"And the variation of the name, so that the Pleiades are called both πέλειαι and πελειάδες, occurs in many poets. First of all, Myro the Byzantian admirably caught the feeling of the Homeric poems, saying in her poem entitled Memory, that the Pleiades convey ambrosia to Jupiter. But Crates the critic, endeavouring to appropriate to himself the credit due to her, produces that assertion as his own. Simonides also has called the Pleiades πελειάδες, in the following lines:—
And may great Mercury, whose protecting pow'rHere he distinctly calls the Pleiades πελειάδες, for they it was who were the daughters of Atlas; as Pindar says—
Watches o'er contests, Maia's mighty son,
Grant you success. But Atlas was the sire
Of seven dark-hair'd daughters, beautiful,
Surpassing all the maidens upon earth,
And now in heaven they're call'd Peleiades.
And it is naturalFor, in the arrangement of the stars, Orion is not far from the Pleiades; from which circumstance has arise the fable about them, that they, with their mother Pleione, are always fleeing from Orion. But when he calls the Pleiades ὄριαι here, he means οὔριαι, only he has left out the v, because the Pleiades are close to the tail of the Bull. And Aechylus has spoken still more plainly, playing on their name on account of the resemblance of its sound, where he says—
That great Oarion should advance
Not far from the seven Pleiades, at the tail (ὀρίας).
The seven celebrated daughters ofFor he calls them here wingless on account of the similarity of the sound of their name to that of the birds πελειάδες And Myro herself also speaks in the same manner—
The mighty Atlas, much bewail'd with tears
[p. 784] Their father's heaven-supporting toil; where they
Now take the form of night-appearing visions,
The wingless Peleiades.
The mighty Jove was nourished long in Crete,And Simmias, in his Gorge, says—
Nor yet had any of the heav'nly beings
E'er recognised their king; meanwhile he grew
In all his limbs; and him the trembling doves
Cherish'd, while hidden in the holy cave,
Bringing him, from the distant streams of ocean,
Divine ambrosia: and a mighty eagle,
Incessant drawing with his curved beak
Nectar from out the rock, triumphant brought
The son of Saturn's necessary drink.
Him, when the God of mighty voice had cast
His father Saturn from his unjust throne,
He made immortal, and in heaven placed.
And so, too, did he give the trembling doves (πελειάσιν）
Deserved honour; they who are to men
Winter's and summer's surest harbingers.
The swiftest ministers of air came near,And Posidippus, in his Asopia, says—
The quivering peleiades.
Nor do the evening cool πέλειαι set.But Lamprocles the Dithyrambic poet has also expressly and poetically said that the word πελειάδες is in every sense synonymous with περιστεραὶ, in the following lines—
And now you have your home in heaven,And the author of the poem called Astronomy, which is attributed to Hesiod, always calls the Pleiades πελειάδες, saying—
Showing your title with the winged doves.
Which mortals call Peleiades.And in another place he says—
And now the Peleiades of winter set.And in another passage we find—
Then the Peleiades do hide their heads;so that there is nothing at all improbable in the idea of Homer having lengthened the name πλειάδες by poetic licence into πελειάδες.