Chapter 9. Phaethon, Sappho’s Phaon, and the White Rock of Leukas: “Reading” the Symbols of Greek Lyric

In the arcane Greek myths of Phaethon and Pinion there are latent themes that help resolve three problems of interpretation in Greek poetry. The first of these problems is to be found in the Parthaneion of Alcman (PMG 1). It concerns a wondrous horse conjured up in a simile describing the beauty of the maiden Hagesikhora, center of attention in the song-and-dance ensemble:
δοκεῖ γὰρ ἤμεν αὔτα
ἐκπρεπὴς τὼς ὥπερ αἴτις
ἐν βοτοῖς στάσειεν ἵππον παγὸν ἀεθλοφόρον καναχάποδα
τῶν ὑποπετριδίων ὀνείρων
Alcman PMG 1.45-49
For she appears
outstanding, as when someone
sets among grazing beasts a horse,
well-built, a prize-winner, with thundering hooves,
from out of those dreams underneath the rock.
So the problem is, what is the meaning of ὑποπετριδίων? I translate ‘underneath the rock’ following the scholia of the Louvre Papyrus, which connect this adjective with πέτρα = pétrā ‘rock’ and quote the following passage from the Odyssey,
πὰρ δ’ ἴσαν Ὠκεανοῦ τε ῥοὰς καὶ Λευκάδα πέτρην {223|224}
ἠδὲ παρ’ Ἠελίοιο πύλας καὶ δῆμον ὀνείρων
Odyssey xxiv 11-12
And they passed by the streams of Okeanos and the White Rock [Leukàs pétrā]
and past the Gates of the Sun and the District of Dreams.
This interpretation has been rejected by Denys Page, who argues: “The reference to [Odyssey] xxiv 11f is irrelevant; nothing is said there about dreams living ‘under rocks’.” [1] Instead, Page follows the Etymologicum Magnum (783.20), where we read ὑποπτεριδίων ‘sustained by wings’, so that the wondrous horse being described would be something ‘out of winged dreams’; in support of this interpretation, Page adduces passages where dreams are represented as winged beings (e.g. Euripides Hecuba 70). [2] All the same, Page retains the reading ὑποπετριδίων in his edited text, so that we are left to assume some sort of ad hoc metathesis of ὑποπετριδίων to ὑποπτεριδίων, as if the local Laconian dialectal pronunciation of the word for ‘wing’ were petr- rather than pter-. Other experts, though hesitantly, go along with the interpretation ‘under rocks’, allowing for some vague notion of dreams abiding underneath some mysterious rock in the Laconian poetic imagination. [3] In the most accessible chrestomathy of Greek lyric, the editor chooses to take ὑποπετριδίων at face value: “the dreams are those of siestas taken underneath a shady rock’. [4]
The second problem of interpretation, then, is the significance of the White Rock, Leukàs pétrā, in Odyssey xxiv 11. This mysterious place has to be viewed in the overall context of Odyssey xxiv 1-14, describing the passage of the spirits of the suitors of Penelope, who have just been killed by Odysseus, into the realm of the dead. This description, known as the Introduction to the Second Nekyia, represents a distinct subgenre of Greek epic. It is replete with idiosyncrasies in both theme and diction, [5] and its contents afford a precious glimpse into early Greek concepts of {224|225} afterlife. Nowhere else in Homeric diction do we find the puzzling expressions Ἠελίοιο πύλας ‘Gates [púlai] of the Sun’, δῆμον ὀνείρων ‘District [dêmos] of Dreams’, and Λευκάδα πέτρην ‘While Rock [Leukàs pétrā]. On the level of content, however, there do exist Homeric parallels to the first two of the three expressions.
In the instance of Ἠελίοιο πύλας ‘Gates [púlai] of the Sun’, there is a thematic parallelism between púlai ‘gales’ and Homeric Púlos ‘Pylos’. As Douglas Frame has demonstrated, the royal name Néstōr and the place-name of King Nestor’s realm, Púlos ‘Pylos’, are based on mythological models. [6] I should stress that Frame’s arguments are used not to negate a historical Nestor and the historical Pylos, but rather to show that the kernel of the epic tradition about Nestor and Pylos was based on local myths linked with local cults. The clearest example is a story, represented as Nestor’s own tale within the Iliad, that tells of the hero’s retrieving the cattle of Pylos from the Epeians (XI 671-761). Frame argues convincingly that the retrieved cattle are a thematic analogue to the Cattle of the Sun. [7] The etymology of Néstōr, explained by Frame as ‘he who brings back to light and life’, is relevant. [8] We have already noted the association of words built out of the root *nes- with the theme of sunrise. [9] In fact, the entire plot of Odysseus’ travels is interlaced with diction that otherwise connotes the theme of sunset followed by sunrise. To put it more bluntly, the epic plot of Odysseus’ travels operates on an extended solar metaphor, as Frame argues in adducing the internal evidence of Homeric theme and diction. [10] Likewise, when Nestor returns the cattle to Pylos, it is implicit that Pylos is the Gate of the Sun and an entrance to the underworld. [11] There are survivals of this hieratic connotation in the local Pylian lore of classical times (Pausanias 4.30.2-3). [12] In a Homeric allusion to the myth about Herakles’ descent into the underworld and his wounding of Hades (Iliad V 395-404), the name Pylos actually serves to connote the realm of the otherworld rather than any realm of this world: {225|226}
ἐν Πύλῳ ἐν νεκύεσσι
Iliad V 397
in Pylos, among the dead
Hades himself is the pulártēs ‘gate-closer’ (Iliad VIII 367, etc.). In short, the thematic associations of Púlos imply that the Gate of the Sun is also the Gate of the Underworld, and thus we have a parallel to the context of Ἠελίοιο πύλας ‘Gates [púlai] of the Sun’ in xxiv 12. Accordingly, a Homeric expression like πύλας Ἀίδαο περήσειν ‘pass by the gates of Hades’ (V 646; cf. XXIII 71) implies that the psūkhaí ‘spirits’ of the dead traverse to the nuclei-world through the same passage traveled by the sun when it sets.
In the instance of δῆμον ὀνείρων ‘District [dêmos] of Dreams’ (Odyssey xxiv 12), the concept of a community of dreams situated past the Gates of Hades is thematicully consistent with other Homeric expressions involving dreams, After a person dies, his psūkhḗ ‘spirit’ flies off ἠύτ’ ὄνειρος ‘like a dream’ (xi 222). Hermes, who is conducting the psūkhaí of the dead suitors (xxiv 1), is also the conductor of dreams, ἡγήτορ’ ὀνείρων (Hymn to Hermes 14). Since it is Hermes who leads the psūkhaí of the suitors past the Gates of the Sun (xxiv II), it is significant that another of his inherited epithets is pulēdókos (Hymn to Hermes 15), to be interpreted as ‘he who receives [the psūkhaí] at the Gates’. [13] These are the Gates of Hades, or we may call them the Gates of the Sun. But there is also another name available. Since Hermes conducts dreams as well as the ghosts of the dead, and since dreams move like ghosts, it is not surprising that dreams, too, have gates (Odyssey xix 562; cf. iv 809). [14] Since the Ἠελίοιο πύλας ‘Gates [púlai] of the Sun’ are already mentioned in xxiv 12, we may expect δῆμον ὀνείρων ‘District [dêmos] of Dreams’ in the same line to be a periphrastic substitute for a redundant concept ‘Gates of Dreams’.
In the instance of Λευκάδα πέτρην ‘White Rock [Leukàs pétrā]’ (Odyssey xxiv 11), we find no parallel in Homeric theme and diction. All we can say about the White Rock at this point is that its collocation with δῆμον ὀνείρων ‘District [dêmos] of Dreams’ (xxiv 12) seems parallel to the {226|227} expression ὑποπετριδίων ὀνείρων ‘from dreams underneath a rock’ in Alcman’s Partheneion (PMG 1.49).
As we begin to examine the attestations of Leukàs pétrā ‘White Rock’ beyond Homer, we come upon the third problem of interpretation, concerning the While Rock and a figure called Phaon:
οὗ δὴ λέγεται πρώτη Σαπφὼ
τὸν ὑπέρκομπον θηρῶσα Φάον’
οἰστρῶντι πόθῳ ῥῖψαι πέτρας
ἀπὸ τηλεφανοῦς. ἀλλὰ κατ’εὐχὴν
σήν, δέσποτ’ ἄναξ, εὐφημείσθω
τέμενος πέρι Λευκάδος ἀκτῆς
Menander F 258 K [15]
where they say that Sappho was the first,
hunting down the proud Phaon,
to throw herself, in her goading desire, from the rock
that shines from afar. But now, in accordance with your sacred utterance,
lord king, let there be silence throughout the sacred precinct of the head-land of Leukas.
This fragment, alluding to a story about Sappho’s jumping into the sea for love of Phaon, is from a play of Menander’s entitled The Leukadia. We infer from Menander’s lines that Sappho leapt off the While Rock of Leukas in pursuit of Phaon. It is to Strabo that we owe the preservation of these verses (10.2.9 C452). He is in the process of describing Cape Leukas, a prominent white rock jutting out from Leukas into the sea and toward Kephallenia. [16] From this rock Sappho is supposed to have jumped into the sea after Phaon. Strabo goes on to describe a shrine of Apollo Leukatas situated on Cape Leukas and an ancestral cult practice connected with it. Every year, he reports, some criminal was cast down from the while rock into the sea below for the sake of averting evil, ἀποτροπῆς χάριν (ibid.). Wings and even birds would be fastened to him, and men in fishing boats would be stationed below the rock in order to retrieve the victim after his plunge (ibid.).
As Wilamowitz has convincingly argued, [17] Menander chose for his play a setting that was known for its exotic cult practice involving a white rock and conflated it in the quoted passage with a literary theme likewise {227|228} involving a white rock. There are two surviving attestations of this theme. The first is from lyric:
ἀρθεὶς δηὖτ’ ἀπὸ Λευκάδος
πέτρης ἐς πολιὸν κῦμα κολυμβῶ μεθύων ἔρωτι
Anacreon PMG 370
One more time taking off in the air, down from the White
Rock into the dark waves do I dive, intoxicated with lust.
The second is from satyr drama:
ὡς ἐκπιεῖν γ’ ἂν κύλικα μαινοίμην μίαν
πάντων Κυκλώπων <μὴ> ἀντιδοὺς βοσκήματα [18]
ῥῖψαί τ’ ἐς ἅλμην Λευκάδος πέτρας ἄπο
ἅπαξ μεθυσθεὶς καταβαλών τε τὰς ὄφρυς.
ὡς ὅς γε πίνων μὴ γέγηθε μαίνεται
Euripides Cyclops 163-168
I would be crazy not to give all the herds of the Cyclopes
in return for drinking one cup [of that wine]
and throw myself from the white rock into the brine,
once I am intoxicated, with eyebrows relaxed.
Whoever is not happy when he drinks is crazy.
In both instances, falling from the white rock is parallel to falling into a swoon—be it from intoxication or from making love. As for Menander’s allusion to Sappho’s plunge from a Leukás ‘white rock’, Wilamowitz reasonably infers that there must have existed a similar theme, which does not survive, in the poetry of Sappho. Within the framework of this theme, the female speaker must have pictured herself as driven by love for a certain Phaon, or at least so it was understood by the time New Comedy flourished. [19] So the third and the last of the three problems is, why should Sappho seem to be in love with a mythical figure?
About Phaon himself we have no reports beyond the meager fragments gathered in Sappho F 211 V. It appears that he was an old porthmeús ‘ferryman’ who was transformed into a beautiful youth by Aphrodite herself; also, the goddess fell in love with this beautiful Phaon {228|229} and hid him in a head of lettuce. Besides specifically attesting the latter myth in Cratinus (F 330 Kock), Athenaeus (69d-e) also cites striking parallels in Eubulus (F 14 Kock) and Callimachus (F 478 Pfeiffer), where we see that Adonis, too, was hidden in a head of lettuce by Aphrodite. This thematic parallelism of Aphrodite and Phaon with Aphrodite and Adonis becomes more important as we come to another myth about the second pair.
