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Bk II:227-271. Of Babylon, the ancient
Mesopotamian capital of the Babylonians, in modern Iraq.
Bk V:385-424. An ancient royal family of Corinth, descended from Bacchis, one of the Heraclidae, founder
Bacchus, Bacheus (=Bacchic)
The god Dionysus, the ‘twice-born’, the god of the vine. The son of Jupiter and Semele. His worship was celebrated with
orgiastic rites borrowed from Phrygia.
His female followers are the Maenades.
He carries the thyrsus, a wand tipped with a pine-cone, the Maenads
and Satyrs following him carrying ivy-twined
fir branches as thyrsi. (See Caravaggio’s painting –Bacchus – Uffizi,
Bk III:273-315. Snatched from his mother
Semele’s womb when she is destroyed by
Jupiter’s fire, he is sewn into Jupiter’s
thigh, reared by Ino and hidden by the
nymphs of Mount Nysa. (See Charles Shannon’s
painting – The Childhood (or Education) of Bacchus – Private Collection)
Bk III:528-571. His worship comes to Thebes and is opposed there by Pentheus and at Argos
Bk III:597-637. Acoetes tells how Bacchus was discovered on Chios. Bacchus asks to be put ashore on Naxos his home. Acoetes may be a manifestation
of Bacchus himself.
Bk III:638-691. Bacchus transforms the ship
Bk III:692-733. His Maenads destroy Pentheus.
Bk IV:1-30. His names, features,
deeds and rites. He is Dionysus Sabazius, the barley-god of Thrace
and Phrygia, ‘formosissimus alto conspiceris caelo’
the morning and evening star, the star-son, identified by the Jews with Adonis,
consort of the Great Goddess Venus Aphrodite or Astarte, and therefore manifested
with her in the planet Venus. Later he is the horned Lucifer, ‘son of the
Bk IV:389-415. He turns the daughters of Minyas into bats.
Bk IV:512-542. Juno mocks at Ino
his foster-mother, invoking his name.
Bk IV:604-662. He is worshipped in India and
by all of Greece.
Bk IV:753-803. Bk VI:486-548. Bk VII:425-452,
Bk XII:536-579. Bk XIII:623-639. Wine at the marriage
feast or banquet is his gift. (See Velázquez’s painting – The Drinkers, or
the Triumph of Bacchus – Prado, Madrid) (Note: Wine in Ancient Greece contained
honey, aloes, thyme, myrtle berries etc. to form a thick sweet syrup which
was diluted when drinking, hence the mixing bowls etc. at the banquets.)
Bk VI:571-619. His triennial festival,
the trietericus, is celebrated on Mount Rhodope
by the young Thracian women.
Bk VIII:152-182. He rescues Ariadne on Dia, and sets her
crown among the stars as the Corona Borealis.
Bk VIII:260-328. He receives libations of
wine from the harvest.
Bk XI:85-145. He grants Midas a gift, and takes it away when Midas is
plagued by his golden touch.
Bk XIII:640-674. He gave Anius’s daughters the power to change everything
into corn, wine and olives, and ultimately rescued them by turning them into
Bk XV:391-417. His worship conquered India,
and from there he took the lynxes that follow him.
Bk XV:622-745. The
modern Baia, opposite Pozzuoli on the Bay of Pozzuoli, once the fashionable
bathing place of the Romans, owing its name, in legend, to Baios, the navigator
of Odysseus. The Emperors built
magnificent palaces there. Part now lies beneath the sea due to subsidence.
Bk VIII:611-678. The wife of Philemon. They are visited by the gods,
Jupiter and Mercury, disguised as mortals.
Bk VIII:679-724. They are both turned into
trees, she into a lime tree and he into an oak. (See the painting by Rubens
– Landscape with Philemon and Baucis – Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna)
The fifty daughters of Danaus, granddaughters of Belus, king of Egypt.
Bk IV:416-463. They were forced to marry their
cousins, the fifty sons of Aegyptus, and, with one exception, Hypermnestra,
who saved the life of Lynceus, because he preserved her virginity, killed
them on their wedding night. The others were punished in Hades by having to fill a bottomless cistern
with water carried in leaking sieves.
Bk X:1-85. Their punishment in the
underworld ceases for a time at the sound of Orpheus’s
Bk II:150-177. The constellation
of the Waggoner, or Herdsman, or Bear Herd. The nearby constellation of Ursa
Major is the Waggon, or Plough, or Great Bear. He holds the leash of the
constellation of the hunting dogs, Canes Venatici. He is sometimes identified
with Arcas son of Jupiter and Callisto.
