Classical Texts Library >> Nonnus, Dionysiaca >> Book 2




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


The second has Typhon’s battle ranging through the stars, and lightning, and the struggles of Zeus, and the triumph of Olympos.

[1] And so Cadmos Agenorides remained there by the ankle of the pasturing woodland, drawing his lips to and fro along the tops of the pipes, as a pretended goatherd; but Zeus Cronides, unespied, uncaught, crept noiseless into the cave, and armed himself with his familiar fires a second time. And a cloud covered Cadmos beside his unseen rock, lest Typhoeus might learn this crafty plan, and the secret thief of the thunderbolts, and wise too late might kill the turncoat herdsman. But all the Giant wanted was, to hear more and more of the mind-bewitching melody with its delicious thrill. When a sailor hears the Siren’s perfidious song, and bewitched by the melody, he is dragged to a self-chosen fate too soon; no longer he cleaves the waves, no longer he whitens the blue water with his oars unwetted now, but falling into the net of melodious Fate, he forgets to steer, quite happy, caring not for the seven starry Pleiades and the Bear’s circling course: so the monster, shaken by the breath of that deceitful tune, welcomed with delight the wound of the pipes which was his escort to death.

[20] But now the shepherd’s reed breathing melody fell silent, and a mantling shadow of cloud his the piper as he cut off his tune. Typhoeus rushed head-in-air with the fury of battle into the cave’s recesses, and searched with hurried madness for the wind-coursing thunderbolt and the lightning unapproachable; with inquiring foot he chased the fire-shotten gleam of the stolen thunderbolt, and found an empty cave! Too late he learnt the craft-devising schemes of Cronides and the subtle machinations of Cadmos: flinging the rocks about he leapt upon Olympos. While he dragged his crooked track with snaky foot, he spat out showers of poison from his throat; the mountain torrents were swollen, as the monster showered fountains from the viperfish bristles of his high head; as he marched, the solid earth did sink, and the steady ground of Cilicia shook to its foundations under those dragon-feet; the flanks of craggy Tauros crashed with a rumbling din, until the neighbouring Pamphylian hills danced with fear; the underground caverns boomed, the rocky headlands trembled, the hidden places shook, the shore slipt away as a thrust of his earthshaking foot loosened the sands.

[42] Neither pasture nor wild beasts were spared. Rawravening bears made a meal for the jaws of Typhaon’s bear-heads; tawny bodies of chest-bristling lions were swallowed by the gaping jaws of his own lion-heads; his snaky throats devoured the cold shapes of earthfed serpents; birds of the air, flying through untrodden space, there met neighbours to gulp them down their throats – he found the eagle in his home, and that was the food he relished most, because it is called the Bird of Zeus. He ate up the plowing ox,1 and had no pity when he saw the galled neck bloody from the yoke-straps.

[53] He made the rivers dust, as he drank the water after his meal, beating off the troops of Naiads from the river-beds: the Naiad of the deeps made her way tripping afoot as if the river were a roadway, until she stood, unshod, with dry limbs, she a nymph, the creature of watery ways, and as the girl struggled, thrusting one foot after another along the thirsty bed of the stream, she found her knees held fast to the bottom in a muddy prison.

[60] The old shepherd, terrified to descry the manifold visage of this maddened monster, dropt his pipes and ran away; the goatherd, seeing the wide-scattered host of his arms, threw his reed flying to the winds; the hard-working plowman sprinkled not the new-scored ground with corn thrown behind him, nor covered it with earth, nor cut with earthshaking iron the land furrowed already by Typhon’s guiding hand, but let his oxen go loose. The earth’s hollows were bared, as the monster’s missile cleft it. He freed the liquid vein, and as the chasm opened, the lower channel bubbled up with flooding springs, pouring out the water from under the uncovered bosom of the ground, and rocks were thrown up, and falling from the air in torrential showers were hidden in the sea, making the waters dry land: and the hurtling masses of earth rooted themselves firmly as the footings of new-made islands. 80 ff Trees were levered up from the earth by the roots, and the fruit fell on the ground untimely; the fresh-flowering garden was laid waste, the rosy meadows withered; the West Wind was beaten by the dry leaves of whirling cypresses. Phoibos sang a dirge in lamentable tones for his devastated iris, twining a sorrowful song, and lamented far more bitterly than for his2 clusters of Amyclean flowers, when the laurel by his side was struck. Pan in anguish uplifted his fallen pine3; Grayeyes, remembering Moria,4 groaned over her broken olive-tree, the Attic nymph who brought her a city.5 The Paphian also wept when her anemone6 was laid in the dust, and mourned long over the fragrant tresses of flowercups from her rosebed laid in the dust, while she tore her soft hair. Deo mourned over the half-grown corn destroyed and no longer celebrated the harvest home. The Hadryad nymphs lamented the lost shade of their yearsmate trees.

[94] One Hamadryad7 leapt unveiled from the cloven shaft of a bushy laurel, which had grown with her growth, and another maiden stepping out of her pine-tree appeared beside her neighbour the exiled nymph, and said: “Laurel Hamadryad, so shy of the marriage bed, let us both take one road, lest you see Phoibos, lest I espy Pan! Woodmen, pass by these trees! Do not fell the afflicted bush of unhappy Daphne! Shipwright, spare me! cut no timbers from my pine-tree, to make some lugger that may feel the billows of Aphrodite, Lady of the Sea! Yes, woodcutter, grant me this last grace: strike me with your axe instead of my clusters, and drive our8 unmarried Athena’s chaste bronze through my breast, that I may die before I wed, and go to Hades a virgin, still a stranger to Eros, like Pitys and like Daphne!” 9