According to the account in Book VII of the mythographer Ptolemaios Chennos (ca. A.D. 100; by way of Photius Bibliotheca 152-153 Bekker), [20] the first to dive off the heights of Cape Leukas was none other than Aphrodite herself, out of love for a dead Adonis. After Adonis died (how it happened is not said), the mourning Aphrodite went off searching for him and finally found him at ‘Cypriote Argos’, in the shrine of Apollo Eríthios. She consults Apollo, who instructs her to seek relief from her love by jumping off the while rock of Leukas, where Zeus sits whenever he wants relief from his passion for Hera. Then Ptolemaios launches into a veritable catalogue of other figures who followed Aphrodite’s precedent and took a ritual plunge as a cure for love. For example, Queen Artemisia I is reputed to have leapt off the white rock out of love for one Dardanos, succeeding only in getting herself killed. Several others are mentioned who died from the leap, including a certain iambographer Charinos, who expired only after being fished out of the water with a broken leg, but not before blurting out his four last iambic trimeters, painfully preserved for us with the compliments of Ptolemaios (and Photius as well). Someone called Makēs was more fortunate: having succeeded in escaping from four love affairs after four corresponding leaps from the white rock, he earned the epithet Leukopetrās. We may follow the lead of Wilamowitz in questioning the degree of historicity in such accounts. [21] There is, however, a more important concern. In the lengthy and detailed account of Ptolemaios, Sappho is not mentioned at all, let alone Phaon. From this silence I infer that the source of this myth about Aphrodite and Adonis is independent of Sappho’s own poetry or of later distortions based on it. [22] Accordingly, the ancient cult practice at Cape Leukas, as described by Strabo (10.2.9 C452), may well contain some intrinsic element that inspired lovers’ leaps, a practice also noted by Strabo (ibid.). The second practice seems to be derived from the first, as we might expect from a priestly institution that becomes independent of die social context that {229|230} had engendered it. Abstracted from their inherited tribal functions, religious institutions have a way of becoming mystical organizations. [23]
Another reason for doubting that Sappho’s poetry had been the inspiration for the lovers’ leaps at Cape Leukas is the attitude of Strabo himself. He specifically disclaims Menander’s version about Sappho’s being the first to take the plunge at Leukas. Instead, he offers a version of the arkhaiologikṓteroi ‘those more versed in the ancient lore’, according to which Kephalos son of Deioneus was the very first to have leapt, impelled by love for Pterelas (Strabo 10.2.9 C452). Again, I see no reason to lake it for grained that this myth concerning historical Leukás had resulted from some distortion of the cult’s features because of Sappho’s literary influence. [24] The myth of Kephalos and his dive may be as old as the concept of Leukás, the White Rock. I say “concept” because the ritual practice of casting victims from a white rock such as that of Leukas may be an inheritance parallel to the epic tradition about a mythical White Rock on the shores of the Okeanos (as in Odyssey xxiv 11 ) and the related literary theme of diving from an imaginary White Rock (as in the poetry of Anacreon and Euripides). In other words, it is needless to assume that the ritual preceded the myth or the other way around.
Actually, there are other historical places besides Cape Leukas that are associated with myths about diving. For example, Charon of Lampsakos (v B.C., FGI-I 262 F 7) [25] reports that Phobos, of the lineage Kodridai, founder of Lampsakos, was the first to leap ἀπὸ τῶν Λευκάδων πετρῶν ‘from the White Rocks’, located apparently on the north shore of the Smyrnaean Gulf, not far from Phokaìa. [26] We may compare, too, the myth about the death of Theseus. He was pushed by Lykomedes and fell into the sea from the high rocks of the island Skûros (Heraclides by way of Pausanias 1.17.6; scholia to Aristophanes Ploutos 627). The island derives its name Skûros from its white rocks (LSJ s.vv. skûros and skîros/skírros). [27] In fact, the entire Theseus myth is replete with themes {230|231} involving names derived from skûros/skîros. Even the “grandfather” of Theseus is Skū́rios (Apollodorus ,1.15.5), while Theseus himself casts Skī́rōn off the Skīrōnídes pétrai (Strabo 9.1.4 C391; Plutarch Theseus 10; Pausanias 1.83.8). [28] For the moment, I merely note in passing the ritual nature of the various plunges associated with Theseus and his “father” Aigeus, [29] and the implications of agonistic death and mystical rebirth in both ritual and myth. [30]
A more immediate concern is that the mythological examples I have cited so far do not attest the lovelorn theme as a feature of the plunges from while rocks. There is, however, a more basic sexual theme associated with the Thoríkios pétros ‘Leap Rock’ of Attic Kolonos (Sophocles Oedipus at Colonus 1595). Kolonos itself, meaning ‘summit’, is proverbially white or shining-bright (ἀργὴς κολωνός Sophocles Oedipus at Colonus 670). As for the name Thoríkios, it is formally derivable from the noun thorós ‘semen’ (e.g. Herodotus 2.93.1 ) by way of the adjective thorikós; the noun thorós is in turn built on the aorist thoreîn of the verb thrṓiskō ‘leap’. [31] Even the verb can have the side-meaning ‘mount, fecundate’ (Aeschylus Eumenides 600). From the form Thoríkios itself, it is difficult to ascertain whether the name may connote leaping as well as fecundating. And yet, thematic associations of the formally related name Thoríkios suggest that leaping is indeed involved. The provenience of Kephalos, son {231|232} of Deioneus, the figure who leapt from the white rock of Leukas (Strabo 10.2..9 C452), is actually this very Thorikos, a town and deme on the southeast coast of Attica (Apollodorus 2.4.7). [32]
The sexual clement inherent in the theme of a white rock recurs in a myth about Kolonos. Poseidon fell asleep in this area and had an emission of semen, from which issued the horse Skīrōnítēs:
ἄλλοι δέ φασιν ὅτι περὶ τοὺς πέτρους τοῦ ἐν Ἀθήναις Κολωνοῦ καθευδήσας ἀπεσπέρμηνε καὶ ἵππος Σκύφιος ἐξῆλθεν, ὁ καὶ Σκιρωνίτης [33] λεγόμενος
Scholia to Lycophron 766
Others say that, in the vicinity of the rocks at Athenian Kolonos, he [Poseidon], falling asleep, had an emission of semen, and a horse Skúphios came out, who is also called Skīrōnítēs.
The name Skironites again conjures up the theme of Theseus, son of Poseidon, and his plunge from the white rocks of Skyros. [34] This Attic myth is parallel to the Thessalian myth of Skúphios ‘Skyphios’:
Πετραῖος τιμᾶται Ποσειδῶν παρὰ Θεσσαλοῖς, ...ὅτι ἐπί τινος πέτρας κοιμηθεὶς ἀπεσπερμάτισε, καὶ τὸν θορὸν δεξαμένη ἡ γῆ ἀνέδωκεν ἵππον πρῶτον, ὃv ἐπεκάλεσαν Σκύφιον
Scholia to Pindar Pythian 4.246
Poseidon Petraîos [= of the rocks] has a cult among the Thessalians…because he, having fallen asleep at some rock, had an emission of semen; and the earth, receiving the semen, produced the first horse, whom they called Skúphios.
There is a further report about this first horse ever:
Φασὶ δὲ καὶ ἀγῶνα διατίθεσθαι τῷ Πετραίῳ Ποσειδῶνι, ὅπου ἀπὸ τῆς πέτρας {232|233} ἐξεπήδησεν ὁ πρῶτος ἵππος
Scholia tο Pindar Pythian 4.246
and they say that there was a festival established in worship of Poseidon Petraîos at the spot where the first horse leapt forth. [35]
The myth of Skironites/Skyphios, featuring the themes of leaping, sexual relief, and the state of unconsciousness, may help us understand better the puzzling verses of Anacreon, already quoted:
ἀρθεὶς δηὖτ’ ἀπὸ Λευκάδος
πέτρης ἐς πολιὸν κῦμα κολυμβῶ μεθύων ἔρωτι
Anacreon PMG 370
One more time [36] taking off in the air, down from the White
Rock into the dark waves do I dive, intoxicated with lust.
The theme of jumping is overt, and the theme of sexual relief is latent in the poetry, [37] while the situation is reversed in the myth. In the poem the unconsciousness comes from what is likened to a drunken stupor; in the myth it comes from sleep. [38] As for the additional theme of a horse in the myth, we consider again the emblem of Hagesikhora’s charms, that {233|234} wondrous horse of Alcman’s Laconian fantasy, who is ‘from those dreams under the Rock’, τῶν ὐποπετριδίων ὀνείρων (PMG 1.49).
We may note that, just as Poseidon obtains sexual relief through the unconsciousness of sleeping at the white rocks of Kolonos, so also Zeus is cured of his passion for Hera by sitting on the white rock of Apollo’s Leukas (Ptolemaios Chennos by way of Photius Bibliotheca 152-153 Bekker). At Magnesia, those who were hieroí ‘sacred’ to Apollo would leap from precipitous rocks into the river Lēthaîos (Pausanias 10.32.6). This name is clearly derivable from lḗthē ‘forgetfulness’. In the underworld, Theseus and Peirithoos sat on the θρόνος τῆς Λήθης ‘throne of Lḗthē’ (Apollodorus Epitome 1.24; Pausanias 10.29.9). I have already quoted the passage from the Cyclops of Euripides (163-168) where getting drunk is equaled with leaping from a proverbial white rock. We may note the wording of the verses that immediately follow that equation, describing how it feels to be in the realm of a drunken stupor:
ἵν’ ἔστι τουτί τ’ ὀρθὸν ἐξανιστάναι
μαστοῦ τε δραγμὸς καὶ παρεσκευασμένου
ψαῦσαι χεροῖν λειμῶνος, ὀρχηστύς θ’ ἄμα
κακῶν τε λῆστις
Euripides Cyclops 169-172
where it is allowed to make this thing stand up erect,
to grab the breast and touch with both hands
the meadow [39] that is made all ready. And there is dancing and
forgetting [lêstis] of bad things,
Again, we see the theme of sexual relief and the key concept lêstis ‘forgetting’.
In short, the While Rock is the boundary delimiting the conscious and the unconscious—be it a trance, stupor, sleep, or even death. Accordingly, when the Suitors are led past the White Rock (Odyssey xxiv 11), they reach the dêmos oneírōn ‘District of Dreams’ (xxiv 12) beyond which is the realm of the dead (xxiv 14).
Even with the accumulation of this much evidence about the symbolism of the White Rock, it is still difficult to see how it relates to the mythical figure Phaon and how he relates to Sappho. One approach that might yield more information is to study the mythical figure Phaethon, who shares several characteristics with Adonis and Phaon. For now, I postpone the details and citations, offering only the essentials. Like {234|235} Adonis and Phaon, Phaethon is loved by Aphrodite, and like them, he is hidden by her. Like Adonis, Phaethon dies. Like Phaon, Phaethon means ‘bright’ (for the morphology of Pháōn/Phaéthōn, we may compare Homeric phlégō/phlegéthō ‘burn’). [40] Unlike Phaon, however, about whom we have only meager details, the Phaethon figure confronts us with a wealth of testimony, much of it unwieldy and conflicting; we now turn to this testimony.
In the commentary to his edition of the Hesiodic Theogony, Martin West observes that Phaéthōn (line 987), like Huperíōn, is a hypostasis of the sun-god Hḗlios. [41] The thematic equation of Helios with Huperíōn and Phaéthōn is apparent in epic diction, where huperíōn ‘the one who goes above’ (Odyssey \ 8, etc.) and phaéthōn ‘the one who shines’ (Iliad XI 735, etc.) are ornamental epithets of Hḗlios. The mythological differentiation of identities is symbolized in genealogical terms: in one case, Huperíōn is the father of Hḗlios (Odyssey xii 176, Hesiod Theogony 371-374), while in the other, Phaéthōn is the son of Hḗlios. The latter relationship is a basic feature of the myth treated by Euripides in the tragedy Phaethon. [42] What follows is an outline of the myth as found in the Euripidean version.
Phaethon, the story goes, was raised as the son of Merops and Klymene. His real father, however, is not the mortal Merops but the sun-god Helios. At his mother’s behest, Phaethon travels to Aithiopia, the abode of Helios, in a quest to prove that the Sun is truly his father. He borrows the chariot of Helios for a day; driving too near the earth, he sets it afire, Zeus then strikes him dead with his thunderbolt, and Phaethon falls from the sky. [43]
A cross-cultural perspective reveals many myths, indigenous to a wide variety of societies, that are analogous to this Greek myth. There are parallels, for example, in the myths of the Kwakiutl and Bella Coola Indians, British Columbia. From the traditions collected by the anthropologist Franz Boas, [44] the following outline emerges. The Sun impregnates a woman, who bears him a son (called Born-to-be-the-Sun in the Kwakiutl version). When the boy goes to visit his father, he is permitted to take the Sun’s place. Exceeding his limits, the boy sets the earth on fire, whereupon he is cast down from the sky. [45] {235|236}
There seems to be, a priori, a naturalistic element in these myths. The personalized image of the sun’s surrogate descending from the sky is parallel, let us say, to the actual setting of the sun. In the specific instance of the Phaethon myth, his fall has indeed been interpreted as a symbol of sunset. [46] I intend to adjust this interpretation later, but at the moment I am ready to argue that there is at least a thematic connection between the Phaethon story and the actual process of sunset as described in Greek epic diction. An essential link is the parallelism between Okeanos and Eridanos, the river into which Phaethon falls from the sky (Choerilus TGF 4; Ion of Chios TGF 62). By the banks of this river Eridanos, the Daughters of the Sun mourn for the fallen Phaethon:
ἀρθείην δ’ ἐπὶ πόντιον
κῦμα τᾶς Ἀδριηνᾶς
ἀκτᾶς Ἠριδανοῦ θ’ ὕδωρ,
ἔνθα πορφύρεον σταλάσ-
σουσ’ εἰς οἶδμα τάλαιναι
κόροι Φαέθοντος οἴκτῳ δακρύων
τὰς ἠλεκτροφαεῖς αὐγάς
Euripides Hippolytus 735-741
Let me lift off, heading for the seawave
of the Adriatic headland and the water of Eridanos,
where the wretched girls, in sorrow for Phaethon,
pour forth into the seething swell
their shining amber rays of tears.