Arcas may alternatively be the Little
Bk VIII:183-235. Icarus is warned not to fly too near
Bk X:431-502. Identified with Icarius the
father of Erigone. Led to his grave
by his dog Maera, she committed suicide by hanging, and was set in the sky
as the constellation Virgo. The Latin text says Icarus, a valid alternative,
but I have translated it as Icarius to avoid confusion with Daedalus’s son.
Bk I:52-68. The North Wind. Eurus
is the East Wind, Zephyrus
is the West Wind, and Auster is the South
Book VI:675-721. He is identified
with Thrace and the north. He steals
Orithyia, daughter of Erectheus
of Athens, and marries her. She bears him the two
Argonauts, Calais and
Zetes. (See Evelyn de Morgan’s painting–Boreas
and Orithyia– Cragside, Northumberland)
Bk XII:1-38. He prevents the Greeks sailing
Bk XIII:399-428. He blows the Greeks
home from Troy. (These are the Meltemi
or Etesian winds that blow over the northen Aegean in the summer months. On
their reliability the Northern Aegean civilisation was based. See Ernle Bradford’s
‘Ulysses Found’ Ch.4)
Bk VII:350-403. The son of Eumelus, killed by his father for desecrating
the sacrifice to Apollo. Apollo pitied
the father and changed the boy into a bird, the bee-eater, merops apiaster.
A region of southern Italy, in modern Calabria. The ancient capital of
the Bruttians was at Cosentia, modern Cosenza, and was taken by the Romans
in 204 BC. It was an important halt on the Via Popilia linking Rome with Reggio
and Sicily. (Ovid does not mention it directly in the text)
Bk IX:666-713.A town in Egypt. The lioness,
later cat goddess (Bast, Bastet) worshipped there, equated with Diana.
Bk XV:259-306. A city near the coast of
Achaia, on the Coronthian Gulf destroyed
by earthquake. Possibly Pausanias’s Boura, see Pausanias VII 25, though it
was not on the coast, its destruction was linked with the destruction of Helice.
The daughter of Miletus, and Cyanee,
twin sister of Caunus.
Bk IX:439-516. The twins are noted for their
beauty. Byblis falls in love with Caunus and decides to woo him incestuously.
Bk IX:517-594. She declares her love in a
letter to Caunus, and is rejected.
Bk IX:595-665. She follows him as he flees
her, and, on Mount Chimaera in Lycia, is turned into an ever-weeping fountain.
Bk XV:745-842. The Roman general and Tribune.
His deeds, death and deification. (As ‘king of Rome’ he was also the high-priest
of Vesta, ‘marrying’ her, the incarnation
of Tauric Diana, as described by Fraser in ‘The Golden
Bough’ – Ch.1 et.seq.)
Bk I:199-243. His
Bk XV:843-870. He confesses that Augustus has surpassed him. Venus sets him among the stars.
A seer and priest, the son of Thestor, who accompanied the Greeks to Troy.
Bk XII:1-38. He foresees the long duration
of the war and the ultimate Greek victory, and that the sacrifice of Iphigenia to Diana
at Aulis will bring the Greeks favourable
Bk IX:394-417. The daughter of Achelous. Themis prophesies the events following
the war of the Seven against Thebes,
when as Alcmaeon’s second wife, she unwittingly
unleashes a chain of events involving the fatal necklace of Harmonia, and the murder of Alcmaeon. She
begs Jupiter to age her infant sons
so that they can avenge the murder.
Bk IX:418-438. Jupiter explains to the gods
that he can grant this only because fate wills it also.
Bk VIII:260-328. A famous hunt attended by
all the heroes of Greece, caused by Diana, seeking revenge
for being slighted. She sent a fierce wild boar against Calydon.
Bk XV:479-546. Ancient Italian nymphs,
with the gift of prophecy, later identified with the Muses.
Bk II:63-89. The constellation of
the Crab, and the zodiacal sun sign. It represents the crab that attacked
Hercules while he was fighting the
multi-headed Hydra and was crushed underfoot
but subsequently raised to the stars. The sun in ancient times was in this
constellation when furthest north of the equator at the summer solstice (June
21st). Hence the latitude where the sun appeared overhead at noon
on that day was called the Tropic of Cancer (23.5 degrees north).
