Classical Texts Library >> Nonnus, Dionysiaca >> Book 13




Love of Zeus & Europa
Typhoeus & Cadmus


Battle of Zeus & Typhoeus


Cadmus on Samothrace


Winning of Harmonia
The Founding of Thebes


Wedding of Harmonia
Death of Actaeon


Birth & Death of Zagreus
The Great Deluge


Love of Zeus & Semele


Death of Semele


Birth & Fostering of Dionysus
Madness of Ino


Madness of Athamas
Love of Dionysus & Ampelus


Death of Ampelus
Love of Calamus & Carpus


Tablets of Phanes
Discovery of Wine


Human Army of Dionysus


Divine Army of Dionysus

BOOKS 15 - 48


In the thirteenth, I will tell of a host innumerable, and champion heroes gathering for Dionysos.

[1] Father Zeus sent Iris to the divine halls of Rheia, to inform wakethefray Dionysos, that he must drive out of Asia with his avenging thyrsus the proud race of Indians untaught of justice: he was to sweep from the sea the horned son of a river, Deriades the king,1 and teach all nations the sacred dances of the vigil and the purple fruit of the vintage.

[8] She paddled her way with windswift beat of wings, and entered the echoing den of stabled lions. Noiseless her step she stayed, in silence voiceless pressed her lips, a slave before the forest queen. She stood bowing low, and bent down her head to kiss Rheia’s feet with suppliant lips. Rheia unsmiling beckoned, and the Corybants served her beside the bowl of the divine table. Wondering she drank a sop of the newfound wine, delighted and excited; then with heavy head the spirit told the will of Zeus to the son of Zeus:

[19] “O mighty Dionysos! Your father bids you destroy the race of Indians, untaught of piety. Come, lift the thyrsus of battle in your hands, and earn heaven by your deeds. For the immortal court of Zeus will not receive you without hard work, and the Seasons will not open the gates of Olympos to you unless you have struggled for the prize. Hermeias hardly could win his way to heaven, and only when he killed with his rod Argos2 the cowherd, sparkling with eyes from his feet to the hair of his head, and when he had set Ares free from prison.3 Apollo mastered Delphyne,4 and then he came to live in the sky. Even your own father, chief of the Blessed, Zeus Lord in the Highest, did not rise to heaven without hard work,5 he the sovereign of the stars: first he must bind fast those threatenders of Olympos, the Titans, and hide them deep in the pit of Tartaros. You also do your work, after Apollo, after Hermaon, and your prize for your labours will be a home in your father’s heaven.”

[35] With these words the goddess returned to Olympos. At once Rheia Allmother sent out her messenger to gather the host, Pyrrhichos,6 the dancer before her loverattle timbrel, to proclaim the warfare of Lyaios under arms. Pyrrhichos, gathering a varied army for Dionysos, scoured all the settlements of the eternal world; all the races of Europe and the nations of the Asiatic land he brought to rendezvous in the land of the livedainty Lydians.

[43] But the heroic breed of farscattered champions, the hairy Satyrs, the blood of the Centaur tribe, the bushyknee ancient and his phalanx of the Seilenoi, the regiment of Bassarids – do you sing me these, O Corybantic Muses! For I could not tell so many peoples with ten tongues, not if I had ten mouths pouring a voice of brass, all those which Bacchos gathered for his spearchasing. Yet I will loudly name their leaders, and I will call to my aid Homer, the one great harbour of language undefiled, since mariners lost astray call on Seabluehair to save them from their wandering ways.7

[53] First of all, to obey the summons of Dionysos with his fine thyrsus, Actaion8 quickly came, in respect for their kindred blood, and left the sevenmouth9 soil of his native Aonia. Boiotia’s battalions came in a flood: those who dwelt in wellwalled Thebes and Onchestos, Earthshaker’s place of sojourn, Peteon and Ocalae, and Erythrai, vineclad Arne so proud of Dionysos; and those who inhabited Mideia nad the celebrated towns of Eilesion and Scolon and Thisbe based upon the brine, dovehaunted harbour of Aphrodite our Lady of the Sea, and the levels of Schoinos, and leafy Eleon; and the glorious soil of Copai, where I hear still remains the famous lake of that name, the nurse of eels; and shaggy Medeon, and those that held the fine pastures of Hyle, long-stretching fostermother of Tychios the leathercraftsman10; and the land of broad threshing-floors kept for the underworld oracle, to bear the name of Amphiaraos and his chariot in later days11; and the city of Thespiae and deepsloping Plataiai and moist Haliartos, separated from Helicon by the stream of a mountain river between; and they who possessed Anthedon, the last place down by the sea, the little town of Glaucos the immortal fisherman who lives in the waters12; and those of inclement Ascra, the laureate home of the farmer whose name is on every tongue13; and the sacred citadel of Graia, and Mycalessos with broad dancing-lawns, named to remind us of Euryale’s throat14; and the land of Nisa, and the city named after Coronos15 – all these were led by Actaion to the eastern clime, and laurelled Apollo the Seer, his father’s father, sneezed victory for the young man.16

