Argonautica IV 350-409

ἔνθα δ᾽ ἐπεὶ τὰ ἕκαστα νόῳ πεμπάσσατο κούρη,350

δή ῥά μιν ὀξεῖαι κραδίην ἐλέλιξαν ἀνῖαι

νωλεμές: αἶψα δὲ νόσφιν Ἰήσονα μοῦνον ἑταίρων

ἐκπροκαλεσσαμένη ἄγεν ἄλλυδις, ὄφρ᾽ ἐλίασθεν

πολλὸν ἑκάς, στονόεντα δ᾽ ἐνωπαδὶς ἔκφατο μῦθον:

Αἰσονίδη, τίνα τήνδε συναρτύνασθε μενοινὴν355

ἀμφ᾽ ἐμοί; ἦέ σε πάγχυ λαθιφροσύναις ἐνέηκαν

ἀγλαΐαι, τῶν δ᾽ οὔτι μετατρέπῃ, ὅσσ᾽ ἀγόρευες

χρειοῖ ἐνισχόμενος; ποῦ τοι Διὸς Ἱκεσίοιο

ὅρκια, ποῦ δὲ μελιχραὶ ὑποσχεσίαι βεβάασιν;

ᾗς ἐγὼ οὐ κατὰ κόσμον ἀναιδήτῳ ἰότητι360

πάτρην τε κλέα τε μεγάρων αὐτούς τε τοκῆας

νοσφισάμην, τά μοι ἦεν ὑπέρτατα: τηλόθι δ᾽ οἴη

λυγρῇσιν κατὰ πόντον ἅμ᾽ ἀλκυόνεσσι φορεῦμαι

σῶν ἕνεκεν καμάτων, ἵνα μοι σόος ἀμφί τε βουσὶν

ἀμφί τε γηγενέεσσιν ἀναπλήσειας ἀέθλους.365

ὕστατον αὖ καὶ κῶας,  ἐφ' ᾧ πλόος ὔμμιν ἐτύχθη,

εἷλες ἐμῇ ματίῃ: κατὰ δ᾽ οὐλοὸν αἶσχος ἔχευα

θηλυτέραις. τῶ φημὶ τεὴ κούρη τε δάμαρ τε

αὐτοκασιγνήτη τε μεθ᾽ Ἑλλάδα γαῖαν ἕπεσθαι.

πάντῃ νυν πρόφρων ὑπερίστασο, μηδέ με μούνην370

σεῖο λίπῃς ἀπάνευθεν, ἐποιχόμενος βασιλῆας.

ἀλλ᾽ αὔτως εἴρυσο: δίκη δέ τοι ἔμπεδος ἔστω

καὶ θέμις, ἣν ἄμφω συναρέσσαμεν: ἢ σύγ᾽ ἔπειτα

φασγάνῳ αὐτίκα τόνδε μέσον διὰ λαιμὸν ἀμῆσαι,

ὄφρ᾽ ἐπίηρα φέρωμαι ἐοικότα μαργοσύνῃσιν.375

σχέτλιε, εἴ <γάρ> κέν με κασιγνήτοιο δικάσσῃ

ἔμμεναι οὗτος ἄναξ, τῷ ἐπίσχετε τάσδ᾽ ἀλεγεινὰς

ἄμφω συνθεσίας. πῶς ἵξομαι ὄμματα πατρός;

ἦ μάλ᾽ ἐυκλειής; τίνα δ᾽ οὐ τίσιν, ἠὲ βαρεῖαν

ἄτην οὐ σμυγερῶς δεινῶν ὕπερ, οἷα ἔοργα,380

ὀτλήσω; σὺ δέ κεν θυμηδέα νόστον ἕλοιο;

μὴ τόγε παμβασίλεια Διὸς τελέσειεν ἄκοιτις,

ᾗ ἐπι κυδιάεις. μνήσαιο δέ καί ποτ᾽ ἐμεῖο,

στρευγόμενος καμάτοισι: δέρος δέ τοι ἶσον ὀνείροις

οἴχοιτ᾽ εἰς ἔρεβος μεταμώνιον. ἐκ δέ σε πάτρης385

αὐτίκ᾽ ἐμαί σ᾽ ἐλάσειαν Ἐρινύες: οἷα καὶ αὐτὴ

σῇ πάθον ἀτροπίῃ. τὰ μὲν οὐ θέμις ἀκράαντα

ἐν γαίῃ πεσέειν. μάλα γὰρ μέγαν ἤλιτες ὅρκον,

νηλεές: ἀλλ᾽ οὔ θήν μοι ἐπιλλίζοντες ὀπίσσω

δὴν ἔσσεσθ᾽ εὔκηλοι ἕκητί γε συνθεσιάων.390

ὧς φάτ᾽ ἀναζείουσα βαρὺν χόλον: ἵετο δ᾽ ἥγε

νῆα καταφλέξαι, διά τ᾽ ἔμπεδα πάντα κεάσσαι,

ἐν δὲ πεσεῖν αὐτὴ μαλερῷ πυρί. τοῖα δ᾽ Ἰήσων

μειλιχίοις ἐπέεσσιν ὑποδδείσας προσέειπεν:

