The Life and Death of Jason

Notes Book X

X.7 Lynceus: In mythology, Lynceus was an Argonaut and one of those who participated in the hunt for the Calydonian boar. A son of Aphareus and Arene, he was alleged to be so sharp sighted that he could see through walls, trees, and the underground, and to distinguish objects more than nine miles awas. He and his brother Idas murdered Castor, brother of Pollux, and Polyduces, who were about to celebrate their nuptials with the daughters of Leucippus, Phoebus and Hilaeria. Versions differ; in one version Castor and Polydeuces had abducted the women, and Lynceus and Idas are the nephews of Leucippus and motivated by revenge; in others they are rival suitors.

X.26 Erginus: here, an Argonaut from Miletus and legendary son of Neptune.

X.32 the figure that ere now their hands had held: the spirit of the Argo.

X.33 Mysian: Mysia was a region in the extreme northwest of Asia minor, bounded on the north by the Propontis, on the west by the Aegean Sea, to the north by Lydia, and to the east by Phrygia. See Map 1, K2.

According to Homer, the Mysians fought on the side of Troy in the Trojan War. Herodotus reports that the Mysians and Teucrians invaded "all of Thrace" and a part of Greece.

X.37 Æetes: mythological founder and king of Aea/Colchis, a son of the sun-god Helios and the nymph Perseis (daughter of Oceanus), and brother of Circe and Pasiphae. Æetes was the father of Medea, Apsyrtus, and Chalciope, by Idya, one of the Oceanides. As narrated in Book II, he killed Phryxus son of Athamas, who had fled to his court on a golden ram. See map 3.

X.45 Æa: Æa was the leading city of ancient Colchis near the Black Sea, along the Rioni river; its current name is Kutaisi, in Georgia.  See Map 5, L3.

X.51 Sarmatian folk: the Sarmatians were first recorded around 500 B. C. E. in the steppes (now in southern Russia) northeast of the Black Sea, with the Scythians to their west. After 250 B. C. E. some of their tribes gradually migrated westward over former Scythian lands, eventually settling in central Hungary facing the Roman imperial frontier across the Danube. See Map 5, G3 and northwest, north and northeast, also 6a, northeast quadrant.

X.61 Circe: the daughter of Helios the sun-god and the Oceanid Perse and sister of Aeetes the king of Colchis and Pasiphae, Circe was a goddess and sorceress known for her skill with herbs and potions who lived on the island of Æaea, identified by Roman poets (see Virgil, Aeneid, trans. William Morris, Bk. VII, 10-20; Ovid, Met. XIV, 245 ff.) with Circei, a promontory on the western coast of Italy somewhat southeast of Rome.

X.65 Iolchos: a city of Thessalian Magnesia, situated on the northern shore of the Bay of Volo, where it was sheltered by Mt. Pelion. It was celebrated in mythology as home of Jason and the starting-point of the Argonauts, that is, the center from which Mycenaean influence spread over most of Thessaly. The surrounding region contained pastureland and meadows suitable for grazing. See Map 4, H5.

X.92 drave: drove

X.92 Clashers: in mythology, the clashing islands of the Symplegades, "clashing rocks" at the Bosporus which smote together randomly. The Argonauts had to pass by these to enter the Black Sea, but after Jason and the Argonauts managed the pass, aided by advice from Phineus, the Symplegades stopped moving permanently. See map 3.

X.95 Mars’ acres: an area of Colchis ploughed by Jason with the help of brazen bulls, located near a precinct dedicated to Mars, the god of war. See book VIII.

X.118 Pluto’s kingdom dear: Hades, universal destination of the dead after burial  in early Greek mythology. Dark, cold and mirthless, Hades was ruled by a deity of the same name (later Pluto), notable for his abduction of Persephone, goddess of fertility and the spring, who was forced to live with her dour consort for six months of the year.

X.121 the golden age: legendary age of Saturn, father of Jupiter, a time of fertility, abundance and peace.

X.206 lion’s: According to Dr. Peter Wright, “even the lions (Jason, X, 205-10), though one would not expect them nowadays in Russia, are not entirely implausible. Herodotus (VII, ch. 128-29) reports lions about 500 B. C. in Macedonia and northern Greece” (Supplementary Materials, “The Route of the Argonauts”).