To understand the meaning of the Eridanos, we must review the role of Okeanos in epic diction. Before I even begin such a review, I wish to outline the eventual conclusion. Like the White Rock and the Gate of the Sun, the Okeanos and Eridanos are symbolic boundaries delimiting tight and darkness, life and death, wakefulness and sleep, consciousness and unconsciousness. Birth, death, and the concept of *nes-, which Frame explains as ‘return to life and light’, [47] are the key acts that cross these boundaries. {236|237}
The river Okeanos marks the extremities beyond Earth and seas (cf. Iliad XIV 301-302). It is from Okeanos that Helios the Sun rises (VII 421-423; cf. Odyssey xix 433-434); likewise, it is into Okeanos that the Sun falls at sunset (VIII 485). Thus Okeanos must surround this our world. [48]
The thūmós ‘spirit’ of one who dies is visualized as traveling to the far west and, like the sun, plunging into Okeanos (xx 63-65). [49] Bordering on the Okeanos is the land of the Aithiopes (Iliad I 423-424, XXIII 205-207). Just as the Okeanos flows both in the extreme east and in the extreme west, so also the land of the Aithiopes is located in the two extremities (Odyssey i 23-24). This instance of coincidentia oppositorum, a mythological theme where identity consists of two opposites, [50] is reinforced thematically in Odyssey xii 1 and following. In this passage there are two opposite places that add up to the same place. From the overall plot of the Odyssey, we know that Odysseus is wandering in the realms of the extreme west when he conies upon the island of Aiaie (x 135). It is from Aiaie, island of Circe, that Odysseus is sent on his way to the underworld by traveling beyond the sea until he and his men reach the Okeanos (xi 21-22). [51] Later, on the way back from the underworld, the ship of Odysseus leaves the Okeanos and returns to Aiaie, which is now described as situated not in the extreme west hut in the extreme east. In fact, Aiaie now turns out to be the abode of Eos and sunrise (xii 1-4). [52] The head-spinning directional placements of mythical Okeanos in the epic tradition lead to confused and divergent localizations in later traditions. I cite for example Pindar Pythian 4.251, where the Argonauts reach the Red Sea by way of Okeanos. On rational grounds, Herodotus ridicules the concept of an Okeanos surrounding Earth (4.36.2), and he uses the name to designate the seas in the vicinity of Gades/Cadiz (4.8.2), thus clearly distancing himself from the mythical sense of ‘cosmic river’ and approaching the still-current geographical sense of ‘ocean’.
Similarly with Eridanos, there are several exotic localizations of this mythical river. The poetry of Aeschylus places it in Spain and identifies it with the Rhone (TGF 73; cf. Pliny Natural History 37.31-32), [53] while the words of Euripides, in the passage quoted above, picture it emptying {237|238} into the Gulf of Venice (Hippolytus 736-737). Rejecting still another such contrivance, Herodotus specifically volunteers that Eridanos is myth rather than reality (3.115; cf. Strabo 5.1.9 C215). The basic différence in the post-epic treatments of Eridanos and Okeanos is that the former still counts as a river whereas the latter, thanks to expanding geographical information about the Atlantic, came to designate the varied concepts of ‘ocean’ in the current sense of the word.
From the standpoint of Homeric diction, however, the Okeanos is a potamós ‘river’ (Iliad XVIII 607, Odyssey xi 639; cf. Hesiod Theogony 242); it surrounds the Earth, and for that reason the macro- and microcosmic visual themes on the Shield of Achilles are actually framed by a pictorial Okeanos along the circular rim (Iliad XVIII 607-608; cf. Hesiodic Shield 314). To repeat, the Sun plunges into the Okeanos (Iliad VIII 485) and rises from it (Iliad VII 421-423, Odyssey xix 433-434); ultimately, all rivers and streams flow from it (Iliad XXI 195-197). With such a thematic heritage from the Iliad and Odyssey, it is not surprising that the name Okeanos came to designate the ‘ocean’ in post-Homeric times.
From the standpoint of epic in general, the more obscure Eridanos is thematically parallel to Okeanos. In fact, Eridanos is the “son” of Okeanos, according to Hesiod (Theogony 337-338); this relationship would be insignificant, since Okeanos sired several major rivers, [54] if it were not for other special features of Eridanos. Besides the distinction of being mentioned straightaway in the first line of the catalogue of rivers (Theogony 338 in 338-345), Eridanos gets the epithet bathudī́nēs ‘deep-swirling’, which is otherwise reserved for Okeanos himself in the Theogony (133; also Works and Days 171). [55] There is another example of Eridanos in a variant verse of the Iliad. For the context, I cite the following verses describing the birth of the magic horses of Achilles:
τοὺς ἔτεκε Ζεφύρῳ ἀνέμῳ ἅρπυια Ποδάργη
βοσκομένη λειμῶνι παρὰ ῥόον Ὠκεανοῖο
Iliad XVI 150-151
Their father was the wind Zephyros and the mother who conceived them was the Harpy Podarge [Podárgē = ‘bright/swift of foot’], [56]
as she was grazing in a meadow on the banks of the stream Okeanos. {238|239}
There survives a variant reading for Ὠκεανοῖο ‘Okeanos’ in this passage, namely, Ἠριδανοῖο ‘Eridanos’. We may note the thematic parallelism of Ōkeanós/Ēridanós here with the Thoríkios pétros ‘Leap Rock’: [57] wondrous horses were born at, either place, and the name Skīrōnī́tēs conjures up a mythical White Rock. [58]
I turn now to parallelisms between Okeanos and Eridanos that relate directly lo the Phaethon figure. We know from Pliny’s testimony (Natural History 37.31-32) that in Aeschylus’ treatment of the Phaethon myth, the daughters of the Sun were turned into poplars on the banks of the Eridanos (TGF 73), into which river Phaethon had fallen (Choerilus TGF 4; Ion of Chios TGF 62). [59] There is a parallel association in the Odyssey, where poplars grow on the hanks of the Okeanos, at the edge of the underworld (x 508-512). Like Okeanos, Eridanos, too, is associated with the theme of transition into the underworld. Besides the specific instance of Phaethon’s death, there are also other attestations linking Eridanos with the underworld. For example, in the Codex Vaticanus 909 of Euripides’ Orestes, there is a scholion to verse 981 that reads εἰς τὸν Ἠριδανὸν ποταμὸν κρέμαται ὁ Τάνταλος ‘Tantalos is suspended at the river Eridanos’. [60]
I conclude from such parallelisms between Eridanos and Okeanos that, the fall of Phaethon into the Eridanos is an analogue to the fall of the sun into the Okeanos at sunset, as in Iliad VIII 485. There is also a genealogical dimension to this mythological analogy: just as Phaethon is the son of Helios, so also Eridanos is the son of Okeanos (as in Theogony 337-338). In a pseudo-rationalist story of the mythographer Dionysius Scytobrachion (ii/i B.C.), who seems not concerned with the ties that bind myth to ritual and to the general notion of the sacred, Helios himself is cast in the role of plunging to his death in the Eridanos (Dionysius F 6 Rusten, by way of Diodorus 3.57.5).
It does not necessarily follow, however, that the Phaethon myth merely represents the sunset. I sympathize with those who are reluctant to accept the theory that “Phaethon’s fall attempts to explain in mythical terms why the sun sinks blazing in the west as if crashing to earth in flames and yet returns to its task unimpaired the following day.” [61] One counterexplanation runs as follows: “Phaethon’s crash is an event out of {239|240} the ordinary, a sudden and unexpected calamity, occurring once and not daily.” [62] In such matters, however, I would heed the intuitively appealing approach of Lévi-Strauss. A myth, he concedes, “always refers to events alleged to have taken place long ago.” [63] Nevertheless, “what gives the myth an operational value is that the specific pattern described is timeless; it explains the present and the past as well as the future.” [64] Accordingly, I find it unnecessary to entertain the proposal, based only on naturalistic intuition, that the Phaethon myth represents the fall of a meteorite. [65] The meteorite explanation, as also the sunset explanation, operates on the assumption that the message of the Phaethon myth is simply a metaphorical expression of some phenomenon that occurs in the sky. I disagree. The Phaethon myth presents a problem, not a solution. Furthermore, this problem addresses the human condition, not just celestial dynamics. We may consider again the analogues of the Phaethon myth from British Columbia. In the Bella Coola version, the boy is angry because other children laugh at him for claiming that his father is the sun. In the Kwakiutl version, Born-to-be-the-Sun, as yet unaware of his true identity, weeps when his playmate laughs at him for not having a father. The parallel Angst of Phaethon, ridiculed by his youthful friend, is well known from Ovid’s treatment:
erubuit Phaethon iramque pudore repressit
Ovid Metamorphoses 1.755
Phaethon blushed and in his shame held back his anger
We must not confuse the code of a myth with its message. Whatever its message, the Phaethon myth operates on a code of solar behavior combined with human behavior. For example, the theme of riding across the sky counts as a solar function for Helios but as a human deed for Phaethon. Phaethon may re-enact what Helios does because his father is the Sun, but he fails in his solar role because his mother is human. The Phaethon figure projects a crisis of identity. He seeks proof that his father is really the Sun, according to what he suspects, what his own name suggests, and what his mother actively affirms. This dilemma is fundamental to the myth dramatized by Euripides. Phaethon’s mother, Klymene, assures him that Helios rather than Merops is his real father, and that Phaethon is entitled to one request {240|241} from Helios. She promises Phaethon that, if his request is granted, he will have proof that his origin is divine (θεοῦ πέφηκας Euripides Phaethon 48). Phaethon wavers (51) but finally decides to go to Helios (61-62). His one request, to drive the chariot of Helios, is of course granted by his father. Ironically, however, this proof of his divine nature, inherited from his father, leads to fiery death. His death in turn is proof of his human nature, inherited from his mother. The self-delusion of Phaethon is that he overrated the relationship with his father. His real identity is composed of two ingredients, part “father” = immortal, part “mother” = mortal, but his imagined identity is all “father,” that is, he imagines that he can function as an immortal since his father is immortal. His imagined identity impels him to assume the solar role of his father, but his real identity, part mortal, destines him to fail and die. Viewed from a standpoint outside the myth, Phaethon’s real identity is indeed that of the Sun, by way of hypostasis. Inside the myth, however, this identity is simply Phaethon’s imagination, and his real identity is only partially solar. The self-delusion of Phaethon is comparable to that of another tragic figure, Oedipus. The delusion of Oedipus is that he underrated the relationship with his wife. His real identity is both “husband” and “son” of the same woman, but his imagined identity is only “husband.” [66] A basic distinction between the delusions of Phaethon and Oedipus is that one forgets his real identity whereas the other is unaware of it. Forgetting that his mother is human, Phaethon tries to be the Sun. Not knowing who his mother is, Oedipus marries her. In both cases, the imagined identity is then tragically shattered.