ἴσχεο, δαιμονίη: τὰ μὲν ἁνδάνει οὐδ᾽ ἐμοὶ αὐτῷ.395

ἀλλά τιν᾽ ἀμβολίην διζήμεθα δηιοτῆτος,

ὅσσον δυσμενέων ἀνδρῶν νέφος ἀμφιδέδηεν

εἵνεκα σεῦ. πάντες γάρ, ὅσοι χθόνα τήνδε νέμονται,

Ἀψύρτῳ μεμάαασιν ἀμυνέμεν, ὄφρα σε πατρί,

οἷά τε ληισθεῖσαν, ὑπότροπον οἴκαδ᾽ ἄγοιντο.400

αὐτοὶ δὲ στυγερῷ κεν ὀλοίμεθα πάντες ὀλέθρῳ,

μίξαντες δαῒ χεῖρας: ὅ τοι καὶ ῥίγιον ἄλγος

ἔσσεται, εἴ σε θανόντες ἕλωρ κείνοισι λίποιμεν.

ἥδε δὲ συνθεσίη κρανέει δόλον, ᾧ μιν ἐς ἄτην

βήσομεν. οὐδ᾽ ἂν ὁμῶς περιναιέται ἀντιόωσι405

Κόλχοις ἦρα φέροιεν ὑπὲρ σέο νόσφιν ἄνακτος,

ὅς τοι ἀοσσητήρ τε κασίγνητός τε τέτυκται:

οὐδ᾽ ἂν ἐγὼ Κόλχοισιν ὑπείξω μὴ πολεμίζειν

ἀντιβίην, ὅτε μή με διὲξ εἰῶσι νέεσθαι.

Medea confronts Jason, in a long and passionate speech, with varying emotions throughout. It ends on a curse. Jason answers in a very conciliatory manner, verging on the submissive. Medea plays a very dominate role.

350  πεμπάζομαι is equivalent to ἀναπεμπάζομαι, the usual word for mental calculation. The qualification of πεμπάσσατο by νόῳ (4.350) and θυμῷ (4.1748) makes this clear.

351  δή ῥά: (Smyth 2844). μιν (= αὐτήν) . . . κραδίην: “her in her heart”, “accusative of part and whole” (Smyth 985). The enfolding order of μιν . . . ὀξεῖαι . . . ἀνῖαι (“bitter pains” of anger as much as grief) around the verb (ἐλέλιξαν), strengthens the phrase and emphasises the depth of her passion, extending on to the next line with the enjambment of νωλεμές, (“violently”).

352–4  The effort that Medea makes to confront Jason on his own, “face to face” (ἐνωπαδὶς) is stressed by the number of phrases denoting separation (νόσφιν, “apart”, μοῦνον ἑταίρων, “away from his friends”, ἄλλυδις, “to another place”, and then the climax: ὄφρ” ἐλίασθεν, “until they were separated”).

353  ἐκπροκαλεσσαμένη: she is “calling him out” for a fight or confrontation.

354  στονόεντα . . . μῦθον: “a sorrowful speech”. The hyperbaton of the two words, separated by the verb, increases the strength of the phrase.

355-6  Αἰσονίδη: Son of Aeson, i.e. Jason. τίνα τήνδε: “What is this . . . ?” (Smyth 2647, LSJ ὅδε I.4). συναρτύνομαι: with the prefix and in the plural form indicates that she feels that the Argonauts are plotting against her.

356  ἀμφ᾽ ἐμοί: “about me,” another strong enjambment, marking the supposed conflict (Jason and the Argonauts combining against Medea). ἦέ (poet. for ἤ, "or, whether") introduces the next stage of Medea's questioning (Smyth 2661).

356–7  σε . . . λαθιφροσύναις ἐνέηκαν / ἀγλαΐαι: “have your glorious successes plunged you into forgetfulness”. Medea uses very extravagant language to reinforce her sarcastic attack. The use of two juxtaposed abstract nouns is unusual.

357  τῶν δ᾽ οὔτι μετατρέπῃ, ὅσσ' ἀγόρευες: “do you care nothing at all, for the things that (lit. as many as) you said” (Smyth 2538b). μετατρέπομαι takes the genitive.

358–9  χρειοῖ ἐνισχόμενος: “held fast by necessity”. The anaphora of ποῦ . . . ποῦ is another rhetorical device which Medea uses to reinforce her argument. Ἱκεσίος is a common cult-title of Zeus. βεβάασιν: 3rd pl. perf. ind. act. epic > βαίνω.

360  ᾗς: “by which” (epic dat. pl.) referring back to ὑποσχεσίαι. The rest of the line describes the manner of Medea's flight, with οὐ κατὰ κόσμον (lit. “not according to what is proper”, “abandoning all restraint,”) functioning almost as a gloss on the the rarer phrase ἀναιδήτῳ ἰότητι, “with shameless determination”.

