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13.

Peleus fled to Phthia to the court of Eurytion, son of Actor, and was purified by him, and he received from him his daughter Antigone and the third part of the country.1 And a daughter Polydora was born to him, who was wedded by Borus, son of Perieres.2 [2] Thence he went with Eurytion to hunt the Calydonian boar, but in throwing a dart at the hog he involuntarily struck and killed Eurytion. Therefore flying again from Phthia he betook him to Acastus at Iolcus and was purified by him.3 [3] And at the games celebrated in honor of Pelias he contended in wrestling with Atalanta.4 And Astydamia, wife of Acastus, fell in love with Peleus, and sent him a proposal for a meeting;5 and when she could not prevail on him she sent word to his wife that Peleus was about to marry Sterope, daughter of Acastus; on hearing which the wife of Peleus strung herself up. And the wife of Acastus falsely accused Peleus to her husband, alleging that he had attempted her virtue. On hearing that, Acastus would not kill the man whom he had purified, but took him to hunt on Pelion. There a contest taking place in regard to the hunt, Peleus cut out and put in his pouch the tongues of the animals that fell to him, while the party of Acastus bagged his game and derided him as if he had taken nothing. But he produced them the tongues, and said that he had taken just as many animals as he had tongues.6 When he had fallen asleep on Pelion, Acastus deserted him, and hiding his sword in the cows' dung, returned. On arising and looking for his sword, Peleus was caught by the centaurs and would have perished, if he had not been saved by Chiron, who also restored him his sword, which he had sought and found. [4]

Peleus married Polydora, daughter of Perieres, by whom he had a putative son Menesthius, though in fact Menesthius was the son of the river Sperchius.7 [5] Afterwards he married Thetis, daughter of Nereus,8 for whose hand Zeus and Poseidon had been rivals; but when Themis prophesied that the son born of Thetis would be mightier than his father, they withdrew.9 But some say that when Zeus was bent on gratifying his passion for her, Prometheus declared that the son borne to him by her would be lord of heaven;10 and others affirm that Thetis would not consort with Zeus because she had been brought up by Hera, and that Zeus in anger would marry her to a mortal.11 Chiron, therefore, having advised Peleus to seize her and hold her fast in spite of her shape-shifting, he watched his chance and carried her off, and though she turned, now into fire, now into water, and now into a beast, he did not let her go till he saw that she had resumed her former shape.12 And he married her on Pelion, and there the gods celebrated the marriage with feast and song.13 And Chiron gave Peleus an ashen spear,14 and Poseidon gave him horses, Balius and Xanthus, and these were immortal.15 [6]

When Thetis had got a babe by Peleus, she wished to make it immortal, and unknown to Peleus she used to hide it in the fire by night in order to destroy the mortal element which the child inherited from its father, but by day she anointed him with ambrosia.16 But Peleus watched her, and, seeing the child writhing on the fire, he cried out; and Thetis, thus prevented from accomplishing her purpose, forsook her infant son and departed to the Nereids.17 Peleus brought the child to Chiron, who received him and fed him on the inwards of lions and wild swine and the marrows of bears,18 and named him Achilles, because he had not put his lips to the breast;19 but before that time his name was Ligyron. [7]

After that Peleus, with Jason and the Dioscuri, laid waste Iolcus; and he slaughtered Astydamia, wife of Acastus, and, having divided her limb from limb, he led the army through her into the city.20 [8]

When Achilles was nine years old, Calchas declared that Troy could not be taken without him; so Thetis, foreseeing that it was fated he should perish if he went to the war, disguised him in female garb and entrusted him as a maiden to Lycomedes.21 Bred at his court, Achilles had an intrigue with Deidamia, daughter of Lycomedes, and a son Pyrrhus was born to him, who was afterwards called Neoptolemus. But the secret of Achilles was betrayed, and Ulysses, seeking him at the court of Lycomedes, discovered him by the blast of a trumpet.22 And in that way Achilles went to Troy.