Bk IV:604-662. Seen three times by the storm-driven
Bk X:106-142. The sun is in Cancer when Cyparissus kills the stag.
An Argive leader, one of the Seven against Thebes.
A synonym for pride in the Middle Ages.
Bk III:572-596. The ‘she-goat’, the sixth
brightest star in the sky, now part of the constellation Auriga the Charioteer,
but once part of the Olenian Goat, representing
Aege daughter of Olenos.
Bk XIV:445-482. A rocky promontory on
the coast of Euboea where the returning
Greek fleet came to grief.
Bk XV:622-745. An island in the Bay of
Naples. The isle of Capri, mountainous, with an inaccessible, precipitous
coast, abounding in caves and fantastic rocks. It has perennial sunshine,
pure air, and almost tropical vegetation. Tiberius Caesar retired there in
27 AD. See Suetonius ‘The Twelve Caesars’, and Tacitus.
The mother of Andromeda and wife of Cepheus.
The queen of Ethiopia. She is represented
by the constellation Cassiopeia between Cepheus and Andromeda, and is depicted
sitting in a chair. The constellation is identifiable by its distinctive W
Bk IV:663-705. She foolishly boasted that
she and her daughter were more beautiful than the Nereids, who complained to Neptune who sent a sea monster to devastate
Cepheus’s kingdom. The Oracle of Jupiter
Ammon told Cepheus to sacrifice his daughter
Andromeda. Cassiope and Cepheus accepted Perseus’s offer to rescue Andromeda on condition
that she became his wife. For breaking faith with Perseus, Neptune set Cepheus
and Cassiopeia as a warning among the stars.
Bk IV:706-752. She rejoices at Perseus’s defeat
of the sea-serpent.
Bk XV:622-745. A city in Bruttium. (Near the modern Monastarece Marina on the Ionian
Sea, ancient Caulonia, the original Achaean colony was destroyed by Syracuse
in 389 BC. What is now modern Caulonia, inland, was founded by the survivors.)
Bk XII:245-289. One of the Lapithae. He
is killed by Amycus at the battle of the
Lapiths and Centaurs.
Bk IV:274-316. One of the Dactyls (‘fingers’),
born when Rhea pressed her fingers into the earth as she was bearing Jupiter.
They were ironsmiths who guarded the infant Jupiter’s cradle. Their sisters
taught the mysteries on the island of Samothrace. Celmis was turned into adamantine
steel as a punishment for insulting Rhea.
The king of Ethiopia, husband of Cassiope,
and father of Andromeda. He is represented
by the constellation Cepheus near Cassiopeia which includes the prototype
of the Cepheid variable stars used as standard light sources for measurement
of distances in space.
Bk IV:663-705. He accepts Perseus’s offer to rescue Andromeda.
Bk IV:706-752. He promises Perseus a kingdom
as dowry for defeating the sea serpent and winning Andromeda.
Bk VII:350-403.A mythical character, whose
home was near Mount Othrys, who escaped
Deucalion’s flood. He was saved by the nymphs, who changed
him to a scarabeus, and he flew to the summit of Mount Parnassus.
Bk X:220-242. A horned people of Cyprus turned into wild bullocks by Venus, for the crime of sacrificing strangers
and guests on their altars.
Bk XIV:75-100. A Lydian people. Jupiter changed them into monkeys, because
of their trickery and deceit, and sent them to Pithecusae which took its name from them.
(pithecium, a little ape)
Bk VII:425-452. A king of Eleusin, who required all travellers to wrestle
with him, and killed them when they were defeated. He was defeated by Theseus. The wrestling-ground was on the
road to Megara.
Bk I:113-124. The Corn Goddess. The daughter
of Saturn and Rhea, and Jupiter’s sister. As Demeter she is represented
in the sky by the constellation and zodiacal sign of Virgo, holding an ear
of wheat, the star Spica. It contains the brightest quasar, 3C 273. The constellation
alternatively depicts Astraea. The worship
of her and her daughter Persephone, as the Mother and the Maiden, was central
to the Eleusinian mysteries, where the ritual of the rebirth of the world
from winter was enacted. Ceres was there a representation of the Great Goddess
of Neolithic times, and her daughter her incarnation, in the underworld and
Bk V:107-148. Ampycus is one of her priests.