Aside from telling us about the dilemma of being human, the Phaethon myth also tells us something about the mystery of the sun. A priori, we expect Helios the sun-god to be immortal. In the diction of Greek epic, he is counted among the ranks of the immortal gods. Yet the movements of the sun suggest the theme of death and rebirth. With the waning of day, the old sun submerges beyond the horizon into the west Okeanos; then, after night has passed, a new sun emerges from the east Okeanos with the waxing of another day. Given the inescapable fact of human mortality, the fundamental dichotomy of man vs. god extends into the dichotomy of man = mortal vs. god = immortal, as we see throughout Greek epic diction: athánatoi ‘immortals’ is a synonym of theoí ‘gods’. Accordingly, it becomes inappropriate to associate any inherent death/rebirth of the sun directly with Helios the sun-god, who {241|242} must be immortal. The Phaethon myth fills a gap. At sunset, when the sun undergoes a process naturally suggestive of death, it is personified not as Helios the sun-god but as Phaethon, child of the immortal Helios, also child of a mortal. The father Helios represents the divine permanence of the sun’s cycle, while his child Phaethon represents the mortal aspect of the sun’s alternating death/rebirth cycle. This dichotomy accommodates the traditional veneration of Helios as sun-god, still reflected in Homeric diction. We may contrast the contrivance of Dioiiysius Scytohrachion (F 6 Rusten, by way of Diodorus 3.57.5): no longer concerned with any inherent divine element in the sun, he imagines Helios himself in the role of Phaethon, and we are left with a secularistic allegory about sunset,
There is another Phaethon myth, preserved in Hesiodic poetry, which is preoccupied with both aspects of the solar cycle, not only with death but also rebirth. In this myth Phaethon is the son not of Helios but of Eos the dawn-goddess (Theogony 986-987). In the same context we hear first that Eos mates with Tithonos, bearing Memnon, king of the Aithiopes, and Emathion (984-985); then she mates with Kephalos, bearing Phaethon (985-987); then Aphrodite mates with Phaethon (988-991), having abducted him (990). [67] The parallelism between the mating of Eos with Kephalos and the mating of Aphrodite with their son, Phaethon, is reinforced in the Hymn to Aphrodite, when Aphrodite seduces Anchises, the goddess herself cites the abduction of Tithonos by Eos as precedent (218). There are also other parallels, as when a hero called Kleitos is abducted by Eos (Odyssey xv 250-251). Or again, the nymph Kalypso cites the abduction of the hero Orion by Eos as a precedent for her abduction of Odysseus (v 121-I24). [68]
Traditional poetic diction presents traces, albeit indirect, of the manner in which such abductions were envisaged. For a clearer impression, though, let us first examine the following verbs that designate the events:
  • Aphrodite abducts Phaethon, Theogony 990: anereipsamènē ‘snatching up’
  • Eos abducts Kephalos, Euripides Hippolytus 455: anḗrpasen ‘snatched up’
  • Eos abducts Tithonos, Hymn to Aphrodite 218: hḗrpasen ‘snatched’
  • Eos abducts Kleitos, Odyssey xv 250: hḗrpasen ‘snatched’
  • Eos abducts Orion, Odyssey v 121: héleto ‘seized’ {242|243}
There is another abduction that is parallel to these, that οf Ganymedes. The parallelism is explicit in the Hymn to Aphrodite, where Aphrodite herself cites the fates of Ganymedes (202-217) and Tithonos (218-238) as a precedent for the fate of Anchises. We may note that, when the gods abduct Ganymedes for Zeus, it is for the following reason: κάλλεος εἵνεκα οἷο, ἵν’ ἀθανάτοισι μετείη ‘on account of his beauty, so that he may be with the immortals’ (Iliad XX 235). Similarly, when Eos abducts Kleitos, it is for the following reason: κάλλεος εἵνεκα οἷο, ἵν’ ἀθανάτοισι μετείη ‘on account of his beauty, so that he may be with the immortals’ (Odyssey xv 251). These thematic parallelisms of Ganymedes/Tithonos and Ganymedes/Kleitos are important because the verb used in the Iliad to designate the abduction of the Ganymedes figure is anēreípsanto ‘snatched up’ (XX 234), aorist indicative corresponding to the aorist participle anereipsamènē ‘snatching up’, which designates the abduction of the Phaethon figure (Theogony 990). Furthermore, in the Hymn to Aphrodite the verb used to designate the abduction of Ganymedes is anḗrpase ‘snatched up’ (208). Only, the subject here is more specific than the general theoí ‘gods’, subject of anēreípsanto ‘snatched up’ in Iliad XX 234:
ὅππῃ οἱ φίλον υἱὸν ἀνήρπασε θέσπις ἄελλα
Hymn to Aphrodite 208
where the wondrous gust of wind [ áella ] snatched up [ anḗrpase ] his son
Not only bere but also in every other Homeric attestation of anēreípsanto ‘snatched up’ besides Iliad XX 234, the notion ‘gusts of wind’ serves as subject of the verb. When Penelope bewails the unknown fate of the absent Telemachus, she says that it was thúellai ‘gusts of wind’ that anēreípsanto ‘snatched up’ her son (Odyssey iv 727). When Telemachus bewails the unknown fate of the absent Odysseus, he says that it was hárpuiai ‘snatching winds, Harpies’ that anēreípsanto ‘snatched up’ his absent father (i 241). The identical line is used when Eumaios bewails the unknown fate of his absent master Odysseus (xiv 371 ) .
The meaning of thúella ‘gust of wind’ is certain (cf. ἀνέμοιο θύελλα VI 340, etc.). As for hárpuia ‘snatching wind, Harpy’, there is further contextual evidence from the only remaining Homeric attestation of the verb anēreípsanto ‘snatched up’. When Penelope prays that Artemis smite her dead and take her thūmós ‘spirit’ straightaway, she adds:
ἢ ἔπειτά μ’ ἀναρπάξασα θύελλα
οἴχοιτο προφέρουσα κατ’ ἠερόεντα κέλευθα, {243|244}
ἐν προχοῇς δὲ βάλοι άψορρόου Ὠκεανοῖο
Odyssey xx 61-65
or, after that, may a gust οf wind [thúella]
carry me off, taking me down the misty paths,
and may it plunge me into the streams of the backward flowing Okeanos.
As precedent for being snatched up by a gust of wind and cast down into the Okeanos, she invokes the fate of Pandareos’ daughters:
ὡς δ’ ὅτε Πανδαρέου κούρας ἀνέλοντο θύελλαί
Odyssey xx 66
as when gusts of wind [thúellai] seized [anélonto] the daughters of Pandareos
We may compare the use of anélonto ‘seized’ here with that of héleto ‘seized’ when Eos abducts Orion (Odyssey v 121). After further elaboration in the story of the daughters of Pandareos, the central event is presented with the following words:
τόφρα δὲ τὰς κούρας ἅρπυιαι ἀνηρείψαντο
Odyssey xx 77
then the Harpies [hárpuiai ‘snatching winds’] snatched up [anēreípsanto] the girls
So much for all the Homeric attestations of anēreípsanto ‘snatched up’ and the solitary Hesiodic attestation of anereipsaménē ‘snatching up’. As for hárpuia ‘snatching wind, Harpy’, the only other Homeric attestation besides those already surveyed is in the Iliad, where the horses of Achilles are described as follows:
Ξάνθον καὶ Βαλίον, τὼ ἅμα πνοῇσι πετέσθην,
τοὺς ἔτεκε Ζεφύρῳ ἀνέμῳ ἅρπυια Ποδάργη
βοσκομένη λειμῶνι παρὰ ῥόον Ὠκεανοῖο
Iliad XVI 149-151
Xanthos and Batios, who flew with the gusts of wind.
Their father was the wind Zephyros and the mother who conceived them was the Harpy [hárpuia ‘snatching wind’] Podarge [Podárgē =‘bright/swift of foot’], {244|245}
as she was grazing in a meadow on the banks of the stream Okeanos. [69]
Finally, we may consider the Hesiodic description of the hárpuiai ‘snatching winds’ or ‘Harpies’, two in number, in Theogony 267-269: one is called Aellṓ (267, from áella ‘gust of wind’), and the other, Ōkupétē, the one who is ‘swiftly flying’ (267). In short, the epic attestations of hárpuia betray a regular association with wind. Furthermore, this noun may be formally connected with the verb transmitted as ἀνηρείψαντο ‘snatched up’ and ἀνερειψαμένη ‘snatching up’ in Homer and Hesiod, respectively, as we may infer from the variant arepuîa, attested in the Etymologicum Magnum (138.21) and on a vase inscription from Aegina. [70]
The prime significance of this contextual survey is that it establishes how Phaethon, Kephalos, Tithonos, Kleitos, Orion, and Ganymedes were abducted in the poetic imagination: they were snatched away by a gust of wind. The imagery is most explicit in the story of Ganymedes. The immediate agent of the abduction is a gust of wind, and Ganymedes’ father does not know where the áella ‘gust of wind’ has ‘snatched up’ his son, anḗrpase (Hymn to Aphrodite 208). We should observe, however, that the ultimate agent is Zeus himself, who is the subject of the verb hḗrpasen ‘snatched’ designating the abduction of Ganymedes (Hymn to Aphrodite 202-203). As compensation for the abduction of Ganymedes, Zeus gives to the boy’s father a team of wondrous horses (Hymn to Aphrodite 210-211), who are described as having feet of wind (ἀελλοπόδεσσιν 217). In this instance, both themes, of taking and giving in return, center on the element of wind.
After having ascertained how the likes of Phaethon were abducted, we may still ask where they were taken. The most explicit Homeric imagery about this aspect of thúellai/hárpuiai, the snatching gusts of wind, occurs in the passage already quoted from the Odyssey, where Penelope wishes for a gust of wind to snatch her up and drop her into the Okeanos (xx 63-65). [71] The immediate agent is the thúella ‘gust of wind’ (xx 63), but the ultimate agents are the gods themselves (xx 79). In this connection, we may note again that it is on the hanks of the Okeanos that the hárpuia ‘Harpy’ called Podarge [Podárgē = ‘bright/swift of foot’] gave birth to the wind-horses of Achilles (Iliad XVI 149-151). And we may also note again that the variant reading for Ὠκεανοῖο ‘Okeanos’ at Iliad XVI 151 is Ἠριδανοῖο ‘Eridanos’. [72] {245|246}
By dying, Penelope will have the experience of having her thūmós ‘spirit’ plunge into the Okeanos (Odyssey xx 65), but later there is a further detail, that she will have gone underneath the earth (xx 80-81). These themes of (1) falling into Okeanos and (2) going underneath the earth also apply to the movements of the sun itself (e.g. Iliad VIII 485, Odyssey x 190-193). [73] For humans, Okeanos has a function that can be described as follows; when you die, a gust of wind carries your spirit to the extreme west, where it drops you into the Okeanos; when you traverse the Okeanos, yon reach the underworld, which is underneath the earth. For the sun itself, Okeanos has an analogous function: when the sun readies the extreme west at sunset, it likewise drops into the Okeanos; before the sun rises in the extreme east, it stays hidden underneath the earth. When the sun does rise, it emerges from the Okeanos in the extreme east (Iliad VII 421-423; cf. Odyssey xix 433). Thus the movements of the sun into and from the Okeanos serve as a cosmic model for death and rebirth. From the human standpoint, the sun dies in the west in order to he reborn in the east. Since Okeanos is thematically parallel with Eridanos, the sunset theme of a dead Phaethon falling into Eridanos implies an inverse sunrise theme of a reborn Phaethon emerging from Eridanos.
In this respect, a detail about Phaethon’s mother Ēṓs ‘the Dawn’ becomes especially significant. Homeric Eos has a fixed epithet ēri-géneia ‘early-generated’ (or ‘early-generating’) that is exclusively hers (e.g. Odyssey ii 1). This epithet is built on what survives as the old locative adverb êri ‘early’, and Homeric diction actually preserves êri in collocation with ēṓs ‘dawn’ (xix 320). This form ēri-géneia is comparable to Ēri-danós, the first part of which is likewise built on êri; the second part –danos seems to mean ‘dew’ or ‘fluid’ (cf. Indic dā́nu- ‘fluid, dew’). [74]
We come now to the association of Phaethon with Aphrodite in Theogony 988-991. It arises, I propose, from a sexual theme implicit in a solar transition from death to rebirth. In the logic of the myth, it appears that the setting sun mates with the goddess of regeneration so that the rising sun may be reborn. If the setting sun is the same as the rising sun, then the goddess of regeneration may be viewed as both mate and mother.
Such an ambivalent relationship actually survives in the hymns of the Rig-Veda, where the goddess of solar regeneration, the dawn Uṣas, is the wife or bride of the sun-god Sū́rya (1.115.1, 7.75.5, etc.) as well as his mother (7.63.3, 7.78.3). [75] In the latter instance, the incestuous {246|247} implications are attenuated by putting Uṣas in the plural, representing the succession of dawns; similarly, Uṣas in the plural can designate the wives of Sūrya (4.5.13). Yet even if each succeeding dawn is wife of the preceding dawn’s son, the husband and son are always one and the same Sūrya, and the basic theme of incest remains intact.
This comparative evidence from the Rig-Veda is important for understanding the Greek evidence, because Indic Sū́rya- ‘Sun’ and Uṣás-’Dawn’ are formally cognate with Greek Hḗlios ‘Sun’ und Ēṓs ‘Dawn’; [76] furthermore, the epithets of Uṣas in the Rig-Veda, divá(s) duhitár- and duhitár-divás, both meaning ‘Daughter of the Sky’, are exact formal cognates of the Homeric epithets Diòs thugátēr and thugátēr Diós, meaning ‘Daughter of Zeus’. [77] The Homeric hexameter preserves these epithets only in the following patterns:
  • A. —⏔—⏔— | θυγάτηρ Διός | —⏑⏑—⏓ 6 times
  • B. —⏑ Διὸς θυγάτηρ | ⏔—⏔—⏑⏑—⏒ 8 times
  • C. —⏔—⏔—⏑ | Διὸς θυγάτηρ ⏑⏑—⏓ 18 times
We see from this scheme that it is cumbersome for the meter to accommodate the name of Eos, Ἠώς, in a position contiguous with these epithets. Thus it is not surprising that Eos is not combined with these epithets anywhere in attested Greek epic, despite the comparative evidence that such a combination had once existed, as we see from the survival of the Indic cognates divá(s) duhitár- and duhitár-divás in the Rig-Veda.
