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The construction is ἡδύ (‘the sweet smell’) ζεῖ ἀπὸ τῆς χώρης θεσπέσιον ὡς (cf. θαυμάσιον ὡς, ἀφόρητος οἷος iv. 28. 1).

For the “‘Sabean odours from the spicy shore
Of Araby the Blest’,
” where for “‘many a league
Cheered with the grateful smell old Ocean smiles’,

cf. Milton, P. L. iv. 162-5. Agatharchides, a Greek official of high rank in Egypt (circ. 150 B.C.), described not only this (Diod. iii. 45-6) but other marvels in Arabia, e.g. that the sweet-smelling woods were guarded by numerous and deadly ‘purple snakes’, and also the relaxing effect of the odours; these H. Judiciously omits.

ὀΐων. The Barbary sheep is not now confined to Arabia, but is found in many parts of Africa and North Asia (e.g. the Ovis Steatopyga of Pallas in Asiatic Russia). Its tail is said in some cases to weigh over 70 lbs.; it is still at times protected by wheeled boards. (Wood, Nat. Hist. i. 679-81.) M. Polo notes these sheep in Persia (i. 18), and says they were ‘as big as asses’.

The play on ἕλκος and ἕλκειν is as old as Pind. Pyth. ii. 168-9.

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  • Commentary references from this page (2):
    • Pindar, Pythian, 2
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 3.45
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