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τῶν ἑκατομπόδων Νηρῄδων, the Nereids with their hundred feet, the fifty Nereids whose dance and song lead the ship on her way. (But in Pind. fr. 122κορᾶν ἀγέλαν ἑκατόγγυιον” prob. denotes 100, not 50, persons, as though “γυῖον” were “σῶμα”.) The choice of the number (though here meant merely to suggest a numerous sisterhood) is not accidental: fifty was the number regularly assigned to the Nereids by the earlier Greek poets, as Hesiod Th. 264, Pindar Isthm. 5. 6, Aesch. Fr. 168, Eur. Ion 1081. Later it becomes a hundred; so Plat. Critias 116E (describing Poseidon's temple in the island of Atlantis) “Νηρῇδας δὲ ἐπὶ δελφίνων ἑκατὸν κύκλῳ: τοσαύτας γὰρ ἐνόμιζον αὐτὰς οἱ τότε εἶναι”; and so Ovid Fasti 6. 499. “Νηρεύς” (“νυ, νέω, νᾶμα”, etc.) and his daughters represent the sea's kindly moods: the Nereids who dance and sing around and before the ship are the waves. In ἑκατομπόδων the second part of the compound suggests “"dancing,"” cp. on “πυκνόπτεροι” (17).

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hide References (5 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (5):
    • null, 1081
    • Hesiod, Theogony, 264
    • Pindar, Isthmean, 5
    • Plato, Critias, 116e
    • Ovid, Fasti, 6
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