Bk V:332-384. The Muse Calliope sings of
Bk V:385-424. Her daughter Proserpine (Persephone) is raped and abducted
Bk V:425-486. She searches for her throughout
the world. Cyane gives evidence of the abduction, in
Sicily, and Ceres blights that
land. (On the way she drinks the mixture of water and meal known as the kykeion,
the partaking of which was an element of the ritual surrounding the Eleusinian
Bk V:487-532. She finds that Persephone is in Hades, and asks Jupiter to intercede. He agrees so long
as Persephone has not eaten while in the underworld, a decree made by the
Bk V:533-571. She is allowed her daughter
for six months of each year.
Bk V:572-641. She asks Arethusa to tell her story.
Bk V:642-678. She sends Triptolemus, of Eleusis, with her
gift of the crops to the barbarian king of Scythia, Lyncus. He attacks Triptolemus and she changes
Lyncus into a lynx.
Bk VI:103-128. Neptune lay with her in the form of a horse.
Bk VII:425-452. Eleusis is sacred to her.
Bk VIII:260-328. She is offered the first
fruits of the crops.
Bk VIII:260-328. A synonym for the harvest.
Bk VIII:725-776. Erysichthon violates her sacred oak grove.
Bk VIII:777-842. She asks Famine to torment him to death.
Bk IX:418-438. She wishes she could win renewed
youthfulness for Iasion, whom she fell
in love with at the marriage of Cadmus and Harmonia, and lay with in the thrice-ploughed
Bk X:1-85. A synonym for nourishment.
Bk X:431-502. The festival of the first fruits
(in Attica, the Thesmophoria) held annually
in her honour, where married women dressed in white brought corn garlands
as offerings, and sexual union and the touch of a man were forbidden for nine
Bk XI:85-145. Bk XIII:623-639. Bread is her gift.
Bk X:1-85. The ferryman who carries
the dead across the River Styx in the underworld, whose tributary is the Acheron.
(See Dante’s Inferno). He prevents Orpheus
crossing the Styx for a second time.
A fire-breathing monster with a lion’s head, goat’s body and serpent’s
Bk VI:313-381. Its native country
is Lycia in Asia Minor.
Bk IX:595-665. Byblis
travels to Mount Chimeara there and becomes a fountain.
A fabled people, said to live in caves in perpetual darkness, ‘beyond
the north Wind.’
Their country is the home of Somnus, Sleep.
Bk VI:70-102. An Assyrian
King. His daughters were changed into the stone steps of the temple, for their
The son of Paphos, and the father of Myrrha, and by her incestuously of Adonis. Bk
X:708-739. Adonis is therefore called Cinyreius.
Bk X:298-355. Myrrha conceives a passion for
Bk X:356-430. He, innocently, asks her to
choose a husband.
Bk X:431-502. He is deceived into admitting
her to his bed, and impregnating her, driving her out when he realises what
Bk XV:552-621. A fabled Roman praetor.
He grows horns and is prophesied as a king who will enslave Rome if he enters the city, but declares
himself instead, and is rewarded with honours.
Bk IV:190-213. Bk XV:622-745. The sea-nymph, daughter
of Sol and Perse, and the granddaughter
of Oceanus. (Kirke or Circe means a small
falcon)She was famed for her beauty and magic arts and lived on the ‘island’
of Aeaea, which is the promontory of Circeii. (Cape Circeo between Anzio and
Gaeta, on the west coast of Italy, now part of the magnificent Parco Nazionale
del Circeo extending to Capo Portiere in the north, and providing a reminder
of the ancient Pontine Marshes before they were drained, rich in wildfowl
and varied tree species.) Cicero mentions that Circe was worshipped religiously
by the colonists at Circei. (‘On the Nature of the Gods’, Bk III 47)
(See John Melhuish Strudwick’s painting – Circe and Scylla – Walker Art
Gallery, Sudley, Merseyside, England: See Dosso Dossi’s painting - Circe and
her Lovers in a Landscape- National gallery of Art, Washington)
Bk XIII:898-968. Glaucus seeks her home.
Bk XIV:1-74. She refuses him a love potion
to make Scylla love him, and
instead transforms Scylla into a monster.
Bk XIV:223-319. She transforms Ulysses’s men into beasts. Mercury gives him the plant moly to
enable him to approach her. He marries her and frees his men, staying for
a year on her island. (Moly has been variously identified as ‘wild
rue’, wild cyclamen, and a sort of garlic, allium moly. John Gerard’s
Herbal of 1633 Ch.100 gives seven plants under this heading, of which the
third, Moly Homericum, is he suggests the Moly of Theophrastus,
Pliny and Homer – Odyssey XX- and he describes it as a wild garlic.