[83] A second host of Boiotians was led by finehair Hymenaios with unmarked chin, young and fresh, beloved by Bromios. As Guardian for the boy came a hoary chieftain named Phoinix17; like Laocoön who long ago embarked in the Argo, Iason’s ship, and sailed with Meleagros to the Colchian land, his comrade in the battlefield. Such another boy was this in the prime of youth, Hymenaios, with his luxuriant hair curving round either cheek, never cut since he was born, on the way to the Indian War. Shieldmen bare him company, who dwelt in the stronghold of Aspledon, and the dancebeaten precinct of the loves, Orchomenos city of Minyas, which the Graces never leave18; those who dwelt in Hyria, that hospitable land which entertained the gods named after hospitable Hyrieus19; where that huge giant born of no marriage-bed, threefather Orion, sprang up from his mother earth, after a shower of piss from three gods grew in generative fruitfulness to the selfmade shape of a child, having impregnated a wrinkle of a fruitful oxhide. Then a hollow of the earth was midwife to earth’s unbegotten son. Those also came who possessed the place where the assembling Achaians found refuge,20 rocky Aulis, pavement of the Archeress: where the goddess in heavy resentment received at her altar in the mountains the offering of a pretended Iphigeneia, and a wild pricket of the hills was burnt in a blameless fire, changeling shape of the true Iphigeneia who had been carried away. She it was that cunning Odysseus brought to be Achilles’ bride before the trouble, and hence Aulis has the name of matchmaker for Iphigeneia who never married at all; for a guiding wind whistled over the Argive ships, and brought a rescuing breeze for the fawnslayer king. But the girl passed at last on high to the Taurian land, and there she was taught the inhospitable law of their horrible kettles, in cutting up men for meat; but beside the murderous altar she saved the life of her seabeaten brother Orestes.21

[120] Such was the infinite host of Boiotian men who went with Hymenaios to the Indian War.

[122] These were joined by comrades marching from Phocis near the wise Delphian rock: those who held the settlement of Cyparissos and the land of Hyampolis, taking its name as I hear from the Aonian Sow, which lifted a proud neck and challenged Tritogeneia to a beautymatch.22 There were also those who had Python and the gardens among the precipices, famous Crisa, and Daulis, and Panopeus, neighbour of Bacchos, for laurelled Apollo had made common with his brother Dionysos twopeak Parnassos his domain; as the peoples gathered, the Pythian rock uttered the inspired voice of God, and the tripod spoke of itself, and the babbling rill of Castalia that never silent spring, bubbled with wisdom in its waters.

[135] The Euboian battalions were ruled by shieldbearing Corybants, guardians of Dionysos in his growing days: who in the Phrygian gulf beside mountainranging Rheia surrounded Bacchos still a child with their drumskins. They found him once, a horned baby, covered with a cloak the colour of purple wine, lying among the rocks where Ino had left him in charge of Mystis the mother of Corymbos.23 All these came then from the famous island: Prymneus, and Mimas Waddlefoot, and Acmon the forester, Damneus and Ocythoös the shieldman; and with them came flash-helm Melisseus as comrade to Idaios, whom their father Socos under the insane goad of impiety had once cast out of their brinegirt country along with Combe the mother of seven.24 They escaped and passed to Cnossian soil, and again went on their travels from Crete to Phrygia, and foreign settlers and hearthguests until Cecrops destroyed Socos with avenging blade of justice; then leaving the land of brineflooded Marathon turned their steps homewards to the sacred soil of the Abantes, the earthborn stock of the ancient Curetes, whose life is the tune of pipes, whose life is the goodly noise of beaten swords, whose heart is set upon rhythmic circling of the feet and the shieldwise dancing. To the army came also warrior sons of the Abantes, whose lot was in the beetling brows of Eretria, whose lot was both Styra and Cerinthos, and the settlements of farfamed Carystos, and the barren land of Dion, those who held the shore, that boisterous shore of Geraistos never silent, and Styx25 and the Cotylaian fort and the habitation of Siris, the stretches of Marmarion and the domain of ancient Aige. With these ranged themselves those whose country was Chalcis, mother city of the Ellopians with backflowing hair. Seven captains armed this host, but all of one temper for war: with blazing altar they propitiated the tenants of the Zodiac path, committing their campaign to the planets of equal number.