Within the framework of the Greek hexameter, we may have expected at least one position, however, where the name of Eos could possibly have been combined with thugátēr Diós ‘Daughter of Zeus’:
    D. *—⏔—⏔—⏔— | θυγάτηρ Διὸς Ἠώς
And yet, when Ἠώς ‘Dawn’ occupies the final portion of the hexameter and when it is preceded by an epithet with the metrical shape ⏑⏑—⏑⏑, this epithet is regularly ῥοδοδάκτυλος ‘rosy-fingered’ (or ‘rosy-toed’), not θυγάτηρ Διός = thugátēr Diós ‘Daughter of Zeus’. I infer that the epithet θυγάτηρ Διός = thugátēr Diós ‘Daughter of Zeus’ in position D must have been ousted by the fixed epithet ῥοδοδάκτυλος ‘rosy-fingered’, as in the familiar verse {247|248}
ἦμος δ’ ἠριγένεια φάνη ῥοδοδάκτυλος Ἠώς
Iliad I 477, etc.
when early-born rosy-fingered Dawn appeared…
In short, for both metrical and formulaic reasons, Greek epic fails to preserve the combination of Ēṓs ‘Dawn’ with Diòs thugátēr and thugátēr Diós, meaning ‘Daughter of Zeus’. [78] By contrast, when the name Aphrodī́tē occupies the final position of the hexameter, her fixed epithet is Diòs thugátēr:
— ⏔—⏔—⏑ | Διός θυγάτηρ Ἀφροδίτη
Iliad III 374, etc.
…Daughter of Zeus, Aphrodite
From the standpoint of comparative analysis, then, Aphrodite is a parallel of Eos in epic diction. Furthermore, from the standpoint of internal analysis, Aphrodite is a parallel of Eos in epic theme. Just as Eos abducts Tithonos (Hymn to Aphrodite 218), Kleitos (Odyssey xv 250), Orion (v 121), and Kephalos (Euripides Hippolytus 455), so also Aphrodite abducts Phaethon (Theogony 990). When Aphrodite seduces Anchises, she herself cites the abduction of Tithonos by Eos for an actual precedent (Hymn to Aphrodite 218-238), as we have already seen. Throughout the seduction episode, Aphrodite is called Diòs thugátēr ‘Daughter of Zeus’ (Hymn to Aphrodite 81, 107, 191).
The archaic parallelism of Eos and Aphrodite suggests that Aphrodite became a rival of Eos in such functions as that of Diòs thugátēr ‘Daughter of Zeus’. From the comparative evidence of the Rig-Veda, we would expect Eos to be not only mother but also consort of the Sun. There is no such evidence in Greek epic for either Helios or any hypostasis such as the Phaethon figure. Instead, the Hesiodic tradition assigns Aphrodite as consort of Phaethon, while Eos is only his mother (Theogony 986-991). In other words, the Hesiodic tradition seems to have split the earlier fused roles of mother and consort and divided them between Eos {248|249} and Aphrodite respectively. This way, the theme of incest could he neatly obviated.
There are, however, instances in Homeric diction where the relationship of Ēṓs and Phaéthōn is directly parallel to the relationship of Uṣas and Sūrya in the Rig-Veda. We have already noted the fact that phaéthōn ‘the one who shines’ is an ornamental epithet of Hḗlios (Iliad XI 735, etc.). Moreover, the name Phaéthōn is assigned to one of the two horses of Eos:
Λάμπον καὶ Φαέθονθ’ οἵ τ’ Ἠῶ πῶλοι ἄγουσι
Odyssey xxiii 246
Lámpos and Phaéthōn, the horses [pôloi] that draw Ēṓs
We may note that Lámpos, the name of her other horse, is also associated with the notion of brightness. [79] There is a striking parallel in the Rig-Veda: Sūrya the sun-god is called the ‘bright horse’, śvetám…áśvam, of the dawn-goddess Uṣas (7.77.3; cf. 7.78.4).
There is also, within Greek epic, an internal analogue to the combination of Phaéthōn and Lámpos in Odyssey xxiii 246. The names for the daughters of Helios the sun-god are Phaéthousa and Lampetíē (Odyssey\n 1 32), which are feminine equivalents of Phaéthōn and Lámpos. [80] Again we may note a striking Indic parallel: in the Rig-Veda the name for the daughter of Sūrya- the sun-god is Sūryā́ (1.116.17), which is a feminine equivalent of the masculine name.
The comparative evidence of this contextual nexus suggests that the Horses of the Dawn in Odyssey xxiii 246 had once been metaphorical aspects of the Sun. As in the Rig-Veda, the Sun could have been called the bright stallion of the Dawn—by such names as Phaéthōn or Lámpos. Once the metaphor is suspended, then the notion ‘Horse of the Dawn’ must be taken at face value: if the Dawn has a horse, she will actually require not one but two for a chariot team, and the two kindred solar aspects Phaéthōn ‘bright’ and Lámpos ‘bright’ will do nicely as names for two distinct horses. Yet the surviving role of Phaéthousa and Lampetíē as daughters of Helios serves as testimony for the eroded personal connotations of the names Phaéthōn or Lámpos. By contrast, the metaphor is maintained in the Rig-Veda, where Sūrya the sun-god is both bridegroom {249|250} and horse of the dawn-goddess Uṣas. There is even a special word that incorporates both roles of Sūrya, namely, márya- (1.115.2, 7.76.3). [81] In fact, the metaphorical equation of stallion and bridegroom is built into various rituals of Indic society, such as those of initiation, and a key to this equation is the same word márya- and its Iranian cognates. [82]
Significantly, there is a corresponding Greek attestation of such a metaphorical equation, in the hymenaeus ‘wedding-song’ of Euripides Phaethon 227-235, where the pôlos ‘horse’ of Aphrodite (234) is the hero Hymen himself. [83] We have seen the same word pôlos designating the horses of Eos, Phaethon and Lampos (Odyssey xxiii 246), [84] Hymen’s epithet νεόζυγι ‘newly yoked’ in Euripides Phaethon 233 marks him as Aphrodite’s bridegroom (compare the diction in Aeschylus Persians 514-515; Euripides Medea 804-805; TGF 821). As for the appositive σῶν γάμων γένναν ‘offspring of your wedding’ (Phaethon 235), it conveys that Hymen is not only the bridegroom but also the son of Aphrodite. We may note in this connection that the hymenaeus ‘wedding-song’ in Phaethon 227-235 is being sung in honor of Phaethon, and that his bride-to-be is in all probability a Daughter of the Sun. [85] Finally, we may note that Aphrodite functions in this context as τὰν Διὸς οὐρανίαν ‘the celestial daughter of Zeus’ (Phaethon 228).
Besides Eos and Aphrodite, other Homeric goddesses, too, qualify as Diòs thugátēr/thugátēr Diós ‘Daughter of Zeus’: they are Athena (Iliad IV 128, etc.), the Muse of the Odyssey (i 10), Atē (Iliad XIX 91), Persephone (Odyssey xi 217), Artemis (xx 61), and Helen (iv 227). [86] It is beyond the scope of this investigation to examine the contexts of Diòs thugátēr/thugátēr Diós ‘Daughter of Zeus’ and to correlate them with the contexts of the Rig-Vedic cognate divá(s) duhitár-/duhitár-divás ‘Daughter of Sky’, which applies only to Uṣas the dawn-goddess. [87] Instead, I confine myself here to observations that relate to the theme of abduction.
The Rig-Vedic Uṣas is an overtly beneficent goddess, well known for her function of dispelling the darkness (1.92.5, 2.34.12, etc.). Yet her epithet divá(s) duhitár-/duhitár- divás is ambivalent. In a hymn that is part of the Vedic liturgical canon for animal sacrifice, Uṣas combined {250|251} with the Night are together called divó duhitárā (Rig-Veda 10.70.6). In other words, both Dawn and Night are Daughters of the Sky, Indic Dyáus (cognate of Greek Zeús). When Dawn drives away the Night, the latter is actually called her sister (Rig-Veda 1.92.11, 4.52.1). There is a parallel ambivalence in the cognate epithet Diòs thugátēr/thugátēr Diós. In one instance, it can describe a beneficent Athena who has just rescued Menelaos and who is compared to a mother fostering her child (Iliad IV 128). This function of the Diòs thugátēr/thugátēr Diós as patroness of the Hero is typical. [88] In another instance, however, the epithet describes a maleficent Persephone, goddess of the dead (Odyssey xi 217). In still another instance, it describes Artemis when Penelope wants to be shot and killed by her (xx 61).
Although the epithet Diòs thugátēr/thugátēr Diós does not survive in combination with Eos, the goddess herself is in fact likewise ambivalent, Homeric diction features her snatching up youths as if she were some Harpy, and yet she gives them immortality. For review, the example of Kleitos will suffice (xv 250-251). [89] Such an ambivalence inherent in the Eos figure is so uncomfortable that it tends to be attenuated in the diction. For instance, the verb used to describe the abduction of Orion by Eos is not the concretely violent hḗrpasen ‘snatched’ but the more abstract héleto ‘seized’ (Odyssey v 121). [90] Once the wording hḗrpasen ‘snatched’ is removed, the connotation of death from Harpies disappears and a new theme is introduced, death from Artemis (Odyssey v 121-124). We may note that death is at least not violent at the hands of Artemis (ἀγανοῖς βελέεσσιν ‘with her gentle darts’ v 124). Similarly, when Penelope wants to be killed by Artemis, the death is implicitly gentle (xx 61-65).
The alternative to a gentle death from Artemis is a violent abduction by a thúella ‘gust of wind’ (Odyssey xx 63), the action of which is described as anarpáxāsa ‘snatching up’ (ibid.). As precedent for being abducted by a gust of wind and plunged into the Okeanos, Penelope’s words evoke the story of the daughters of Pandareos, abducted by thellai ‘gusts of wind’ (xx 66), the action of which is described as anélanto ‘seized’ (ibid.). This mention of abduction is followed by a description of how the daughters of Pandareos had been preserved by the Olympian goddesses (xx 67-72); the preservation of the girls is then interrupted by death, at the very moment that Aphrodite is arranging for them to be married (xx 73-74). Death comes in the form of abduction by hárpuiai {251|252} ‘snatching winds’ (xx 77), the action of which is now described as anēreípsanto ‘snatched up’ (ibid.). [91]
In this story about the daughters of Pandareos (Odyssey xx 66-81), we see a sequence of preservation followed by abduction/death. [92] In the story about Orion and Eos (v 121-124), by contrast, the pattern is abduction/preservation followed by death, in that Eos abducts and preserves the hero while Artemis arranges for his death. [93] Finally, the story about Aphrodite and Phaethon (Hesiod Theogony 986-991) presents yet another pattern, that of abduction/death followed by preservation. [94] In each of these narrative patterns, we see various patterns of differentiation in the ambivalent function of Eos as the undifferentiated agent of abduction, death, and preservation.
The abduction of Phaethon by Aphrodite is most directly comparable to the abduction of Kleitos by Eos (Odyssey xv 251-252), where again we see the pattern abduction/death followed by preservation. The Kleitos figure is represented as son of Mantios (xv 249) and grandson of the seer Melampous (xv 242). As Frame has shown, the Melampous myth centers on the theme of retrieving the Cattle of the Sun. [95] The solar function of the Melampous figure and his genetic affinity with the Kleitos figure imply a solar affinity as well. The wording hḗrpasen for the abduction of Kleitos at Odyssey xv 251 implies that he was taken by a maleficent Harpy and dropped into the Okeanos. This theme of death is parallel to sunset. On the other hand, the subject of hḗrpasen is Eos herself, and the theme of sunrise is parallel to rebirth. Since the abductor of Kleitos is represented as the Dawn, it is at least implicit that Kleitos is to be reborn like the Sun and thus preserved.
So long as the Dawn is present, the day waxes. Once the Sun reaches noon, however, the Dawn ceases and the day wanes. This vital role of Eos is explicit in Homeric diction (e.g. Iliad XX 66-69). Implicitly, the Sun is united with the light of Dawn until noon; afterwards, the Sun descends into the Okeanos, only to be reborn the next day. In the story of Eos and Kleitos a parallel death and rebirth are implied. The sequence of events, to repeat, is abduction/death followed by preservation. [96] In the {252|253} Orion story (Odyssey v 121-124), on the other hand, the sequence is the inverse: abduction/preservation followed by death. [97] We may note that Orion’s relation to the Dawn is the inverse of the Sun’s. Translated into the symbolism of celestial dynamics, Orion’s movements are accordingly astral, not solar, and we see an astral representation of the Orion figure already in Homeric poetry (v 274; Iliad XVIII 488). [98] Like the Sun, the constellation Orion rises from the Okeanos and sets in it (v 275, Iliad XVIII 489), but, unlike the Sun, it rises and sets at nighttime, not daytime. In the summer, at threshing time, Orion starts rising before Dawn (Hesiod Works and Days 598-599). In the winter, at ploughing time, Orion starts setting before Dawn (Works and Days 615-616). In summer days the light of Dawn catches up with the rising Orion, and he can be her consort in the daytime. [99] In winter days the light of Dawn arrives too late to keep Orion from setting into the Okeanos. One related star that does not set, however, is Arktos (v 275 = Iliad XVIII 489). The Arktos ‘Bear’ watches Orion, dokeúei (v 274 = Iliad XVIII 488), and the verb dokeúei implies doom. In Homeric diction it is used when marksmen or savage beasts take aim at their victims (Iliad XIII 545, XVI 313, XX 340). [100] As for the Arktos ‘Bear’, the name implies the goddess Artemis. [101] In other words, the astral passages of Odyssey v 273-275 and Iliad XVIII 487-489 implicitly repeat the theme of Orion’s dying at the hands of Artemis, explicit in Odyssey v 121-124. [102] The latter passage involves two goddesses, a beneficent Eos and a maleficent Artemis. [103] We may contrast the passage about Kleitos, involving an ambivalent Eos who is both maleficent and beneficent (Odyssey xv 251-252). [104] The theme of death is implicit in hḗrpasen ‘snatched’ (251), while the theme of preservation is explicit in ἵν’ ἀθανάτοισι μετείη ‘so that he may be with the immortals’ (252).