[109] With these words, she contrived a makeshift kirtle with the leaves, and modestly covered the circle of her breast with this green girdle, pressing thigh upon thigh. The other seeing her so downcast, answered thus: “I feel the fear inborn in a maiden, because I was born of a laurel, and I am pursued like Daphne. But where shall I flee? Shall I hide under a rock? No, thunderbolts have burnt to ashes the mountains hurled at Olympos; and I tremble at your lustful Pan, who will persecute me like Pitys,10 like Syrinx – I shall be chased myself until I become another Echo,11 to scour the hills and second another’s speech. I will haunt these clusters no longer; I will leave my tree and live in the mountains which are still half to be seen,12 where Artemis also hunts, and she loves a maiden. – Yet Cronion won the bed of Callisto by taking the form of Artemis!13 I will plunge into the briny deep – what is marriage to me? – Yet in the sea, Earthshaker chased Asterië14 in the madness of his passion. O that I had wings to fly! I will traverse the heights, and take the road which the winds of the air do travel! But perhaps racing wings are also useless: Typhoeus reaches the clouds with highclambering hands!

[130] “But if he will force me by violence, I will change my shape, I will mingle with the birds; flitting as Philomela,15 I will be the swallow dear to Zephyros in spring-time, harbinger of roses and flowery dew, prattling bird that sings a sweet song under the tiles, dashing about her nest with dancing wings. And, you, Procne, after your bitter sufferings, – you may weep for your son with mournful notes, and I will groan for my bridal. – Lord Zeus! make me no swallow, or angry Tereus on the wing may chase me, like Typhoeus! Air, mountain, sea, I may tread none of them: I will hide me deep in the earth. No! the water-snakes of the monster’s viperfish feet crawl into the caverns underground, spitting poison! May I be a fountain of water in the country, like Comaitho,16 mingling her newly flowing water with her father Cydnos – no, not to suit the story, because I shall then have to join my virgin water with the out-gushings of a lovesick maid. But where shall I flee? Shall I mingle with Typhon? Then shall I bear a son like the father – an alien, multiform! Let me be another tree, and pass from tree to tree keeping the name of a virtuous maid; may I never, instead of laurel, be called that unhallowed plant which gave its name to Myrrha.17 Yes, I beseech thee! let me be one of the Heliades18 beside the stream of mourning Eridanos: often will I drop amber from my eyelids; I will spread my leaves to entwine with the dirge-loving clusters of my neighbouring poplar, bewailing my maidenhood with abundant tears – for Phaëthon will not be my lament. Forgive me, my laurel; I shrink from being another tree after the tree of my former wood. I also will be a stone, like Niobe,19 that wayfarers may pity me too, a groaning stone. – But why be the shape of one with that ill-omened tongue? Be gracious, Leto! Perish the god-defiant name of a nymph unhappy to be a mother!”

[163] While she spoke, Phaëthon had left he rounded sky, and turned his car towards setting: silent Night leapt up from earth into the air like a high-stretching cone, and wrapped heaven about in a starry robe spangling the welkin. The immortals moved about the cloudless Nile, but Zeus Cronides on the brows of Tauros awaited the light of toil-awakening Dawn.

[170] It was night. Sentinels stood in line around Olympos and the seven zones, and as it were from the summit of towers came their nightly alarms; the calls of the stars in many tongues were carried all abroad, and the moon’s turning-mark received the creaking echo from Saturn’s starting-point.20 Now the Seasons, guardians of the upper air, handmaids of Phaëthon, had fortified the sky with a long string of covering clouds like a coronal.21 The stars had closed the Atlantean bar of the inviolable gates, lest some stealthy troop should enter the heavens while the Blessed ones were away: instead of the noise of pipes and the familiar flute,22 the breezes whistled a tune with their wings through the night.23 Old Oxherd was on guard with unsleeping eyes, in company with the heavenly Serpent of the Arcadian Bear, looking out from on high for some nightly assault of Typhon: the Morning Star watched the east, the Evening Star the west, and Cepheus, leaving the southern gates to the Archer, himself patrolled the rainy gates of the north.

[188] Watchfires were all around: for the blazing flames of the stars, and the nightly lamp of unresting Selene, sparkled like torches. Often the shooting stars, leaping through the heights of Olympos with windswept whirl from the ether, scored the air with flame on Cronion’s24 right hand; often the lightning danced, twisting about like a tumbler, and tearing the clouds as it shot through, the uncertain brilliance which runs to and fro, now hidden, now shining, in alternating swing; and the comet twined in clusters the long strands of his woven flame, and made a ragged light with his hairy fire. Stray meteors were also shining, like long rafters stretching across the sky, shooting their long fires as allies of Zeus; and the rain’s comrade, the bow of Iris, wove her many colours into a rounded track, and shone bent under the light-shafts of Phaëthon opposite, mingling pale with dark, and light with rosy.25

[205] Zeus was alone, when Victory came to comfort him, scoring the high paths of the air with her shoe. She had the form of Leto; and while she armed her father, she made him a speech full of reproaches, with guileful lips: “Lord Zeus! stand up as champion of your own children! Let me never see Athena mingled with Typhon, she who knows not the way of a man with a maid! Make not a mother of the unmothered!26 Fight, brandish your lightning, the fiery spear of Olympos! Gather once more your clouds, lord of the rain! For the foundations of the steadfast universe are already shaking under Typhon’s hands: the four blended elements are melted! Deo has renounced her harvests. Hebe has left her cup, Ares has thrown down his spear, Hermes has dropped his staff, Apollo has cast away his harp, and taken a swan’s form, and flown off on the wing, leaving his winged arrows behind! Aphrodite, the goddess who brings wedlock to pass, has gone a-wandering, and the universe is without seed. The bonds indissoluble of harmony are dissolved: for bold Eros has flown in panic, leaving behind his generative arrows, he the adorner of brides, he the all-mastering, the unmastered! And your fiery Hephaistos has left his favourite Lemnos, and dragging unruly knees, look how slow he keeps his unsteady course! See a great miracle – I pity your Hera, though she hates me sure enough! What – is your begetter to come back into the assembly of the stars? May that never be, I pray! Even if I am called a Titaness,27 I wish to see no Titans lords of Olympos, but you and your children. Take your lordly thunderbolt and champion chaste Artemis. What – do I keep my maiden for a bridegroom who offers no gifts but only violence? What – is the dispenser of childbirth to see childbirth of her own? Will she stretch out her hands to me, and then what gracious Eileithyia28 shall I call for the Archeress, when Eileithyia herself is in childbed?”