Bk XIV:320-396. She loves Picus, but, thwarted in her love, turns him into
the green woodpecker, picus viridis.
Bk XIV:397-434. She turns Picus’s companions
into wild beasts.
Bk XIV:435-444. She had warned Ulysses’s and his crew of the dangers
they must still face.
Bk VIII:81-151. The bird into which Scylla,
daughter of Nisus was changed. Nisus was
changed into the sea eagle. Elsewhere, and interpolated in this translation,
the bird is described as having a purple breast and red legs. From the habits
of the sea eagle, that preys on it, from its description, and the sacredness
of the dove to Cer, the Cretan Bee-Goddess, this translator takes it to be
the rock dove, columba livia. The followers of Cer, the Curetes, shaved
their locks. Megara was said to have been founded by Car or Ker, a follower
of the goddess. See the entry for Scylla.
Bk XI:410-473. An epithet of Apollo from
Claros (Clarus) a city in Ionia, where there was an oracle and temple
of the god.
Bk XV:745-842. Queen of Egypt, mistress of Julius
Caesar and Antony. She fell from
power and committed suicide when she and Antony were defeated at the battle
of Actium. (See Suetonius ‘The Twelve Caesars’ and,
of course, Shakespeare.)
Bk XV:307-360. Of the city of Clitor (Kleitor)
in Arcadia, in the fork of the Kleitor
and Karnesi rivers. See Pausanias VIII 21.
One of the daughters of Oceanus, who
(See the painting by Lord Leighton – Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge, on
loan to Leighton House, London).
Bk IV:214-255. She tells Leucothoe’s father about her and Sol.
Bk IV:256-273. Sol disdains her and she wastes
away, becoming a plant, the heliotrope, that follows the sun.
Bk VII:350-403. The women of the island of
Cos in the Sporades in the Eastern Aegean
off Halicarnassus, angered by Hercules
because he dressed in women’s clothes to escape detection. They abused him,
and were given horns like cows, by Juno.
The mythical king of Sicily whom Daedalus
sought refuge with. Daedalus threaded a spiral Triton shell for him, using
an ant to pull the thread, lured by honey.
Bk VIII:260-328. He defends Daedalus against
Minos of Crete.
BkVI:1-25. Of Colophon a city in Asia
Minor, near the coast, north-west of Ephesus and the mouth of the River Caÿster.
The home city of Idmon.
Bk II:227-271. Bk XV:479-546. The city north of Mycenae, on the Isthmus between Attica and the Argolis.
(Built on the hill of Acrocorinth it and Ithome were ‘the horns of the Greek
bull’, whoever held them held the Peloponnese. It was destroyed by the Roman
general Mummius in 146 BC and rebuilt by Julius Caesar in 44 BC.)
Bk V:385-424. Origin of the Bacchiadae who founded Syracuse.
Bk VI:401-438. Its ruler goes to Thebes to show sympathy for the death of
Amphion and his children. It is famous
Bk VII:350-403. Jason having claimed the throne is king there.
Its ancient name is Ephyre. It is famous for the spring of Pirene on the citadel (rebuilt in marble by Herodes
Atticus in the 2nd c. AD).
Bk II:531-565. The Raven, whose
feathers are turned from white to black by Apollo for bringing him the news of Coronis’s unfaithfulness.
Bk VII:350-403. The son of Paris and Oenone, the fountain-nymph daughter
of the river Oeneus. He was sent by Oenone, in jealousy of Helen, to guide the avenging Greeks to Troy.
Bk XV:307-360. A river in Arcadia, into which the corrosive waters of the
Arcadian Styx flow. Aegae is at its mouth. Pausanias describes the complex
of rivers and towns near Mount Cyllene and Mount Chelmos:
Clitor (Kleitor), and Nonacris, the Crathis, and the Arcadian Styx
that is its tributary, in Pausanias VIII 17 and 18. He does not confirm Ovid’s
comments about hair being turned to gold, but does elaborate on the marvellous
properties of the Styx. (Robert Graves has an interesting digression on this,
and the Proetides, in ‘The White Goddess’ p353 and p354.)
