline form of mercuric sulphide (Hg´´ S). Originally the term applied to native cinnabar, a rhombohedral mineral, usually of adamantine lustre, the most important ore of mercury.

VI.354 Æetes: Mythological founder and king of Aea/Colchis, a son of the sun-god Helios and the nymph Perseis (daughter of Oceanus), and brother of Circe and Pasiphae. Æetes was the father of Medea, Apsyrtus, and Chalciope, by Idya, one of the Oceanides. As narrated in Book II, he killed Phryxus son of Athamas, who had fled to his court on a golden ram. See Map 3.

VI.391 inly: inwardly, inside his mind

VI.415 guilt: conduct involving guilt; heinous sin or crime

VI.427 “She, / Who draws this way and that the fitful sea”: the moon, who controls the tides, matching the sun next described

VI.429 “The other the great God, the Life of man . . . with his crown of rays”: Apollo the sun god, son of Zeus and Leto and twin brother of Artemis, was the god of healing, the arts (especially music and poetry) and archery, and was often represented with a sheaf of arrows.

VI.443 Far-Darter: epithet for Apollo

VI.471 Ops: (or "Opis" in Latin; "opis" is "plenty") In Greek mythology also named Rhea, Ops was a fertility and earth goddess, the daughter of Coelus and Terra, wife of Saturn, and mother of Jupiter. She was known among the ancients by the different names of Cybele, Bona Dea, Magna Mater or Tellus. She was generally represented as a matron, with her right hand opened, as if offering assistance to the helpless, and holding a loaf in her left hand.