He was accompanied by Phoenix, son of Amyntor. This Phoenix had been blinded by his father on the strength of a false accusation of seduction preferred against him by his father's concubine Phthia. But Peleus brought him to Chiron, who restored his sight, and thereupon Peleus made him king of the Dolopians.23

Achilles was also accompanied by Patroclus, son of Menoetius24 and Sthenele, daughter of Acastus; or the mother of Patroclus was Periopis, daughter of Pheres, or, as Philocrates says, she was Polymele, daughter of Peleus. At Opus, in a quarrel over a game of dice, Patroclus killed the boy Clitonymus, son of Amphidamas, and flying with his father he dwelt at the house of Peleus25 and became a minion of Achilles. ...


1 Compare Tzetzes, Scholiast on Lycophron 175 (vol. i. pp. 444ff., 447, ed. Muller); Ant. Lib. 38; Diod. 4.72.6; Scholiast on Aristoph. Cl. 1063; Eustathius on Hom. Il. ii.684, p. 321. There are some discrepancies in these accounts. According to Tzetzes and the Scholiast on Aristophanes, the man who purified Peleus for the murder of Phocus was Eurytus (not Eurytion), son of Actor. According to Antoninus Liberalis, he was Eurytion, son of Irus. According to Diodorus, he was Actor, king of the country, who died childless and left the kingdom to Peleus. Eustathius agrees that the host of Peleus was Actor, but says that he had a daughter Polymela, whom he bestowed in marriage on Peleus along with the kingdom. From Tzetzes, Scholiast on Lycophron pp. 444ff. we learn that the purification of Peleus by Eurytus (Eurytion) was recorded by Pherecydes, whom Apollodorus may here be following.

2 See Hom. Il. 16.173-178, who says that Polydora, daughter of Peleus, had a son Menesthius by the river Sperchius, though the child was nominally fathered on her human husband Borus, son of Perieres. Compare Heliodorus, Aeth. ii.34. Hesiod also recognized Polydora as the daughter of Peleus (Scholiast on Hom. Il. xvi.175). Homer does not mention the mother of Polydora, but according to Pherecydes she was Antigone, daughter of Eurytion (Scholiast on Hom. Il. 16.173-178). Hence it is probable that here, as in so many places, Apollodorus followed Pherecydes. According to Staphylus, in the third book of his work on Thessaly, the wife of Peleus and mother of Polydora was Eurydice, daughter of Actor (Scholiast on Hom. Il. 16.173-178). A little later on (Apollod. 3.13.4) Apollodorus says that Peleus himself married Polydora, daughter of Perieres, and that she had a son Menesthius by the river Sperchius, though the child was nominally fathered on Peleus. In this latter passage Apollodorus seems to have fallen into confusion in describing Polydora as the wife of Peleus, though in the present passage he had correctly described her as his daughter. Compare Hofer, in W. H. Roscher, Lexikon der griech. und röm. Mythologie, iii.2641ff.

3 As to this involuntary homicide committed by Peleus and his purification by Acastus, see above, Apollod. 1.8.2; Scholiast on Aristoph. Cl. 1063; Ant. Lib. 38; Tzetzes, Scholiast on Lycophron 175 (vol. i. p. 447, ed. Muller). The Scholiast on Aristophanes, calls the slain man Eurytus, not Eurytion. Antoninus Liberalis and Tzetzes describe him as Eurytion, son of Irus, not of Actor. They do not mention the hunt of the Calydonian boar in particular, but speak of a boar-hunt or a hunt in general.

4 See above, Apollod. 3.9.2.

5 The following romantic story of the wicked wife, the virtuous hero, and his miraculous rescue from the perils of the forest, in which his treacherous host left him sleeping alone and unarmed, is briefly alluded to by Pind. N. 4.54(88)ff.; Pind. N. 5.25(46)ff. It is told more explicitly by the Scholiast on Pind. N. 4.54(88) and 59(95); the Scholiast on Aristoph. Cl. 1063; and the Scholiast on Ap. Rhod., Argon. i.224. But the fullest and clearest version of the tale is given by Apollodorus in the present passage. Pindar calls the wicked wife Hippolyta or Hippolyta Cretheis, that is, Hippolyta daughter of Cretheus. His Scholiast calls her Cretheis; the Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius, calls her Cretheis or Hippolyte; and the Scholiast on Aristophanes, calls her first Hippolyte and afterwards Astydamia. The sword of Peleus, which his faithless host hid in the cows' dung while the hero lay sleeping in the wood, was a magic sword wrought by the divine smith Hephaestus and bestowed on Peleus by the pitying gods as a reward for his chastity. With this wondrous brand the chaste hero, like a mediaeval knight, was everywhere victorious in the fight and successful in the chase. Compare Zenobius, Cent. v.20. The episode of the hiding of the sword was told by Hesiod, some of whose verses on the subject are quoted by the Scholiast on Pind. N. 4.59(95). The whole story of the adventures of Peleus in the house of Acastus and in the forest reads like a fairy tale, and we can hardly doubt that it contains elements of genuine folklore. These are well brought out by W. Mannhardt in his study of the story. See his W. Mannhardt, Antike Wald- und Feldkulte (Berlin, 1877), pp. 49ff.