Alternatively, and since Crathis seems to be coupled here with Sybaris,
Ovid is referring to properties of the Italian river Crathis (modern Crati)
which may have been what Ovid calls the Sybaris, on which the ancient town
of Sybaris probably stood. These properties of the river may have been transferred
in legend by Greek colonists from the Greek Crathis.
Bk IV:274-316. A youth who pined away from
love of the nymph Smilax, and was
changed into the crocus flower. Smilax became the flowering bindweed.
Bk VII:425-452. A village near Corinth, where Theseus
destroyed a fierce and monstrous white sow, that killed the farmers and prevented
them ploughing their fields. It was said to be the offspring of Typhon and
A mythical hero who entertained Hercules at his home in Sicily.
Bk XV:1-59. Myscelus founds Crotona, taking the name from
its proximity to Croton’s tomb. (This is the modern Crotone, the only harbour
between Taranto and Reggio. The ancient town was founded in 710 BC by settlers,
sent, according to legend, by the Delphic oracle. It was an important city
of the Bruttians, and with Sybaris it conrolled Magna Graecia and
included colonies on the Ionian and Tyrrhenian coasts. Pythagoras made it the chief centre of his
school but was later expelled from the city, when his supporters fell from
power. It conquered the Sybarites in 510 BC, and became subject to Syracuse
in 299 BC. Hannibal embarked there after his retreat from Rome.)
The site of an oracle of Apollo, and its prophetess, the Sibyl. A legendary entrance to the underworld.
Daedalus rested there after his flight from Crete,
and built a temple to Apollo, before going on to Sicily, where he made the
golden honeycomb, for the goddess at Eryx. An ancient Euboean colony on the sea coast of Campania.
(See Michael Ayrton’s drawings and paintings of the site.)
Bk XIV:101-153. The site of the Sibyl’s
cave, the oracular priestess of Apollo. She guides Aeneas through the underworld, showing him the
golden bough that he must pluck from the tree.
Bk XIV:154-222. The Sibyl guides Aeneas
back to the city.
Bk IV:274-316. They or the Dactyls guarded the infant Jupiter. They were the sons of Rhea, and
stood around the golden cradle, hung on a tree, clashing their spears and
shouting, to drown the noise of his wailing (like the sound of heavy rain?).
They seem to have been associated with rain-making ceremonies.
Bk V:385-424 A fountain nymph of Sicily whose
stream flowed into the River Anapis, near
Syracuse. She was loved by Anapis and wedded him. She obstructs Dis
in his abduction of Proserpine and
Dis opens up a way to Tartarus
from the depths of her pool.
Bk V:425-486. She wastes away from grief and
the desecration of her pool, but shows Ceres a sign of
Bk VIII:1-80. Two small rocky islands
at the entrance to the Euxine Sea, that clashed together when anything approached
The Phrygian great goddess, personifying the earth
in its savage state, worshipped in caves and on mountaintops. Merged with
Rhea, the mother of the gods. Her consort was Attis,
slain by a wild boar like Adonis. His festival
was celebrated by the followers of Cybele, the Galli, or Corybantes, who were
noted for convulsive dances to the music of flutes, drums and cymbals, and
self-mutilation in an orgiastic fury.
Bk X:86-105. The pine tree is sacred
to her, since it embodies the transformed Attis. It is one of the trees that
gather to hear Orpheus.
Bk X:681-707. Hippomenes and Atalanta desecrate her sacred cave, with
its wooden images of the elder gods. She is adorned with a turreted crown.
The two sinners are turned into the lions that pull her chariot.
Bk XIV:527-565. She transforms Aeneas’s fleet of ships into Naiads, since their timbers were cut on her
sacred Mount Ida.
Bk II:227-271. The scattered islands
of the southern Aegean off the coast of the Greece, forming a broken circle.
Bk XII:64-145. The son of Neptune, deemed invulnerable. He is defeated
by Achilles, who chokes him to death,
and turned by his father Neptune into a white swan.
Bk XII:146-209. He is unique in his invulnerability
to weapons in his generation.
Bk I:199-243. A mountain in Arcadia, Mercury’s
birthplace, hence Cyllenius, an epithet of Mercury. (Pausanias, VIII, xvii,
noting it as the highest mountain in Arcadia mentions the ruined shrine of
Hermes-Mercury on its summit, and says it got its name from Cyllen son of
Elatus. Mercury’s statue was of juniper (thuon) and stood eight feet
tall. Pausanias says that Cyllene was famous for its white (albino?)