Similarly, Aphrodite is ambivalent in the Hesiodic passage about Phaethon (Theogony 989-991). Again, the theme of death is implied in anereipsaménē ‘snatching up’ (990). The epithet daímōn ‘supernatural being’ (991), on the other hand, implies divine preservation, as we see from the context of daímōn in Works and Days 109-126. [105] We may {253|254} compare, too, the preservation of the hero Erechtheus by Athena in Iliad II 547-551, where the goddess is explicitly described as Diòs thugátēr ‘Daughter of Zeus’ (548). The preservation of both Phaethon and Erechtheus is represented in these passages in terms of hero cult. [106] If the hero is situated in a sacred precinct and if he is propitiated at set times, then he İs being treated like a god and it follows that he must be like a god; thus he must be in some sense alive. [107] From the standpoint of myth, he is explicitly dead, but from the standpoint of cult, he is implicitly reborn and thus alive. Myth has it that, like Phaethon, Erechtheus, too, had once been struck dead by the thunderbolt of Zeus (Hyginus 46). It is clear that Erechtheus has an underworld phase, in that he is described as hidden in a χάσμα…χθονός ‘chasm of the earth’ (Euripides Ion 281). Similarly, the adjective múkhios ‘secreted’ describing Phaethon in Theogony 991 implies a stay in the underworld, as we see from the usage of múkhios ‘secret place’ in Theogony 119. As for Aphrodite, the goddess who abducted Phaethon and made him múkhios, she herself is known as Mukhíā in the context of one of her cults (as at Gyaros: IG XII v 651; cf. Aelian De natura animalium 10.34). [108] Another such cult title of Aphrodite, again implying an underworld phase, is Melainís ‘the dark one’ (Pausanias 2.2.4, 8.6.5, 9.27.5). In the Phaethon myth preserved by Euripides, even the mother’s name Kluménē connotes the underworld. The masculine equivalent, Klúmenos, was a euphemistic epithet of Hades himself, as in the epichoric cults of Hermione (Pausanias 2.35.9). Behind the Hermionian precinct of Khthoníā ‘the chthonic one’ is the ‘Place of Klúmenos’, and in this place is a γῆς χάσμα ‘chasm of the earth’ through which Herakles brought up the Hound of Hades (Pausanias 2.35.10). Accordingly, I am inclined to view Phaethon’s Kluménē as a hypostasis of chthonic Aphrodite.
To sum up: like Eos, Aphrodite is both maleficent and beneficent in the role of abductor, since she confers both death and preservation, When Phaethon’s parents are Helios and Klymene, the stage is set for his death, implicit in the Klymene figure. When his parents are Kephalos and Eos, the stage is set for both his death and his preservation, implicit in the Eos figure as well as in her alternate, Aphrodite. Thus, I disagree with the spirit of the claim that “on the evidence available to us the son of Helios and the son of Eos and Cephalus must be pronounced entirely different persons.” [109] Such an attitude is overly prosopographical. We {254|255} are dealing not with different persons, but with different myths, cognate variants, centering on the inherited personification of a solar child and consort.
Since the epithet múkhios ‘secreted’ as applied to Phaethon in Theogony 991 implies that he was hidden by Aphrodite, we see here an important parallelism with Phaon and Adonis, who were also hidden by Aphrodite. [110] Just as Phaethon implicitly attains preservation in the cult of Aphrodite, so also Adonis in the cult of Apollo Eríthios. [111] As for Phaon, he explicitly attains preservation in the myth where lie is turned into a beautiful young man by Aphrodite (Sappho F 211 V). From the myths of Phaethon, we see that the themes of concealment and preservation are symbolic of solar behavior, and we may begin to suspect that the parallel myths of Phaon and Adonis are based on like symbolism.
The very name Pháōn, just like Phaéthōn, suggests a solar theme. [112] His occupation too, that of ferryman (Sappho F 211 V), is a solar theme, as we see from the studies of Hermann Güntert on other mythological ferrymen. [113] As an interesting parallel to Phaon, I single out a solar deity in the Rig-Veda, Pūṣan, [114] who regularly functions as a psychopomp and who is at least once featured as traveling in golden boats (6.58.3); he is the wooer of his mother (6.55.5) and the lover of his sister (6.55.4, 5). A frequent and exclusive epithet of Pūṣan is ā́ghr̥ṇi- ‘glowing, bright’, comparable in meaning to Pháōn and Phaéthōn.
In light of these characteristics associated with the specialized Indic sun-god Pūṣan, we may note that the standard Indic sun-god Sūrya in the Rig-Veda is both son and consort of the dawn-goddess Uṣas (8.63.3, 7.78.3; 1.115.2, 7.75.5, etc.). [115] The ‘fathers’ of Pūṣan, the solar Divine Twins known as the Aśvin-s (Rig-Veda 10.85.14), share with Pūṣan his affinity with boats; they, too, are described as traveling about in boats (1.116.3). [116] The Aśvin-s are described as ‘born differently’ (nā́nā jātáu 5.73.4) and born ‘here and there’ (ihéha jātā́ 1.181.4); one is the son of Súmakha- ‘Good Warrior’ and the other, the son of Dyáus ‘Sky’. [117] In Yāska (Nirukta 12.1), a passage is quoted about the Aśvin-s where “one is {255|256} called the son of Night, the other the son of Dawn.” I view these images as solar symbols of day/night, bright/dark, immortal/mortal, alive/dead. When the two Aśvin-s are treated as a pair, on the other hand, only one side of their split personalities is revealed. [118] Accordingly, the two of them together are the sons of Dyáus ‘Sky’ (1.182.1, etc.) and the sons of Uṣas (3.39.3, to be supplemented by the comments of Sayana concerning this passage).
As solar ligures, Aśvin-s also represent the morning/evening star. [119] The female solar divinity Sūyrā, Daughter of the Sun, relates to the Aśvin-s in their astral function, much as Uṣas the dawn-goddess relates to them in their solar function. The Aśvin-s are Sūryā’s two husbands (4.43.6). As Douglas Frame has argued, the Twins’ epithet Nā́satyau means ‘retrievers’, because they retrieved the light of the sun. [120] The essence of the Nā́satyau theme is that the morning star, as it rises from the horizon, ‘recovers’ the light of the sun, represented by Sūryā. The night before, the evening star had dipped beyond the horizon, plunging after the sinking sun, in order to effect its recovery, another morning, by the alter ego, the morning star. [121]
The Indic Aśvin-s are parallel to the Greek Díoskouroi, Diòs koûroi ‘sons of Zeus, Dioscuri’. [122] Just as the Aśvin-s are named after the word for ‘horse’, áśva-, the Dioskouroi are known as leukópōloi ‘bright horses’ (e.g. Pindar Pythian 1.6u). [123] We may note that the Dioskouroi have a horse called Hárpagos ‘snatchcr’, son of Podárgā ‘bright/swift of foot’ (Stesichorus PMG 178.1); the latter name may be compared with that of the Harpy Podárgē = ‘bright/swift of foot’ who bore the horses of Achilles at the banks of Okeanos/Eridanos (Iliad XVT 150-151). [124] We may note, too, a Laconian ensemble of priestesses called Leukippídes ‘bright horses’ (Pausanias 3,16.1), who are associated with the cult of Helen (cf. Euripides Helen 1465-1466); Helen in this context functions as a dawn-goddess, analogous to or perhaps even identical with the dawn-goddess Aōtis in Alcman PMG 1.87. [125] {256|257}
To return to our current center of attention, the solar figure Phaon in the poetics of Sappho: another solar theme associated with Phaon is his plunge from a white rock, an act that is parallel to the solar plunge of Phaethon into the Eridanos. We have seen that the Eridanos is an analogue of the Okeanos, the boundary delimiting light and darkness, life and death, wakefulness and sleep, consciousness and unconsciousness. We have also seen that the White Rock is another mythical landmark delimiting the same opposites and that these two landmarks are mystical coefficients in Homeric diction (Odyssey xxiv 11). Even the Phaethon figure is connected with the White Rock, in that his “father” Kephalos is supposed to have jumped off Cape Leukas (Strabo 10.2.9 C452) [126] and is connected with the placename Thórikos (Apollodorus 2.4.7). [127] The theme of plunging is itself overtly solar, as we see from Homeric diction:
ἐν δ’ ἔπεσ’ Ὠκεανῷ λαμπρὸν φάος Ἠελίοιο
Iliad VIII 485
and the bright light of Helios plunged into the Okeanos.
In the Epic Cycle the lover of Klymene is not Helios but “Kephalos son of Deion” (Κεφάλῳ τῷ Δηίονος Nostoi F 4 Allen), [128] a figure whose name matches that of Kephalos son of Deioneus, the one who leapt from the white rock of Leukas (Strabo 10.2.9 C452) and who hails from Thorikos (Apollodorus 2.4.7). [129]
If indeed the Phaon and Adonis myths operate on solar themes, it remains to ask about the relevance of Aphrodite. Most important of all, how do we interpret Aphrodite’s plunge from the White Rock? We hear of her doing so out of love for Adonis (Ptolemaios Chennos by way of Photius Bibliotheca 152-153 Bekker), [130] and the act itself may be connected with her known function as substitute for the Indo-European dawn-goddess of the Greeks, Eos. As we have seen, Aphrodite has even usurped the epithet of Eos, Diòs thugátēr ‘Daughter of Sky’, as well as the roles that go with the epithet. From the Homeric standpoint, Aphrodite is actually the Diòs thugátēr par excellence, in that even her “mother’s” {257|258} name is Diṓnē (Iliad V 370, 381). It still remains, however, to explain Aphrodite’s plunge from the White Rock as a feature characteristic of a surrogate Indo-European dawn-goddess.
Here we may do well to look toward Aphrodite’s older, Near Eastern, heritage. As the Greek heiress to the functions of the Semitic fertility goddess Ištar, Aphrodite has as her astral symbol the planet of Ištar, better known to us as Venus. [131] The planet Venus is of course the same as Hésperos the Evening Star and Heṓsphoros (‘dawn-bearer’, Ēṓs-bearer’) the Morning Star. In the evening Hesperos sets after sunset; in the morning Heosphoros rises before sunrise. We have the testimony of Sappho’s near contemporary, Ibycus (PMG 331), that Hesperos and Heosphoros were by this time known to be one and the same. From the Indo-European standpoint, on the other hand, Hesperos and Heosphoros must be Divine Twins, as represented by the Dioskouroi, the Greek ‘Sons of Zeus’ who are cognates of the Indic Aśvin-s. [132] At the bat tle of Aigospotamoi, there is supposed to have been an epiphany of the Dioskouroi in the form of stars, on either side of Lysander’s admiral ship; after their victory the Spartans dedicated two stars of gold at Delphi (Plutarch Lysander 12, 18).