6 In fairy tales the hero often cuts out the tongues of a seven-headed dragon or other fearsome beast, and produces them as evidence of his prowess. See W. Mannhardt, Antike Wald- und Feldkulte, pp. 53ff.; Spirits of the Corn and of the Wild, ii.269.

7 See above, note on Apollod. 3.13.1.

8 Compare Hom. Il. 18.83ff.; Hom. Il. 18.432ff.; Pind. N. 4.61(100)ff.; Eur. IA 701ff.; Eur. IA 1036ff.; Ap. Rhod., Argon. iv.805ff.; Catul. 64; Scriptores rerum mythicarum Latini, ed. Bode, i. pp. 65, 142ff. (First Vatican Mythographer 207, 208; Second Vatican Mythographer 205).

9 See Pind. I. 8.27(58)ff.; Ap. Rhod., Argon. iv.790ff.; Ov. Met. 11.217ff., who attributes the prophecy to Proteus. The present passage of Apollodorus is quoted, with the author's name, by Tzetzes (Scholiast on Lycophron 178).

10 Compare Aesch. PB 908ff.; Scholiast on Hom. Il. i.519; Quintus Smyrnaeus, Posthomerica v.338ff.; Hyginus, Fab. 54; Hyginus, Ast. ii.15. According to Hyginus, Zeus released Prometheus from his fetters in gratitude for the warning which the sage had given him not to wed Thetis.

11 Compare Ap. Rhod., Argon. iv.790-798, a passage which Apollodorus seems here to have had in mind.

12 As to the various shapes into which the reluctant Thetis turned herself in order to evade the grasp of her mortal lover, see Pind. N. 4.62(101)ff.; Scholiast on Pind. N. 3.35(60); Scholiast on Pind. N. 4.62(101); Paus. 5.18.5; Quintus Smyrnaeus, Posthomerica iii.618-624; Tzetzes, Scholiast on Lycophron 175, 178 (vol. i. pp. 446, 457, ed. Muller); Scholiast on Ap. Rhod., Argon. i.582; Ov. Met. 11.235ff. She is said to have changed into fire, water, wind, a tree, a bird, a tiger, a lion, a serpent, and a cuttlefish. It was when she had assumed the form of a cuttlefish (sepia) that Peleus at last succeeded in seizing her and holding her fast (Tzetzes, Scholiast on Lycophron 175, 178 (vol. i. pp. 446, 457, ed. Muller)). With the transformations which Thetis underwent in order to escape from the arms of her lover we may compare the transformations which her father Nereus underwent in order to escape from Herakles (above, Apollod. 2.5.11), the transformations which the river-god Achelous underwent in his tussle with the same doughty hero (above, Apollod. 2.7.5, note), and the transformations which the sea-god Proteus underwent in order to give the slip to Menelaus (Hom. Od. 4.354ff.). All these stories were appropriately told of water-spirits, their mutability reflecting as it were the instability of the fickle, inconstant element of which they were born. The place where Peleus caught and mastered his sea-bride was believed to be the southeastern headland of Thessaly, which hence bore the name of Sepia or the Cuttlefish. The whole coast of the Cape was sacred to Thetis and the other Nereids; and after their fleet had been wrecked on the headland, the Persians sacrificed to Thetis on the spot (Hdt. 7.191). See further, Frazer's Appendix to Apollodorus, “The Marriage of Peleus and Thetis.”

13 The Muses sang at the wedding of Peleus and Thetis, according to Pind. P. 3.89(159)ff. Catullus describes the Fates singing on the same occasion, and he has recorded their magic song (Catul. 64.305ff.).