Bk I:689-721. Mercury
lulls Argus to sleep and kills him.
BkII:812-832. Mercury turns Aglauros
Bk V:572-641. Passed by Arethusa in her flight.
Bk VII:350-403. The place where Menephron committed incest with his mother.
Bk XI:266-345. Mercury’s sacred mountain.
Bk X:106-142.A youth loved by Apollo. He accidentally killed a beloved stag,
sacred to the nymphs, and begged to mourn forever. Phoebus turned him into
a cypress tree.
Son of Lucifer,
brother of Ceyx, father of Chione.
Bk XI:266-345. Mourning his daughter Chione
he leaps from the summit of Parnassus
but is turned by Apollo into a hawk (probably
an eagle, genus: Accipiter, since Parnassus was famous for them. Note
Byron’s letters Nov-Dec 1809. Seeing a flight of eagles on Parnassus he ‘seized
the omen’ and wrote some stanzas for Childe Harold hoping ‘Apollo had
accepted my homage’).
Bk VIII:152-182. The mythical Athenian architect who built the Labyrinth for
King Minos of Crete.
(See Michael Ayrton’s extended series of sculptures, bronzes, and artefacts
celebrating Daedalus, Icarus and the Minotaur)
Bk VIII:183-235. He makes wings of bee’s-wax
and feathers to escape from Crete. Warning Icarus, his son, to follow him in
a middle course, they fly towards Ionia.
Between Samos and Lebinthos Icarus flies too high and the wax
melts, and he drowns in the Icarian Sea and is buried on the island of Icaria.
Bk VIII:236-259. He had previously caused
the death of Talos, his nephew, the son of his sister Perdix, through jealousy throwing him from the
Athenian citadel, but Pallas Athene changed
the boy into the partridge, perdix perdix.
Bk VIII:260-328. He finds sanctuary in Sicily (after reaching Cumae, where he
built the temple of Apollo), at the court of King Cocalus
who defends him from Minos. (He threaded
the spiral shell for King Cocalus, a test devised by Minos, and made the golden
honeycomb for the goddess at Eryx. See Vincent Cronin’s book on Sicily – The
Bk IX:714-763. His name was synonymous with
ingenuity, invention and technical skill.
The mother of Perseus by Jupiter, and daughter of Acrisius, King of Argos.
Bk IV:604-662. She was raped by Jupiter in
the form of a shower of gold, while imprisoned in a brazen tower by Acrisius,
who had been warned by an oracle that he would have no sons but that his grandson
would kill him. (See Titian’s painting, Museo del Prado, Madrid: See the pedestal
of Benvenuto Cellini’s Perseus bronze, Loggia dei Lanzi, Florence, depicting
Danae with the child Perseus: See Jan Gossaert called Mabuse’s panel – Danae
- in the Alte Pinakothek, Munich))
Bk VI:103-128. Arachne
depicts her rape by Jupiter.
Bk XI:85-145. She would have been deceived
by Midas’s gold also.
Bk IV:274-316. A shepherd boy of Mount Ida, the son of Mercury, and inventor of bucolic poetry. His
mother was a nymph. Pan taught him to play
the pipes and he was beloved by Apollo,
and hunted with Artemis. A nymph named Nomia made him
swear loyalty. Her rival Chimera seduced him, and Nomia (or Mercury) turned
him to stone.
Bk I:438-473. Bk IX:324-393. The Greek island in the Aegean,
one of the Cyclades, birthplace of, and sacred to,
Apollo (Phoebus) and Diana
(Phoebe, Artemis), hence the adjective Delian. (Pausanias VIII xlvii, mentions
the sacred palm-tree, noted there in Homer’s Odyssey 6, 162, and the ancient
Bk V:572-641. Its ancient name was Ortygia.
Bk VI:146-203. Bk VI:313-381. A wandering island, that gave
sanctuary to Latona (Leto). Having been
hounded by jealous Juno (Hera), she gave
birth there to the twins Apollo and Diana, between an olive tree and a date-palm
on the north side of Mount Cynthus. Delos then became fixed in the sea. In
a variant she gave birth to Artemis-Diana on the islet of Ortygia nearby.
Bk VIII:183-235. Daedalus
and Icarus fly past it after
Bk XIII:623-639. Aeneas arrives there. Anius is priest on Delos and they sacrifice to
the Delian gods.