[237] So she spoke: and Sleep beating his shady wing sent all breathing nature to rest; but Cronion alone remained sleepless. Typhoeus stretched out his sluggish back and lay heavy upon his bed, covering his Mother Earth; she opened wide her bosom, and lurking lairs were hollowed out in a grinning chasm for the snaky heads which sank into the ground.

[244] The sun appeared, and many-armed Typhoeus roared for the fray with all the tongues of all his throats, challenging mighty Zeus. That sonorous voice reached where the root-fixt bed of refluent Oceanos surrounds the circle of the world and its four divided parts, girdling the whole earth coronet-wise with encircling band; as the monster spoke, that which answered the army of his voices, was not one concordant echo, but a babel of screaming sounds: when the monster arrayed him with all his manifold shapes, out rang the yowling of wolves, the roaring of lions, the grunting of boars, the lowing of cattle, the hissing of serpents, the bold yap of leopards, the jaws of rearing bears, the fury of dogs. Then with his midmost man-shaped head the Giant yelled out threats against Zeus”

[258] “Smash the house of Zeus, O my hands! Shake the foundation of the universe, and the blessed ones with it! Break the bar of Olympos, self-turning, divine! Drag down to earth the heavenly pillar, let Atlas29 be shaken and flee away, let him throw down the starry vault of Olympos and fear no more its circling course – for I will not permit a son of Earth to be bowed down with chafed shoulders, while he under-props the revolving compulsion of the sky! No, let him leave his endless burden to the other gods, and battle against the Blessed Ones! Let him break off rocks, and volley with those hard shots the starry vault which he once carried! Let the timid Seasons, the Sun’s handmaids, flee the heavens under the shower of mountains! Mix earth with sky, water with fire, sea with Olympos, in a litter of confusion!

[273] “I will compel the four winds also to labour as my slaves; I lash the North Wind, I buffet the South, I flog the East; I will thrash the West, with one hand30 I will mix night with day; Oceanos my brother shall bring his water to Olympos aloft with many-fountained throat, and rising above the five parallel circles he shall inundate the stars; then let the thirsty31 Bear go wandering in the water with the Waggon’s pole submerged!

[281] “Bellow, my bulls, shake the circle of the equator in the sky, break with your notched horns the horns of the fiery Bull, your own likeness! Let Selene’s cattle change their watery road, fearing the heavybooming bellow of my heads! Let Typhaon’s bear open wide his grim gaping jaws, and worry the Bear of Olympos! Let my lion face the heavenly Lion, and drive him reluctant from the path of the Zodiac! (Little do I care for Zeus,)32 with only a few lightning to arm him! Ah, but my swords are the maddened waves of the sea, the tors of the land, the island glens; my shields are the hills, the cliffs are my breastplates unbreakable, my halberds are the rocks, and the rivers which will quench the contemptible thunderbolt. I will keep the chains of Iapetos33 for Poseidon; and soaring round Caucasos, another and better eagle shall tear the bleeding liver, growing for ever anew, of Hephaistos the fiery: since fire was that for which Prometheus has been suffering the ravages of his self-growing liver. I will take a shape the counterpart of the sons of Iphimedeia,34 and I will shut up the intriguing son of Maia35 in a brazen jar, ‘Hermes freed Ares from prison, and he was put in prison himself!’ Let Artemis break the untouched seal of her maidenhood, and become the enforced consort of Orion; Leto shall spread her old bedding for Tityos, dragged to wedlock by force. I will strip murderous Ares of his ragged bucklers, I will bind the lord of battle, and carry him off, and make him Killer the Gentle; I will carry off Pallas and join her to Ephialtes, married at last; that I may see Ares a slave, and Athena a mother.

[314] “Cronion also shall lift the spinning heavens of Atlas, and bear the load on weary shoulders – there shall he stand, and hear the song at my wedding, and hide his jealousy when I shall be Hera’s bridegroom. Torches shall not lack at my wedding. Bright lightning shall come of itself to be selfmade torch of the bride-chamber; Phaëthon himself instead of pine-brands, kindled at the light of his own flames, shall put his radiance at the service of Typhoeus the Bridegroom; the stars shall sprinkle their bridal sparks over Olympos as lamps to my loves, the stars, lights of evening! My servant Selene, Endymion’s bed-fellow, along with Aphrodite the friend of marriage, shall lay my bed; and if I want a bath, I will bathe in the waters of starry Eridanos.36 Come now, ye circling Seasons! You prepared the bed of Zeus, build now the bower of love for Typhoeus; you also, Leto, Athenaia, Paphian, Charis, Artemis, Hebe, bring up form Oceanos his kindred37 water for Typhon the Bridegroom! And at the banquet of my table, with bridal quill Apollo my menial shall celebrate Typhoeus instead of Zeus.

[334] “I long for no stranger’s demesne; for Uranos is my brother, a son of Earth like myself; the star-dappled heaven which I shall rule, the ehaven which I shall live in, comes to me through my mother. And cannibal38 Cronos I will drag up once more to the light, another brother, to help me in my task, out of the underground abyss; I will break those constraining chains, and bring back the Titans to heaven, and settle under the same roof in the sky the Cyclopes, sons of Earth. I will make more weapons of fire; for I need many thunderbolts, because I have two hundred hands to fight with, not only a pair like Cronides. I will forge a newer and better brand of lightning, with more fire and flashes. I will build another heaven up aloft, he eighth, broader and higher than the rest, and furnish it with brighter stars; for the vault which we see close beside us is not enough to cover the whole of Typhon. And after those girl children and the male progeny of prolific Zeus, I will beget another multiparous generation of new Blessed Ones with multitudinous necks. I will not leave the company of the stars useless and unwedded, but I will join male to female, that the winged Virgin may sleep with the Oxherd and breed me slave-children.”