14 Compare Hom. Il. 16.140-144, with the Scholiast on Hom. Il. 16.140, according to whom Chiron felled the ash-tree for the shaft, while Athena polished it, and Hephaestus wrought (the blade). For this account the Scholiast refers to the author of the epic Cypria.

15 Compare Hom. Il. 16.148ff.

16 This account of how Thetis attempted to render Achilles immortal, and how the attempt was frustrated by Peleus, is borrowed from Ap. Rhod., Argon. iv.869ff. Compare Tzetzes, Scholiast on Lycophron 178 (vol. i. p. 458, ed. Muller). According to another legend, Thetis bore seven sons, of whom Achilles was the seventh; she destroyed the first six by throwing them into the fire or into a kettle of boiling water to see whether they were mortal or to make them immortal by consuming the merely mortal portion of their frame; and the seventh son, Achilles, would have perished in like manner, if his father Peleus had not snatched him from the fire at the moment when as yet only his anklebone was burnt. To supply this missing portion of his body, Peleus dug up the skeleton of the giant Damysus, the fleetest of all the giants, and, extracting from it the anklebone, fitted it neatly into the ankle of his little son Achilles, applying drugs which caused the new, or rather old, bone to coalesce perfectly with the rest. See Ptolemy Hephaest., Nov. Hist. vi in Westermann's Mythographi Graeci, p. 195; Lycophron, Cassandra 178ff., with scholium of Tzetzes, Scholiast on Lycophron 178 (vol. i. pp. 455ff.); Scholiast on Hom. Il. xvi.37; Scholiast on Aristoph. Cl. 1068, p. 443, ed. Fr. Dubner; Scholiast on Ap. Rhod., Argon. iv.816. A similar story is told of Demeter and the infant son of Celeus. See above, Apollod. 1.5.1, with the note.

17 Compare Ap. Rhod., Argon. iv.875ff., who says that when Thetis was interrupted by Peleus in her effort to make Achilles immortal, she threw the infant screaming on the floor, and rushing out of the house plunged angrily into the sea, and never returned again. In the Iliad Homer represents Thetis dwelling with her old father Nereus and the sea-nymphs in the depths of the sea (Hom. Il. 1.357ff.; Hom. Il. 18.35ff.; Hom. Il. 14.83ff.), while her forlorn husband dragged out a miserable and solitary old age in the halls (Hom. Il. 18.434ff.). Thus the poet would seem to have been acquainted with the story of the quarrel and parting of the husband and wife, though he nowhere alludes to it or to the painful misunderstanding which led to their separation. In this, as in many other places, Homer passes over in silence features of popular tradition which he either rejected as incredible or deemed below the dignity of the epic. Yet if we are right in classing the story of Peleus and Thetis with the similar tales of the marriage of a man to a mermaid or other marine creature, the narrative probably always ended in the usual sad way by telling how, after living happily together for a time, the two at last quarrelled and parted for ever.

18 Compare Scholiast on Hom. Il. xvi.37. According to Statius (Achill. ii.382ff.), Chiron fed the youthful Achilles not on ordinary victuals, but on the flesh and marrows of lions. Philostratus says that his nourishment consisted of honeycombs and the marrows of fawns (Philostratus, Her. xx.2), while the author of the Etymologicum Magnum, s.v. Ἀχιλλεύς, p. 181 says that he was nurtured on the marrows of deer. Compare Eustathius on Hom. Il. 1.1, p. 14. The flesh and marrows of lions, wild boars, and bears were no doubt supposed to impart to the youthful hero who partook of them the strength and courage of these animals, while the marrows of fawns or deer may have been thought to ensure the fleetness of foot for which he was afterwards so conspicuous. It is thus that on the principle of sympathetic magic many races seek to acquire the qualities of certain animals by eating their flesh or drinking their blood; whereas they abstain from eating the flesh of other animals lest they should, by partaking of it, be infected with the undesirable qualities which these creatures are believed to possess. For example, in various African tribes men eat the hearts of lions in order to become lionhearted, while others will not eat the flesh of tortoises lest they should become slow-footed like these animals. See Spirits of the Corn and of the Wild, ii.138ff. On the same principle the ancients believed that men could acquire the art of divination by eating the hearts of ravens, moles, or hawks, because these creatures were supposed to be endowed with prophetic powers. See Porphyry, De abstinentia ii.48; Pliny, Nat. Hist. xxx.19. So Medea is said to have restored the aged Aeson to youth by infusing into his veins a decoction of the liver of a long-lived stag and of the head of a crow that had survived nine generations of men. See Ov. Met. 7.273ff.