361–2  connecting τε (Smyth 2968) helps to form a powerful tricolon, consisting of the things which Medea has abandoned (πάτρην, “fatherland”, κλέα . . . μεγάρων, “the glories of my home”, αὐτούς . . . τοκῆας, “my very parents”). ἦεν: 3rd sg. imperf. ind. > εἰμί, to be.

363  λυγρῇσιν . . . ἅμ᾽ ἀλκυόνεσσι: "together with the plaintive Halcyons". φορεῦμαι: “I am carried”, 1st sg. pres. ind. pass. epic, doric, ionic, contracted > φορέομαι.

364  σῶν ἕνεκεν καμάτων: “for the sake of your sufferings.” The prominent position of μοι σόος (“safe because of me”) stresses that it is thanks to Medea that Jason is alive at all. Similarly, the parallelism of ἀμφί . . . ἀμφί emphasises the extent of Medea's help against the worst that animals and men had to offer. βουσὶν (cattle) and γηγενέεσσιν (earthborn men) refer to the ἄεθλοι (contests) set for Jason by King Aietes of Colchis.

365  ἀναπλήσειας ἀέθλους: “so that you might accomplish the contests”. The optative (Smyth 2196) is used because of the historic sequence of νοσφισάμην, with τηλόθι . . . φορεῦμαι as a parenthesis.

366  ἐφ' ᾧ πλόος ὔμμιν ἐτύχθη: “for which your voyage was made”. The transmitted text here is very uncertain. The alternative transmitted through another family of MSS (ἐπεί τ᾽ ἐπαϊστὸν ἐτύχθη), would mean “when the matter had become known”. The lemmatised phrase is to be preferred because it suits the rhetorical nature of Medea’s speech. Coming after κῶας it emphasises how important the Fleece was – the very goal of their expedition – and the value of Medea’s contribution.

367–8  εἷλες ἐμῇ ματίῃ: “you took it through my folly”. She bitterly regrets her assistance even as she recounts it. κατὰ δ᾽ οὐλοὸν αἶσχος ἔχευα: “I poured deadly shame”. The tmesis of the verb encloses its object and reinforces the rhetorical power of Medea’s recrimination. θηλυτέραις: understand γυναιξί. It is typical of Apollonius” learned style that he shortens a formula which he borrows from Homer (e.g. Il. 8.520 θηλύτεραι δὲ γυναῖκες).

368–9  τῶ φημὶ . . . ἕπεσθαι: “Therefore I tell you that I follow you to the land of Hellas, as your daughter, wife and very sister.” Medea echoes Andromache when she encounters Hector on the Scaean gate: Il. 6. 429–30. Andromache stresses her total dependence on her man; Achilles killed her father, destroyed her city, slaughtered her brother and made a slave of her mother. Medea puts herself in the position of a suppliant but states her case more strongly. A. evokes the Hector and Andromache passage only to emphasise the differences. Medea herself has broken these familial relationships. 

369  αὐτοκασιγνήτη, "sister." This word, used of Medea’s aunt, Circe, at Od. 10.137 is a powerful climax to the ascending tricolon that describes the links that Medea believes have been made between herself and Jason. μεθ ̓ Ἑλλάδα: γαῖαν ἕπεσθαι is a significant (and unique) variation on the more familiar πατρίδα γαῖαν ἱκέσθαι (Od. 4.558, 823, 5.15, 207): Medea is deserting her native land and following Jason, as a dependent suppliant, to his.

370–2  πάντῃ νυν πρόφρων ὑπερίστασο . . . ἀλλ ̓ αὔτως εἴρυσο: “Now, in every way, protect me graciously and do not leave me, far away from you, alone, as you pay court to kings, but defend me come what may.” Medea changes the tone of her appeal and turns from forceful argument to supplication. πρόφρων indicates a conciliatory tone, almost prayer-like in nature; Medea is trying to capture Jason's good will as though he were a god, and indeed one of the psychological points of supplication is that the act shows that the suppliant is no threat. In Medea’s speech, however, the power inherent in the act is made more explicit. Together with the act of supplication comes the threat of retaliation by greater powers on behalf of the suppliant. ὑπερίστασο: pres. imperat. mp. 2nd. sg. < ὑπερίσταμαι expresses the defence that a man can provide for a woman. 

370 μηδέ με μούνην: represents the ultimate plea of one about to be abandoned. Her condition verges on that of bereavement. Admetus is described as left alone by Alcestis in exactly such language (Eur. Alc. 296).

371  ἐποιχόμενος: gives the picture of Jason lobbying the Kings to obtain the desired decision in the dispute and being most assiduous in doing so: see 4.274–5 (wide-ranging conquests of the early Egyptian king Sesotris).

372  εἴρυσο: "protect," perf. imperat. 2nd. sg. > ἐρύω. The archaic flavour acts as a suitable introduction to the formal appeal to δίκη and θέμις which follows.

