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[24]

When Aeetes discovered the daring deeds done by Medea, he started off in pursuit of the ship; but when she saw him near, Medea murdered her brother and cutting him limb from limb threw the pieces into the deep. Gathering the child's limbs, Aeetes fell behind in the pursuit; wherefore he turned back, and, having buried the rescued limbs of his child, he called the place Tomi. But he sent out many of the Colchians to search for the Argo, threatening that, if they did not bring Medea to him, they should suffer the punishment due to her; so they separated and pursued the search in divers places.

When the Argonauts were already sailing past the Eridanus river, Zeus sent a furious storm upon them, and drove them out of their course, because he was angry at the murder of Apsyrtus. And as they were sailing past the Apsyrtides Islands, the ship spoke, saying that the wrath of Zeus would not cease unless they journeyed to Ausonia and were purified by Circe for the murder of Apsyrtus.1 So when they had sailed past the Ligurian and Celtic nations and had voyaged through the Sardinian Sea, they skirted Tyrrhenia and came to Aeaea, where they supplicated Circe and were purified.2


1 Compare Ap. Rhod., Argon. iv.576-591; Orphica, Argonautica 1160ff.

2 Compare Ap. Rhod., Argon. iv.659-717 who describes the purificatory rites. A sucking pig was waved over the homicides; then its throat was cut, and their hands were sprinkled with its blood. Similar rites of purification for homicide are represented on Greek vases. See Frazer on Paus. 2.31.8 (vol. iii. p. 277).

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