[171] The Cecropides were mustered by Erechtheus, the glutton of battle. – He had in him the golden blood of Erechtheus26 father of glorious sons, whom once the Virgin selfborn nursed at her manly breast in the recess of her torchlit maiden chamber, Brighteyes unwedded turned nursemaid, and shamefast clasped with her inexperienced maiden arm that son of Hephaistos, when Crookshank unhappy in his wife split his seed in unnatural love, and the hot foam of love fell of itself on the earth. – This was the Erechtheus who came as captain of the Athenians, with Siphnos to share his task, chief of that same city: those whose lot was in the fertile land of Oinoë, and the bee-frequented vales on the heights of neighbouring Hymettos, and the deep woody borders of oliveplanted Marathon, and the city of Celeos27; and those from the harbour of Athens, Brauron near the sea, the empty barrow of Iphigeneia, and the ground of Thoricos, and teeming Aphidna; and those who hold the Eleusinian land28 of daughterproud Deo, initiates of the Basket and the goodfruit goddess, those born of the blood of Triptolemos: who once on a time drove Deo’s chariot and serpents through the air, with their load of cornears, and lashed the serpents’ backs. Many an old man of Acharnai came, flourishing his armour of steel about and holding it out to his sons equipping themselves. The ranks of Attica came to join; with spears and with sword the burghers hastened to make the fray, on to the fray fine helmet on head came Athens ranging along, the harbour of Phaleron resounded with men hurrying to war; many a golden cicada was made fast in the plaited hair to proclaim their ancient indigenous race.29

[201] Aiacos30 also left his native land, whom the sham bird begot, mingling with the daughter of Asopos whom he carried off, the eagle, highsoaring of Zeus the feathered husband of Aigina. He was named Aiacos from this marriage; and most of all he was eager to help his brother Dionysos. He mustered his companies of Myrmidons with competent skill. These once were ants crawling over the earth with their many busy feet, until Zeus in the Highest changed them from their insignificant clayborn shape to a better body, and up grew an armed host: for in a moment a speechless swarm of ants bred in the clay changed their shape and nature into mortals with speech. These were the host that Aiacos led as captain, and he graved on his wellwrought shield, as a token of their origin, Zeus the sham bird with a mind, carrying a woman in gentle talons. Near it was a river god on fire, and a girl beside him sad and downcast, even if she was a lifeless image; she turned her eye aside as if mourning for her father stiffknee Asopos, and she seemed to be crying – “A fine bridegift you have brought me, in destroying my father!”

[222] Crete with its peoples of many tongues was commanded by Asterios, one of brilliant beauty, one as lovely as he was strong, both together; his mother was Phaistian31 Androgeneia, who loosed the girdle of maiden modesty for Minos, and bore her son in a Cydonian bed. He came bringing the people of the hundred cities for wineface Bacchos to honour the blood of his own father’s family; for Minos was cousin of Semele and of Cadmos’s kin.32 All the farscattered warriors gathered to one stirring leader; men of war from Cnossos, other from Lyctos joined with troops from Miletos.33 With them was a large body of armed burghers from hilly Gortyn, and others from Rhytion and fertile Lycastos, and the country of Nodaian Zeus34 and the habitations of Boibe and the lands of Cisamos and the fair cities of Cytaios. Such was the captain from Crete; and as he came the star of Ares shone upon his starry namesake Asterios, first harbinger of victory to come, pouring forth a prophetic radiance with hotter beams. But after victory in battle he conceived a bastard passion for the strange country, being hard of heart. For after the Indian War he was not to see his native land the cave of the Idaian mount shimmering with helmets35; he preferred a life of exile, and instead of Dicte he became a Cnossian settler in Scythia. He left greyheaded Minos and Androgeneia; the civilized man joined the barbaric tribes of guest-murdering Colchians, called them Asterians and gave a Cretan name to Colchians whose nature provided them with outlandish customs. He left his own country and the Cretan river of Amnisos which nourished his childhood, and with shamefast lips drank the foreign water of Phasis.

[253] Aristaios came slow by himself, last of all those who dwelt in the regions round about the Hellenic land. He lifted high his neck, proud of the sweet honey from his riddled hives. He had challenged Dionysos with his wine, and vainly hoped for the victory of his sweet honey. All the denizens of Olympos judged between them. Phoibos’s son offered the new-flowing juice from his hives to the immortals; but he failed to win the victory, because when the gods took the thick juice from the plantloving bee, they soon had enough and tired of the liquid. A third rummer was more than enough for the Blessed; when the cup came round with the fourth brew they would not taste it, thirsty though they were. But when Bacchos ladled out his glorious dewy drops, they were delighted, and drank his flowing wine all day long unceasing. Even drunken they admired the sweet wine, and called for cup after cup one after another with jolly glee, full of hearty good cheer for the bewitching stuff. Zeus admired Aristaios’s gift, the product of the honeydroppping bee and the curious artwork of the hiveloving brood, but he gave the first prize for troublesoothing victory to Dionysos and his wine. That is why Aristaios came slow to the Indian War. After so long he had only just quieted his old grudge of his greedy youth, and left Hermeias’s cave in Cyllene; for he had not yet migrated to the island formerly called Meropis36: he had not yet brought there the lifebreathing wind of Zeus the Defender, and checked the fiery vapour of the parched season; he had not stood steelclad37 to receive the glare of Seirios, and all night long repelled and calmed the star’s fiery heat – and even now the winds cool him with light puffs, as he lances his hot parching fire through the air from glowing throat. But he still dwelt in the land of Parrhasia.