372–3  δίκη δέ τοι ἔμπεδος ἔστω / καὶ θέμις, ἣν ἄμφω συναρέσσαμεν: “let justice and right, to which we have both agreed, stand firm.” θέμις and δίκη refer back to Jason’s oath at 4.95–8 and to his speech at the temple of Hecate where, as a suppliant, he used these ideas to persuade her (3.981) Medea’s words also allude to Eur. Med. 160–3 The solemnity of the phrasing is subverted by the sordid nature of the dispute. The structure of the statement resembles Il. 8.521. The use of συναρέσσαμεν emphasises the bargain that she believes she has made with Jason, in the same way that 4.355 stresses the agreement about to be made between him and the Colchians about her fate.

373–4  ἢ σύγ” ἔπειτα / φασγάνῳ αὐτίκα τόνδε μέσον διὰ λαιμὸν ἀμῆσαι: “If not, then straight away with your sword slash the middle of this my throat.” Medea presents the irresolute Jason with a stark alternative to keeping his word, which implies more resolution than he has previously shown. She prefers a hero’s death to abandonment. Her fate is not to be that of a tragic heroine contemplating suicide but of a warrior perishing in battle from an adversary’s blow (Il. 20.481). Again, the tempo of the speech has changed, together with the tone: from the elevated appeal to the abstract concepts of Dike and Themis to physical brutality.

375–6  ὄφρ ̓ ἐπίηρα φέρωμαι ἐοικότα μαργοσύνῃσιν, / σχέτλιε: “so that I may pay a fitting price for my wantonness, cruel man!” The words are full of irony and self-recrimination, after the style of Helen in the Iliad. ἐοικότα splits the line into two, balancing a question of Homeric interpretation and a noun with lyrical and elegiac associations. 

375  ἐπίηρα φέρωμαι: “win” or “carry off”, and ἦρα φέροντες (405–7n.), “gratify”, represent two possibilities in a ancient philological argument.

375  μαργοσύνη: is the lack of σωφροσύνη in sexual matters, induced by μάργος ("mad," "greedy," "lustful," "lewd") Ἔρως. It could be a recollection of μαχλοσύνη (in Homer only at Il. 24.30 referring to the judgment of Paris).

376  σχέτλιε: in Homer and Herodotus this word denotes cruelty or, occasionally, inhuman courage . . . the adjective suggests the question “How could you bring yourself to do this?” The pause permits the hiatus.

376–8  εἴ <γὰρ> κεν με . . . ἄμφω συνθεσίας: “If the king, to whom you both entrust these cruel agreements, decides that I am the property of my brother.” These lines have the formal sound of the law courts about them. There is a syllable missing at the beginning of 376. γάρ seems the most likely replacement.

377  There is no good parallel for transmitted ἐπίσχετε meaning "to submit" a case to an impartial arbiter. ὑπίσχετε should perhaps be read: ὑπέχω would continue the legal colouring of the passage.

378  ἄμφω stresses the adversarial nature of Medea's speech. She is defending herself against both Jason and Apsyrtus.

378  πῶς ἵξομαι ὄμματα πατρός; / ἦ μάλ ̓ ἐϋκλειής; “How shall I come into my father’s sight? Doubtless, with a very glorious reputation.” ἦ μάλ ̓ (Spitzner: see further (Hulse 2020) introduces sarcastic anticipation of a warm welcome from an injured party. Μedea is discussing alternatives to death. At Eur. Med. 502–5 Medea's reference to looking her father in the eye, if she is forced to go back to Colchis, is particularly pertinent, bearing in mind the piercing eyesight of the Colchian Royal Family (4.727–9).

379–81  τίνα δ ̓ οὐ τίσιν, . . . σὺ δέ κεν θυμηδέα νόστον ἕλοιο; “What revenge, what grim and horrible fate will I not suffer for the terrible things I have done? While you would achieve a pleasant return home?” After the long question expressing her likely grim fate, Medea’s words σὺ . . . νόστον ἕλοιο condense sentiments such as those of the Cyclops’ prophecy at Od. 9.532–4 and phrases such as Il. 16.82 into a brief and contemptuous remark. The repetition of the negative gives the maximum emphasis to the case that she is making. σὺ δέ κεν: emphasises the alternatives offered by Medea's rhetorical question.

382–3  μὴ τόγε παμβασίλεια Διὸς τελέσειεν ἄκοιτις, / ᾗ ἐπι κυδιάεις·: “Never may Zeus' bride, the queen of all, in whom you glory, bring that to pass.” Ιt is ironic that Medea is made to call on the very deity who is manipulating her fortunes (4.21–3). τελέσειεν evokes Hera Teleia, goddess of marriage. Readers can only think of how bitterly the marriage between Jason and Medea will end. ᾗ ἔπι κυδιάεις:  rather than ᾗ ἐπικυδιάεις. The supposed compound ἐπικυδιάω is attested nowhere else. κυδιάω is an Alexandrian present formed by analogy perhaps prompted by forms such as κυδιάουσαι (Hom. Hym. 2.170). Medea is mocking Jason because she believes that he has achieved κῦδος, the point of a hero’s existence, only through her aid.

