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The Argonautica

Page: 34

(ll. 360-406) "Now there is a headland opposite Helice the Bear, steep on all sides, and they call it Carambis, about whose crests the blasts of the north wind are sundered. So high in the air does it rise turned towards the sea. And when ye have rounded it broad Aegialus stretches before you; and at the end of broad Aegialus, at a jutting point of coast, the waters of the river Halys pour forth with a terrible roar; and after it his flowing near, but smaller in stream, rolls into the sea with white eddies. Onward from thence the bend of a huge and towering cape reaches out from the land, next Thermodon at its mouth flows into a quiet bay at the Themiscyreian headland, after wandering through a broad continent. And here is the plain of Doeas, and near are the three cities of the Amazons, and after them the Chalybes, most wretched of men, possess a soil rugged and unyielding sons of toil, they busy themselves with working iron. And near them dwell the Tibareni, rich in sheep, beyond the Genetaean headland of Zeus, lord of hospitality. And bordering on it the Mossynoeci next in order inhabit the well-wooded mainland and the parts beneath the mountains, who have built in towers made from trees their wooden homes and well-fitted chambers, which they call Mossynes, and the people themselves take their name from them. After passing them ye must beach your ship upon a smooth island, when ye have driven away with all manner of skill the ravening birds, which in countless numbers haunt the desert island. In it the Queens of the Amazons, Otrere and Antiope, built a stone temple of Ares what time they went forth to war. Now here an unspeakable help will come to you from the bitter sea; wherefore with kindly intent I bid you stay. But what need is there that I should sin yet again declaring everything to the end by my prophetic art? And beyond the island and opposite mainland dwell the Philyres: and above the Philyres are the Macrones, and after them the vast tribes of the Becheiri. And next in order to them dwell the Sapeires, and the Byzeres have the lands adjoining to them, and beyond them at last live the warlike Colchians themselves. But speed on in your ship, till ye touch the inmost bourne of the sea. And here at the Cytaean mainland and from the Amarantine mountains far away and the Circaean plain, eddying Phasis rolls his broad stream to the sea. Guide your ship to the mouth of that river and ye shall behold the towers of Cytaean Aeetes and the shady grove of Ares, where a dragon, a monster terrible to behold, ever glares around, keeping watch over the fleece that is spread upon the top of an oak; neither by day nor by night does sweet sleep subdue his restless eyes."

(ll. 408-410) Thus he spake, and straightway fear seized them as they heard. And for a long while they were struck with silence; till at last the hero, son of Aeson, spake, sore dismayed at their evil plight:


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