[286] He was followed by the vagabond acornfed Arcadians under arms, those that held Lasion, and the fine glades of Lycaios, and rocky Stymphalos, and Rhipe famous town; Stratia and Mantinea and Enispe, and woodland Parrhasia, where is still to be found the place untrodden in which primeval goddess Rheia was brought to bed38; the region of Pheneos, and Orchomenos rich in sheep, only begetter of the dance,39 seat of Apidaneans. There were there also those of Arcadia, city of Arcas son of Callisto40 and Zeus, whose father fixed him in the starry firmament and called him Boötes Hailbringer. Such was the host which Aristaios armed with the Arcadian lance, and led sheepdogs to battle with warring men. He was the son of Cyrene, that deerchasing second Artemis, the girl lionkiller, who bore him to the love of Phoibos; when handsome Apollo carried her abroad41 to sandy Libya in a robber’s car for a bridal equipage. And as he came in haste, Apollo his father left the prophetic laurel and armed him with his own hands, gave his son a bow, and fitted his arm with a curiously wrought shield, and fastened the hollow quiver by a strap over the shoulder to hang down his back.

[309] To him came from Sicily longshot Achates, and shieldbearing comrades with him, a great host of Cillyrioi and Elymoi,42 and those who lived round the seat of the Palicoi43; those who had a city by the lake Catana near the Sirens, whom rosy Terpsichore brought forth by the stormy embraces of her bull-horned husband Acheloös44; those who possessed Camarina, where the wild Hipparis disgorges his winding water in a roaring flood; those form the sacred citadel of Hybla, and those dwelling near Aitna, where the rock is alight and kettles of fire boil up the hot flare of Typhaon’s bed45; those who scattered their houses along the beetling brow of Peloros and the island ground of sea-resounding Pachynos46; and Sicilian Arethusa, where after his wandering travels Alpheios creeps proud of his Pisan chaplet – he crosses the deep like a highway, and draws his water, the slave of love, unwetted,47 over the surface of the sea, for he carries a burning fire warm through the cold water. After these Phaunos48 came, leaving the firesealed Pelorian plain of threepeak Sicily the rocky, whom Circe bore embraced by Cronion of the Deep,49 Circe the witch of many poisons, Aietas’s sister, who dwelt in the deepshadowed cells of a rocky palace.

[333] Libyans also joined the host, whose home was in the western clime, the cities of wandering Cadmos near the clouds. For there on a time dwelt Cadmos carried by contrary winds, on the voyage with his Sithonian bride Harmonia still a maiden. The rumour of her beauty bred war and armed hostile neighbours. The Libyan army named her Charis, for the Bistonian girl bloomed like another Charis of this world and even more dainty, and the Graces’ Hill of Libya had its name from her. So the Maurusian people of the desert because of her beauty were stung with mad lust of robber warfare, and took arms, a horrible barbarian Ares wild with passion. But Harmonia’s mate held his shield before her, grasping in hand the spear of Libyan Athena50 to defend his beloved wife, and put to flight the whole nation of western51 Ethiopians, with armed Zeus as ally, with Ares and Cythereia. And there as they say, by the Tritonian lake, Cadmos the wanderer lay with rosycheek Harmonia, and the Nymphs Hesperides made a song for them, and Cypris together with the Loves decked out a fine bed for the wedding, hanging in the bridal chamber golden fruit from the Nymphs’ garden,52 a worthy lovegift for the bride; rich clusters of their leaves Harmonia and Cadmos twined through their hair, amid the abundance of their bridechamber, in place of the wedding-roses. Still more dainty the bride appeared wearing these golden gifts, the boon of golden Aphrodite. Her mother’s father53 the stooping Libyan Atlas awoke a tune of the heavenly harp to join the revels, and with tripping foot he twirled the heavens round like a ball, while he sang a stave of harmony himself not far away. Cadmos too, in memory of the love of his wedded bride, paid his footing in the Libyan land by building a hundred cities, and he gave to each lofty walls inaccessible, with towers of stone. With his memory in mind, came warriors to the host, forefighters of Enyo when Bromios went to war: those who dwell in settlements near the Moon’s birthplace,54 and the southern shelters of Zeus Asbystes the horned prophet,55 where Ammon the Western Zeus has often uttered oracles in the shape of a ram with three spiral horns; those whose home was on the sandy plain of parched land beside the stream of Chremetes56 and the water of Cinyps57; Auschisai and Bacales together, bred in a corner of the West, and more than others devoted to Ares.