19 Apollodorus absurdly derives the name Achilles from α (privative) and χείλη, “lips,” so that the word would mean “not lips.” Compare Etymologicum Magnum, s.v. Ἀχιλλεύς, p. 181,; Eustathius on Hom. Il. i.1, p. 14.

20 As to the wicked behaviour of Astydamia to Peleus, see above, Apollod. 3.13.3. But it is probable that the cutting of the bad woman in pieces and marching between the pieces into the city was more than a simple act of vengeance; it may have been a solemn sacrifice or purification designed to ensure the safety of the army in the midst of a hostile people. In Boeotia a form of public purification was to cut a dog in two and pass between the pieces. See Plut. Quaest. Rom. 111. A similar rite was observed at purifying a Macedonian army. A dog was cut in two: the head and fore part were placed on the right, the hinder part, with the entrails, was placed on the left, and the troops in arms marched between the pieces. See Livy xli.6; Quintus Curtius, De gestis Alexandri Magni x.9.28. For more examples of similar rites, and an attempt to explain them, see Folk-Lore in the Old Testament, i.391ff. To the instances there cited may be added another. When the Algerine pirates were at sea and in extreme danger, it was their custom to sacrifice a sheep, cut off its head, extract its entrails, and then throw them, together with the head, overboard; afterwards “with all the speed they can (without skinning) they cut the body in two parts by the middle, and then throw one part over the right side of the ship, and the other over the left, into the sea, as a kind of propitiation.” See Joseph Pitts, A true and faithful Account of the Religion and Manners of the Mohammetans (Exon. 1704), p. 14. As to the capture of Iolcus by Peleus, see Pind. N. 3.34(59); Pind. N. 4.54(89)ff. In the former of these passages Pindar says that Peleus captured Iolcus single-handed; but the Scholiast on the passage affirms, on the authority of Pherecydes, that he was accompanied by Jason and the Tyndarids (Castor and Pollux). As this statement tallies with the account given by Apollodorus, we may surmise that here, as often elsewhere, our author followed Pherecydes. According to the Scholiast on Ap. Rhod., Argon. i.224, Peleus on his return to Iolcus put to death Acastus himself as well as his wicked wife.

21 As to Achilles disguised as a girl at the court of Lycomedes in Scyros, see Bion ii.5ff.; Philostratus Junior, Im. 1; Scholiast on Hom. Il. ix.668; Hyginus, Fab. 96; Statius, Achill. i.207ff. The subject was painted by Polygnotus in a chamber at the entrance to the acropolis of AthensPaus. 1.22.6). Euripides wrote a play called The Scyrians on the same theme. See TGF (Nauck 2nd ed.), pp. 574ff. Sophocles composed a tragedy under the same title, which has sometimes been thought to have dealt with the same subject, but more probably it was concerned with Neoptolemus in Scyros and the mission of Ulysses and Phoenix to carry him off to Troy. See The Fragments of Sophocles, ed. A. C. Pearson, vol. ii. pp. 191ff. The youthful Dionysus, like the youthful Achilles, is said to have been brought up as a maiden. See above, Apollod. 3.4.3, with the note. One of the questions which the emperor Tiberius used solemnly to propound to the antiquaries of his court was: What was the name of Achilles when he lived as a girl among girls? See Suetonius Tiberius, 70. The question was solemnly answered by learned men in various ways: some said that the stripling's female name was Cercysera, others that it was Issa, and others that it was Pyrrha. See Ptolemy Hephaest., Nov. Hist. i. in Westermann's Mythographi Graeci, p. 183.

