Libya, called Cyrenaica, that bordered upon the Syrtis
major. It was founded, according to tradition, about the
middle of the seventh century B.C., by Battus, otherwise
called Aristotle, a Greek from the island of Thera, and attained great
reputation as a centre of trade, and as the birthplace of
Eratosthenes, Aristippus, and Callimachus.
oraclum Iovis: the
Egyptian deity Ammon, or Hammon, originally worshipped in
under the form of a ram, or of a human figure with a ram's
horns, had his most famous temple and oracle in the oasis of
Siwah in the
Libyan desert, 400 miles from Cyrene (Plin.
l.c.). He was identified by the Greeks and
Romans with Zeus and Jupiter; cf.
hoc neque harenosum Libyae Iovis
aestuosi: of glowing
heat, as in
simply ‘Cretan’; cf. v. 172 Gnosia litora.
nam perhibent: the poet
drops the thread of his story for a moment to relate the
circumstances that led to the present condition of Ariadne;
cf. v. 2 n.
Androgeos, son of Minos and Pasiphae, conquered all his
competitors at wrestling in Athens, and was through jealousy
assassinated while on his way to the games at Thebes. According to
another story, King Aegeus himself caused his death by
sending him against the fire-breathing Marathonian bull.
Minos thereupon besieged the Athenians, who were compelled
to yield to him by a pestilence sent by the gods, and to
accept his hard conditions of peace.
electos: cf. v. 4
lecti iuvenes. The number
is commonly given as seven of each sex (as also, perhaps, in
Verg. A. 6.20ff.).
grief of the writer carries him away from his theme into an
apostrophe to his dead brother.
vita amabilior: cf.
Daulias: so the
transformed Philomela (Ov. Met.
6.424 ff.) was called, according to Thuc. 2.29, from Daulis, the town of
Phocis, where Tereus lived; Homer, however (Hom. Od. 19.518 ff.),
represents Itylus as the only son of Zethus, king of
Aedon, daughter of Pandareus, king of Crete, and slain
unwittingly by his own mother, who was jealous of the
motherhood of Niobe, and supposed herself to be killinig
Niobe's eldest son.
sed tamen: after the
long parenthesis the poet returns to his theme, sed, as often, being resumptive.
haec: probably Catul. 66.1ff. is referred to.