383–84  μνήσαιο δέ καί ποτ ̓ ἐμεῖο, / στρευγόμενος καμάτοισι·: “May you some time remember me, when you are overcome with continual suffering.” This is the cry of the one about to be deserted or abandoned Medea are forced to cut her ties with a social group, the family, to attach herself to her lover. Medea’s “remember me” comes with a threat, unlike Nausicaa's simple farewell to Odysseus at Od. 8.462. μνήσῃ ἐμεῖ', and the appeal of Odysseus' comrades at Od. 10.472 μιμνῄσκεο πατρίδος αἴης. Both Hypsipyle and Medea's previous use of the appeal at 1.8963.1069, 3.1110 are also emotionally charged but in a less menacing way.

384  στρευγόμενος καμάτοισι: Medea is condemning Jason to a long period of suffering without immediate respite.

384–5  δέρος δέ τοι ἶσον ὀνείρῳ / οἴχοιτ ̓ εἰς ἔρεβος μεταμώνιον: “may the Fleece like a dream vanish into the nether darkness on the wind!” First, the Fleece’s radiance was overwhelming (4.171–7) and now its light is to vanish. δέρος . . . ὀνείρῳ stresses the futility of Jason’s efforts without Medea’s assistance. The light of the Fleece will be totally extinguished in the darkness of Erebos. Medea threatens Jason with the total loss of his prize.

385–7  ἐκ δέ σε πάτρης . . . σῇ πάθον ἀτροπίῃ: “May my Furies drive you from your homeland immediately because of what I have suffered through your heartlessness.” Medea’s curse comes true. After Jason delivered the Fleece to Pelias, he called upon Medea to take vengeance on him. Medea duped his daughters into boiling the dissected parts of his body in a cauldron. Pelias remained dead, and his son Acastus expelled Jason and Medea from Iolcus. Ironically, Medea uses words and sentiments similar to those of Jason when he curses her at the end of Euripides” play (Med. 1389–90). Medea speaks forcefully of “my Erinyes”. It makes the vendetta with which she threatens Jason more personal and intense; “even beggars may have Erinyes” (alluding to Od. 17.475). It is the task of the Erinyes to pursue. Δίκη and θέμις (4.373– 4) are associated with Ἐρινύες, since the latter especially punish sins against kinsfolk or relatives.

387  ἀτροπίῃ: “inflexibilty, heartlessness” is a rare word and only occurs at Theogn. 218 before A. (4.1006, 1047). It is picked up by νηλεές in 388–9. Perhaps, A. also means the reader to remember the πολυτροπία of Odysseus, when compared with the ἀμηχανία of Jason.

388–9  τὰ μὲν οὐ θέμις . . . / νηλεές: “It is not right that these curses fall unaccomplished to the ground. You have broken a very great oath, pitiless one.” 

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An oath is regarded as the greatest, i.e. the most binding and sacred of pledges. Broken oaths play an important part in the complaints of Euripides' Medea (20–2). This emphasis on oaths is important on two levels: first, oaths did not normally play a part in the normal wedding ceremony. Any contract would be between the bridegroom and the legal guardian of the bride. Medea, both here and in Euripides' play, speaks of Jason’s oaths and pledges as having been given to her. In contracting a marriage in this way, she takes on the role of a male citizen. Euripides' (and Apollonius') divergence from custom makes the intended betrayal more personal: when he abandons Medea, Jason breaks vows that he made to Medea herself.

389  νηλεές: addressed directly to Jason, occupies a strong position in the line and links closely with σχέτλιε (376) and ἀτροπίῃ (387).

389–90  ἀλλ ̓ οὔ θήν μοι . . . συνθεσιάων: “but, surely, not long, will you and your comrades be at ease leering at me, for all your agreements.” Medea’s speech finishes strongly, with two lines full of assonance and alliteration. οὔ θήν: is heavily ironic and sums up how she feels about the Argonauts at this moment: she is surrounded by ungrateful and insensitive men. It implies the same kind of mockery which Electra cannot bear at Soph. El. 1153–4. Medea seems to be imagining a similar situation. συνθεσιάων: echoing the first line of the speech, are a theme of the discussions and the marriage between Jason and Medea. Here they will achieve the murder of Apsyrtus: later they will be tragically broken in Corinth. The full significance of this final word can only be appreciated by the reader. It is emphasised by the combination of a dactylic fifth foot with the sixth in a single word,

391–3  ὧς φάτ ̓ ἀναζείουσα βαρὺν χόλον· . . . αὐτὴ μαλερῷ πυρί: “So she spoke, seething with grim anger. She longed to set fire to the ship, burn all the equipment and then throw herself into the consuming flames.” The transmitted text, ἔμπεδα πάντα, cannot bear any sense which would connect it with the ship’s fixtures: therefore, read ἔντεα, comparing Hom. Hym. 3.488–9 and for ἔντεα πάντα, Quint. Smyrn. 14.444–5 Medea wants to start a fire on board the Argo, make sure that it spreads to the rigging (Od. 15.322 where διακεάζω was interpreted as either “burn” or “split”) and throw herself into the blaze. The corruption might have been caused by a scribe’s recollection of lines such as Il. 12.12 τόφρα δὲ καὶ μέγα τεῖχος Ἀχαιῶν ἔμπεδον ἦεν, where the context is that of Hector’s attempt to burn the Greek ships.