In the poetics of Sappho, the Indo-European model of the Morning Star and Evening Star merges with the Near Eastern model of the Planet Aphrodite. On the one hand, Sappho’s Hesperos is a nuptial star, as we know directly from the fragment 104 V and indirectly from the celebrated hymenaeus ‘wedding-song’ of Catullus 62, Vesper adest. Since Hesperos is the evening aspect of the astral Aphrodite, its setting into the horizon, beyond which is Okeanos, could have inspired the image of a plunging Aphrodite. If we imagine Aphrodite diving into the Okeanos after the sun, it follows that she will rise in the morning, bringing after her the sun of a new day. This image is precisely what the Hesiodic scholia preserve to explain the myth of Aphrodite and Phaethon:
ὁ ἡῷος ἀστήρ, ὁ ἀνάγων τὴν ἠμέραν καὶ τὸν Φαέθοντα
Scholia to Hesiod Theogony 990
the star of Eos, the one that brings back to light and life [verb an - ágō] the day and Phaethon, Aphrodite [133]
For the mystical meaning of an-ágō as ‘bring back the light and life [from {258|259} the dead]’, I cite the contexts of this verb in Hesiod Theogony 626 (εἰς φάος ‘into the light’), Plato Republic 521c (εἰς φῶς ‘tο light’), Aeschylus Agamemnon 1023 (τῶν φθιμένων ‘from the realm of the dead’), and so on. [134]
From Menander F 258K, we infer that Sappho spoke of herself as diving from the White Rock, crazed with love for Phaon. The implications of this ¡mage are cosmic. The “I” of Sappho’s poetry is vicariously projecting her identity into the goddess Aphrodite, who loves the native Lesbian hypostasis of the Sun-God himself. By diving from the White Rock, the “I” of Sappho does what Aphrodite does in the form of Evening Star, diving after the sunken Sun in order to retrieve him, another morning, in the form of Morning Star. If we imagine her pursuing the Sun the night before, she will be pursued in turn the morning after. There is a potential here for amor uersus, a theme that haunts the poetry of Sappho elsewhere:
καὶ γὰρ αἰ φεύγει, ταχέως διώξει
Sappho F 1.21V
for even if she now flees, soon she will pursue
Sappho’s special association with Aphrodite is apparent throughout her poetry. The very first poem of the Sapphic corpus is, after all, an intense prayer to Aphrodite, where the goddess is implored to be the summakhos ‘battle-ally’ of the poetess (F 1.28 V). The “I” of Sappho pictures herself and Aphrodite as parallel rather than reciprocal agents:
ὄσσα δέ μοι τέλεσσαι θῦμος ἰμέρρει, τέλεσον
Sappho F 1. 26-27 V
and however many things my spirit [thūmós] yearns to accomplish [verb teléō , active], I pray that you [Aphrodite] accomplish [verb teléō , active]
I draw attention to the wording τέλεσσαι ‘to accomplish’, an active infinitive instead of the expected passive τελέσθην ‘to be accomplished’. [135] If someone else needs something done by Aphrodite, {259|260} Sappho’s poetry opts for the passive infinitive τελέσθην ‘to be accomplished’, not active τέλεσσαι ‘to accomplish’:
Κύπρι καὶ] Νηρήιδες ἀβλάβη[ν μοι
τὸν κασί]γνητον δ[ό]τε τυίδ’ ἴκεσθα[ι
κὤσσα Ϝ]οι θύμῳ κε θέλῃ γενέσθαι
πάντα τε]λέσθην
Sappho F 5.1-4 V
Aphrodite and Nereids, grant that my brother
come back here unharmed,
and that however many things he wishes in his spirit [thūmós] to happen
may all be accomplished [verb teléō , passive]
The figure of Sappho projects mortal identity onto the divine explicitly as well as implicitly. I cite the following examples from one poem:
πόλ]λακι τυίδε [ν]ῶν ἔχοισα
σε θέᾳ σ’ ἰκέλαν ἀρι-
γνώτᾳ, σᾷ δὲ μάλιστ’ ἔχαιρε μόλπᾳ
ε]ὔμαρ[ες μ]ὲν οὐ[κ] ἄ[μ]μι θέαισι μόρ-
φαν ἐπή[ρατ]ον ἐξίσω-
Sappho F 96.2-5, 21-23 V
Many times turning your attention [nóos] in this direction
you, a likeness of the well-known goddess.
And it is in your song and dance that she delighted especially.
It is not easy for us
to become equal in lovely shape
to the goddesses
An even more significant example is Sappho F 58.25-26 V, two verses quoted by Athenaeus 687b. Sappho is cited as a woman who professes not to separate tò kalón ‘what is beautiful’ from habrótēs ‘luxuriance’:
ἐγὼ δὲ φίλημμ’ ἀβροσύναν, [...] τοῦτο, καί μοι {260|261}
τὸ λά⌊μπρον ἔρως [136] ἀελίω καὶ τὸ κά⌋λον λέ⌊λ⌋ογχε
Sappho F 58.25-26 V
But I love luxuriance [(h)abrosunā]. …this,
and lust for the sun has won me brightness and beauty. [137]
From Oxyrhynchus Papyri 1787 we can see that these two verses come at the end of a poem alluding to mythical topics. According to Lobel and Page, verses 19 and following refer to Tithonos (F 58 LP). Be that as it may, we do see images about growing old, with hair turning white and the knees losing their strength (Sappho F 58.13-15 V). The fragmentary nature of the papyrus prevents certainty about the speaker and the speaker’s predicament, but somebody is feeling helpless, asking rhetorically what can be done, and bemoaning some impossibility (58.17-18). Also, the Lesbian Eos is mentioned: βροδόπαχυν Αὔων ‘rosy-armed Dawn’ (58.19).
As a coda to this poem, the last two verses, which I interpret as proclaiming Sappho’s ‘lust for the sun’, amount to a personal and artistic manifesto. The (h)abrosúnā ‘luxuriance’ of Sappho transcends the banal discussion of Athenaeus, who quotes these two verses. For Sappho, (h)ábrōs ‘luxuriant’ is the epithet of Adonis (F 140 V), as also of the Kharites ‘Graces’ (128 V), on whose chariot Aphrodite rides (194 V). At Sappho F 2.13-16 V, (h)ábrōs (14) is the adverb describing the scene as Aphrodite is asked to pour nectar. The use of (h)ábrōs ‘luxuriant’/(h)abrosúnā ‘luxuriance’ in Sappho reminds us of the Roman neoterics and their allusive use of lepidus/lepos in expressing their artistic identity. As for Sappho’s ‘lust for the sun’ and ‘love of (h)abrosúnā [luxuriance]’, these themes combine profound personal and artistic ideals. In verses preceding the coda, the words of Sappho perhaps alluded to Phaon as an old man, compared with Tithonos. Or perhaps Phaon was son of Tithonos. We do hear of a myth where Phaethon is son of Tithonos (Apollodorus 3.14.3); just as Phaethon was son of Ēṓs ‘Dawn’, perhaps Phaon was son of the Lesbian cognate, Aúōs ‘Dawn’ mentioned in the same poem, Sappho F 58.19. The expression ἔσχατα γᾶς φέροισα[ ‘[she], taking to the ends of the earth’ in the following {261|262} verse 20 of this poem, along with ἔμαρψε ‘snatched’ in the following verse 21, remind us of Okeanos/Eridanos and Harpies.
In any case, the fact remains that there is a Lesbian myth about Phaon as an old man (Sappho F 211 V); significantly, in this same myth Aphrodite herself assumes the form of an old woman, whom the old Phaon generously ferries across a strait (ibid.). I suspect that the figure of Sappho identifies herself with this figure of an old woman. Similarly, we may compare the myth of the mourning Aphrodite’s plunge from the White Rock out of love for the dead Adonis (Ptolemaios Chennos by way of Photius Bibliotheca 152-153 Bekker) [138] as pertinent to the poetics of Sappho, where the explicit theme of mourning for Adonis (F 168 V) may be connected with the latent theme of Sappho’s self-identification with Aphrodite.
In short, there is a mythical precedent for an aging lady to love Phaon. The implicit hope is retrieved youth. After Aphrodite crossed the strait, she became a beautiful goddess again, conferring youth and beauty on Phaon, too (again, Sappho F 211 V). For all these reasons, perhaps, Sappho loves Phaon. {262|263}


[ back ] 1. Page 1951.87.
[ back ] 2. Page p. 87.
[ back ] 3. Wilamowitz 1897.252n2.
[ back ] 4. Campbell 1976.203. I infer that the editor had in mind passages like Hesiod Works and Days 588-589.
[ back ] 5. For a survey, sec Page 1955.116-119. For some, including Page, such idiosyncrasies mean that the passage is an insertion and does not intrinsically belong where it is found in the text. I disagree, believing that the epic genre consists of several subgenres, and that each subgenre has its idiosyncrasies in theme and diction. For a survey of the principle that each epic subgenre (such as that of similes) has its own distinctive archaisms as well as innovations, see Householder and Nagy 1972.741-743.
[ back ] 6. Frame 1978.81-115.
[ back ] 7. Frame pp. 87-90, 92. Just as Nestor brings his cattle back to Pylos, so also another figure, Melampous, on whose solar significance see Frame pp. 91-92.
[ back ] 8. See p. 218.
[ back ] 9. See p. 218. Cf. also pp. 92ff., with reference to Frame’s (1978) demonstration of the traditional theme that represents sunrise as symbolically parallel with a return to consciousness, the Greek word for which is nóos.
[ back ] 10. Note esp. Frame pp. 75-76, 78 on Odyssey xiii 79-95, where the ‘return’ of Odysseus coincides with sunrise, at which point the hero can finally awaken from the deathlike sleep that had held him for the duration of his nighttime sea voyage homeward. Cf. p. 218. Also Segal 1962.
[ back ] 11. Frame pp. 92-93.
[ back ] 12. For details, see Frame pp. 90-91.
[ back ] 13. This epithet serves as a counterexample to the argument of Page 1955.117 that in Homeric poetry Hermes functions as psychopomp only in Odyssey xxiv. Cf. also Whitman 1958.217-218 on Iliad XXIV.
[ back ] 14. As for the epithet ἀμενηνῶν ‘without vital force [ménos]’ applied to ὀνείρων ‘dreams’ here at Odessey xix 562, we may note that it is applied in the Odyssey exclusively to the dead throughout its other attestations (νεκύων ἀμενηνὰ κάρηνα at x 521, 536; xi 29, 49).
[ back ] 15. This passage must have belonged to the introductory anapests play (scholia A to Hephaestion περὶ ποιημάτων 6.3).
[ back ] 16. Corinthian settlers called the entire territory Leukas, after Cupe Leukas; cf. Strabo 10.2.8 C452.
[ back ] 17. Wilamowitz 1913.25-10.
[ back ] 18. For a discussion of the restoration <μὴ>, see Wilamowitz pp. 30-31n2; following Wilamowitz, Dieterich 1913.vii retracts his earlier reading without <μὴ>.
[ back ] 19. Wilamowitz pp. 33-37.
[ back ] 20. Westermann 1843.197-199.
[ back ] 21. Wilamowitz 1913.28.
[ back ] 22. Pace Wilamowitz 1913.28.
[ back ] 23. For an articulate discussion of this general tendency, see Jeanmaire 1939, esp. p. 310 on the Mysteries.
[ back ] 24. Pace Wilamowitz 1913.27.
[ back ] 25. By way of Plutarch, De mulierum uirtutibus 255a-e.
[ back ] 26. See the commentary of Jacoby FGH 262 F 7, p. 16.
[ back ] 27. Gruppe 1906.585. The basic meaning of skîros ‘hard rock’ (whence ‘chalk, gypsum’) survives in the variant reading for Iliad XXIII 332-333, preserved by Aristarchus (Scholia Townley). Nestor is telling about a landmark, an old tree trunk (XXIII 326-328), with this added detail:
λᾶε δὲ τοῦ ἐκάτερθεν ἐρηρέδηται δύο λευκώ
Iliad XXIII 329
and two white rocks are propped up on either side
In the vulgate, at Iliad XXIII 331-333, the image of two white rocks propped up on a tree trunk is described as either a sêma ‘tomb’ or a nússa ‘turning post’ belonging to a past generation (quoted at p. 215). Instead of the two verses 332-333, describing the alternative of a turning post, Aristarchus reads the following single verse:
ἠὲ σκῖρος ἔην, νῦν αὖ θέτο τέρματ’ Ἀχιλλεύς
or it was a skîros, but now Achilles set it up as a turning point
In the Tabulae Heracleenses (DGE no. 62.19), 144), skîros designates a rocky area unfit for planting, on which trees grow wild. For a useful discussion of words formed with skīr-, see Robert 1885.
[ back ] 28. Pausanias tells us (1.33.8) that the specific name of Skiron’s while rock was Molouris, and that it was sacred to Leukothea, the White Goddess (on whom see N 1985a.79-81). It is from the Molouris that Leukothea flung herself into the sea with her "son" Melikertes (Pausanias 1.44.7). At the top of Molouris was a shrine of Zeus Aphesios, the ‘Releaser’ (Pausanias 1.44.8).
[ back ] 29. As for the agency of Lykomedes (Lukomēdēs) in the plunge of Theseus (Heraclides by way of Pausanias 1.17.6; scholia to Aristophanes Ploutos 627), we may compare the agency of Lykourgos (Lukoûrgos) in the plunge of Dionysus (Iliad VI 130-1-11). We may note, too the words describing what happened to Dionysus after he dove into the sea: Θέτις δ’ ὑπεδέξατο κόλπῳ ‘and Thetis received him in her bosom’ (VI 136). For the ritual significance of the wolf theme, see Jeanmaire 1939.581.
[ back ] 30. For a detailed discussion, see Jeanmaire pp. 324-337. We may note in general the parallelism between the procedure of initiation (ritual) and the story of death (myth). Cf. N 1986a. For a pathfinding work on the theme of rebirth in the Odyssey, see Newton 1984.
[ back ] 31. DELG 444.
[ back ] 32. The leap of Kephalos into the sea was at first probably localized in Thorikos and only later transposed to Cape Leukas. For a discussion of the political motivations for such a mythographical transposition, see Gruppe 1912.373.