[356] So he shouted; Cronides heard, and laughed aloud. Then the din of battle resounded on both sides. Strife was Typhon’s escort in the mellay, Victory led Zeus into battle. No herds of cattle were the cause of that struggle, no flocks of sheep, this was no quarrel for a beautiful woman, no fray for a petty town: heaven itself was the stake in the fight, the sceptre and throne of Zeus lay on the knees of Victory as the prize of combat.

[364] Zeus flogging the clouds beat a thundering roar in the sky and trumpeted Enyo’s call, then fitted clouds upon his chest in a bunch as protection against the Giant’s missiles. Nor was Typhoeus silent: his bull-heads were self-sounding trumpets for him, sending forth a bellow which made Olympos rattle again; his serpents intermingled whistling for Ares’ pipes. He fortified the ranks of his high-clambering limbs, shielding mighty rock with rock until the cliffs made an unbroken wall of battlements, as he set crag by crag uprooted in a long line. It looked like an army preparing for battle; for side by side bluff pressed hard on bluff, tor upon tor, ledge upon ledge, and high in the clouds one tortuous ridge pushed another39; rugged hills were Typhon’s helmets, and his heads were hidden in their beetling steeps. In that battle, the Giant had indeed one body, but many necks, but legions of arms innumerable, lions’ jaws with well-sharpened fangs, hairbrush of vipers mounting over the stars. Trees were doubled up by Typhaon’s hands and thrown against Cronides, and other fine leafy growths of earth, but all these Zeus unwilling burnt to dust with one spark of thunderbolt cast in heavy throw. Many an elm was hurled against Zeus with first coeval, and enormous plane-trees and volleys of white poplar; many a pit was broken in earth’s flank.

[391] The whole circuit of the universe with its four sides was buffeted. The four winds, allied with Cronion, raised in the air columns of sombre dust; they swelled the arching waves, they flogged the sea until Sicily quaked; the Pelorid shores resounded and the ridges of Aitna, the Lilybaian rocks bellowed prophetic of things to come, the Pachynian promontory crashed under the western wave. Near the Bear,40 the nymph of Athos wailed about her Thracian glen, the forest of Macedon roared on the Pierian ridge; the foundations of the east were shaken, there was crashing in the fragrant valleys of Assyrian Libanos.

[403] Aye, and from Typhaon’s hands were showered volleys against the unwearied thunderbolts of Zeus. Some shots went past Selene’s car, and scored through the invisible footprints of her moving bulls; others whirling through the air with sharp whiz, the winds blew away by counterblasts. Many a stray shot from the invulnerable thunderbolts of Zeus fell into the welcoming hand of Poseidon, unsparing of his earthpiercing trident’s point; old Nereus brought the brine-soaked bolts to the ford of the Cronian Sea,41 and dedicated them as an offering to Zeus.

[414] Now Zeus armed the two grim sons of Enyalios, his own grandsons, Rout and Terror his servant,42 the inseparable guardsmen of the sky: Rout he set up with lightning, Terror he made strong with the thunderbolt, terrifying Typhon. Victory lifted her shield and held it before Zeus: Enyo countered with a shout, and Ares made a din. Zeus breasting the tempests with his aegis-breastplate swooped down from the air on high, seated in Time’s chariot with four winged steeds, for the horses that drew Cronion were the team of the winds. Now he battled with lightnings, now with Levin; now he attacked with thunders, now poured out petrified masses of frozen hail in volleying showers. Waterspouts burst thick upon the Giant’s heads with sharp blows, and hands were cut off from the monster by the frozen volleys of the air as by a knife. One hand rolled in the dust, struck off by the icy cut of the hail; it did not drop the crag which it held, but fought on even while it fell, and shot rolling over the ground in self-propelled leaps, a hand gone mad! as if it still wished to strike the vault of Olympos.

[436] Then the sovereign of the heavens brandished aloft his fiery bolt, and passing from the left wing of the battle to the right, fought manifest on high. The many-armed monster hastened to the watery torrents; he intertwined his row of fingers into a living mat, and hollowing his capacious palms, he lifted from the midst of the wintry rivers their water as it came pouring down from the mountains, and threw these detached parcels of he streams against the lightning. But the ethereal flame blazed with livelier sparks through the water of the torrents which struck it; the thirsty water boiled and steamed, and its liquid essence dried up in the red hot mass. Yes – to quench the ethereal fire was the bold Giant’s plan, poor fool! he knew not that the fire-flaming thunderbolts and lightnings are the offspring of the clouds from whence the rain-showers come!43

[451] Again, he cut straight off sections of the torrent-beds, and designed to crush the breast of Zeus which no iron can wound; the mass of rock came hurtling at Zeus, but Zeus blew a light puff from the edge of his lips, and that gentle breath turned the whirling rock aside with all its towering crags. The monster with his hand broke off a rounded promontory from an island, and rising for the attack circled it round his head again and again, and cast it at the invincible face of Zeus; then Zeus moved his head aside, and dodged the jagged rock which came at him; but Typhon hit the lightning as it passed on its hot zigzag path, and at once the rock was white-patched at the tip and blackened with smoke – there was no mistake about it. A third rock he cast; but Cronion caught it in full career with the flat of his infinite open hand, and by a playful turn of the wrist sent it back like a bouncing ball, to Typhon. The crag returned with many an airy twist along its homeward path, and of itself shot the shooter. A fourth shot he sent, higher than before: the rock touched the tassel-tips of the aegis-cape, and split asunder. Another he let fly: storm-swift the rock flew, but a thunderbolt struck it, and half-consumed, it blazed. The crags could not pierce the raincloud; but the stricken hills were broken to pieces by the rainclouds.