393–4  τοῖα δ ̓ Ἰήσων / μειλιχίοις ἐπέεσσιν ὑποδδείσας προσέειπεν: “Jason took fright and spoke to her with soothing words.” Jason is more afraid of Medea than of the Colchian army. Medea has lost any illusions she might have had about Jason’s heroism and Jason sees that Medea resembles her father.

395   ἴσχεο, δαιμονίη, τὰ μὲν ἁνδάνει οὐδ ̓ ἐμοὶ αὐτῷ: “Calm down, poor lady. I too take no pleasure in this.” In Homer δαιμονίη expresses astonishment or criticism The literal meaning of δαιμονίη is “possessed by a δαίμων.” Jason often uses the word when he is trying to placate Medea, using methods that verge on lying (3.11204.95).

396–7  ἀλλά τιν ἀμβολίην διζήμεθα . . . ἀμφιδέδηεν / εἵνεκα σεῦ: “but we are looking for some way to postpone a battle, for such a cloud of hostile men, like a fire, surrounds us, on your account.” Surrounded as he is by hordes of Colchians, Jason’s advice to delay matters and rely on δόλος and συνθεσίη rather than combat contrasts with the way in which a Homeric warrior behaves at a time of crisis. Jason's speech uses Homeric phraseology alludes (see Il. 7.290 24.28816.666. 328–9), but this heroic tone is subverted by context.

398–400  πάντες γάρ, ὅσοι χθόνα . . . οἷά τε ληισθεῖσαν, ὑπότροπον οἴκαδ ̓ ἄγοιντο: “All who inhabit this land are keen to help Apsyrtus, so that the Colchians can take you back to your father, in the belied that you had been plundered in war.” Jason continues to justify his course of action using Homeric phrases that ill suit the reality of the situation.

398  πάντες . . . νέμονται: recalls Il. 17.172

399  μεμάαασιν: see Il. 1.590ἀμυνέμεν: see Il.8.414.

400  ὑπότροπον οἴκαδ ̓ ἄγοιντο: see Od. 21.211.

401–3  αὐτοὶ δὲ στυγερῷ κεν ὀλοίμεθα . . . ἕλωρ κείνοισι λίποιμεν: “If we were to join battle, we would all perish in hateful death and it would be even worse for you, if dying we were to leave you as easy prey for them.” The matter is not be decided by combat (Il. 2.385). The echo of Hector’s words to Andromache at 6.462–3 and the reference to a frequent fate on the field of Troy (1.4) emphasise that Jason is avoiding combat. His argument is rhetorically empty, in that Medea’s situation will not alter much whatever happens. Unlike Andromache, she still has a family to whom she can be returned. Jason’s thoughts are centred on self-preservation.

404–5  ἥδε δὲ συνθεσίη κρανέει δόλον ᾧ μιν ἐς ἄτην / βήσομεν: “But this agreement will accomplish a trick by which we will lead Apsyrtus to destruction.” Jason proposes an alternative to combat and the phrase that he uses is unexpected. Treaties are usually made to ensure peace not treachery, and κραίνω is a word appropriate to solemn undertakings (see Il. 1.41, 504 τόδε μοι κρήηνον ἐέλδωρ but also Od8.276). One might ask whether he has planned to use δόλος all along or whether it is an inspiration of the moment. This uncertainty is typical of Jason and the euphemisms that fill the end of this speech contrast sharply with Medea’s reply. His suggestion of δόλος recalls Aesch. Cho. 555–7 (Orestes to the Chorus) where Orestes and Electra believe that they are planning a justified revenge. In contrast, Jason and Medea offer no moral justification for their stratagem.

405–7  οὐδ ̓ ἂν ὁμῶς περιναιέται . . . τετέτυκται: “Nor, equally, would the local people agree with the requests of the Colchians, without their leader who is your guardian and brother.” Jason explains the practicalities of his agreement. His concluding remarks seem vague, and this is reflected in the number of variants present in the transmitted tradition. The text presented here is only one possible version. For ἀντιάω as an equivalent of ἀντιάζω, see LSJ 2v. Here, it is a dative plural participle, emphasising the dependency of the Colchians on the local population. ἦρα φέροιεν is a reference to whether ἐπίηρα φέρειν or ἐπὶ ἦρα φέρειν should be written in Homer (375–6n.). ἀοσσητήρ is usually explained as “helper,” which, although appropriate at 4.146 Ὕπνον ἀοσσητῆρα, θεῶν ὕπατον, seems strange here. Some meaning, such as “guardian, saviour” seems to be required. The whole line, with its awkward formality, adds to the impression of prevarication that Jason gives here.

408–9  οὐδ ̓ ἂν ἐγὼ Κόλχοισιν ὑπείξω μὴ πτολεμίζειν / ἀντιβίην, ὅτε μή με διὲξ εἰῶσι νέεσθαι: “I too shall not shrink from facing the Colchians in battle, if they do not allow me to pass through.” Jason continues to discuss possibilities rather than make decisions. The awkwardness of the syntax reflects his hesitation.

