The Life and Death of Jason

Notes Book IX

IX. Absyrtus: Absyrtus or Apsyrtus was the son of Aeetes and brother of Medea and Chalciope. Accounts differ over whether he was murdered by Medea or by Jason.

IX.3 Medea: in mythology granddaughter of the sun-god Helios and and daughter of Aeëtes, king of Colchian Aea and his wife Eidyia; by tradition intelligent, crafty and learned in magical lore.

IX.4 goodlihead: Goodly appearance; comeliness, beauty.

IX.34 Hecate: a popular goddess from the time of Hesiod until late antiquity, Hecate was originally a mother-goddess associated with the wilderness and childbirth, but by the fifth century she was associated with magic and witchcraft, the moon, darkness, and creatures of the night.

IX.41 forsooth: in truth, truly

IX.54 guile: to deceive

IX.108 Enna: city and province in central Sicily; in classical mythology Enna contained the meadow from which Proserpina was allegedly abducted by Pluto, and hence was a center for the worship of Ceres and Proserpina. See Map 5, AB, 6/7.

IX.111Venus: major goddess of love, beauty and fertility, comparable to the Greek Aphrodite. She is variouly described as the daughter of Zeus and Dione, or of Uranus and Gaia, and was the consort of Vulcan.

IX.130 crest: highest point, here, raised portion on top of dragon's head.

IX.144 well-nigh: very nearly, almost wholly or entirely.

IX.145 adown: To a lower place or situation; downward, down.

IX.166 Neptune: Neptune is the god of the sea in Roman mythology. He is analogous but not identical to the Greek Poseidon. His festival Neptunalia, at which tents were made from the branches of trees, was held July 23rd, and two temples to his honor were built in Rome. Neptune was also associated with fresh water, as opposed to Oceanus, god of the world-ocean, and like Poseidon, he served a secondary role as a horse god, Neptune Equester, patron of horse-racing.

IX.167 Athamas: legendary king of Orchomenos, son of Aeolus and father of Phryxus and Helle. He married first Nephele (a cloud-goddess), then Ino daughter of Cadmus. Ino became jealous of his children by Nephele, and arranged for an oracle to demand their sacrificial deaths. They escaped on a winged golden ram, headed toward Colchis, but Helle fell into the ocean. Phryxus survived to reach Colchis, where he was murdered by King Pelias who coveted the ram's Golden Fleece. The implication is that Jason is seizing something which originally belonged to his homeland.

IX.180 afeard: affected with fear or terror; frightened, afraid.

IX.182 meed: in early use, something given in return for labour or service; wages, hire; recompense, reward, deserts. Later: a reward or prize given for excellence or achievement; a person's deserved share of (praise, honour, etc.).

IX.184 beechen bower: beechwood enclosure.

IX.186 nought: nothing, not anything.

IX.212 erst: soonest, first in order of time, before.
IX.212 As he who erst on Hermes' shadowy track: a reference to Orpheus's loss of Eurydice.

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

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

IX.218 anear: close by, approaching closely, adv.

IX.228 baying: that bays; deep-barking.

IX.229 natheless: nevertheless, notwithstanding.

IX.237 Erginus: here, the Argonauts' second helmsman, a native of Miletus and legendary son of Neptune.

IX.238 Lacedaemon: a son of Jupiter and Taygeta the daughter of Atlas. Lacedæmon married Sparta, the daughter of Eurotas, and their children were Amyclas and Eurydice, later the wife of Acrisius. He was the first to introduce the worship of the Graces in Laconia, and he built them a temple. The chief city of Laconia, Sparta, was also called Lacedæmon after Laedæmon and his wife. For Sparta, see Map 3, E7.

IX.242 Thessaly: a district of northern Greece which consists of two large and level plains separated by low mountains. See map 1, EF3, E2.

IX.250 burthen: a ‘load’ (whether of man, animal, vehicle, etc.) considered as a weight, a burden.

IX.256 loiter: in early use: To idle, waste one's time in idleness. Now only with more specific meaning: To linger indolently on the way when sent on an errand or when making a journey; to linger idly about a place; to waste time when engaged in some particular task, to dawdle.

IX.260 bewail: To express great sorrow for; to lament loudly, mourn

IX.261 turret: A small or subordinate tower, usually one forming part of a larger structure; esp. a rounded addition to an angle of a building, sometimes commencing at some height above the ground, and freq. containing a spiral staircase.

IX.264 dight: arrayed, dressed.

IX.266 hawse-hole: that part of the bows of a ship in which the hawse-holes are cut for the cables to pass through; hence, sometimes, in pl., the hawse-holes themselves.

IX.270 Nauplius: two personages bear this name, one the Argonaut and son of Neptune, and ancestor of Nauplius, the ruler of Nauplia and father of Oeax and Palamedes, who died in the Trojan War from Greek treachery. See note for III.118.

IX.271 taut: tightly drawn, as by longitudinal tension; stiff, tense, not slack.

IX.288 Argo: With Athena's help Jason had a marvellous ship, the Argo, built; the tradition that the Argo was actually the first ship is first found in Euripides.

IX.299 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."

IX.304 dell: a small deep natural hollow or vale, the sides usually covered with trees or foliage.

IX.305 afield: to the field.

IX.318 raiment: clothing, clothes, dress, apparel.

IX.332 foundress: a female founder.

IX.335 wan: lacking light, or lustre; dark-hued, dusky, gloomy, dark.

IX.346 scape: escape

IX.346 meed: a reward, recompense. In negative sense: to bribe.

IX.355 turbid: of liquid, thick or opaque with suspended matter; not clear; cloudy, muddy.

IX.364 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 almost killed by accident. Zeus took pity on the pair and placed them in the constellations Ursa Major (Callisto) and Ursa Minor (Arcas) respectively.

IX.365 clomb: climbed.

IX.368 nowise: in no way or manner; not at all.

IX.369 unfoughten-unfought

IX.370 wilt: to become limp; to lose energy or vigour; to become dispirited or nerveless

IX.376 bulwarks: walls or embankments used as fortifications, ramparts.

IX.379 hearken: to apply the mind to what is said; to attend, have regard; to listen with sympathy or docility.

IX.402 whelps: young offspring of a mammal, such as a dog or wolf.

IX.404 smote:struck, past tense of smite.

IX.411 sea-girt: surrounded by the sea, as e. g., a peninsula or island.

IX.416 drave: past tense of drive.

IX.436 bides: awaits