[475] Thus impartial Enyo held equal balance between the two sides, between Zeus and Typhon, while the thunderbolts with booming shots held revel like dancers of the sky. Cronides fought fully armed: in the fray, the thunder was his shield, the cloud his breastplate, he cast the lightning for a spear; Zeus let fly his thunderbolts from the air, his arrows barbed with fire. For already from the underground abyss a dry vapour diffused around rose from the earth on high,44 and compressed within the cloud was stifled in the fiery gullet, heating the pregnant cloud. For the lurking flame curshed within rushed about struggling to find a passage through; over the smoke the fire-breeding clouds rumble in their agony seeking the middle path; the fires dares not go upwards: for the lightning leaping up is kept back by the moist air bathed in rainy drops, which condenses the seething cloud above, but the lower part is parched and gapes and the fire runs through with a bound. As the female stone is struck by the male stone,45 one stone on another brings flame to birth, while crushed and beaten it produces from itself a shower of sparks: so the heavenly fire is kindled in clouds and murk crushed and beaten, but from earthy smoke, which is naturally thin, the winds are brought forth. There is another floating vapour, drawn from the waters, which the sun shining full on them with fiery rays milks out and draws up dewy through the boiling track of air. This thickens and produces the cloudy veil; then shaking the thick mass by means of the thinner vapour, it dissolves the fine cloud again into a fall of rain, and returns to its natural condition of water. Such is the character of the fiery clouds, with their twin birth of lightnings and thunders together.46

[508] Zeus the father fought on: raised and hurled his familiar fire against his adversary, piercing his lions, and sending a fiery whirlwind from heaven to strike the battalion of his innumerable necks with their babel of tongues. Zeus cast his bolt, one blaze burnt the monster’s endless hands, one blaze consumed his numberless shoulders and the speckled tribes of his serpents; heaven’s blades cut off those countless heads; a writhing comet met him front to front discharging a thick bush of sparks, and consumed the monster’s hair. Typhon’s heads were ablaze, the hair caught fire; with heaven’s sparks silence sealed the hissing tresses, the serpents shrivelled up, and in their throats the poison-spitting drops were dried. The Giant fought on: his eyes were burnt to ashes in the murky smoke, his cheeks were whitened with hoar-frost, his faces beaten with showers of snow. He suffered the fourfold compulsion of the four winds. For if he turned flickering eyes to the sunrise, he received the fiery battle of neighbouring Euros. If he gazed towards the stormy clime of the Arcadian Bear, he was beaten by the chilly frost of wintry whirlwinds. If he shunned the cold blast of snow-beaten Boreas, he was shaken by the volleys of wet and hot together. If he looked to the sunset, opposite to the dawn of the grim east, he shivered before Enyo and her western tempests when he heard the noise of Zephyros cracking his spring-time lash; and Notos, that hot wind, round about the southern foot of Capricorn flogged the aerial vaults, leading against Typhon a glowing blaze with steamy heat. If again Rainy Zeus poured down a watery torrent, Typhoeus bathed all his body in the trouble-soothing showers, and refreshed his benumbed limbs after the stifling thunderbolts.47

[540] Now as the son was scourged with frozen volleys of jagged hailstones, his mother the dry Earth was beaten too; and seeing the stone bullets and icy points embedded in the Giant’s flesh, the witness of his fate, she prayed to Titan Helios with submissive voice: she begged of him one red hot ray, that with its heating fire she might melt the petrified water of Zeus, by pouring his kindred48 radiance over frozen Typhon. She herself melted along with his bruised body; and when she saw his legion of highclambering hands burnt all round, she besought one of the tempestuous winter’s blasts to come for one morning, that he might quench Typhon’s overpowering thirst by his cool breezes.

[553] Then Cronion inclined the equally balanced beam of the fight. But Earth his Mother had thrown off her veil of forests with her hand, and just then was grieving to behold Typhaon’s smoking heads. While his faces were shrivelling, the Giant’s knees gave way beneath him; the trumpet of Zeus brayed, foretelling victory with a roll of thunder; down fell Typhoeus’s high-uplifted frame, drunk with the fiery bolt from heaven, stricken with a war-wound of something more than steel, and lay with his back upon Earth his mother, stretching his snaky limbs in the dust and belching flame. Cronides laughed aloud, and taunted him like this in a flood of words from his mocking throat:

[565] “A fine ally has old Cronos found in you, Typhoeus! Earth could scarcely bring forth that great son for Iapetos! A jolly champion of Titans! The thunderbolts of Zeus soon lost their power against you, as I see! How long are you going to wait before taking up your quarters in the inaccessible heavens, you sceptred impostor? The throne of Olympos awaits you: accept the robes and sceptre of Zeus, God-defying Typhoeus! Bring back Astraios49 to heaven; if you wish, let Eurynome and Ophion return to the sky, and Cronos in the train of that pair! When you enter the dappleback vault of highranging stars, let crafty Prometheus leave his chains, and come with you; the bold bird who makes hearty meals off that rejuvenescent liver shall show him the way to heaven. What did you want to gain by your riot, but to see Zeus and Earthshaker footmen behind your throne? Well, here you have Zeus helpless, no longer sceptre-bearer of Olympos, Zeus stript of his thunders and his clouds, holding up no longer the lightning’s fire divine or the familiar thunderbolt, but a torch for Typhaon’s bower, groom of the chamber of Hera the bride of your spear, whom he eyes with wrath, jealous of your bed: here you have Earthshaker with him, torn from the sea for a new place instead of the deep as waiter at your table, no trident in his hand but a cup for you if you are thirsty! Here you have Ares for a menial, Apollo is your lackey! Send round Maia’s son, King’s Messenger, to announce to the Titans your triumph and your glory in the skies. But leave your smith Hephaistos to his regular work in Lemnos, and he can make a necklace to adorn your newly wedded bride, a real work of art, in dazzling colours, or a fine pair of brilliant shoes for your wife’s feet to delight her, or he can build another Olympian throne of shining gold, that your golden-throned Hera may laugh because she has a better throne than yours! And when you have the underground Cyclopes domiciled in Olympos, make anew spark for an improved thunderbolt. As for Eros, who bewitched your mind by delusive hopes of victory, chain him with golden Aphrodite in chains of gold, and clamp with chains of bronze Ares the governor of iron!