[378] So great was the people of the hundred cities; and their masses came led by Crataigonos,58 whom Anchiroë daughter of Chremetes brought forth on her father’s riverbank in that shortlasting union with Psyllos59 the harebrained; the bridegroom she held in her arms was the gods’ enemy. Notos, that hot wind, once burnt his crops with parching breath; whereupon he fitted out a fleet and gathered a naval swarm of helmeted warriors, to stir up strife against he winds of the south with avenging doom, eager to kill fiery Notos. To the island of Aiolos60 sailed the shieldbearing fleet; but the Winds armed themselves and flogged the madman’s vessel, volleying with tempestuous tumult in a whirlwind throng of converted confederate blasts, and sank Psyllos and armament in a watery grave.

[393] From Samothrace came a stream of shieldmen, sent by their prince Emathion of the long flowing beard, himself heavy of knee, with snow-white hair, men limbed like Titans. They possessed both Myrmex on the sea and flower Saoce,61 aye and the land of Teumerios,62 and the glades and meadows of Phesiades’ land63 shaded with woodland copses, and divine Zerynthos of the unresting Corybants, the foundation of renowned Perseïs,64 where the rocks are thronged with torchbearing mystics of the Maid. There were others who lived under the manycraggy wall of the land about Brontion, and in Atrapitoi which I hear of on the neighbouring shore of deepsea Poseidon. All these companies came together, who were loyal to their sib, the ancient family of Electra; for there65 Ares, Zeus and Cythereia gave to Cadmos, the god’s ally, Harmonia heaven’s kin and sea’s blood, to be his lawful wife without brideprice.

[411] As the armed host gathered to Dionysos with his thyrsus, Electra’s66 star rose with her six sisters in the sky in happy augury of the conflict; and the echoing voice of the Pleiads resounded for victory, doing grace to Dionysos who shared their sister’s blood, giving equal confidence to the host. Ogygros led their march to war, Ogygros himself a second war-god, his head towering high like one of the giants. Nothing could bend that great body. From his head and muscular neck, waves of hair fell to his loins, covering his back and shoulders, bristling like the spines of hedgehog. He had a throat of immense length and thickness, like a neck of rock. Barbarian and son of a barbarian was he; no other came to the Indian War in the east stronger than he was, except Dionysos. He had sworn an oath to Victory, that he would destroy the whole land of India with his own spear alone.

[428] The bold son of Ares, Oiagros, quitted his city of Pimpleia on the Bistonian plain, and joined the rout. He left Orpheus on Calliopeia’s knees, a little one interested in his mother’s milk, still a new thing.

[432] The Cyprian companies were under command of proud Litros67 and finehair Lapethos. Many took up arms: those whose lot was in Spheceia, the round brinebeaten isle; others from Cypros, godwelcoming island of the finefeathered Loves, which bears the name of Cypris selfborn. Nereus had traced the boundaries of this Cypros with the deepsea prong, and shaped it like a dolphin. For when the fertile drops from Uranos, spilt with a mess of male gore, had given infant shape to the fertile foam and brought forth the Paphian, to the land of horned68 Cypros came a dolphin over the deep, which with intelligent mind carried Aphrodite perched on his mane. – Those also were there who held the land of Hylates, and the settlement of Sestos, Tamasos and Tembros, the town of Erythrai, the woody precincts of Panacros in the mountains. From Soloi also came many men-at-arms, and from Lapethos; this place was named afterwards from the leader who assembled them, who fell in the thyrsus-war and was honourable buried and left his name for his citizens. There were those also who had the city Cinyreia, that rock-island which still bears the name of ancient Cinyras69; and those from the place where Urania lies, named after the heavenly vault, because it was full of men brilliant as the stars; and those who held Crapaseia, a land surrounded by sea; and those of Paphos, garlanded harbour of the softhaired Loves, landingplace of Aphrodite when she came up out of the waves, where is the bridebath of the seaborn goddess, lovely Setrachos70: here Cypris often took a garment and draped the son of Myrrha71 after his bath. Last is the city of ancient Perseus, for whom Teucros,72 fleeing from Salamis before the wrath of Telamon, fortified the younger Salamis so renowned.