X.236-237 rood/ Of quaggy land—a rood was an Old English unit of measurement equal to one-quarter acre. “Quaggy” land is marshy land.

X.239 ugly nameless dull-scaled things: here, dragons.

X.259 Ceneus: also Caeneus, a child of Elatus, originally a maiden called Caenis. Neptune/Poseidon, in compensation for raping her, at her request transformed her into a man invulnerable to edged weapons.

X.261 Asterion: an Argonaut from Philaeu[s].

X.261 Eribotes: Argonaut and son of Teleon, Eribotes was skilled in medicine and tended the wounded Oileus.

X.277 javelin: a metallic spear-like weapon used as a missile.

X.278 Arcas:  in mythology, a son of Jupiter and Callisto, after whom Arcadia was named, and who taught its inhabitants the skills of agriculture and spinning wool. Juno, enraged at her husband's seduction/rape of Callisto, turned the latter into a bear, whom Arcas killed by accident. Zeus took pity on the pair and placed them in the constellations Ursa Major (Callisto) and Ursa Minor (Arcas) respectively.

X.280 Minyae: inhabitants of Orchomenos in Boetia; here, the Argonauts.

X.286 Diana: goddess of the hunt, daughter of Jupiter and Latona. Diana was originally a moon goddess anciently identified with Artemis, from whom she took over the patronage of margins and savageness, and she was associated with chastity, beauty and athletic skill. Her links with women, members of the lower classes, slaves, and the seekers of asylum suggest that she was a goddess of margins; for example, slaves could receive asylum in her temples.

X.297 neat: cattle.

X.308 Phasis: river flowing through Colchis which runs into the Black Sea at the site of the ancient city of Phasis, near modern Poti. In ancient times the Phasis River was sometimes seen as a boundary between Europe and Asia. See Map 5, L3.

X.314 Idas strong of hand: in mythology, an Argonaut from Messene and brother of Lynceus, with whom he killed Castor, brother of Pollux.

X.315 Eurytion: several legendary figures bore this name. Here listed as the son of Iras and a Theban, the Argonaut Euyrtion by other accounts was the son of Kenethos and Cerion.

X.316 far-seeing Lynceus: In mythology, Lynceus was an Argonaut from Messene and one of those who participated in the hunt for the Calydonian boar. A son of Aphareus and Arene, he was alleged to be so sharp sighted that he could see through walls, trees, and the underground, and to distinguish objects more than nine miles away. He and his brother Idas murdered Castor, brother of Pollux, and Polyduces, who were about to celebrate their nuptials with the daughters of Leucippus, Phoebus and Hilaeria. Versions differ; in one version Castor and Polydeuces had abducted the women, and Lynceus and Idas are the nephews of Leucippus and motivated by revenge; in others they are rival suitors.

X.316 the Sminthian’s son: Sminthian was an ancient epithet of Apollo (cf. Iliad Bk. I, l. 39), so this might be Asclepius.  

X.317 Theseus: legendary son of Aegeus or Poseidon, i.e., of a sea-god, and national hero of Athens. Accounts of Hercules seem to have influenced the legends associated with Theseus (e. g., encounters with brigands and monsters; a campaign against the Amazons), and it is not surprising that he is made Hercules’ friend and contemporary.

X.317 Pirithous: legendary son of Zeus and Dia, wife of Ixion. Homer speaks of him as fighting the Centaurus (IL. I. 263 ff.), presumably in the quarrel mentioned in Od. 21. 295 ff., and a doubtfully genuine verse (Od. II. 631) mentions him in Hades. In Homer and later authors he is associated with Theseus.

X.318 Clitius: Clytius of Œechalia, an Argonaut also mentioned in Apollonius, the son of the son of the Œechalian king Eurytus, who according to legend was killed by Hercules or Æetes.

X.319 Aetalides, runner of the plain: version of Aethalides, mythological son of Hermes and Eupolemeia, a daughter of Mymidon, and herald of the Argonauts. He had received from his father the faculty of remembering everything, even in Hades, and was allowed to reside alternately in the upper and lower world.

X.320 Phocus: in mythology, an athlete; the son of Aeacus, allegedly the son of Zeus and Aegina, and the nymph Psamathe; and king of the island Aegina in the Saronic Gulf. (see map 2). Phocus' half-brothers were Peleus and Telamon, the sons of Endeis, who killed him from jealousy during an athletic contest.

