William Morris Archive

Annotations for Book XVI

XVI.3 Cicynethus' woody shore: Unidentified Greek island mentioned in Pliny’s Natural History, off the coast of Thessaly.

XVI.7 Lynceus: In mythology, Lynceus was an Argonaut and one of those who participated in the hunt for the Calydonian boar. A son of Aphareus and Arene, he was alleged to be so sharp-sighted that he could see through walls, trees, and underground, and could distinguish objects more than nine miles away. The brothers Lynceus and Idas were probably betrothed to their uncle Leucippus's daughters Phoebe and Hilaeria, but those sisters were abducted (and possibly wedded) by Castor and Pollux. The rival pairs of brothers later fought to the death: in one version to avenge the abduction, in another in a quarrel over raided cattle. Lynceus, Idas, and Castor were killed.

XVI.26 Pelias: Jason's half-uncle, the mythological twin brother of Neleus, the son of Neptune with Tyro, the daughter of Salmoneus. His birth was concealed from the world by his mother, who, fearful of her father's wrath at the news of the birth, caused him to be exposed in the woods. The infant's life was preserved by shepherds, who named him Pelias, from a lead-colored spot in his face. Sometime afterwards, Tyro married Cretheus, son of Aeolus, king of Iolchos, and bore three other children, of whom Aeson was the eldest.

XVI.29 Amphinome: daughter of Pelias

XVI.73 Alcestis: here, daughter of Pelias

XVI.110 grapnels: an instrument with iron claws designed to be thrown by a rope for the purpose of seizing and holding an object, esp. a ship

XVI.167 Menoetius: One of several legendary figures by this name, the Argonaut was a son of Actor and Ægina and father of Patroclus with Sthenele, daughter of Acastus.

XVI.167 Nauplius: An Argonaut, son of Neptune and ancestor of Nauplius, father of Oeax and Palamedes, who died in the Trojan War from Greek treachery.

XVI.168 Apheus: an Argonaut from Arcadia, corresponding to Cepheus in the Argonautica

XVI.183 undercroft:  an underground vault or chamber

XVI.207 Eradne: daughter of Pelias

XVI.212 long-hated pest of Greece: i.e., Pelias

XVI.220 fair Helper: i.e., Medea

XVI.232 tyned sea-plough: for “tined,” pronged

XVI.235 ancient fane: of Neptune

XVI.242 Mercury: Roman form of Hermes. In mythology, Hermes or Mercury was the messenger of the Olympian gods, conductor of souls to the underworld, and versatile deity of boundaries and travellers, shepherds and cowherds, orators and wit, literature and poets, athletics, weights and measures, invention, commerce in general, and the cunning of thieves and liars. According to legend he was the son of Zeus and the Pleiade Maia (a daughter of the Titan Atlas), born on Mt. Cyllene in Arcadia.

Hermes/Mercury was a god of abundance, fertility, and prosperity. His pastoral incarnation, especially popular in Boeotia and Arcadia, was as a cowherd and shepherd, the patron of herdsmen and of the fruitfulness of herds and flocks. He was also sometimes associated with horses and with trade. Hermes' symbols were the rooster and the tortoise, and he was often represented as carrying a purse or pouch, wearing winged sandals and a winged cap, and bearing a herald's staff.

XVI.243 Juno: Roman goddess of women and civic virtue, an old and important Italian goddess and one of the chief deities of Rome. Her name derives from the same root as iuventas (youth), and she served both as a goddess of women and as a civic deity.

XVI.319 Saturn: Alleged ruler in a golden (pre-iron) age of peace, equality and plentitude.

XVI.334 starlings: Small or medium-sized birds in the Sturnidae family, with a preference for living in open country and in some cases, near human habitation, and who eat both insects and fruit.

XVI.339 Echion: Son of Hermes and Antianeira, daughter of Menetus, and twin of Erytus, with whom he joined the Argonauts and participated in the Calydonia boar hunt. Their home was near Mt. Pangaeon (Alpe) in northern Greece. See Map 2.

XVI.347 She chief of all: Juno

XVI.367 Queen of Heaven's: Juno

XVI.375 Iris: The goddess of the rainbow and guide to the Argonauts in their northern voyage, for the most part hardly distinguishable from the natural phenomenon itself.

XVI.390 Sidero: the stepmother of Tyro, killed by Pelias

XVI.391 Neleus: According to legend, Neleus and Pelias were twin sons of Tyro, the daughter of Salmoneus, and of Poseidon, who had gained her consent by deceptively approaching her in the shape of her lover, the river-god Enipeus. (Od, 11.235). According to one tradition, (Odyssey 11.237; Aeolus 2) she later married Cretheus, and here this seems to be the case; in later sources, as in Apollodorus (I.90), he is her guardian.

Apollodorus also says that she exposed Neleus and Pelias on birth, who were rescued by a horse-herder. Tyro continued to suffer persecution from Sidero, her stepmother, till her twin sons grew up, recognized her, and pursued Sidero into a temple of Hera, where Pelias killed her at the altar. Neleus married Chloris, daughter of Amphion of Orchomenus (Odyssey11.281 ff), and they produced twelve sons, including Nestor. But Heracles attacked Pylos, Neleus' kingdom, because Neleus would not purify him from the blood guilt of Iphitus (Iliad, 11.690 ff) and killed all his sons except Nestor.

XVI.422 thymy: covered with thyme, an aromatic herb with thin stems, evergreen leaves arranged in two rows opposite one another, and small white, pink, or purple flowers

XVI.431 Clashers: In mythology, these were the Symplegades, or "clashing rocks" at the Bosporus which allegedly smote together randomly. The Argonauts had to pass by these to enter the Hellespont, but after Jason and the Argonauts managed the pass, aided by advice from Phineus, the Symplegades stopped moving permanently. See Map 5, G5.