[464] A luxurious crowd of Lydians streamed in: those who held both pebbly Cimpsos and beetling Itone; those from broad Torebios, those from fruitful Sardis, nurse of riches, as old as the daydawn; those from the grapegrowing land of Bacchos, where the vinegod first mixed wine for Mother Rheia in a brimming cup, and named the city Cerassai, the Mixings; those that held the watchingpeaks of Oanos, the stream of Hermos and watery Metallon, where the yellow treasure of the water sparkling spirts up the Pactolian mud. A great host came armed from Stataloi. There Typhoeus, spouting up the hot stream of the fiery thunderbolt, had kindled the neighbouring country, and as Typhon blazed amid clouds of smoke, the mountains were burnt to ashes, while his heads melted in the limb-devouring flame. But the priest of Lydian Zeus left the fragrant temple redolent of incense, and without steel made battle with piercing words, a word for a spear, no cutting steel, and brought the Son of Earth to obedience with his tongue; his bold mouth was his lance, his word a sword, his voice a shield, and this was all that issued from his inspired throat – “Stand, wretch!” So the flaming giant by magic art was held fast in chains of glammery by the invincible word, and stood in awe of a man armed with a spear of the mind, while the avenging sword shackled him in fetters not made of steel. That awful giant towering high, trembled not so much as the Archer of Thunderbolts, as for the battlecrashing magician shooting bolts of speech from his tongue. He gave way, as the sharp words pierced him with wounds speaking in quick words. Already scorched with flame, thrust through with a redhot spear, Typhoeus gave way at the other fire hotter still, a fire of the mind. His snaky feet were rooted firm and immovable by main force, firmly fixt in Earth his mother, his body was wounded by a bloodless blade that made no mark.

[498] But all this was done in time gone by, among men of a more ancient generation. Here were men armed for the Indian tumult by Stabios and Stamnos,73 loudly rattling on the ground in drilled step; and if you could see the whole host prancing and leaping, you might be inclined to say that the captain was leading them to a dance rather than to a war, bringing a detachment of armour-dancers. For as they marched, the Mygdonian lute struck up a dance tune for war-music to arouse the tumult of conflict; it sounded the assembly for battle, nor for dance; love’s flutings were the trumpets of war; the twin Berecyntian pipes tootled together, the calfskin bellowed, struck on both sides by the brassy rattle of heavyrumbling hands.

[511] The Phrygians ranged themselves beside the ranks of dinraising Lydians: those whose lot was in Boudeia, and the famous town of treeplanted Temeneia, a shady grove in the country; those who lived in Dresia and Obrimos, which discharges his water into the curving stream of Maiandros; those from the ground of Doias, and those who lived in goldroof Celainai, and the place of the Gorgon’s image.74 These were joined by those who had to inhabit the cities near Sangarios, and the settlements of the Elespid land: they were led by a captain from Dirce of the dragon, Priasos, who came from foreign parts to the Aonian land. For when Rainy Zeus flooded the land of Phrygia, pouring water from on high in seas of rain, when trees were covered, and in glens where thistles grew thirsty hills were flooded with rivers of water, Priasos left his drowned house hidden in the rain and the airclimbing river which had attacked his homestead, and migrated to the bosom of the Aonian land to escape from the fatal showers of rain. But he never ceased to shed tears among these foreign men; he remembered Sangarios and missed his familiar brook, when he drank the alien water of the Aonian River. But Zeus Highest at last quieted the stormy flood and the watery violence, and drove the water of flooded Phrygia down from the tops of Sipylos; Earthshaker with his trident pushed all the waters away into the deep hollows of the boundless sea, and the cliffs were laid bare of the roaring deluge. Then Priasos in late repentance left the land of Boiotos, and returned to his own country, and when he reached home he held his heavyknee father in his arms with a joyful embrace; for great Zeus had saved him from destruction for his pious works: Brombios they call him. Now the Phrygian warriors from the Phrygian gulf proudly thronged about Priasos.

[546] Asterios the father had gone with another band, but his son Miletos now in the flower of his age came in the company of Bacchos. With him came his brother Caunos to share his dangers. Although only a boy, he led the Carian people into the Indian War. Not yet had he conceived a passion for his innocent sister, and composed that tricking lovesong; not yet had he sung of Hera herself joined with her brother Zeus in a harmonious bed of love like his own, the song about the Latmian cowshed of the neversleeping herdsman, while he praised Endymion, the bridegroom of love-smitten Selene, as happy in love’s care on a neighbouring rock. No, Byblis still loved maidenhood – no, Caunos75 was still learning to hunt, untouched by love for one so near. Not yet had the softhaired brother fled, or the girl changed her body to water by her tears; she was still no sorrowing fountain bubbling up a watery stream. Now courageous warriors flocked about him: those who lived in Mycale, and owned the winding stream of the crooked Maiandros, which sinks into the ground and returns again after crawling through the tunnels.

[566] So many were the companies that came. With harmonious march the peoples gathered, and the halls of Cybele resounded, and the streets of the Mygdonian city were thronged.