X.321 Caeneus the cragsman: a Lapith, see Ceneus above.

X.321 Periclimenes: in Greek mythology, a brother of Nestor and son of Chloris and Neleus king of Pylos (a city on the west coast of the Peloponnese, in the district of Messenia in southern Greece; see map 2). He was one of the Argonauts, and had received from Neptune the power of changing his shape. According to legend, he was later killed by Hercules along with his father and all of his siblings except Nestor.

X.325 Apheus: an Argonaut from Arcadia (corresponding to Cepheus in the Argonautica).

X.396 Phasis: river flowing through Colchis which runs into the Black Sea at the site of the ancient city of Phasis, near modern Poti. In ancient times the Phasis River was sometimes seen as a boundary between Europe and Asia. See Map 5, L3.

X.406 They offer strangers up in sacrifice: According to Dr. Peter Wright, "Although Morris has presented the inhabitants of his river lands as thoroughly primitive, with at best a Stone Age technology, he may in describing their religion (X, 400-408), to which some Argonauts almost fall victim, be recalling the practice of the Taurians (in the modern Crimea) reported by Herodotus (Book IV, ch. 103) of sacrificing strangers, as they had done in the days of Agamemnon’s daughter Iphigeneia" (Supplementary Materials, "The Route of the Argonauts").

X.416 scarped: of rock, reduced to a steep face, laid bare, cut away.

X.417 ger-falcon: large and majestic Artic falcon.

X.452 her who all their souls did save: Medea

X.454 the swift Arcadian May: i. e., Atalanta

X.457 Laconian: Laconia is a southeast district of the Peloponnesus, bordering Arcadia to the north and Messenia to the west. A mountainous region, dominated by limestone formations and its derivatives, during the classical period Laconia was controlled by Sparta. See Map 3, F8.

X.464 Orpheus: great Oeager’s son: i.e. Orpheus, legendary Thracian singer and founder of Orphism, whose doctrines and myths were conveyed through poems. Aeschylus and Euripides assert that his songs charmed trees, wild beasts and even stones as well as humans. In vase and wall paintings, even in the Catacombs, he is often represented singing.

The best known myth associated with him recounts that when his wife Eurydice was killed by a snakebite, Orpheus descended to the Underworld and persuaded its lord to allow him to bring her back on the condition that he should not turn round and look at her before they reached the upper world, and when he did so, she vanished into Hades forever. Morris recounts this myth in an unpublished Earthly Paradise tale, "The Story of Orpheus and Eurydice."

X.467 Saturn’s days of gold: the mythical rule of Saturn, father of Jupiter, was identified as a Golden Age and time of peace.

X.530 thou chapleted with green:  Lyaeus, a surname for Bacchus, the god of wine, depicted as garlanded with vines.

X.532 grim Indian plain: referring to Bacchus's legendary invasion and conquest of India (cmp. Keats, Endymion IV, 240-70 and Nonnus' Dionysiaca, from Bks. 21-40).

X.535 must: unfermented grape juice

X.541 Lyaeus: surname of Bacchus, the god of wine, revelry and release from anxiety.

X.559 watch: i. e., night-watch

X.586 capstan: a rotating machine used to apply force to another object; often used on board ship and on dock walls, for heaving-in or veering ropes, cables, and hawsers.

X.587 with hale and how: idiom, poss. with dragging and shouting (directions)

X.590 the falls:  Dr. Peter Wright describes this portion of the journey thus: “They then sail toward its northern side, reaching a great river, some of whose characteristics Morris has taken from those of the Dnieper, anciently the Borysthenes. That river does have, on the large-scale maps that Morris would most likely have seen, a peninsula running westwards across its southern mouth (if that is what X. 63-65 mean) and further upstream the notorious Rapids a little below Kiev which long obstructed navigation on it, for instance by the Varangians trading from the 9th century A. D. with Byzantium: cf. Gibbon, Decline and Fall, ch. V [pt. III]. Like them the Argonauts have to carry their ship around those Rapids by a portage. (X. 430 seqq.)” (Supplementary Materials, “The Route of the Argonauts”).  See map 4.

X.599 Aetalides: version of Aethalides, mythological son of Hermes and Eupolemeia, a daughter of Mymidon, and herald of the Argonauts. He had received from his father the faculty of remembering everything, even in Hades, and was allowed to reside alternately in the upper and lower world.