[605] “The lightnings try to escape, and will not abide Enyo! How as it you could not escape a harmless little flash of lightning? How was it with all those innumerable ears you were afraid to hear a little rainy thud of thunder? Who made you so big a coward? Where are your weapons? Where are your puppyheads? Where are those gaping lions, where is the heavy bellowing of your throats like rumbling earthquake? Where is the far-flung poison of your snaky mane? Do not you hiss any more with that coronet of serpentine bristles? Where are the bellowings of your bull-mouths? Where are your hands and their volleys of precipitous crags? Do you flog no longer the mazy circles of the stars? Do the jutting tusk of your boars no longer whiten their chins, wet with a frill of foamy drippings? Come now, where are the bristling grinning jaws of the mad bear?

[620] “Son of Earth, give place to the sons of heaven! For I with one hand have vanquished your hands, two hundred strong. Let three-headland Sicily receive Typhon whole and entire, let her crush him all about under her steep and lofty hills, with the hair of his hundred heads miserably bedabbled in dust. Nevertheless, if you did have an over-violent mind, if you did assault Olympos itself in your impracticable ambitions, I will build you a cenotaph, presumptuous wretch, and I will engrave on your empty tomb, this last message: ‘This is the barrow of Typhoeus son of Earth, who once lashed the sky with stones, and the fire of heaven burnt him up.’”

[631] Thus he mocked the half-living corpse of the son of Earth. Then Cilician Tauros brayed a victorious noise on his stony trumpet for Zeus Almighty, while Cydnos danced zigzag on his watery feet, crying Euoi! in rolling roar for the victory of Zeus, Cydnos visible in the midst, as he poured the flood upon Tarsos which had been there ever since he had been there himself. But Earth tore her rocky tunic and lay there grieving; instead of the shears of mourning,50 she let the winds beat her breast and shear off a coppice for a curl; so she cut the tresses from her forest-covered head as in the month of leaf-shedding, she tore gullies in her cheeks; Earth wailed, as her river-tears rolled echoing through the swollen torrents of the hills. The gales eddying from Typhaon’s limbs lash the waves, hurrying to engulf51 the ships and riding down the sheltered calm. Not only the surges they invade; but often over the land sweeps a storm of dust, and overwhelms the crops growing firm and upright upon the fields.

[650] Then Nature, who governs the universe and recreates its substance, closed up the gaping rents in earth’s broken surface, and sealed once more with the bond of indivisible joinery those island cliffs which had been rent from their beds. No longer was there turmoil among the stars. For Helios replaced the maned Lion, who had moved out of the path of the Zodiac, beside the Maiden who holds the corn-ear52; Selene took the crab, now crawling over the forehead of the heavenly Lion, and drew him back opposite cold Capricorn, and fixt him there.

[660] But Zeus Cronides did not forget Cadmos the mastersinger. He dispersed the cloud of darkness which overshadowed him, and calling him, spoke in this fashion: “Cadmos, you have crowned the gates of Olympos with your pipes! Then I will myself celebrate your bridal with heaven’s own Harp.53 I will make you goodson to Ares and Cythereia; gods shall be guests at your wedding-feast on the earth! I will visit your house: what more could you want, than to see the King of the Blessed touching your table? And if you wish to cross life’s ferry on a calm sea, escaping the uncertain currents of Chance, be careful always not to offend Ares Dircaian,54 Ares angry when deprived of his brood.55 At dead of night fix your gaze on the heavenly Serpent, and do sacrifice on the altar holding in your hand a piece of fragrant serpentine; and calling upon the Olympian Serpent-holder, burn in the fire a horn of the Illyrian deer with many tines: that so you may escape all the bitter things which the wreathed spindle of apportioned Necessity has spun for your fate, - if the threads of the Portioners every obey!

[679] “Let pass the memory of your angry father Agenor, fear not for your wandering brothers56; for they all live, though far apart. Cepheus journeyed to the regions of the south, and he has found favour with the Cephenes of Ethiopia57; Thasos went to Thasos, and Cilix is king over the Cilicians round about the snowy mount of high-peaked Tauros; Pineus came with all speed to the Thracian land. As for him, I will make him proud with his deep mines of riches, and lead him as goodson to Oreithyia and Thracian Boreas, as prophetic bridegroom of garlanded Cleopatra. For you, the Portioner’s thread weighs equal with your brothers; be king of the Cadmeians, and leave your name to your people. Give up the back-wending circuits of your wandering way, and relinquish the bull’s restless track; for your sister has been wedded by the law of love to Asterion of Dicte, king of Corybantian Ida.58

[696] “So much I will myself foretell for you, the rest I will leave to Phoibos. And now, Cadmos, do you make your way to the midnipple of the earth, and visit the speaking vales of Pytho.” 59

[699] With these words, Zeus Cronides dismissed Agenor’s son, and swiftly turned his golden chariot toward the round of the ethereal stars, while Victory by his side drove her father’s team with the heavenly whip. So the god came once more to the sky; and to receive him the stately Seasons threw open the heavenly gates, and crowned the heavens. With Zeus victorious, the other gods came home to Olympos, in their own form come again, for they put off the winged shapes which they had taken on. Athena came into heaven unarmed, in dainty robes with Ares turned Comus, and Victory for Song60; and Themis displayed to dumbfounded Earth, mother of the giants, the spoils of the giant destroyed, an awful warning for the future, and hung them up high in the vestibule of Olympos.

