Greek Mythology >> Nymphs >> Haliae >> Calliste (Kalliste)


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Of Calliste (island)

KALLISTE (Calliste) was a sea-nymph of the Aegean island of Kalliste (now Santorini). Her father, the sea-god Triton, presented her to the Argonaut Euphemos as a clod of earth which, when it was cast overboard, transformed into the island of Kalliste.


TRITON & LIBYA (Apollonius Rhodius 4.1734)


Pindar, Pythian Ode 4. 20 ff (trans. Conway) (Greek lyric C5th B.C.) :
"When leaping from the prow where Lake Tritonis pours to the sea, Euphemos (Euphemus) took the gift, token of a host's friendship, from a god [Triton] in mortal guise ho gave a clod of earth; and from aloft, to mark the sign, a peal of thunder sounded from Zeus the father, son of Kronos (Cronus).
This so befell, as on our ship we hung the bronze-fluked anchor . . . when for twelve days we had carried from Okeanos (Oceanus) over earth's desert backs our good ship's hull . . . Then came to us this deity [Triton], all alone, clad in the noble semblance of a man of reverent bearing, and with friendly speech made to address us with a kindly greeting--such words with which a man of good intent speaks to invite the strangers newly come to share his table, and bids them first welcome. Yet did the dear plea of our homeward voyage call to us and forbade our stay. His name he gave, Eurypylos, saying he was the son of the immortal Holder of Earth (Ennosides) [Poseidon]; He saw hour haste to be away, and straightway he stopped and seized a clod beside his foot and in his right hand proffered the gift of friendship. And, for he felt no misbelief, Euphemos lept to the shore and grasped his outstretched hand, and took the earth, that sign of heaven's will. But now I learn that it is lost, washed down as evening fell from the ship's deck, to wander on the sea's dark smooth tide, with the sea spray. Many a time, indeed, did I charge to the serving-men who ease our toil to watch it well; but they forgot. Thus now the deathless seed of Libya's far-spreading plains is spilt upon this isle, e'er the due time. For had that prince, son of the horseman's god Poseidon . . .
Euphemos come to holy Tainaros (Taenarum) and cast that seed where cleft earth opens to the mouth of hell, then had his sons in the fourth generation seized with the Danai (Danaans) this broad mainland. For then from mighty Sparta and Argos' gulf and from Mykenai (Mycenae) the peoples shall rise and move from their abode. But now Euphemos, taking from a breed a foreign women one to be his bride, shall found a chosen race. And they shall come paying due honour to the gods, unto this island, when they shall beget a man born to be lord of those dark-misted plains. And on a day in time to come, this man shall tread the path down to the shrine of Pytho, and Phoibos (Phoebus) [Apollon] . . . shall speak to him his oracle, proclaiming that he shall bring a mighty host in ships to [Egypt] the rich land of Neilos (the Nile) the precinct of [Zeus] the son of Kronos."

Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 4. 1548 ff (trans. Rieu) (Greek epic C3rd B.C.) :
"The great god Triton appeared before them, taking the form of a young man. He picked up a clod of earth and held it out to them by way of welcome, saying : ‘Accept this gift, my friends. Here and now, I have no better one with which to welcome strangers such as you. But if you have lost your bearings, like many a traveller in foreign parts, and wish to cross the Libyan Sea, I will be your guide. My father Poseidon has taught me all its secrets, and I am the king of this seaboard. You may have heard of me though you live so far away--Eurypylos, born in Libya, the country of wild beasts.’
Euphemos (Euphemus) gladly held his hand out for the clod."

Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 4. 1734 ff :
"[During the voyage from Libya to Greece across the Mediterranean the Argonaut Euphemos (Euphemus)] dreamt that he was holding to his breast the lump of earth which the god [Triton] had given him and was suckling it with streams of white milk. The clod, small as it was, turned into a woman of virginal appearance; and in an access of passion he lay with her. When the deed was done, he felt remorse--she had been a virgin and he had suckled her himself. But she consoled him, saying in a gentle voice : ‘My friend, I am of Triton's stock and the nurse of your children; no mortal maid, but a daughter of Triton and Libya. Give me a home with Nereus' Daughters in the sea near Anaphe, and I will reappear in the light of day in time to welcome your descendants.’
Euphemos, after committing his dream to memory, told it to Iason (Jason). The dream reminded Iason of an oracle of Apollon's himself, exclaiming : ‘My noble friend, you are marked out for great renown! When you have thrown this clod of earth into the sea, the gods will make an island of it, and there your children's children are to live. Triton received you as a friend with this little piece of Libyan soil. It was Triton and no other god that met us and gave you this.’
Euphemos heard Iason's prophecy with joy and did not make it void. He threw the clod into the depths of the sea, and there grew up from it an island called Kalliste (Calliste), the sacred Nurse of his descendants."




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