[ back ] 33. The reading Σκιρωνίτης is preferable to Σκειρωνίτης, as we know from the evidence of vase inscriptions; see Kretschmer 1894.131ff.
[ back ] 34. Gruppe 1912.372 argues that Kolonos marks one of the places claimed to be the spot where Theseus descended into the underworld.
[ back ] 35. The rock associated with Skyphios is the Pétrē Haimoníē: Apollonius Argonautica 3.1244 and scholia. Note, too, the Argive custom of sacrificing horses by throwing them into the sea (Pausanias 8.7.2); see Nilsson 1906.71-72.
[ back ] 36. For an appreciation of the contextual nuances in δηὖτε ‘one more time’, I recommend as an exercise in associative esthetics the consecutive reading of the passages cited by Campbell 1976.266, with reference to the triple deployment of δηὖτε at Sappho F 1.15,16,18V.
[ back ] 37. If plunging is symbolic of sexual relief, it follows that the opposite is symbolic of sexual frustration:
ἀναπέτομαι δὴ πρὸς Ὄλυμπον πτερύγεσαι κούφῃς διὰ τὸν Ἔρωτ’. οὐ γὰρ ἐμοὶ [...]θέλει συνηβᾶν
Anacreon ΡΜG 378
I flutter up toward Olympus on light wings on account of Eros. For he […] refuses to join me in youthful sport.
[ back ] 38. Note the association of wine with the shade from a rock in the following words of Hesiod: εἴη πετραίη τε σκιὴ καὶ βίβλινος οἶνος ‘let there be a shade under the rock and wine from Biblos’ (Works and Days 589; see further at 592-596).
[ back ] 39. Euphemism for female genitalia.
[ back ] 40. Cf. p. 153.
[ back ] 41. West 1966.427.
[ back ] 42. Fragments edited by Diggle 1970.
[ back ] 43. For attestations of the same myth beyond Euripides, cf. Diggle pp. 3-32.
[ back ] 44. Boas 1910.123, 125, 127; also Boas 1898.100-103.
[ back ] 45. For detailed comparisons with the Greek myth, see Frazer 1921 2:388-З94, appendix xi: ‘Phaethon and the Chariot of the Sun."
[ back ] 46. Roben 1883.440: Allabendlich stürtzt der Sonnengott im Westen nieder und allabendlich erglänzen das Firmament und die Berge in roter Glut, als sollte die Welt in Flammen aufgehen. Es branchte nun bloss dieser regelmässig wiederkehrende Vorgang als einmaliges Ereignis aufgefasst und der Sonnengott Helios-Phaeihon zu dem Heros, dem Sonnenkind Phaethon, hypostasiert zu werden und der Mythus war fertig. Paraphrased at p. 239.
[ back ] 47. See pp. 225ff.; also pp. 92ff, 126, 203, 218, 225.
[ back ] 48. On the circularity of the Okeanos: pp. 238ff; cf. N 1979a.194, 206.
[ back ] 49. The passage is quoted at pp. 243-244. Cf. N 1979a.194-195.
[ back ] 50. See also p. 214 above; cf. Kliade 1963.419-423, 428-429.
[ back ] 51. Cf. Frame 1978.57-60, who also discusses the thematic intrusion of a northerly direction into the narrative.
[ back ] 52. See also Frame pp. 68-73.
[ back ] 53. Diggle 1970.27-32.
[ back ] 54. Theogony 337-345. Some of the rivers in this catalogue are real while others are only mythical; see West 1966.259-263.
[ back ] 55. I propose to study elsewhere the application of bathudī́nēs to Alpheios (Hesiod F I93.9 MW and to Skamandros/Xantos (XX 73, XXI passim).
[ back ] 56. More on Harpies at pp. 243ff.
[ back ] 57. See p. 231.
[ back ] 58. See p. 231.
[ back ] 59. Murr 1890.17.
[ back ] 60. See Dieterich 1913.27. For a more familiar reference to the underworld Eridanos, see Virgil Aeneid 659 (also Servius on Aeneid 6.603). The name Eridanos also figures in the the myths about Herakles in the far west; Pherecydes FGH 3 F 16-17, 74.
[ back ] 61. Diggle 1970.10n3, paraphrasing and rejecting thee formula of Robert 1883.440, quoted at p. 236n46.
[ back ] 62. Diggle p. 10n3
[ back ] 63. Lévi-Strauss 1967.205.
[ back ] 64. Lévi-Strauss p. 205.
[ back ] 65. Diggle 1970.10n3.
[ back ] 66. I benefit here from the discussion of Lévi-Strauss 1967, who treats the Oedipus problem from several vantage points, including Freud’s, I should note that my use of the terms "overrate" and "underrate" differs from that of Lévi-Strauss.
[ back ] 67. For a more detailed discussion of Hesiod Theogony 986-991, see N I979a.191.
[ back ] 68. It is pertinent to note here the argument that Kalypso is a hypostasis of Aphrodite herself, in the aspect Melainís ‘the black one’: see Güntert 1909, esp. p. 189. For a definitive treatment of the Kalypso figure, see Crane 1988.
[ back ] 69. Cf. p. 238.
[ back ] 70. Kretschmer 1894.208-209.
[ back ] 71. See pp. 243-244.
[ back ] 72. Cf. 238-239, 244-245.
[ back ] 73. Cf. pp. 98-99. For more· on Odyssey x 190-193, see N 1979a.320-321.
[ back ] 74. Güntert 1923.36n1. The semantics of the form Ēri-danós are pertinent to the work of Boedeker 1984.
[ back ] 75. For more on Indic sun-gods, see pp. 93ff.
[ back ] 76. Schmitt 1967 ch. 4.
[ back ] 77. Schmitt pp. 160-173.
[ back ] 78. I disagree with Schmitt’s statement that Eos is Daughter of Helios (pp. 172-173). Technically, she docs appear as Daughter of the Sun in Theogony 371-374, but here the name of her "father" is Hyperion; as for Helios, he is her "brother" (ibid.). For the image of Eos as Daughter of the Sun, we may compare the special image of Uṣas as Daughter of the Sun-God Sūrya in the Rig-Veda (2.23.2), as distinct from the usual image of Uṣas as Daughter of the Sky-God Dyaus, divá(s) duhitár- (Rig-Veda, passim); the noun dyáus ‘sky’, personified as the Sky-God Dyaus, is cognate of Greek Zeús.
[ back ] 79. We may note, too, that Odyssey xxiii 216 is the only place in either the Iliad or the Odyssey where a solar deity has a chariot team.
[ back ] 80. For the morphology of Lampetíē, see N 1970.43-44n121; also Frame 1978.135-137 οn Indic Nā́satyau.
[ back ] 81. The Indic noun márya- may be pertinent to the semantics of Greek mérops, as discussed at p. 198n120.
[ back ] 82. Wikander 19S8.22-30, 81-85, esp. p. 84.
[ back ] 83. Diggle 1970.148-160. The passage is quoted in N 1979a.199-200.
[ back ] 84. See p. 249.
[ back ] 85. So Diggle 1970.158-160.
[ back ] 86. On the divine aspects of Helen in Homeric diction and on the relationship of Diòs thugátēr/thugátēr Diós ‘Daughter of Zeus’ to Diòs koûroi ‘sons of Zeus’, see Clader 1976.
[ back ] 87. For a pathfinding survey, see Boedeker 1974.
[ back ] 88. Other examples; Athena/Odysseus (Odyssey xiii 369), Aphrodite/Alexander (Iliad III 374), Aphrodite/Aeneas (V 312).
[ back ] 89. See p. 242.
[ back ] 90. See p. 242.
[ back ] 91. For further details on this difficult passage concerning the daughters of Pandareos, Odyssey xx 66-81, see N 1979a.195 §25n2.
[ back ] 92. Further discussion at N p. 201 § 37n3.
[ back ] 93. More detailed discussion at N pp. 201-203.
[ back ] 94. N pp. 191-192, As for the Tithonos 31017 in the Hymn to Aphrodite, the sequence is suspended: abduction = presentation, with no death ensuing. Appropriately, Tithonos therefore never rises from the Okeanos, as would a reborn Sun. Whenever Eos rises, she leaves Tithonos behind (Iliad XIX 1-2 vs. Odyssey v 1-2; Hymn to Aphrodite 227, 236).
[ back ] 95. Frame 1978.91-92. Suffice it here to note the suggestive verses at Odyssey xv 235-230.
[ back ] 96. See immediately above.
[ back ] 97. See p. 252.
[ back ] 98. More detailed discussion in N 1979a.201-203.
[ back ] 99. This theme is pertinent to the name Ōríōn (Ōaríōn), which seems to be connected with óar ‘wife’, óaros ‘companionship, keeping company’, etc.
[ back ] 100. Survey of contexts in Ν 1979a.202 §39n1.
[ back ] 101. The argument is presented at N p. 202.
[ back ] 102. On the implications of the Orion myth for the fate of Odysseus in the Odyssey, see N pp. 202-203. See also p. 207n15 above.
[ back ] 103. See p. 251.
[ back ] 104. See p. 242.
[ back ] 105. Further details at N 1979a.190-192.
[ back ] 106. N pp. 190-192.
[ back ] 107. Rohde 1898 1:189-199. The rationalizations about priest-kings in Farnell 1921.17 amount to an exercise in euhemerism.
[ back ] 108. Cf. also Güntert 1909.185 on the mystical function of the word mukhós ‘secret place’ and its relation to the name Kalupsṓ in the Odyssey.
[ back ] 109. Diggle 1970.15n3.
[ back ] 110. See pp. 228-229.
[ back ] 111. See pp. 229-230.
[ back ] 112. See p. 235.
[ back ] 113. See esp. Güntert 1909 and 1923.273. For the problem of the Aśvin-s (on whom see also pp. 112-113), see immediately below.
[ back ] 114. On whom see pp. 97ff.
[ back ] 115. In the Greek tradition, we have seen that Eos can be represented as the sister of Helios (Hesiod Theogony 371-374). See p. 248.
[ back ] 116. More on the Aśvin-s at pp. 92-93, 112-113.
[ back ] 117. The adjectives makhá- and súmakha- in Indic poetry serve as epithets denoting the heroic aspect of both men and gods.
[ back ] 118. For more on this characteristic of the Divine Twins, see Davidson 1987.103-104; cf. Wikander 1957.
[ back ] 119. A central point argued by Güntert 1923.
[ back ] 120. Frame 1978.134-152; see pp. 92-93, 112-113 above; see also Güntert p. 268.
[ back ] 121. For a discussion of the Indic equivalent to the Greek Okeanos beyond the horizon, see pp. 98ff.
[ back ] 122. See Güntert 1923.260-276.
[ back ] 123. On the Old English traditions about the twin brothers Hengest, cognate of German Hengst ‘stallion’, and Horsa, as in latter-day English horse, who reportedly led the Saxons in their invasion of the British Isles, see Ward 1958.54-55 and Joseph 1983. On the Iranian Lohrāsp and Goshtāsp, a Dioscuric father-son dyad in the Shāhnāma of Ferdowsi, where the element -āsp is cognate with Indic áśva- ‘horse’, see Davidson 1987.
[ back ] 124. See pp. 238-239, 244-245.
[ back ] 125. For details and discussion, see Calame 1977 1:326-330, 2:124-125, who also argues that the theme of radiant horses is a sacred symbol for the dawn, a cult topic shared by the figure of Helen with the Leukippides, who in myth are consorts of the Dioskouroi, brothers of Helen.
[ back ] 126. See p. 230.
[ back ] 127. See p. 232.
[ back ] 128. The son of Klymene and Kephalos is named as Iphiklos (Nostoi F 4 Allen).
[ back ] 129. See p. 232.
[ back ] 130. See p. 229.
[ back ] 131. Scherer 1953.78-84, 90, 92, 94.
[ back ] 132. Güntert 1924.266-267. See pp. 255ff.
[ back ] 133. Both Wilamowitz 1913.37n3and Diggle 1970.15n1 find this statement incomprehensible.
[ back ] 134. See again Frame 1978.150-162 on the epithet of the Aśvin-s, Nā́satyau, which he interprets as ‘they who bring back to life and light’; for the Aśvin-s as Evening/Morning Star, see pp. 255-256.
[ back ] 135. For a similar effect, we may compare the opposition of active faciam ‘that I do’ and passive fieri ‘to be done’, both referring ю the verbs odi et amo Catullus 85.
[ back ] 136. Cf. Hamm 1957 §241.
[ back ] 137. This interpretation differs from that of e.g. Campbell 1982.101, who reads τὠελίω (τὸ ἀελίω), agreeing with τὸ λάμπρον. Even if we were to accept the reading τὠελίω, we could theoretically interpret the crasis along the lines of τῶ ἀελίω = τὠελίω (cf. e.g. πω ἔσλον = πὦσλον at Alcaeus 69.5 V; cf. Hamm p. §91e).
[ back ] 138. See pp. 229ff.