1. Son of the river Hydaspes.
2. See note on i. 342.
3. After the Aloiadai had shut him up in a chest, see Hom. Il. v. 385 ff.
4. Name of the dragon, also called Python, which Apollo killed at Delphi.
5. The thought is proverbial in Greek: see Hesiod, Op. 288.
6. Pyrrhichos is the title of the Greek dance in armour.
7. i.e. he will imitate the Catalogue of the Ships, the beginning of which, Hom. Il. 484 ff., he has just paraphrased.
8. See v. 302.
9. The “mouths” are the seven gates of Thebes.
10. A famous maker of shields, Hom. Il. vii. 219 ff.

11. Harma in Boeotia, where Amphiaraos and his car were swallowed up in the earth.
12. See on i. 111.
13. Hesiod, poet of the Works and Days, a countryman’s handbook. He is the only poet who ever called his birthplace “a detestable village, bad in winter, disagreeable in summer, never nice”: Works 640.
14. Euryale, a Gorgon; Nonnos derives the town’s name from the monster’s roar, mukêthmos, mukaomai.
15. Coronea.
16. The sneeze was a good omen: Hom. Od. xvii. 545.
17. The name alludes to the “Phoenician” origin of Thebes. For Laocoön see Apoll. Rhod. i. 194.
18. The cult of the Charites, ancient deities who made the tilth charieis, lovely to behold (because covered with good crops), is native to Orchomenos. By Nonnos’s time the Charites had for many centuries been thought of as love-deities: Venus in Italy went through exactly the same development.
19. See Ovid, Fasti v. 500.
20. Before the Trojan War.

21. These lines summarize Euripides’ two plays Iphigeneia in Aulide and Iphigeneia in Tauris.
22. There was a proverb, ha hus tan Athanan, sus Minervam. Nonnos seems to be making a legend to explain it and the name Hyampolis, Pigborough.
23. See ix. 120; a personification like Calamos and Carpos. The correction Korumbou is a clever guess of Marcellus.
24. No one before Nonnos seems to know this story; Socos and Combe were the parents of the Corybantes.
25. Not the infernal river, but a place in Euboea.
26. Nonnos confuses Erechtheus with Erichthonios; it was the latter whom Hephaistos begat on earth when he tried to marry Athena.
27. Eleusis.
28. The Rarian plain.
29. To fasten the hair with a golden brooch shaped like a cicada was a very old Athenian custom; it was taken to mean that they were as native to Attica as the insect was.
30. Aiacos was the son of Zeus and Aigina daughter of the Boeotian river-god Asopos (202). Zeus took the form of an eagle to carry Aigina off, and when her father pursued him, he smote him with the thunderbolt (217 ff.; 220 is imitated from Callim. Hymns iv. 78, which also refers to this story). The singularly bad etymology of Aiacos’s name from aietos (204) seems not to occur elsewhere. Because Aiacos found Aigina (the island) uninhabited, or all the people died of a pestilence, he prayed to Zeus to help him, and the god turned a swarm of ants (murmêkes) into human beings, who were consequently (207) called Myrmidones. The etymology is of course as fanciful as the story.

31. Phaistos, in South Crete; Cydonia, on the North Coast westaway.
32. He was thus akin to Dinoysos through Zeus:
Agenor –– Cadmos = Harmonia –– Semele
Agenor –– Europa = Zeus –– Minos
33. The cretan city, metropolis of Miletos in Caria.
34. Who “Nodaian” Zeus may be no one has yet discovered, and it is likely the epithet is corrupt, especially as we have no mention of Mt. Ida. The end of this line may be lost and the next have begun . . . (Idaioio Dios); in any case something has gone wrong with the text, for the sentence here has no construction.
35. This may be an ornamental epithet, but it literally suits the cave on Mount Ida full of votive offerings.
36. See v. 221. Here Cos (Meropis) is confused with Ceos, where Aristaios had a cult. Nonnos took the title from Hymn to Apollo 42.
37. The scholiast on Apoll. Rhod. ii. 498 says of Aristaios enomothetêse kat’ enaiuton tois Keiois meth’ oplôn epitêrein tên epitolên tou Kunos, that is by making a din with spears beaten on shields. Nonnos misunderstood it to mean in armour (von Scheffer’s note).
38. Rheia, according to one story (followed by Callim. Hymns i. 10 ff., which Nonnos alludes to here), bore Zeus in that place.
39. Nonnos evidently is etymologizing again, and interprets the name Orchomenos as meaning “place of dancing” (orchêthmos).
40. Callisto was beloved of Zeus, and for some reason (the story varies greatly in details) was turned into a she-bear. Her son Arcas, who was a great hunter, did not recognize her in this form and was about to kill her, when Zeus turned them both into constellations, Ursa Maior and Arctophylax, the great Bear and Bearward; Arctophylax is also called Boötes, the Cattleman.