Bk XV:479-546. Sacred to Diana.
Bk IV:31-54. A Babylonian goddess
worshipped in Syrian Palestine. She was the Syrian goddess Atar-ata, or Atargatis,
consort of the Babylonian great god Adad. She was worshipped at Ascalon as
half-woman and half-fish, and fish and doves were sacred to her. She was identified,
by the Greeks, with Aphrodite. The mother of Semiramis.
Bk II:401-416. Daughter of Jupiter
and Latona (hence her epithet Latonia)
and twin sister of Apollo. She was born
on the island of Ortygia which is Delos
(hence her epithet Ortygia). Goddess of the moon and the hunt. She carries
a bow, quiver and arrows. She and her followers are virgins. See Phoebe. She is worshipped as the triple goddess,
as Hecate in the underworld, Luna the moon, in the heavens, and Diana the huntress on earth. (Skelton’s ‘Diana in the leaves
green, Luna who so bright doth sheen, Persephone in hell’) Callisto is one
of her followers. (See Luca Penni’s – Diana
Huntress – Louvre, Paris, and Jean Goujon’s sculpture (attributed) – Diana
of Anet – Louvre, Paris.)
Bk II:441-465. She expels Callisto
from her band of virgins because Callisto is pregnant by Jupiter,
having been raped by him.
Bk III:165-205. She is seen by Actaeon while she is bathing and turns him into
Bk III:232-252. Her anger is only sated when
Actaeon is torn to pieces by his dogs.
Bk V:294-331. The Emathides pretend that she fled to Egypt
in the war between the giants and the gods, and there she hid in the form
of a cat.
Bk V:332-384. A virgin goddess.
Bk V:572-641. She conceals her amour-bearer
Arethusa in a cloud. Ortygia is an epithet for her.
Bk VII:661-758. She gives Procris a magic hound, Laelaps, and a spear,
both of which Procris gives to her husband, Cephalus.
Bk VIII:260-328. Slighted by King Oeneus, she sends a wild boar against Calydon.
Bk VIII:329-375. She steals the point of
Mopsus’s spear in flight rendering his shot
Bk VIII:376-424. Ancaeus boasts in spite of her.
Bk VIII:515-546. She turns the sisters of
Meleager, the Meleagrides, into guinea-hens.
Bk VIII:547-610. Achelous compares his anger to Diana’s.
Bk IX:89-158. The Naiades
dress like her.
Bk X:503-559. Venus dresses like her, and hunts with Adonis.
Bk XI:266-345. She kills Chione for slighting her beauty.
Bk XII:1-38. Bk XIII:123-381. She is angered by some
act of Agamemnon’s, and keeps the Greek
fleet at Aulis until Iphigenia is sacrificed. She then snatches
Iphigenia away in a mist, and leaves a hind for the sacrifice.
Bk XIV:320-396. Orestes carried her image
to Aricia in Italy where she was worshipped.
Bk XV:176-198. The moon-goddess.
Bk XV:479-546. She was worshipped at the
sacred grove and lake of Nemi in Aricia,
as Diana Nemorensis, and the rites practised there are the starting point
for Frazer’s ‘The Golden Bough’ (see Chapter I et seq.) She hid Hippolytus, and set him down at Aricia (Nemi), as her consort Virbius.
The Phoenician Queen of Carthage, a manifestation of Astarte, the Great
Bk XIV:75-100. A Sidonian, she founded Carthage, loved Aeneas, and committed suicide when he deserted
her. (See Virgil, The Aeneid, Book IV, and Marlowe’s The Tragedy of Dido,
Queen of Carthage: See also Purcell’s operatic work ‘Dido and Aeneas’.)
The town in Epirus in north western Greece, site of the
Oracle of Jupiter-Zeus, whose responses
were delivered by the rustling of the oak trees in the sacred grove. (After
1200 BC the goddess Naia, worshipped there, who continued to be honoured as
Dione, was joined by Zeus Naios. The sanctuary was destroyed in 391 AD.)
Bk VII:614-660. The oak at Aegina is seeded from it, and sacred to
Bk XIII:705-737. Aeneas passes it.
Bk II:150-177. The constellation of the Dragon,
once confusingly called Serpens. It is said to be the dragon Ladon killed
by Hercules when stealing the golden
apples of the Hesperides. It contains
the north pole of the ecliptic (ninety degrees from the plane of earth’s orbit)
and represents the icy north.