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[7] So these nymphs fed the child on the milk of Amalthea;1 and the Curetes in arms guarded the babe in the cave, clashing their spears on their shields in order that Cronus might not hear the child's voice.2 But Rhea wrapped a stone in swaddling clothes and gave it to Cronus to swallow, as if it were the newborn child.3


1 As to the nurture of Zeus by the nymphs, see Callimachus, Hymn 1.46ff.; Diod. 5.70.2ff.; Ovid, Fasti v.111ff.; Hyginus, Fab. 139; Hyginus, Ast. ii.13; Serv. Verg. A. 3.104; Lactantius Placidus on Statius, Theb. iv.784; Scriptores rerum mythicarum Latini, ed. Bode, i. pp. 34, 79 (First Vatican Mythographer 104; Second Vatican Mythographer 16). According to Callimachus, Amalthea was a goat. Aratus also reported, if he did not believe, the story that the supreme god had been suckled by a goat (Strab. 8.7.5), and this would seem to have been the common opinion (Diod. 5.70.3; Hyginus, Ast. ii.13; Second Vatican Mythographer 16). According to one account, his nurse Amalthea hung him in his cradle on a tree “in order that he might be found neither in heaven nor on earth nor in the sea” (Hyginus, Fab. 139). Melisseus, the father of his nurses Adrastia and Ida, is said to have been a Cretan king (Hyginus, Ast. ii.13); but his name is probably due to an attempt to rationalize the story that the infant Zeus was fed by bees. See Virgil, Geo. 1.149ff. with the note of Serv. Verg. G. 1.153; First Vatican Mythographer 104; Second Vatican Mythographer 16.

2 As to the Curetes in their capacity of guardians of the infant Zeus, see Callimachus, Hymn i.52ff.; Strab. 10.3.11; Diod. 5.70, 2-4; Lucretius ii.633-639; Verg. G. 3.150ff.; Ovid, Fasti iv.207ff.; Hyginus, Fab. 139; Serv. Verg. A. 3.104; Lactantius Placidus on Statius, Theb. iv.784; Scriptores rerum mythicarum Latini, ed. Bode, i. pp. 34, 79 (First Vatican Mythographer 104; Second Vatican Mythographer 16). The story of the way in which they protected the divine infant from his inhuman parent by clashing their weapons may reflect a real custom, by the observance of which human parents endeavoured to guard their infants against the assaults of demons. See Folk-Lore in the Old Testament, iii.472ff.

3 As to the trick by which Rhea saved Zeus from the maw of his father Cronus, see Hes. Th. 485ff.; Paus. 8.36.3; 9.2.7; 9.41.6; 10.24.6; Ovid, Fasti iv.199-206; Hyginus, Fab. 139; Serv. Verg. A. 3.104; Lactantius Placidus on Statius, Theb. iv.784; Scriptores rerum mythicarum Latini, ed. Bode, i. pp. 34, 79 (First Vatican Mythographer 104; Second Vatican Mythographer 16). The very stone which Cronus swallowed and afterwards spewed out was shown at Delphi down to the second century of our era; oil was daily poured on it, and on festival days unspun wool was laid on it (Paus. 10.24.6). We read that, on the birth of Zeus's elder brother Poseidon, his mother Rhea saved the baby in like manner by giving his father Cronus a foal to swallow, which the deity seems to have found more digestible than the stone, for he is not said to have spat it out again (Paus. 8.8.2). Phalaris, the notorious tyrant of Agrigentum, dedicated in the sanctuary of Lindian Athena in Rhodes a bowl which was enriched with a relief representing Cronus in the act of receiving his children at the hand of Rhea and swallowing them. An inscription on the bowl set forth that it was a present from the famous artist Daedalus to the Sicilian king Cocalus. These things we learn from a long inscription which was found in recent years at Lindus: it contains an inventory of the treasures preserved in the temple of Athena, together with historical notes upon them. See Chr. Blinkenberg, La Chronique du temple Lindien (Copenhagen, 1912), p. 332 (Académie Royale des Sciences et des Lettres de Danemark, Extrait du Bulletin de l'annèe 1912, No. 5-6).

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