 

νόος, mind, perception

πεμπάζω, ponder 350

καρδίη -ας ἡ, heart

ἐλελίζω, to whirl round

ἀνίη, torment, vexation;

νωλεμές, without pause, unceasingly, continually

νόσφι, apart, away

ἑταῖρος -ου ὁ, comrade, companion

ἐκπροκαλέομαι, to call to oneself

ἄλλυδις, elsewhere, to another place

λιάζομαι, to be separate

ἑκάς, far, afar, far off

στονόεις, causing groans

ἐνωπαδὶς, in one's face, to one's face

ἔκφημι, to speak out

μῦθος -ου ὁ, spoken thing, speech, plan, story

Αἰσονίδης, Aesonides (Jason)

συναρτύνω, devise, fit out 355

μενοινή, eager desire

ἦέ, poet. for ἤ, or, whether

πάγχυ, quite, wholly, entirely, altogether

λαθιφροσύνη, forgetfulness

ἐνίημι, to plunge someone (acc.) into something (dat.)

ἀγλαΐα, splendor, beauty; joy, triumph

μετατρέπομαι, look back to, care for, show regard for

ἀγορεύω ἀγορεύσω ἠγόρευσα ἠγόρευκα ἠγόρευμαι ἠγορεύθην, speak

χρειώ, want, need

ἐνίσχω = ἐνέχω, to hold within; (pass.) to be liable or subject to (+ dat.)

Ἱκέσιος, of or for suppliants (epithet of Zeus)

ὅρκιον, an oath

μελιχρός, honey-sweet

ὑποσχεσίη, promise

κόσμος -ου ὁ, what is right 360

ἀναίδητος, ον, shameless

ἰότης, will, desire

κλέος -ους τό, glory

μέγαρον -ου τό, a large room, hall, feast-hall

τοκεύς, parent

νοσφίζω, turn away, separate from

ὑπέρτατος, highest, most important

τηλόθι, far away

λυγρός -ά -όν, sad, mournful, miserable

πόντος -ου ὁ, sea, the deep

ἀλκυών, the kingfisher

φορέω, to bear or carry

κάματος, toil, trouble, labour

σόος, safe and sound, alive and well, in good case

βοῦς βοός ὁ, bull,

γηγενής, earthborn 365

ἀναπίμπλημι, fulfil, accomplish

ἀέθλος -ου ὁ, contest

ὕστατος -η -ον, latest, last

αὖ, besides

κῶας, a fleece

ἐπάϊστος, heard of, detected

αἱρέω αἱρήσω εἷλον ᾕρηκα ᾕρημαι ᾑρέθην, take

ματίη, folly, error

ὀλοός, destroying, destructive, fatal

αἶσχος, shame, disgrace

καταχέω χέω ἔχεα κέχυκα κέχυμαι ἐχύθην, to pour

θῆλυς θήλεια θῆλυ, female, feminine, soft

τῶ: therefore

δάμαρ, a wife, spouse

αὐτοκασιγνήτη, own sister

πάντη, every way, on every side 370

πρόφρων, kindly, gracious

ὑπερίσταμαι, to stand over, support

ἀπάνευθε, far away

ἐποίχομαι, to go towards, approach

αὔτως, in the same way, just as before; come what may, no matter what

ἐρύω, protect

ἔμπεδος, firm-set, steadfast

συναρέσσω, to agree

φάσγανον, a sword

μέσος -η -ον, middle, in the middle

λαιμός, the throat, gullet

ἀμάω, cut, shear through

ἐπίηρα (n. pl. acc. = χάριν), reward, recompense, payback 375

φέρω οἴσω ἤνεγκα ἐνήνοχα ἐνήνεγμαι ἠνέχθην, carry off (see notes)

εἰκώς -υῖα -ός, fitting, seemly, appropriate

μαργοσύνη, ἡ, lust, wantonness

σχέτλιος, cruel

δικάζω δικάσω ἐδίκασα δεδίκακα δεδίκασμαι ἐδικάσθην, to judge

ἄναξ -ακτος ὁ, ruler, lord

ἐπίσχω = ἐπέχω ἐφέξω ἐπέσχον ἐπέσχηκα --- ---, to entrust to (+ dat.)

ἀλεγεινός, cruel, grievous

συνθεσίη, agreement

ἱκνέομαι ἵξομαι ἱκόμην --- ἷγμαι ---, come

ὄμμα -ατος τό, eye

εὐκλεής -ές, well spoken-of, with a good reputation

τίσις -εως ἡ,  punishment

βαρύς -εῖα -ύ, heavy, tiresome

ἄτη ἡ, torment

σμυγερός, with pain, painful 380

δεινός -ή -όν, awesome, terrible

ἔρδω pf. ἔοργα, to do

ὀτλέω, suffer, endure

θυμηδής, well-pleasing

νόστος -ου ὁ, return (home)

