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[185] Στυγὸς ὕδωρ. According to Hesiod , Hesiod Theog.389, Zeus gave special powers to the Ocean-nymph Styx, when she came with her sons to Olympus, “αὐτὴν μὲν γὰρ ἔθηκε θεῶν μέγαν ἔμμεναι ὅρκον”. In a later passage, Hesiod Theog.775 foll., Styx is represented as having her home near the dwelling of night, “νόσφιν δὲ θεῶν κλυτὰ δώματα ναίει

μακρῇσιν πέτρῃσι κατηρεφἔ, ἀμφὶ δὲ πάντῃ
κίοσιν ἀργυρέοισι πρὸς οὐρανὸν ἐστήρικται”. This is probably intended to represent the scenery of some stalactitic cave. When a solemn oath was to be taken in Olympus, “Ζεὺς δέ τε Ἶριν ἔπεμψε θεῶν μέγαν ὅρκον ἐνεῖκαι
τηλόθεν ἐν χρυσέῃ προχόῳ πολυώνυμον ὕδωρ
ψυχρὸν, τ᾽ ἐκ πέτρης καταλείβεται ἠλιβάτοιο
ὑψηλῆς: πολλὸν δέ θ᾽ ὑπὸ χθονὸς εὐρυοδείης
ἐξ ἱεροῦ ποταμοῖο ῥέει διὰ νύκτα μέλαιναν”,
Ὠκεανοῖο κέρας, δεκάτη δ᾽ ἐπὶ μοῖρα δέδασται” (i. e. a tenth part of the water of the ocean flows through Styx), “ἐννέα μὲν περὶ γῆν τε καὶ εὐρέα νῶτα θαλάσσης
δίνῃς ἀργυρέῃς εἱλιγμένος εἰς ἅλα πίπτει”,
δὲ μἴ ἐκ πέτρης προρέει μέγα πῆμα θεοῖσι”. A god who should forswear himself by Styx, after having poured a libation of its water, was condemned to lie in trance without breathing or speaking for a year, and without tasting nectar or ambrosia. After that ordeal he is separated from all councils and banquets of the gods till nine years have passed, and he only resumes his prerogatives in the tenth (see the whole passage in Hesiod ). The description of the Styx is not very easy to realise: possibly we are to conceive of the stream as flowing at first in the upper world, then making a plunge, and running in a subterranean channel, like streams in many limestone districts; but the actual picture (as Pausanias saw it, 8. 18) is that of the brook called Styx in Arcadia, which tumbles over a rocky precipice near Nonacris, and parting into two cascades as it descends, falls into a basin of black rock; the waters uniting again to form the torrent called Crathis. It is still called Mavroneria or Draconeria, the ‘black’ or ‘terrible water,’—a reminiscence of the old legends connected with it,—and local tradition attributes to the water the strange property of destroying or piercing any vessel in which it is placed. Another form of oath by Styx is given in Il.14. 271 foll.

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hide References (4 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (4):
    • Hesiod, Theogony, 389
    • Hesiod, Theogony, 775
    • Homer, Iliad, 14.271
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 8.18
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