41. From Mount Pelion: see Pindar, Pyth. ix. Or the story (e.g. 30, 65).
42. From Eryx and Segesta.
43. Native Sicilian deities, worshipped at the body of water now known as Lago dei Palici, or locally as Lago Naftia or Fetia, near the town of Patagonia.
44. A river rising in Mount Pindos and falling into the Ionian sea. Rivers were represented as with heads or horns of bulls.
45. The monster Typhon was said to lie beneath Etna.
46. There is no island, and the brow describes Pachynos better than Peloros.
47. See vi. 340. His water did not mix with the sea, hence “unwetted.” The usual story is that he passed underneath. Nonnos sees him in human shape walking with a garland on his head; hence the confused description.
48. It would seem that Nonnos had some smattering of Latin mythology, for this is none other than Faunus the Roman wood-god or fairy. However, it is as likely as not that he had met with him euhemerized into a prince of king of early days.
49. Poseidon.
50. Athena’s birthplace was said to be by the river Triton in Libya, or this lake Tritonis: hence she is called Tritogeneia.

51. There are two divisions of the Ethiopians, eastern and western, according to Hom. Od. i. 23. They seem to correspond to a very vague early knowledge of the dark-skinned peoples of East and West Africa respectively. [Tyrian Cadmos is here the founder of Carthage and the other Phoenician colonies of North-West Africa.]
52. The golden apples (for oranges were not yet known in the west).
53. Electra was daughter of Atlas.
54. See v. 73. The Moon is here equivalent to Athena Tritogeneia.
55. Zeus Asbystes is simply Zeus of the Asbystai, a people of N. Africa. As he is called a prophet, it is evident that the name here means Zeus Ammon, the Egyptian ram-headed god who was identified by the Greeks with Zeus and had a famous oracle at the Oasis of Ammon.
56. A river of Libya, flowing into the “outer sea,” the Atlantic Ocean, probably the Senegal.
57. A river between the Syrtes.
58. Unknown.
59. Nonnos would seem to be recounting, or inventing, the legend of the origin of the Psylloi, an African people of whom it was said that snakes would not harm them.
60. Guardian of the winds: Hom. Od. x. 1 ff. Its position is conveniently vague.

61. A mountain.
62. Unknown in Samothrace.
63. If the name is correctly written Phesiades, we know nothing about him; but as ê and u were pronounced exactly alike by Nonnos’s time (both the Ital. i, as in Modern Greek), the variant Physaides is as likely as not to be right. In this case he might have something to do with the island Physia, near Cyzicos.
64. Hecate, daughter of Perses and Asteria, would seem to be associated here with the mysteries of the Samothracian Gods, of whom we know very little, but enough to say that they were not properly identical or even connected with the Corybantes, nor the Corybantes with Hecate. But she is the witches’ goddess (the interpolated scenes in Macbeth classicize in this respect), and so felt to be appropriate for any secret and bizarre ritual.
65. Cf. bk. iii.
66. Seventh of the Pleiades.
67. Unknown. Marcellus would substitute the name of Agapenor, who founded Paphos.
68. Cf. v. 614.
69. Father of Adonis.
70. A river.

71. Adonis.
72. Teucros son of Telamon and half-brother of the greater Aias was banished by his father after his return from troy, the old man somehow feeling him responsible for Aias’s death. He came to Cyprus and there founded a city, which he named Salamis after his native place. So far the common legend; but what Perseus has to do with it, or which Perseus is meant (surely not the son of Danaë, who was contemporary with Dionysos’s life on earth) is not clear.
73. Winejar, probably Nonnos’s invention, perhaps taking a hint from Aristophanes (Frogs 22).
74. The name of Iconion in Asia Minor sounded as if it had something to do with eikôn to the later Greeks, whose pronunciation did not distinguish between ei and i. Hence a great number of stories explaining how the place came to be connected with an “image” or “portrait.” Nonnos may be alluding to the tale that Perseus came there and set up an image of the Gorgon Medusa, or to some similar account.
75. Miletos, founder of the city of that name, had two children, a son Caunos and a daughter Byblis. Byblis conceived an uholy passion for her brother, or he for her, or it was mutual. Finally they were separated, and she mourned so bitterly that she lost her human shape, and in some accounts, turned into a river or spring called after her. So much we know; this passage may serve to remind us how very little we really do know of Greek mythology and literature. We have no information about the song which Caunos sang, though plainly Nonnos knew it well, i.e., it came in some poetical account of the story which we have lost, no doubt the work of an Alexandrian. The matter is rendered yet more obscure by the corruption or mutilation of the passage, which makes the connexion of the legend of Zeus and Hera with that of Endymion and Selene seem quite obscure. For the latter story, see note on iv. 195.