αἱρέω αἱρήσω εἷλον ᾕρηκα ᾕρημαι ᾑρέθην, take

παμβασίλεια, queen of all, all-powerful queen

Ζεύς Διός ὁ, Zeus

τελέω τελέσω ἐτέλεσα τετέλεκα τετέλεσμαι ἐτελέσθην, fulfill, accomplish

ἄκοιτις, a spouse, wife

κυδιάω, to exult

μιμνήσκω μνήσω ἔμνησα --- μέμνημαι ἐμνήσθην ---, remind, remember

στρεύγομαι, to suffer pain or distress

κάματος, toil, trouble, labour

δέρος, skin, fleece

ἴσος -η -ον, equal to, like

ὄνειρος τό, a dream

οἴχομαι οἰχήσομαι --- --- --- ---, to be gone, to have gone 385

ἔρεβος, darkness, a place of deepest darkness

μεταμώνιος ον, vain, idle

ἐλαύνω ἐλῶ ἤλασα ἐλήλακα ἐλήλαμαι ἐλάθην, to drive, set in motion

Ἐρινύες, the Erinys, the Furies, goddesses of vengeance

πάσχω πείσομαι ἔπαθον πέπονθα --- ---, to suffer, undergo, be affected

ἀτροπία, inflexibility, heartlessness

θέμις, right, justice

ἀκράαντος, unfulfilled, fruitless

πίπτω πεσοῦμαι ἔπεσον πέπτωκα --- ---, to fall

ἀλιταίνω, to sin against, offend against (+ acc.)

ὅρκος -ου ὁ, oath

νηλεής, pitiless, ruthless

θήν, doubtless, surely now, enclitic particle, much like δή or δήπου in prose

ἐπιλλίζω, to mock

ὀπίσσω, hereafter

δήν, long, for a long while

εὔκηλος, free from care, at one's ease 390

ἕκητι, by means of, by virtue of, by the aid of (+ gen.)

συνθεσία ἡ, agreement, deal

ἀναζέω, to boil up

βαρύς -εῖα -ύ, heavy, tiresome

χόλος -ου ὁ, gall

ἵημι ἥσω ἧκα εἷκα εἷμαι εἵθην, (mid.) hasten, desire strongly

καταφλέγω, to burn down, burn up, consume

ἔμπεδος, in the ground, firm-set, steadfast

κεάζω, to split, cleave

πίπτω πεσοῦμαι ἔπεσον πέπτωκα --- ---, to fall

μαλερός, mighty, fierce, devouring, ravening

τοῖος -α -ον, quality, such, such-like

μειλίχιος, gentle, mild, soothing

ἔπος -ους τό, word

ὑποδείδω, to fear 395

ἴσχω, hold; hold back, check, restrain

δαιμονίη, lady (form of address)

ἁνδάνω, to please, delight, gratify

ἀμβολίη, delay

δίζημαι, to seek out, look for

δηιοτής, battle-strife, battle, death

δυσμενής, full of ill-will, hostile

νέφος, a cloud, mass

ἀμφιδαίω, to burn

νέμω νεμῶ ἔνειμα νενέμηκα νενέμημαι ἐνεμήθην, distribute; (mid.) possess, hold

μάω, be eager, press on

ἀμύνω ἀμυνῶ ἤμυνα ἤμυκα ἤμυμαι ἠμύνηθην, aid, defend

ληΐζομαι, seize, carry off as booty 400

ὑπότροπος, returning

στυγερός, hated, abominated, loathed

ὄλλυμι ὀλῶ ὤλεσα (or ὠλόμην) ὀλώλεκα (or ὄλωλα) --- ---, destroy, lose

ὄλεθρος, ruin, destruction, death

μίγνυμι, μείξω, ἔμειξα, μέμειγμαι, ἐμείχθην, mix, mingle

δάις (mostly in dat. δάϊ), war, battle

ῥίγιον, more bitter

ἄλγος -ους τό, pain

θνήσκω ἀποθανοῦμαι ἀπέθανον τέθνηκα --- ---, die, be slain

ἕλωρ, booty, spoil, prey

συνθεσίη ἡ, agreement

κραίνω, to accomplish, fulfil, bring to pass

δόλος -ου ὁ, trick

ἄτη ἡ, demise, doom

περιναιέτης, one of those who dwell round, a neighbour 405

ἀντιόω, to meet face to face

ἦρα, service, gratification

νόσφι, aloof, apart, afar, away

ἄναξ -ακτος ὁ, ruler, lord

ἀοσσητήρ -ῆρος ὁ, assistant, helper, aider

τεύχω, to make; (in pf. and plpf. pass. = γίγνεσθαι or εἶναι) to be

ὑπείκω, to shrink from, hesitate to (+ infin.)

πολεμίζω, to wage war, make war, fight

ἀντιβίην, against, face to face

διέκ, through and out of

ἐάω ἐάσω εἴασα εἴακα εἴαμαι εἰάθην, suffer, permit

νέομαι, to go

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Suggested Citation

Peter Hulse. Apollonius: Argonautica Book IV. Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Dickinson College Commentaries, 2022. ISBN: 978-1-947822-21-4. https://dcc.dickinson.edu/apollonius-argonautica/argonautica-iv-350-409