1. An act of impiety: the plow-ox was exempted from sacrifice by Attic law, Aelian, V.H. v. 14.
2. Hyacinthos, the beloved of Apollo, was buried in Amyclai. The plant is really a flag or iris.
3. See note on 108.
4. This refers to the contest between Athena and Poseidon for the city. Each was to offer a gift; Poseidon gave the horse, Athena the olive. A moria is a sacred olive tree, Zeus Morios was the guardian of them.
5. Unknown: not the one of xxv. 481.
6. Adonis was turned into one.
7. The word favoured by Nonnos, Hadryas, means the same as Hamadryas (ha copulative), the nymph who grows up along with the tree (sunchronos, hêlix).
8. “Our” Athena, because, like the nymphs, she is virgin; the bronze is hers either because she is a warlike goddess or from her Spartan title Chalcioicos, She of the Bronze House. Since edge-tools and weapons were really of bronze in Homer’s day, the word remains in poetical use in that sense even some 1400 years later; the best part of a millennium before Nonnos, Pindar, Pyth. xi. 20, had spoken of “grey bronze,” really meaning a steel or iron weapon, as the epithet shows.
9. Pitys, beloved of Pan, fled from him and was changed into a pine-tree: Propertius i. 18. 20. Daphne suffered a like fate in fleeing from Apollo: Ovid, Met. i. 452.
10. For Pitys, see preceding note. Syrinx (Panpipe) was also pursued by Pan in an amorous mood, and turned into a bed of reeds, from which he made his pipe.

11. Echo was once a nymph, who for keeping Hera talking and so delayed her from spying on Zeus’ amours was deprived by her of the power to do more than repeat the words of another.
12. Reading hêmiphanê with all MSS.: Ludwich conjectures hupsiphanê. But the meaning is that the flood had not quite covered them.
13. This is Ovid’s story, Met. ii. 401 ff., but there are other versions.
14. Asterië is the nymph of Delos, and leaped into the sea to avoid the attentions of Zeus. That she was then pursued by Poseidon seems to be an invention of Nonnos; at all events, no other surviving author has heard of it.
15. Reading philomêlê with the MSS. Philomela, here as elsewhere in Greek, is the swallow. She and Procne were sisters, Athenian princesses; Tereus, king of Thrace, married Procne, by whom he had a son Itys, or Itylos; Tereus afterwards, on some pretext, fetched Philomela from Athens, violated her and cut out her tongue. Managing to communicate with her sister by means of a piece of embroidery which she sent her, on which she had portrayed her story, she was helped to escape from the prison where Tereus had put her; by way of revenge, Procne served to Tereus at a banquet the flesh of their child, and when he pursued the women, all three were turned into birds, Procne becoming a nightingale, Philomela a swallow, Tereus a hoopoe, and, in some late and uncertain accounts, Itys also a bird of some sort. This is why the nightingale’s song is mournful (she is lamenting for Itys) and the swallow chatters and does not sing (she has no tongue). A familiar variant of the story makes Philomela the nightingale, and Procne the swallow. The swallow is as regularly and proverbially the messenger of spring in Greek as in English (mia chelidôn ou poiei ear, one swallow does not make a spring).
16. Daughter of King Pterelaos. She was in love with Amphitryon, and gave him the golden hair from his father’s head wherein his life lay. Amphitryon put her to death, and she was turned into a fountain. The story of Nisos and Scylla was similar.
17. Daughter of Cinyras and mother of Adonis. She had an incestuous love for her own father and managed by a trick to satisfy it. When he found it out, she was saved from him by becoming a tree which bears her name (this is why it weeps), and Adonis was born from the tree.
18. Sisters of Phaëthon, who mourned their brother beside that stream until they grew into poplars.
19. Because Niobe, wife of Tantalos and mother of six sons and six daughters, boasted herself superior to Leto with only two children, Apollo and Artemis, these killed all her family, and she mourned until she turned into a stone from grief.
20. The celestial watch-word is passed along from the outermost of the seven (ancient) planets, which include the sun and moon, to the one nearest the earth.

21. Cf. not on i. 165.
22. An allusion to Il. x. 13, where Agamemnon hears “noise of flutes and pipes and hum of men” from the Trojan camp at night.
23. For the astronomy, including the blunder about morning and evening star, cf. note on i. 165 ff.
24. Apparently Cronion here is the planet Jupiter, since Zeus is sitting waiting on Mt. Tauros, see 168; it is not the only passage in which astral and mythological gods give Nonnos some trouble.
25. He probably means by the dark, violet and indigo; and pale, yellow and orange. Naturally there is and can be no black in a rainbow; perhaps Nonnos thinks of it as showing against a dark cloud.
26. Having no mother, but only a father, Athena, whose emissary is here speaking (Victory is her constant attendant), is “wholly of the Father” and approves of men in every way except as husbands, cf. Aeschylus, Eumenides 737 ff.
27. Leto is meant, being daughter of Coios and Phoibe.
28. Eileithyia is often identified with, or her name used as a title of, Artemis in her capacity of goddess of childbirth.
29. Cf. on i. 165 ff.
30. Reading cheiri miê with L and all MSS.