22 The usual story was that the crafty Ulysses spread out baskets and women's gear, mingled with arms, before the disguised Achilles and his girlish companions in Scyros; and that while the real girls pounced eagerly on the feminine gauds, Achilles betrayed his sex by snatching at the arms. See Philostratus Junior, Im. i; Scholiast on Hom. Il. xix.326; Ov. Met. 13.162ff. Apollodorus tells us that Achilles was detected by the sound of a trumpet. This is explained by Hyginus, Fab. 96, who says that while Achilles was surveying the mingled trumpery and weapons, Ulysses caused a bugle to sound and a clash of arms to be heard, whereupon Achilles, imagining that an enemy was at hand, tore off his maidenly attire and seized spear and shield. Statius gives a similar account of the detection (Statius, Achill. ii.167ff.).

23 See Hom. Il. 9.437-484, with the Scholiast on Hom. Il. 9.448. But Homer says nothing about the blinding of Phoenix by his angry father or his cure by Chiron; and according to Homer the accusation of having debauched his father's concubine was not false but true, Phoenix having been instigated to the deed by his mother, who was jealous of the concubine. But variations from the Homeric narrative were introduced into the story by the tragedians who handled the theme (Scholiast on Hom. Il. 9.437-484). Sophocles and Euripides both wrote tragedies on the subject under the same title of Phoenix; the tragedy of Euripides seems to have been famous. See TGF (Nauck 2nd ed.), pp. 286, 621ff.; The Fragments of Sophocles, ed. A. C. Pearson, vol. ii.320ff. The blinding of Phoenix by his father Amyntor is alluded to by a poet of the Greek anthology (Anth. Pal. iii.3). Both the poet and Apollodorus probably drew on Euripides, who from an allusion in Aristoph. Acharn. 421 is known to have represented Phoenix as blind. Both the blinding and the healing of Phoenix are related by Tzetzes (Scholiast on Lycophron 421), who may have followed Apollodorus. According to the Scholiast on Hom. Il. 9.437-484, the name of the concubine was Clytia; according to Tzetzes, Scholiast on Lycophron 421, it was Clytia or Phthia. Apollodorus calls her Phthia. The Scholiast on Plato (Laws, xi. p. 931 B), gives a version of the story which agrees entirely with that of Apollodorus, and may have been copied from it. The healing of Phoenix's eyes by Chiron is mentioned by Prop. ii.1.60.

24 Compare Hom. Il. 11.785ff. Homer does not mention the name of Patroclus's mother.

25 See Hom. Il. 23.84-90; compare Scholiast on Hom. Il. xii.1; Strab. 9.4.2; Ovid, Ex Ponto i.3.73ff. The name of the slain lad was variously given as Clisonymus (Scholiast, l.c.) or Aeanes (Strabo and Scholiast, ll.cc.)

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    • Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound, 908
    • Pseudo-Apollodorus, Library, 1.8.2
    • Pseudo-Apollodorus, Library, 2.5.11
    • Pseudo-Apollodorus, Library, 2.7.5
    • Pseudo-Apollodorus, Library, 3.4.3
    • Pseudo-Apollodorus, Library, 1.5.1
    • Pseudo-Apollodorus, Library, 3.13.1
    • Pseudo-Apollodorus, Library, 3.13.3
    • Pseudo-Apollodorus, Library, 3.9.2
    • Euripides, Iphigeneia in Aulis, 1036
    • Euripides, Iphigeneia in Aulis, 701
    • Herodotus, Histories, 7.191
    • Homer, Iliad, 16.148
    • Homer, Iliad, 18.434
    • Homer, Iliad, 18.83
    • Homer, Iliad, 23.84
    • Homer, Odyssey, 4.354
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 1.22.6
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 5.18.5
    • Pindar, Nemean, 3
    • Pindar, Nemean, 4
    • Pindar, Isthmean, 8
    • Pindar, Nemean, 5
    • Pindar, Pythian, 3
    • Strabo, Geography, 9.4.2
    • Homer, Iliad, 11.785
    • Homer, Iliad, 14.83
    • Homer, Iliad, 16.140
    • Homer, Iliad, 16.173
    • Homer, Iliad, 18.35
    • Homer, Iliad, 18.432
    • Homer, Iliad, 1.357
    • Homer, Iliad, 9.437
    • Aristophanes, Acharnians, 421
    • Catullus, Poems, 64
    • Ovid, Metamorphoses, 11.217
    • Ovid, Metamorphoses, 13.162
    • Ovid, Metamorphoses, 11.235
    • Ovid, Metamorphoses, 7.273
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