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Starting from these premises, the poet, in conformity both with general custom and his own practice, narrates some circumstances as they actually occurred, and paints others in the colours of fiction. He follows history when he tells us of Æetes and Jason also, when he talks of Argo, and on the authority of [the actual city of Æa], feigns his city of Ææa, when he settles Euneos in Lemnos, and makes that island friendly to Achilles, and when, in imitation of Medea, he makes the sorceress Circe

“ Sister by birth of the all-wise Æetes,1

Odyssey x. 137.
he adds the fiction of the entrance of the Argonauts into the exterior ocean as the sequel to their wanderings on their return home. Here, supposing the previous statements admitted, the truth of the phrase ‘the renowned Argo,’2 is evident, since, in that case, the expedition was directed to a populous and well-known country. But if, as [Demetrius] of Skepsis asserts, on the authority of Mimnermus, Æetes dwelt by the Ocean, and Jason was sent thither far east by Pelias, to bring back the fleece, it neither seems probable that such an expedition would have been undertaken into unknown and obscure countries after the Fleece, nor could a voyage to lands desert, uninhabited, and so far remote from us, be considered either glorious or renowned.

[Here follow the words of Demetrius.] “‘Nor as yet had Jason, having accomplished the arduous journey, carried off the splendid fleece from Æa, fulfilling the dangerous mission of the insolent Pelias, nor had they ploughed the glorious wave of the ocean.’” And again: “‘The city of Æetes, where the rays of the swift sun recline on their golden bed by the shore of the ocean, which the noble Jason visited.’”

1 Odyssey x. 137.

2 Odyssey xii. 70.

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