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When he inquired how he should be rid of his disorder, the god answered that he would be rid of it if he should fetch the wooden image that was in the land of the Taurians.1 Now the Taurians are a part of the Scythians, who murder strangers2 and throw them into the sacred fire, which was in the precinct, being wafted up from Hades through a certain rock.3

1 As to the oracle, compare Eur. IT 77-92; Eur. IT 970-978; Tzetzes, Scholiast on Lycophron 1374; Hyginus, Fab. 120.

2 The Taurians inhabited the Crimea. As to their custom of sacrificing castaways and strangers, see Hdt. 4.103; Eur. IT 34-41; Diod. 4.44.7; Paus. 1.43.1; Orphica, Argon. 1075ff., ed Abel; Ovid, Ex Ponto iii.2.45-58; Mela ii.11; Ammianus Marcellinus xxii.8.34. According to Herodotus, these Taurians sacrificed human beings to a Virgin Goddess, whom they identified with Iphigenia, daughter of Agamemnon. The victims were shipwrecked persons and any Greeks on whom they could lay hands. They were slaughtered by being knocked on the head with a club, after which their heads were set up on stakes and their bodies thrown down a precipice into the sea or buried in the ground; for reports differed in regard to the disposal of the corpses, though all agreed as to the setting of the heads on stakes. Ammianus Marcellinus says that the native name of the goddess was Orsiloche.

3 This account of the disposal of the bodies of the victims is based on

τάφος δὲ ποῖος δέξεταί μ᾽, ὅταν θάνω;

πῦρ ἱερὸν ἔνδον χάσμα τ᾽ εὐρωπὸν πέτρας.


“ h)/dh tw=n ce/nwn kath/rcato,
a)du/tois t' e)n a(gnoi=s sw=ma la/mpontai puri/;

Thus Apollodorus differs from the account which Herodotus gives of the disposal of the bodies. See the preceding note.

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