Compressos Symplegades. The Symplegades were two islands, or rather rocks, in the Thracian Bosphorus, which were feigned by the ancients sometimes to part asunder, and sometimes to rush against each other with great force. It was thought extremely dangerous to sail between them, because, if by any accident the ship should be detained longer than was expected, these rocks, running together, would be sure to crush her in pieces. Jason is related to have passed between these rocks with imminent danger of his ship; for it is said, that the rocks, meeting before the ship had passed quite through, carried off her stern. What probably gave rise to this fable was the appearance of these rocks to ships that sail between them; for, in bearing down upon them, while the ship is yet at some distance, they seem to be joined in one: but, as she approaches nearer, they by degrees open; and, when ressels have passed through them, and have proceeded to some distance on the other side, they again seem to run together and unite. This, in the first ages of he world, while navigation was yet in its infancy, and the plgenomena of vision were little understood, might pass among ignorant people for a real motion in these rocks; and hence arose this monstrous fiction.
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