31. The Bear is “thirsty” because it never sets (a common-place with every poet from Homer on).
32. Koechly marks a lacuna; as the next line manifestly refers to Zeus, I have introduced his name.
33. Typhon wants to reverse all the old judicial decisions of the gods. Iapetos, father of Prometheus, is chained with the other rebellious Titans; Prometehus was chained to a rock in the Caucasus by order of Zeus, for stealing fire and giving it to man, Hephaistos performing the work of fastening him; an eagle tore continually at his liver, which grew as continually. Iphimedeia’s two giant sons, Otos and Ephialtes, imprisoned Ares, till Hermes, after thirteen months, effected his release, see Il. v. 385, Od. xi. 305 (Maia was Hermes’ mother). Orion (306) was killed by Artemis for trying to violate her (or for saying he was a better hunter than she); Tityos (307) is punished in Tartaros for a like attempt on Leto. Ares, Typhon sarcastically says, is to be tamed till he loses his own title of Slayer and deserves one of his father’s epithets, Meilichios, “easy to be entreated” (with an allusion to the cult of Zeus Meilichios at Athens and elsewhere). Ephialtes, in one version of his legend, wanted to marry Hera; Nonnos would seem to know of another in which he aspired after Athena, if 311 ff. is to have any point.
34. Otos and Ephialtes, who shut up Ares in a brazen jar: Hom. Od. xi. 305, Il. v. 385.
35. Hermes.
36. A bath is part of the regular ritual of marriage; Eridanos, a mysterious western river, is here the constellation of that name.
37. Oceanos, like Typhon, is a son of Earth: Hesiod, Theogony 126-136.
38. Because he swallowed his children.
39. This passage is in imitation of Hom. Il. xvi. 215 aspis ar’ aspid’ epeide, korus korun, anera d’anêr.
40. The north.

41. The North Sea with the Baltic and perhaps even the Arctic Ocean; Pliny, N.H. iv. 94, 104, cf. Plut. De def. orac. 420A.
42. The construction of opaona is very like Euripides, I.T. 3-4 Atreôs de pais Menelaos Agamemnôn te.
43. A common theory of ancient physicists.
44. The word is an invention of Hesiod’s (Works and Days 775) as though “high-flying,” a misunderstanding of Homer’s aersipous, “foot-lifting.”
45. It is somewhat unusual to distinguish two stones as male and female in this manner; nothing is commoner, however, than to make such a distinction with fire-sticks, the harder one which bores or rubs being the male, or husband, and the softer stick of plank against which it is pressed the female or wife; see Frazer, Golden Bough, index under “Fire-sticks.”
46. A page from the poet’s handbook of natural science.
47. kekaphêota thumon “panting forth one’s life” is the epic phrase. Nonnos seems to hear this meaning, and also an echo of kamnô. Hesychius glosses tethnêke.
48. Because both came of the same stock.
49. A Titan, husband of Eos. In the Orphic cosmogony, Eurynome and Ophion had ruled in Olympos before Cronos and Rhea, but Cronos turned them out.
50. Shears for cutting off the hair in mourning.

51. Lectius translates: Continuatae vero Calypsae naves tranquillae contra equitant serenitatis: a riddle indeed.
52. Virgo, in the Zodiac: the brightest star was Stachus, the Ear of Corn.
53. The constellation Lyra.
54. That is, Theban, from the fountain of Dirce in Thebes. It is rather too soon to give him that epithet, for there was no Thebes as yet and no Dirce.
55. See next note. Lochos is “birth” in Aesch. Ag. 136, and here apparently “offspring.” All Cadmos’s troubles in later life came from killing the dragon, son of Ares, which guarded the spring near the site of Thebes, Zeus advises him to make friends with the celestial Dragon, also with Ophiuchos, as being presumably an expert in dealing with reptiles, and to accompany his prayers with fumigations of two of the most approved specifics against earthly serpents, serpentine, which if pulverized will cure their bite, Orph. Lithica 338 ff., and hart’s horn; for the stag is so deadly an enemy to all snakes that even to burn a piece of his antler will effectually drive them away, Pliny, N.H. viii. 118.
56. They were all sent in search of Europa.
57. Cepheus was son of Belos and therefore cousin of Cadmos, according to Apollodorus. He became king of Ethiopia, and the people took his name.
58. Dicte, a mountain in Crete; Ida, the chief mountain of Crete. The Cretan Dactyloi or Curetes, who waited upon the infant Zeus, are often called Corybantes, although that name belongs to the Phrygian priests of Rhea.
59. Delphi, where the priestess spoke oracles.
60. The deities are embodiments of the revels, by a sort of mystical fusion. Comus, so familiar to us through Milton, is not really a mythological figure at all, but a late personification; see Philostratus, Imagines 2.

80 ff. The plants mentioned seem all to have stories attached. The cypress was once a beautiful boy, Cyparissos, beloved by Zephyros [actually Apollo]; the hyacinthus (not hyacinth, perhaps iris, fritillary or gladiolus) is connected in mythology with the pre-hellenic god Hyacinthos of Amyclai in Laconia, worshipped along with Apollo there. He is said to have been a boy favourite of the god, who, being accidentally killed by him, was turned into the flower which bears his name; hence it is blood-red and the markings on its petals spell ai ai (alas, alas). The laurel was once a chaste nymph, Daphne, who, loved and pursued by Apollo, prayed to the Earth to help her and was turned into a laurel (daphnê), which thus became the god’s sacred tree. Pan had a like experience with Pitys, who to avoid his attentions was turned into the pine-tree, pitus. Moria (clearly the nymph of the sacred olives of Attica, that being the meaning of her name) is unknown save for this passage; she has nothing to do with the Moria of xxv. 481 ff. The olive “brought a city” to Athena, because by making it spring from the ground she won her contest with Poseidon for the city of Athens. The Paphian, i.e. Aphrodite, goddess of Paphos, is particularly concerned for the anemone because that is the flower which sprung from the dead body of her beloved Adonis, or from the tears she shed for him; another story makes the rose, which in any case is sacred to her, spring from his body. Deo is Demeter, and being corn-goddess (her name means “spelt-mother”) she naturally is interested in the fate of corn-stalks.