This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
ὑπεξέσχε (cf. v. 72. 1). Ephialtes, too, took refuge in Thessaly (vii. 213. 2). Νώνακριν. In northern Arcadia, near the river Crathis (i. 145), some five hours north-west of the city of Pheneus, to which it belonged. ἐξορκοῦν: with acc. of the object by which the oath is taken; cf. Hom. Il. xiv. 271 “νῦν μοι ὄμοσσον ἀάατον Στυγὸς ὕδωρ”, and ‘Iovem lapidem iurare’, with Strachan-Davidson, Polybius, Prolegom. viii. Although this is the only instance recorded in history, there can be no doubt that an oath by the water of Styx had always been regarded by the Arcadians as most solemn, and that when the poets made the gods swear by Styx, they only transferred to heaven a practice long customary on earth. Hom. Il. xv. 37 “τὸ κατειβόμενον Στυγὸς ὕδωρ, ὅς τε μέγιστος ι ὅρκος δεινότατός τε πέλει μακάρεσσι θέοισιν”: Hesiod, Theog. 785. The water of Styx was supposed to be instantly fatal (Paus. viii. 18. 4; Plin. Nat. Hist. ii. § 231, xxxi. § 26) and to burst or corrode all vessels save those of horn. Yet it is chemically harmless, though being snow-water it is icy cold. Perhaps its supposed deadliness caused it to be used as a kind of ordeal. Such oaths, accompanied by draughts or libations of water, are common (Frazer, Paus. iv. 254). The Styx is the only considerable waterfall in Greece, but H. is right in calling the stream ὀλίγον (Tozer, G. p. 118). Frazer (Paus. iv. 252) describes the scene as one of ‘sublime but wild and desolate grandeur’. Φενεῷ: at the south-west foot of Mount Cyllene, quite eight hours from the Styx, but the nearest large town. It is remarkable for its lake, which at intervals is drained away through subterranean channels (katavothra) into the Ladon, leaving a rich swampy plain (Frazer, iv. 231-2, 235 f.; J. H. S. xxii. 228-40).
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.